What Would You Do? – Gambling With An Edge

Author’s note: Today’s story is a composite between two different incidents that were somewhat similar, but each different from the other. So, the final result is fiction but based on fact. Readers are invited to consider how they would have handled this situation had it happened to them in a game they played. Ignore for now that this game was larger than many of my readers play. This kind of situation can happen on a game of any size.

In 2002, there was one $5 Multi Strike Deuces Bonus Poker game at the ABC casino, along with three $1 versions of the same game. The game was worth about 99.6%, but with the slot club, mailers, and promotions, it was a good game. Especially since valuable weekly drawings were held and this $100-per-play game resulted in a lot of tickets obtained at an advantage.

The problem was there was only one such machine, and many players wanted to play it — especially one team with about eight players on it. This was, by far, the single best machine to play for well-financed knowledgeable players in that casino. If this team got the machine, I figured this game would be tied up 24/7 and hence the opportunity would be lost to me. I approached this team about including me in their rotation and they weren’t interested.

So, while I sat at the machine, I formed my own group of players as a machine-sharing-team. I knew a bunch of strong well-bankrolled players and it was easy to convince several of hooking up for a regular 6-8 hour shift “for the duration.” 

One day, after I had pulled a double shift because one person called in sick, I spoke to my “relief player,” John, and he said he wouldn’t be able to make it. He was on a progressive on the other side of town that was worth more to him. Sorry.

I tried to talk him into giving up the other play. He had promised us. We might never get back on this machine again. Wasn’t his promise worth anything?

I tried to keep going, to make it a full 24-hour-shift, but I couldn’t. I called a number of other players, but nobody was able to come in and play. I became so exhausted I couldn’t see straight. I had to abandon the machine.

The next day began a month-long run where the team had the game and no non-team player could get to it. I kept checking every couple of days, in case.

Eventually the team gave up on the game. I’m not sure why. So, I got back on it and began to reform a new team. 

One day John came by and asked to be part of the rotation on the game. I told him that he had let us down before and I/we were quite leery of giving him another shot at letting us down again. Once burned, twice shy.

He told me he had made a mistake, regretted it, and wanted another chance. “Everybody deserves a second chance,” he told me. “Let me prove to you I’ve changed.” I told him we already had a full team but would consider him in a backup role in case somebody had to cancel a shift or two. I never ended up calling him for this or any other game. And should I run into him today, I would not consider him for a similar position.

And this is where I’ll leave the story.

My questions to the reader are:

  1. Would you forgive and forget like nothing had happened? After all, nobody is perfect, everyone has made mistakes, and sometimes it’s a choice of choosing among various people, each with his/her own flaws. Or, 
  1. Would you figure that he has shown his true colors, and once somebody has decided to put temporary profit over his agreements with friends, they will probably do that again given the chance?

What would you do?