Philadelphia-based SugarHouse Casino has recently been slapped with a $30,000 fine by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board after being found to have facilitated the dealing of multiple poker hands in unauthorized game formats. The most notable of these unauthorized gaming activities was a 10-card stud flip between Jeremy Kaufman and Doug Polk that founds its way to YouTube – two years later, this has cost two SugarHouse Casino supervisors their jobs and the casino $30,000.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Poker Night in America production (where the violation occurred) was not an extracurricular poker activity and, therefore, it was definitely what attracted the attention to the state gaming control board. The recruitment of some of the poker pros, on the other hand, was bound to get more eyes fixated on the event. According to a number of reports issued on the event, two or more of the poker pros that participated are said to have pressured the SugarHouse Casino staff who were present to deal a few hands of unauthorized poker for some high-stakes flips. Apparently, the idea was to add little pro gaming action to make the loose, friendly cash-game filming session more exciting.
The hand between Doug Polk and Jeremy Kaufman involved both players putting up $41,000 with Polk, who went on to post the video of the game on his YouTube account, winning most of the money after Kaufman bought out later in the hand. According to Pennsylvania state gaming las, neither 10-card no-peek or Open-Face Chinese are authorized at its licensed casinos. The gaming control board also found that, aside from the unauthorized 10-card stunt between Doug and Kaufman, both may have also participated in five more hands of Open-Face Chinese, and a 13-card game.
The $30,000 fine seem to be relatively insignificant but a number of people close to the matter have reported that either one or two of the supervisors who okayed the poker hands have had their employment terminated. While this is yet to be verified, it goes without saying that, to a given extent, they were responsible for whatever transpired. Still, from a moral point of view, the poker pros who participated in the games cannot be completely absolved of responsibility.
Despite the fact these players may have been able to freely participate in such kind of games in more liberal and tourist-and-gambling-oriented states like Nevada, the gaming atmosphere in Pennsylvania is nowhere close to being as open. Not only is the state relatively new to online poker and online gambling but the regulators also have to prove that they can be trusted to ensure that all the regulations and laws are adhered to.