My "Backrooming" Experience
Many people on both sides of the table are aware that some sort of (alleged) incident may have happened to me in June, 2005 that precipitated a change in my hobby as an AP. I have never before shared the details of this incident (if it happened). Two different lawyer(s) stated that based on the terms of the settlement (if any), I am free to present this account (if it really happened), as long as it is given in a way that maintains full confidentiality of both the casino (if any) and the terms of the settlement (if any).
I am very thankful to casino security for all the times they have helped me when I’ve asked for assistance, and all the times they protected me without my knowledge. Like our nation’s police force, military and other security agencies, however, there are rogues who get into casino security. Unfortunately, in the casino industry, these rogues often single APs out for abuse. This has played out many times in court when APs have won civil rights judgments against casinos based on abuses by casino security.
In my opinion, unlike that of the vast majority of APs, the criminal actions of rogues in the casino industry should not give a bad name to all those who guard the assets of the casino, while protecting and serving the patrons and employees. On this particular night, I happened to get on the wrong side of some under-trained and overzealous rogue security guards. I was never a high level or particularly good AP. This incident occurred to a player making wagers of $50 per hand who was up only $400. I have no idea why on this particular night, these security personnel behaved in such an outrageous fashion.
Those APs who have the skills are beating the house fair and square. No action should be taken against APs that is stronger than would be taken against any other law-abiding citizen who is going about his business. Matters of kidnapping, battery and false arrest, when they arise, should be dealt with harshly by the courts, no matter the perpetrator.
Those who argue that being an AP is akin to cheating are misguided and dangerous. There is a slippery slope. If you believe that being an AP is cheating, then you may feel justified in acting towards the AP as you might act towards a cheat. That is a bad idea. Thought police and repression go hand-in-hand. Cheating will get you five-to-ten. Kidnapping, threatening and battering a law-abiding citizen will also get you five-to-ten.
The lesson here is that being an AP is a legal activity. Whether it is card counting, hole-carding, or some other legal way of getting an edge, the house has no legal authority to arrest, detain or demand information from the AP. The AP can be shown the door, but that is as far as the casino can go.
I work for the casino-side of the table right now. But, I will always be on the side of civil-rights.
And now, onto the story.
I decided that I had to write everything I could remember about what happened just as soon as I could. When I woke up the next morning, I drove to a Kinko's and got to work. This report was written in full within eight hours of the incident described herein. No modifications to this account have been made since the incident. This is the original account I wrote. A few hours later, I was meeting with a highly qualified lawyer.
I was playing Three Card Poker at Fred’s casino, in a game where the dealer was flashing her hole-card in a way that was clearly visible from first base. I had arrived at this game at approximately 12:50 AM, and the dealer’s name was Jane, a female Asian dealer in her early 40’s. I had played blackjack and Three Card Poker each of the previous two nights in this casino, each time for about an hour. On this day, I continued to play against Jane until her break at 1:20 AM. At that time, I also “took a break,” and I returned to the table when Jane came back to deal, at about 1:40 AM. I knew that playing in this way was a lawful activity in the State of Nevada, although casinos certainly did not appreciate clients playing in this way as it gives the player a significant edge over the casino.
At approximately 2:00 AM, two individuals without identifying badges (Man A and Man B) and two security officers approached the table. I believe man A asked me to step away from the table, which I did. He told me that I was to leave Fred’s property immediately. At the time I had won approximately $400 from the game. I agreed and grabbed my chips and attempted to leave, but I was blocked by a guard, a heavy-set female guard, long brown curly hair. Man A then asked for my identification. I told him that I just wanted to leave and did not want to give him my ID. I told him that unless I was suspected of a crime, he had no right to my ID. Man A said that in that case, I was “trespassed” and was under arrest. He directed one of the guards to put handcuffs on me. This occurred in front of the table I was playing.
I demanded to know what crime I was suspected of committing, since I knew I was acting in a law-abiding fashion. He said that I was trespassing. I told him that I had tried to leave so I couldn’t be trespassing. Up to this time I had never been backed off from a game at Fred’s or trespassed from their property before, so I did not understand how this could be trespassing. He argued that because I did not immediately leave when I was told to leave, I was trespassing. But I told him I tried to leave! I reminded him that it was when he asked me for my identification and I refused it was the time that they arrested me. He had a very short memory for the events.
I asked him for his “probable cause” and he didn’t reply. One of the guards collected my chips at the table and one of the men said we were going to the cashier’s window to cash out my chips. The whole while I am walking I feel humiliated being treated as a criminal when I knew I had done nothing wrong. I kept pleading with the men to tell me the crime I was suspected of committing and they said either that I was trespassing or that I had refused to show my ID when asked. I kept asking for probable cause, and they told me to shut up and not say a word.
We got to the cage and they cashed out my chips and put the money in a plastic bag and told me they were going to call metro police and have me arrested. They (the two non-uniformed men) kept telling me I was going to jail. I was pleading with the security (who weren’t speaking) that they must know that they need probable cause in order to do this, and what was that cause? Man A got very angry with me. I demanded to be taken to a place that had a camera and recording information so this whole incident could be documented, knowing that this was false imprisonment. I demanded to know probable cause for the arrest. The reasons “trespassing” and “failure to surrender ID” were alternatives given. But they grew tired of my requests for legal procedure. Man A was shaking and angry, and had a hard time controlling himself, but he seemed to be on the verge of violence. He obviously was very upset by something, but I did not know what.
Man A then said to the other three that he was going to take me to the loading dock and beat me up to teach me a lesson. We arrived at an elevator and he directed the others to not enter the elevator. He threatened me at that time saying that he was going to “kick me in the elevator” and I fully expected to be physically harmed as I got in to the elevator. However, he simply escorted me to the back of the elevator.
At about this time he told me that they had identified me through the Griffin Gold book and that he knew I had been kicked out of casinos all over town. As I got out of the elevator we were rejoined by the other three individuals, who had evidently taken some stairs up to the floor we had reached. Thus I concluded that this had been a rouse to scare me. But then Man A continued to threaten me with physical harm, so as we exited the elevator and walked down a long corridor, towards what I assumed would be an event that caused physical harm, I started yelling at the top of my voice. I saw some individuals in the distance and I yelled that I had been threatened and would they please help me. Man A said that those individuals knew what he was doing and were not going to say anything and that where I was going there were no cameras and no recording devices. I was terrified. I yelled some more, but eventually just let myself be escorted to whatever lay ahead.
We eventually reached “the back room” which is where I assumed the beating would take place, or that metro would be called and I would be arrested, or that gaming be called so that gaming could review the incident or some other thing would happen. I asked to call my lawyer and Man A said I didn’t have the right to make any calls while on their property because I was trespassing. Therefore I could not call for help in any way. I also asked for their names, which they refused to give. As they were wearing no identifiable features, I have no idea who these individuals were.
Once in the back room it was clear it was simply an office for their operations and that I was not going to be immediately beaten up. They asked me to stand in front of a wall and took my picture. Just before this, they physically searched my body and removed all contents from my pockets. In my pocket was my wallet. They removed my identification and made a copy of it which I saw on the table in the room. After the picture, Man B then asked for my social security number, which I told him I did not want to give, but he “insisted.” He also insisted that I tell him where I was born, the hotel I was staying at, and other personal and private information that I did not want to disclose. I felt that I had to give this information or I would come to physical harm. He kept saying it would be easier for me to just cooperate. Man B then left the room.
While I was sitting there after Man B left, there was only the female guard in the room (the same one that had originally blocked my exit). I told her very specifically that she must know that they could not bring me back here without probable cause and that she would be liable for kidnapping. That she had to know this. I asked her to help me but she said nothing.
Then the other man without a suit (Man B) (who had said nothing up to this point) decided it was his turn to speak. He told me that even I thought I was so smart, but guys like me were scum. He said that all my arguments didn’t mean anything because I didn’t know who I was dealing with and that I should be careful. This lasted about 3 minutes at which time I let him speak, all the while still thinking that I would be beaten up, or taken out to the desert, or something else. Then he finished the paper work for the trespass warning he was filling out. Man B read me the trespass act, telling me that if I returned to any of Fred’s properties I would be arrested for trespassing. Man B directed the guard to release my handcuffs, which the guard did do. Man B then asked me to sign the Trespass card which he had filled out, which I did. At this time I still was terrified that I was going to be beaten up.
Man A returned (or maybe he was in the room, I don’t recall) and I was directed to get my belongings, which I did. Man A then asked me to follow him, that he was going to lead me to a place where I could then leave the premises. He asked me several times if I had a car or walked, and I said that I had walked. As man A escorted me to “the edge of the property” I was frightened that he was escorting me to a location where he was going to harm me, and I asked him if I could please walk several feet away from him (approx 10 feet) so that I could feel safe. He took me out towards the back of Fred’s, a loading dock area, and directed me to follow a road back to Las Vegas Blvd. and not return to the property after that. He then left me. This was approximately 2:40 AM.
As I walked on the road, I noticed that there were no sidewalks and that this road was heavily traveled by vehicles at a high rate of speed. The only safe place to walk was in a thin center divider, and I walked there alternatively crossing to each side of the street, and through plants, in an effort to avoid traffic. I was frightened for my safety during this walk, but eventually made it back to Las Vegas Blvd., and my hotel room down the street.
I was very nervous when I got to my room and was shaking and upset and had a hard time sleeping. I thought someone might come in the middle of the night to harm me, so I blocked the doorway with furniture. In the morning I woke up at 8:30 AM, called a few friends and got the number of a lawyer in town who could help me.
Although the events witnessed above happened as represented, I had no witnesses other than Fred’s employees and the eye in the sky.