We’re going to start off with a video of, “Blackjack Professional,” Michael Morgenstern, which is a YouTube video here put up showing alleged evidence of a dealer for BetOnline.ag cheating in a live Blackjack game. Assuming the video doesn’t get taken down at some point, here it is.
In the above video, the dealer’s face is blurred out, but if you want to see a video in which it isn’t, you can jump to about 14:36 in this video.
The first six and a half minutes of the top linked video consists of replays of the alleged misdeal as well as some commentary by Mr. Morgenstern that, and I’m going to put this as politely as possible, you’ll be less intelligent for having listened to. I would recommend just listening to his explanation of what happens, watching for it, and otherwise muting him until about the 6:30 mark.
From 6:30-13:17, if you really must listen to it, you can see what Mr. Morgenstern defines as, “Being real,” when he proceeds to cuss out two different individuals working for BetOnline who almost guaranteedly had nothing to do with the cheating, if deliberate cheating even happened. Both of the individuals attempted to get him to use the, “Contact Us,” function of the site to send an E-Mail, and at various times, he referred to both individuals as, ‘Motherfuckers.’ Having done telemarketing and supervised telemarketing way back in the day, I can say at my call center, you could hang up on someone for the mere act of using profanity, even if the profanity was not a direct insult, so my opinion is the BetOnline people showed more than enough patience.
Immediately thereafter, he called BetOnline again and engaged in a conversation even more absurd than the one that preceded it. At some point, he was told that the number he had called was for the sportsbook and any complaints related to live table games had to be handled through the live chat. At that point, he continued to cuss out the person on the phone and demanded to know how much the guy was making per hour. BetOnline, predictably, hung up on him again.
One thing that merits pointing out is that Mr. Morgenstern is not the individual who was directly affected by the misdeal, which is why you see his balance increase at the end of the hand, (he had one of the winning hands) and he also did not split twos against a dealer showing a ten card. Once again, that was not his hand. It just happened to take place during his live video stream.
Here is a slow motion version of the video that shows the dealer’s face:
Other gambling publications and message board participants seem to have a strong opinion as to whether or not this was deliberate cheating by BetOnline Casino, for my part, though, I have no strong opinion. Here are my thoughts each way:
The Casino May Have Cheated:
The first piece of evidence that makes it possible that the live dealer may have cheated is the fact that it was a pretty clear misdeal that caused the player (assuming the cards were known ahead of time) to lose the hand. If the cards were not known ahead of time, then technically, the misdeal does not affect what would have hypothetically happened, though it clearly would still affect what actually physically happened in that hand.
Another piece of information that lends itself to the possibility that the casino cheated is the fact that hit has been reported that BetOnline was looking for an alternative online gambling product and they cut Global Gaming Labs in favor of Visionary iGaming who has handled the Live Gaming operations for BetOnline since February 18th.
The hand in question took place on January 25th, during which time Global Gaming Labs was aware that BetOnline would no longer be utilizing their services, but prior to the switchover to Visionary iGaming. While we don’t know what the precise financial arrangement is between BetOnline and Global Gaming Labs, what we have is very weak circumstantial evidence pointing to the possibility that the live dealer may have intentionally cheated. I cannot emphasize enough that I personally consider that evidence, very weak when it comes to deliberate cheating. However, it is possible that the dealers were given the goal of getting as much as possible from BetOnline customers.
I am going to try to get a comment from Global Gaming Labs and will update this article if I am successful.
The other aspect that makes this a weak position is because dealer cheating would also look bad for Global Gaming Labs regardless of whether or not BetOnline continues to be a client of theirs.
The other argument for it being a deliberate cheat, that seems logical enough to me, is that this event was, ‘Caught,’ (if you think cheating took place) during a live video stream whereas that should be unlikely unless it is something the casino does somewhat frequently. Two things that would lead one to believe that are the fact that the amounts being played for are relatively small, so it doesn’t seem like a big hand for the casino to want to win as a one-off cheat, and what I like to call, ‘The Speeding Rule:”
What I refer to as the speeding rule involves a driver who gets caught speeding and is issued a ticket, chances are it is not the first time that the driver has ever sped, it’s just the first time the driver ever got caught. The main reason for this is because, on the previous occasions, there may not have been a cop there to catch him, or perhaps, the cop didn’t notice the person was speeding. The point is, people generally don’t get caught speeding their first time ever doing it.
The Live Casino May Not Have Cheated:
There are a number of reasonable arguments that can be made for no deliberate cheating that I plan to explore now. Once again, while I am not willing to absolutely conclude that there was no deliberate cheating, I do lean somewhat to that side of the argument. Here are the reasons to believe that no deliberate cheating took place:
Once again, even if Global Gaming Labs was losing BetOnline as a client, there is no reason to believe that they would deliberately cheat as being caught could potentially get them blackballed amongst all online casino providers. Eventually, even if the initial blame is put on BetOnline, people are going to get the idea that the live casino is powered by Global Gaming Labs.
Furthermore, it could be argued that the dealing procedure simply looked sloppy and that the dealer got the second card without knowing what the card was or, possibly, that he was even getting the second card. For one thing, the dealer appeared distracted when attempting to deal the next card to the player (the one that ended up being a six) and whatever he was trying to do initially, it is clear from the video that he missed. After missing his intended target, (whether or not he intended to cheat) the dealer then pushes what should be the next card up and takes the card beneath it. As a result, the dealer beat that particular player 18-17.
In other words, if the dealer was just dealing legitimately (or meaning to) it was sloppy, and if the dealer cheated, then it was a sloppy cheat. Regardless of what it was, it was pretty clear that the dealer didn’t do it right. That could have something to do with the fact that the dealer seemed quite distracted at the time. Cheating or not, on his first attempt to draw out a card, the dealer’s hand wasn’t even really in the correct position to do so.
Another reason it seems like it may have been an accident is because the dealer’s entire hand motion was awkward compared to other instances in which the dealer drew out cards. On the other instances, the dealer appeared to use multiple fingers to push down the next card to come out and draw it out in a full on sliding motion, then gripping it with three fingers and the thumb as it gets turned over. Either way it was an ugly draw, but to me, it’s tough to conclude that it was a deliberate cheat.
Interestingly enough, I can even use my, ‘Speeding Argument,’ to defend the assertion that no cheating went on. By that I mean, sure, you’re not going to get caught every time you cheat, but certainly, someone would have noticed some shenanigans with the live dealers cheating by now if they were taught to do it deliberately.
Michael Morgenstern has continued to post new material to YouTube with respect to this matter, in one video, he claims to have received threats on his life and that of his daughter from Central America as well as having been offered a quarter of a million dollars to take down his video accusing the casino of cheating. Always keeping it classy, Mr. Morgenstern then has said daughter flip off the camera for the alleged individuals who threatened him and proceeds to go on a profane tirade about the threats against her in her presence.
It has been reported that BetOnline refunded the affected player on that hand due to the apparent misdeal that resulted in the player losing both splits rather than just one. It is unknown whether or not the player has been informed that splitting deuces against a ten is not a good idea.
BetOnline has made it known that they have switched Live Gaming providers and had actually made the decision to do so prior to the events in the video.
We will stay on top of this story and I will update this editorial if I hear back from Global Gaming Labs.