Maryland Poker Pro Says He Was Banned from WSOP for Card Counting

April 1st, 2015 | by Jason Reynolds
Joe Stiers card counting WSOP

Joe Stiers says that card counting has gotten him banned from the WSOP. (Image: Baltimore Sun)

Card counting in blackjack is a contentious issue for casinos.

While the practice isn’t illegal, as it only involves a player keeping track of the cards they’ve seen on the table and reacting accordingly, casinos have the right to stop allowing anyone to play at any time.

They’re quick to do so if they think a patron is card counting to a point where they have an edge over the house.

Typically, being caught card counting means that you’ll be asked not to play blackjack anymore, but you’ll be allowed to continue playing other casino games as long as you don’t cause trouble.

In some cases, a casino may simply say they don’t want your business, and ask you to leave outright. But for one Maryland poker player, the consequences of card counting seem to have gone much deeper than that.

Card Counting Led to Being Kicked Out of Casino

In a video interview with The Baltimore Sun, Joseph Stiers says that he was asked to leave the Horseshoe Baltimore Casino on December 19 after he was card counting at a blackjack table, and that he has been subsequently been banned from playing at any Caesars property, meaning that he won’t be able to participate in the World Series of Poker.

That’s a big deal for Stiers, a professional poker player who has had significant success in the last two years in live poker tournaments.

According to Stiers, employees at the Horseshoe asked him to leave while he was playing roulette after a blackjack session. It took him a while to realize what the issue likely was, especially when security personnel weren’t sure themselves and couldn’t even confirm to Stiers whether or not he was welcome to return to the casino at a later date.

Stiers then left contact information with the casino so that they could alert him as to whether or not he would be allowed to play at the Horseshoe in the future.

Although he didn’t hear back from the casino, he did continue to receive promotional offers, which led him to come back to play in a poker tournament on December 27.

Stiers Accused of Trespassing While Playing in Poker Tournament

That turned out to be a mistake. After about an hour and a half of play, during which Stiers said he was doing well, security once again told Stiers that he had to leave, this time suggesting that he was trespassing by being on the property. Stiers held his ground, saying he would only leave if he received a refund for his tournament buy-in.

Eventually, that led to police having to arrive; while Stiers said that they too seemed confused when the casino couldn’t give them an answer as to why he had to leave, he eventually left without a refund.

State regulatory officials did agree that Stiers deserved his money back, however, and received a refund about a month later.

If Stiers has truly been barred from playing in the WSOP, it could have a serious impact on his poker career. While he’s far from a household name, Stiers has won over $500,000 in live tournaments over the past two years, including taking down a side event at the 2013 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open in 2013.

Stiers is currently ranked 628th in the world by the Global Poker Index.

One Comment

  1. mahi says:

    getting barred from a casino for card counting has been going on for over 30 years. old news. poker pro’s are a dime a dozen, if you look back 10 years you will find almost all have disappeared. the household names make their income from endorsements. if you spend time in the poker culture you will find scumbags, shot takers, many in debt. it is not the glorious way of life youngsters envision. actually 80% of the players would have made more money working at an entry level job with overtime, considering many spend up to 70-80 hours a week in a poker room. almost all do not have health insurance, savings, credit rating, home. it would also be interesting to see how one can count cards when many casinos place the used cards right back in the shuffler and it is possible to get the same cards as the ones recently discarded.

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