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Morals and Ethics

Posted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:12 am
by Joe Andrews

We turn our attention to the "Dark Side of the Force". It's all about fair play. Please bear in mind that the VAST majority of players are honest, and abide by the Rules of their game of choice, while displaying good sportmanship. Still, there are a few who stray outside of the the moral boundaries and succumb to the "Dark Side". Perhaps the lure is "or line" rating points. Or maybe a trophy or a prize at a "live" event.


You and your partner are playing in a major "LIVE" Spades tournament. It is the Semi - Finals Round, (500 POINT LIMIT GAME) and the winning pair will go on to the Finals, and the big cash. Your side is losing 404 - 353. Prospects look bleak. There are two hands remaining. It is your bid in 1st seat and you pick up:

Spades - A K Q 6 / Hearts - K 8 7 / Diamonds - A K 2 / Clubs - J 3 2

You bid and 5 (6 might have been a stretch), the opponent bids 3, and your partner bids Nil. Another 3 bid follows. The opponents have bid a combined 6 tricks. Here is your opportunity to win the game! Your job is to cover the Nil and bring in your own bid.
The hand is in progress, as the opponents are attacking with low diamonds. You also observe that your partner discards the eight of hearts on the third round of diamonds. You have already covered partner's middle diamonds with the Ace and King, as pard drops the Jack and ten. You WERE nervous about that deuce of diamonds in your hand - but - the Nil seems to have "come home" ! Trump are "broken" a few tricks later, and the opponents begin to win tricks in clubs and hearts. Luckily, the opponent on lead was not alert! . Later on, you claim the hand (and your five bid) with three boss trump at the end. Game and Match! The opponents are reluctanly congratulating you, as the cards are thrown into the middle of the table. Your partner's hand (which has hit the table), reveals the nine of DIAMONDS, and two low hearts -which he is tossing away as his last three cards. (Your partner went in for Nil with the Jack, Ten and Nine of Dimes, and he has reneged. He promptly mixes his cards with the other cards, and in the excitement, the disappointed ops are not paying attention. You have already observed that your partner revoked (reneged) on third round of diamonds, as he discarded a that heart during the lead of dimes. (The opponents did not catch this, as they were not watching the plays.) Do you bring attention to the revoke, which will result in the loss of your bid, and almost certain defeat? Just imagine how your partner will feel, as you expose his error! -Or - do you accept the congratulations, and move on to the Finals table?

Yikes........ :mrgreen:

Re: Morals and Ethics

Posted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:54 pm
by Dust In The Wind
I would feel faced with a serious problem here since I do not promote cheating at all...

1) It is the responsiblity of the players to watch for the reneg
2) I saw the cheat and know it was a cheat
3) Do I embarrass and bar my partner from further games (and of course myself)
4) Do I resign and will it give the opportunity to the real winners to go to the finals and not say a word except to my partner
5) That is the end of that partnership any way it goes

Sorry some may think I would be a fool but I could not carry on knowing my partner cheated. To save face of my partner and if it would allow for the "real winners" to go to the finals I would resign and give no reason. If not... I'm sorry partner I would admit I cheated and leave it to you to correct it.

I could not play in any case in the finals knowing that it was a cheat that got me there. Luck is different, cheat is a cheat.


Re: Morals and Ethics

Posted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:57 am
by Joe Andrews
Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Dust....

The aforementioned scenario occurred at the second Grand Prix Nationals in Orlando, FL in 2000. I heard about it from the partner of the offender (person who revoked) a few weeks AFTER the event was concluded. He also told one his friends what had happened. This person (the "Finalist") called me and said that he felt "really awful" about the incident, and also mentioned that it was up to the opponents to observe the plays during the course of the play. He did not know if his partner intentionally cheated; however he assumed that there was some chicanery or "cover up" going on, based on the rapid mixing of the cards when the deal was concluded. - And he was reluctant to expose the "error" or incur the wrath of his partner.
This now placed me in an awkward position as TD, as the tourney was over. I did offer to rectify the matter by retroactively awarding First place to their opponent (who they beat) in the Finals, and giving the Second Place money to the Team which was unfairly eliminated in the Semis. One small problem... This was virtually impossible, as there was no practical way to collect and redistribute the money.
He then re-emphasized the point about their opponents' lack of attention, as
the crux of the issue. However, the piece de resistance was the comment regarding their "clean" win in the Semi Finals, and the fact that the money was needed to help pay his expenses for the tournament.
Ahhh.. contrition! Too little, and too late! Kinda reminds me of some of the scuttlebut "allegations" swirling around certain professional athletes regarding illegal substance usage and their denial. I certainly was not happy to hear about this. I also knew that his desire to win some cash was more important than his ethics. Maybe he sold his values for "30 pieces of silver", or in this case, $500 (half of the second place prize).
I then decided to DQ him and his partner from future Grand Prix events, and that was the last I ever heard from either of them... All Grand Prix Semi Finals and Finals main events now have at least one observer or monitor at each table.

I know that most people, including you and me, would never want to win that way.... Thank God, I am not in the competitive arena as a player! :)

Re: Morals and Ethics

Posted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:27 pm
by Sailing_Away
I really think you did the best you could short of traveling back in time. DQing both gives the others a chance to win fairly in the future. That's the only recompense you can make for those slighted.

I do feel bad about the one who tried to make it right later. Had he reported what he saw right away, there would have been no need to DQ him... just his partner.

Re: Morals and Ethics

Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:28 am
by dustin7609
I've never understood cheating at a card game. Or any competitive endeavor for that matter. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the most "morally" upstanding person and I do my fair share of things that might be considered immoral. I don't consider myself a "morally good person". I think the whole concept is just silly.

But that's not the point. This is not a question of morals or ethics. I don't believe people do things because they are "morally wrong" or "morally right". People do things that are in their best self interest. For the most part (luckily for society), what might be considered "morally" or "ethically" "good" is also in alignment with people's self interest. People do good things because they get a good feeling when they do it. That's not a bad thing, and you shouldn't feel guilty for it either.

To me, the enjoyment of playing is the competition -- the "outplaying" of your opponents. So to cheat would simply take away the enjoyment and not be in my self-interest, and what is the point of that? It just seems illogical -- at least to me. The game would be absolutely pointless and I would no longer derive any sort of pleasure from it. OH, I've had my fair share of being accused of cheating. Hell, during some sessions I'm willing to wager over 50% of our opponents accuse us of cheating at some point. It's always a huge compliment when this happens, however, as it means we really are SO good that it appears we cheat. What better compliment could you receive? So to anyone who has accused me of cheating over the years -- Thank You for the great compliment :)!

Re: Morals and Ethics

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:27 pm
by TrashCanCharlie
Hi all............I do not intend to discuss morals and ethics here but what I do intend to clear up is "cheating." In our illustrious bridge world what did happen in this example given is just.

Law 72 clearly states in the ACBL Direcors handbook that you are in no way responsible as far as giving the opps a heads up on a revoke you made or partner made. You are clearly not supposed to conceal the revoke by subsequent revokes when you know that you did revoke.

In other words Joe, ya made a bad decision! That player might feel crushed, horrible, etc......but that win was a win was a win was a win! It is clearly up to the opps to catch a revoke....................not up to you to bust yourself or partner when it has occurred. Frankly the ACBL added this law to make sure folks did not feel horrible when it did occur.

It's clearly not cheating when the rules are very specific in law 72 ........

Mixing cards up however is another issue................if that was done to make sure cards could not be checked later then......badboy!

Keep this in mind folks.................suppose you have reneged and the opps do see you do it and know you did it but they make sure not to say a word until the revoke becomes established and they can collect a decent penalty............hmmmmmmmmmmm? Is that not exactly the same ethical question?

But they have that option!!!!

The best way to really answer the question is to ask this one.........................does anyone have a spades law book regarding ethics, morals, table law?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOo not really, so until one is in place I think the question is moot or n.a.

FYI............I am and have been an ACBL certified director now for 38 years and a great discussion on this subject can be found in Julie Greenbergs book "Duplicate Decisions."


Re: Morals and Ethics

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 2:13 am
by Just_Ice
Growing up, when we used to play Spades with real cards, we had an individual who would intentionally reneg from time to time. We knew it, and we watched for it. Because of this, we consulted the Hoyle rule book to see what the proper course of action was when a reneg was discovered. So, I grew up under the school of thought more in line with what Jay describes.

Back then (which may be different from now) it said something to the effect that if a reneg was discovered, and the hand was still being played and the reneg could be proven, the team that reneged was automatically set their bids (regardless of how many tricks had been won) and the opposing team was granted a successful bid, with no bags incurred for either team. The reverse happened if the "caller" was wrong.

There was no mention of forfeit or cheat, just a penalty much like a set. So, we interpreted it as a "legal" game play since the book specifically stated that it must be noticed by the opposing team before any penalty was incurred. I'm not saying it is a legal play, nor am I saying it isn't, I'm saying how we interpreted it at the time for our group of players.

Personally, I think it should be treated as the host of the tournament has pre-determined. Penalty for a reneg should be clearly stated before the tournament (or game) begins and when you join in you agree to the terms. It's something we don't think much about anymore because computer programs are made such that renegging is impossible. I've always felt, from the moment I first clicked a card in the on-line world, that there should be an option to allow renegging in on-line play to simulate live game situations. It would keep people from blindly clicking cards and force them to pay attention.

Re: Morals and Ethics

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:11 pm
by Galt
What got my attention most was that this was a semi-final game at the GP, and the player sitting 4th was clueless as evidenced by his/her purposeless bid in last seat. How did the pair make it that far?