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Cheating On the Score

There is one particular type of cheating which, although it has no bearing on the actual play of a hand, can be very costly. This is cheating on the part of the scorekeeper. The person who does this as a scorekeeper will usually keep a fair score of tabulation until the score gets too close for comfort. Then such a cheat will resort to one of the following. They will either miscount the number of boxes at the completion of the game and then continuing on either up or down, depending on whether the scorekeeper’s side has won or lost the game or they will add incorrectly either high or lower. They can also add or eliminate a number of boxes when scoring, or incorrectly write the appropriate score when a hand has been completed, adjusting it either upwards or downwards. Last but not least, they can indirectly misinform the other players as to the counts.

For example, a sheet shows a four-handed partnership game with all three games having been won by Team A on a schneid. According to the official methods of scoring the true winning number of points on the sheet is 6796 which, being more than 6500 is considered 7000 points. If, for example, the game was being played at $.01 per point, this would mean that each winning team would get $70.00. In the first column, Team A has a total of 14 boxes, in the second they had 18 boxes, and in the third column they had 16 boxes. If the scorekeeper was a dishonest member of Team A, he could have counted the boxes as 15, 19, and 17 respectively. This would mean an additional total to their score of 25 points more in the first game, 25 more in the second game and 100 more in the third game, since the third game is doubled for not only for the fact it is the third game but also for the schneid. The 150 points in this case would not affect the overall scoring. However if you assume that there were one box less in the third column on the original score, then the total would be 6696 instead of 6796. The addition of the one extra box in this game by the scorekeeper would mean an additional $5.00 to each player. On the other hand, if the scorekeeper were a member of Team B, all he would have to do would be to keep the score correct in the first and second columns and miscount by one box in the last column to save his side $5.00 per player.

Another example of cheating by the scorekeeper is when winning 28 points, a scorekeeper in a singles game can write down 38 points. The same goes if he is losing, he can write down 18 instead of 28, and unless his opponent watches him carefully, this certainly cannot be picked up later on when looking at the score. He can also write an extra bonus if he is entitled to one. He could also leave an empty space between these scores and insert a bonus box later in the game if he finds himself losing. In a partnership game he makes a little notation of winning or losing scores at the end of each notation of winning or losing scores at the end of each hand and, when all the players have finished their hands, he could total these scores and insert them on the score pad. If he is a cheater then he can vary his notations as to each hand to his own benefit. In addition, the scorekeeper, in adding the total of three games, could write down 7796 rather than 6796. This littler error, at $.01 a point would mean a $10.00 difference to each player. Unless his opponents actually go over all of his arithmetic in detail they will be cheated. Also, there is the bonus of the fact that if the discrepancy is picked up on, they can simply say it was human error.

Most scorekeepers follow a procedure of showing the bonus boxes before the numerical score of the hand. In the event that his side was to win a hand that did not involve any bonus boxes it would be a relatively simple matter for the scorekeeper to insert a figure for box bonuses after the score was written in and before the next hand. Then, if the next that was won included boxes, he could reverse the procedure and put in the point score first and then the boxes. Without a very careful checking by his opponents, this system almost defies detection.

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