How People Cheat in casinos
If you’re looking to get rich quick, and you don’t mind if it’s not strictly legal, forget robbing a bank. That’s so last year anyway. Instead, think about hitting up a casino – because with almost $70 billion in revenue generated by casinos every year, it’s one of the most lucrative industries out there. And of course, where there’s money, there’s a scheme to get hold of that money too, as you’ll see in our round-up of casino scams. But just in case you were thinking of doing something similar yourself, keep this one tiny fact in mind – all of the con artists involved were caught, every single time. Because you can play with the house, but don’t mess with the house. Ever.
The false shuffle.
If you’re friends with a casino croupier, you could try to get them on your side with this one – that’s because for a false shuffle con to work, you’ll need someone on the inside. Essentially a false shuffle is exactly what it sounds like – a dealer pretending to shuffle legitimately but leaving some key cards behind, giving their co-conspirators the opportunity to successfully track the unshuffled cards as they’re dealt.
While this method was used successfully by the infamous Tran Organization who amassed winnings of up to $7 million in false shuffle schemes, the ring was eventually brought down, with more than 40 people, including the organisation’s founders, pleading guilty to cheating-related charges.
What this means is that if you do have a friend who deals cards at a casino, best to leave them be. Casinos are all over this scam by now, keeping a close eye on their employees as well as their punters, so there’s precious little opportunity to carry out this scheme in the first place, let alone be successful at it. Plus, it’s also a felony, so, there’s that.
Sharing information with players
Don’t want to rope in a person on the inside? How about keeping things just between friends – and sharing information with each other at the same time? For this scheme to work, you’ll need to get into a good position to be able to view the cards that the dealer is holding, and you’ll need a way to transmit this information to your friends as unobtrusively as possible.
If you’re stuck, you could try hiding a transmitter in a packet of cigarettes, the same way one team did back in 1973. Of course, you’ll also need enough money for bail, as it’s almost 100% likely you’ll get caught. Casinos aren’t stupid (unfortunately) and have state-of-the-art fraud detection technology designed to identify patterns and relationships between players, and stop any colluding before it starts. So you’ll need to come up with something else, sorry!
If you’re a frustrated magician you could turn those sleight of hand skills into cold hard cash by past posting – a scam that involves you replacing chips you’ve just won with more valuable ones. It’s a trick tried by con artists in games like Blackjack, Poker and Roulette, and even though it’s an old scam, it’s still in use today.
In order to be successful at past posting, it’s better to work in a team, with one of you distracting the dealer, while the other switches the chips. In Roulette, which sees its fair share of past posting, cheaters will place their bets on the winning number after the ball comes to a stop on the Roulette wheel. Typically the player will put their chips on top of their co-conspirator’s chips, and place the whole stack on the winning number. In this way if the dealer notices the con, it’s more likely that only one person’s chips will be taken off the table, rather than both.
Sounds easy enough right? Actually, not so much. That’s because firstly, dealers are highly trained to avoid any type of distraction, so getting them to look away from the table will be a job in itself. Secondly, they’re also trained to keep a close eye on the chips on the table, so putting one past them will be another monumental feat. And lastly, there’s the eye in the sky – the watertight security that every casino has in place to catch scams just like this one. So don’t push your luck – rather keep your magic tricks for birthday parties and play by the rules instead.
Stealing a card machine
Ok, this is a little extra, even by our standards, but we give it 10 out of 10 for effort. In 2013, a baccarat card machine was stolen from the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore by 13 Thai nationals (we have no idea how they managed this, so don’t ask). No, they didn’t take a selfie with it, but what they did do was lay all the cards out in order, photograph them, and then put them back in exactly the same sequence.
After replacing the card machine (no, we have no idea how they managed this either) they played Baccarat at the same table the next day, and quickly won over $1 million as a result. A little too quickly though, and their unbelievable good luck soon caught the attention of casino officials, who then reviewed their illegal activity on CCTV. Suffice it to say the cheaters were all jailed for their efforts, going to show that A) casino staff are always, always on their game, and B) crime doesn’t pay.
Keeping an eye on the dealer
More specifically, the dealer’s hands. Occasionally (and we mean VERY occasionally) a dealer might make an honest mistake by accidentally showing their hole card, giving the players who see it an unfair advantage over those who don’t. Of course, casinos are aware of the variables involved with human error, and so train their dealers not to do this, and levy strict penalties against any dealers caught tipping their hole cards. Moreover, any players who do catch sight of cards they shouldn’t be seeing are encouraged to report the incident – although it’s not certain how many players actually do. What to do if you ever see a dealer’s hole card in the casino? Well, you know what the right thing to do is, so let your conscience be your guide. Would you really feel good about taking home winnings that weren’t fairly earned? Only you know the answer to that.
Notice how none of these scams involve online gambling? That’s because there’s no human error and no equipment failure involved in online casino play – only Random Number Generators, algorithms, strict security and completely fair, completely random outcomes. So if you’re ever worried about being at a disadvantage in a real life casino, play at an online casino instead and you’ll always have an equal chance of winning. And if you’re even thinking about carrying out one of these scams yourself, then think again. Unless orange happens to be your colour, because if history is anything to go by, you’ll soon be wearing a lot of it.
Happy Spinning 🙂