Casino cheats are geared towards fleecing a casino through the use of illegal tactics. A word of warning to those would-be fraudsters out there: cheaters routinely face bleak prospects.
In the Silver State, cheating in a casino is considered a Class A Felony, with a possible prison sentence of up to 6 years+. At the very least, casino cheats should expect to have their winnings confiscated, and be blacklisted from the casino.
If personnel suspect you of cheating, you could be detained and interrogated. No amount of ill-gotten gains at a casino are worth serving a hard time for, getting your face rearranged, or having your name tarnished.
What you're about to read is 100% true. These casino cheats have been used by real people many times over. Sometimes they got away with it, but casinos always get the last laugh. Elaborate scams have been run on casinos for years, but today's casino tracking technology has put paid to many of these nefarious con games.
From the false shuffle to the card swap; from edge sorting to card marking; from past posting to tipping hole cards, you are about to enter the unholy realm where criminal-minded players attempt to ply their trade against the house.
The casino cheats stories will leave you gobsmacked; at times you won't believe the shameless audacity of these scam artists - the absolute chutzpah of these miscreants. We begin our captivating op-ed with arguably one of the most common casino cheats of all time: Dealer Collusion.
WHAT IS DEALER COLLUSION?
Casino table games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and craps are hosted by expertly-trained dealers. These dealers may be known to you as croupiers. They manage the action at the tables, serving as the casino's representatives.
It comes as no surprise that dealers may be tempted to alter the outcomes of casino games, for personal gain. Dealer collusion is one of the most heavily-researched topics in the casino cheats realm. A corrupt dealer is no different to a corrupt banker, prison warden, politician, or administrative assistant.
Corruption of any system is fuelled by personal greed. Whenever a player and a dealer decide to work together for mutual benefit, the arrangement becomes highly questionable.
A symbiotic relationship between a player and a dealer is not necessarily criminal, particularly when the dealer is acting with integrity and honesty. The problem arises when a player and a dealer collude for the purposes of stealing money from the casino.
We’re about to tell all in our up-to-date guide on how to cheat at a casino.
CASINO CHEATS CAUGHT RED-HANDED
• A baccarat dealer from Maryland was accused of colluding with co-conspirators at the MGM National Harbor. The multi-million-dollar cheating scam found Ming Zhang guilty. Federal prosecutors suggested a 5-year prison sentence for the dealer on charges of conspiracy to move stolen funds from the casino.
• A teenage blackjack dealer in Washington state was arrested after being found guilty of assisting players to beat the house while playing blackjack. The man's name is Stephen Darnell Singer, and he was charged with a Class C Felony which carries a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence up to 5 years. Surveillance video caught the dealer giving players advice, based on the cards he was holding.
• The Parq Casino, in Vancouver, British Columbia was the scene of a largescale dealer/player collusion scam. Three card dealers from the casino were fired after they were found to have colluded with players. The police charged the dealers through the Ministry of Attorney General when evidence found CA$120,000 worth of chips was given to players that they were not entitled to. The collusion amounted to a conspiracy and was investigated and prosecuted accordingly. Notes on the case simply read: ‘Cheat at Play’.
• Phil Ivey is a world-class poker player and no stranger to controversy, thanks to his edge sorting endeavors at the Atlantic City Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa several years ago. He picked up on defects on the cards and used them to his advantage at the casino. It is said that he was working with the Chinese dealer to have favorable cards dealt to him. Ivey was later sued for $9.6 million after they picked up on his scam. As of 2019, Ivey has not paid the Borgata. The scam was crafted in concert with a dealer named Cheung Yin Sun who understood certain identifying characteristics of baccarat cards.
There are quite literally hundreds of other documented cases of similar stories of casino cheats caught over the years. Fortunately for casinos, these con games never last too long.
Whether the dealer is using a false shuffle, dealing from the bottom of the deck, or simply showing the hole card to players, collusion is always an issue to take seriously. The consequences of such activity are severe, and include the possibility of a felony conviction, a huge fine, or prison time.
Casinos pay tremendous attention to the dealers, perhaps more so than any other people at their establishment. Dealers control the action at the tables, and for that reason, they are scrutinized by many ‘eyes in the sky’ and a crack team of security consultants, many of whom have served in law enforcement as detectives, investigators, cybercrime experts, and sometimes even former professional casino cheats themselves.
HOW ARE CASINO DEALERS TRAINED NOT TO REVEAL THEIR HOLE CARDS TO PLAYERS?
Integrity is a difficult concept to understand in the gambling world. Since most stakeholders are driven by greed (or the prospect of winning) any slight advantage may be snatched up without hesitation.
Therein lies the problem: finding dealers who will uphold the high standards set by the casino management, without resorting to ‘side hustles’ through their control of the action. Intensive training, in-depth background checks and screening, and constant monitoring are the tools used by casinos to guard against dealer collusion with players.
Each dealer is closely monitored vis-à-vis all action taking place at the table during a shift. If player winnings exceed dealer winnings, security teams are immediately notified. Multiple camera angles can easily reveal whether a dealer is intentionally tipping their hole card to show other players what's really going on. The US mantra – if you see something say something – applies at all casinos across the country.
Players and personnel routinely bring these activities to management's attention, helping to weed out corrupt dealers in the process. The next time you're at a casino, tilt your head back and look up at the ceiling. You will notice hundreds of HD security cameras monitoring all of the action 24/7/365. Nothing escapes the cameras.
HOW TO CHEAT AT A CASINO?
Spectrum Gaming Group compiled an in-depth analysis of cheating in the US gaming industry. While the technological advancements used by casinos certainly make it much more difficult for casino cheats to prosper, it's still big business and many cheaters remain.
One of the foremost experts of the con game is security consultant, George Joseph. In much the same way as an illusionist deceives the audience with seemingly impossible gravity-defined tactics, casino cheaters use similar techniques like sleight of hand.
Whether it's slipping an Ace from within your sleeve to improve your chances of winning, or simply using electronic transmission devices to signal to other players, cheating is rife at many casinos.
Barely a decade ago, in 2010, one of the most daring casino heists of all time took place when a criminal clad in black named Anthony Carleo made off with $1.5 million worth of casino chips from the Bellagio hotel. Such incidents are rare, yet they do occur.
The playing card replacement scheme has been around for eons. Players typically wear long-sleeved shirts or jackets and have sophisticated devices strapped to their arms. Once again, players collaborate with one another to try and gain an edge over the house.
They try to be inconspicuous, and sometimes they are. Most of the time, this elaborate ruse is meticulously plotted out to ensure that the cameras do not pick up any evidence of the players knowing one another before they sit down together at the table.
They often use body language or rudimentary sounds to communicate with one another, perhaps by way of winking, tilting their heads, tapping their fingers, moving their feet, or simply fidgeting at the table. But alas, nothing gets by the dealers, the pit bosses, and the eyes in the sky.
There are multiple layers of security, each of them watching everything that goes on at the casino. In the off chance that a casino cheat gets away with a scam, it's likely that the con artist will be emboldened by early successes and try to repeat the con again. That's when they get nabbed.
HOW DO CASINOS COMBAT CHEATERS?
If you think casinos our hapless victims of cheaters, think again. Casino dealers do not sit idly by while this sort of activity is taking place. They are skilled at monitoring and evaluating player behavior, particularly when blackjack players, poker players, or baccarat players are wearing long-sleeved shirts and appear to be collaborating with one another.
Perhaps the biggest trump card of them all – for the casinos – is a technological innovation known as The Angel Eye. This technology is certainly worth elaborating on. The Angel Eye is one of the great day wonders of the technological realm. Simply put, the Angel Eye is expressly designed to guard against card switching. How does it work?
There are barcodes printed on each card with invisible ink. Well, it's not quite invisible to the machines, but it is to the human eye. This technology is employed in Asian casinos where the game of baccarat is played with abandon. Many casino cheaters switch out cards hoping to get one up on the house.
With this technology, the baccarat or blackjack croupier can simply use computer-generated results to see which cards are dealt to which players, and what the results reflect. If the card has been switched, it will not be registered on the Angel Eye and security will be called in to deal with the matter.
As for edge sorting (a technique used by players to spot defects on playing cards), casinos typically bring out new decks of cards or use the same decks of cards for different types of casino games. This confuses players who may be using this technique and renders their ‘advantage’ useless.
WHAT OTHER SECURITY TECHNOLOGIES DO CASINOS HAVE?
• Biometric facial recognition technology to monitor known cheaters, criminals, and other shady characters coming into the casino.
• TableEye21 technology is a comprehensive set of tools and resources used to track all action at a casino table. It tracks dealer actions, player actions, betting activity, wins, trends, and deals per hour. If anomalies are spotted with this technology, the casino will act swiftly.
• License plate recognition technology automatically scans vehicle plates when they enter the casino parking lot. If the vehicle has been flagged for any reason, security teams will descend upon the vehicle and take care of business.
• NORA is not NORAD which is the missile defence system, but it's pretty close in the casino arena. With NORA (non-obvious relationship awareness) software, casinos have a strong advantage over cheaters. Thanks to massive databases of known criminals, cheats, and con artists, this program can scan databases and quickly discover alarming information. Dealers acting under false pretences, players collaborating with other players, or colluding with dealers can be identified.
• Casino chip technology is designed to stop criminals dead in their tracks before they've cashed out their casino chips. Something is known as RFID a.k.a. radio frequency identification is implanted in each chip. If the dealer suspects that the players were cheating, the cashier can be notified of the batch and security can take care of the matter.
Recall the Bellagio theft of $1.5 million in casino chips? The hotel simply switched off the transmitters on the chips, rendering them worthless. This technology also nips counterfeit chips in the bud. Some players may be able to produce fake chips, but the RFID transmitters within them aren't quite as easy to manufacture.
For those casino cheats who think their craft is impervious to scrutiny, think again. Casinos are veritable banks. They are in the business of managing huge amounts of money on a daily basis.
Not only do they employ the smartest security consultants in the industry, they also use military-grade surveillance technology to guard against criminal activity. Stealing from a casino is never a wise idea, no matter how talented the cheater may be.
TECHNIQUES USED BY CARD CHEATERS, ROULETTE CHEATERS, & GENERAL FRAUDSTERS
A typical game of blackjack is played with between 6 and 8 decks of cards at land-based casinos. That's a lot of cards to keep track of for a card counter, or a semi-pro blackjack player. To reduce the house edge, some players may be tempted to mark cards to make it easier to place bets in the game. If you knew which cards were 10-value cards in the deck, it would significantly improve your chances of winning games.
Card marking can take many different forms such as the use of special ink which only the player can see through specific lenses. Some players may use their fingernails to mark cards, bend the tips of cards, or fold cards ever so slightly to make an identification that much easier.
These actions have to be extremely subtle for the dealer not to see them. Of course, many players who do this for a living are well skilled at manipulating the cards to achieve precisely these types of objectives. Casinos can instantly identify card marking, and eject players from the table, or from the casino.
CHEATING WITH CASINO CHIPS
The great game of roulette a.k.a. the little wheel is a particular favorite at the casino. The roulette racetrack (the betting green) features an impressive spread of options for players. All players at a roulette game buy in with real money and receive chips to place on their bet selections.
The dealer will announce, ‘Place your bets please’, followed by ‘No more bets’ after the roulette ball starts spinning around the track. It is about this time that con artists will attempt to switch their bet placement to different positions on the roulette racetrack after the ball has landed. The benefit of this casino cheat – if it succeeds – is a tremendous payout (35:1 on individual numbers). For this reason, casinos are wide-awake to this popular scam.
Past posting is yet another scam used by card players and table game players where the value of the chips is changed to try and get a bigger payout. Let's say you are betting $20 in $5 chips on a roulette number.
That means you have 4 x $5 chips stacked on a number. If that number comes in, the past posting roulette cheat would switch out the bottom chips for high-value chips, hoping to get a significantly larger payout on the roulette number.
One cannot imagine how such a rudimentary con would ever work anymore, given all the surveillance technology, casino table game rules, and other players watching the action at the table. Sometimes, players will try to slide a pile of chips onto the winning number in roulette, thinking that the dealer is oblivious to it.
Think again. Casinos will always question the validity of big wins if they suspect something is amiss. They have it within their purview to request replays of the action through the security cameras. If the security teams spot any anomalies, the players responsible will be ejected from the casino.
CASINO SLOT MACHINE CHEATS
Over the years, many scammers have employed many rudimentary and innovative techniques to cheat slot machine games. The famous ‘coin-on-a-string’ method was a hot favourite for many years.
Back in the day, players attached a piece of nylon thread through a hole drilled into a coin. The coin was then dropped into a slot machine game to register credits for players. Of course, these machines are largely obsolete today.
Old school slot machine games were known for being pretty basic mechanical devices. Many coins could be switched out for washers and foreign coins, allowing players to play for free and win for real.
Sometimes, players used foreign currency coins which had equivalent dimensions and weight of the coins required on the slot machine game. Slot machine cheats often used this technique and it worked for a long time. Players were not the only slots cheats though. Casino employees routinely worked their ‘magic’ with these machines and used many dishonest tactics to enrich themselves.
Players have been known to jam convex devices into the coin dispenser slot to cash big wins. Other tools used by players include magnets to ‘float the reels’. Once the desired symbols landed in combination, the cheater would remove the magnet and allow the machine to payout.
Arguably the most technologically-sophisticated casino slot machine cheat was the one which reverse-engineered the RNGs (Random Number Generators) of slots machines sold from Russia.
These Aristocrat Mark VI slot machine games were taken apart and the RNG algorithms were discovered. Intricate planning and preparation revealed that it required about 24 spins to algorithmically calculate the next big winning spin.
Casino cheats are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to defraud casinos. Fortunately, the casinos are well aware of these scams and have set up powerful deterrents to counter them. This is a dangerous game of cat and mouse, but one thing’s for certain: The house always wins in the end!