Friday, January 18, 2019

Were Phil Ivey and Kelly Sun Alone?

Were they alone?
We've all heard countless times of the baccarat edge-sorting exploits of Phil Ivey and Kelly Sun, how they edge-sorted their way to tens of millions of dollars in multi-casinos, most notably Crockfords in London and the Borgata in Atlantic City, only to have to give most of their winnings back because courts in both the UK and US ruled they won the money unfairly without saying it was downright cheating.

But yesterday I received an email that puts a new light on the whole thing. I CANNOT verify the authenticity of this but the info comes from someone involved in casino surveillance for many years whom I find very credible based on info he has given me in the past.

According to him, a casino that was victimized by edge-sorting has video footage of an Asian team edge-sorting in exactly the same manner as Ivey and Sun did, that is to say they instructed the dealers to turn the cards after they were dealt and lying face down on the table so they could read the sorts and then make their bets. And those bets were for very large stakes.

And neither Ivey nor Sun is seen in the video!

Also, it is not clear to me if this particular casino that was victimized by edge-sorting was ever victimized by Sun and Ivey. I was told that the video of the unidentified Asians edge-sorting is from the same time period (2012) during which Ivey and Sun hit Crockfords.

So what does this mean and is it important?

Well, I do think it's important to know how widespread this scam really was, but what about the fact, if it is one, that there is evidence of people edge-sorting for large sums of money who are not named Phil Ivey or Kelly Sun?

Now it is perfectly clear that Sun had edge-sorted both by herself and with partners before she met up with Ivey and included him in the scam, and these people could have gone off on their own. But whatever the case, even though edge-sorting was known by several people in game protection and surveillance long before even Sun showed up, no one has spoken of having video evidence of any major edge-sorting wins not involving the dynamic duo who made edge-sorting a household word in casino households all over the world.

All in all, and again I stress IF this is true, several more casinos besides the Borgata and Crockfords, may have been beaten for tens of millions around the world and kept quiet for one reason or another.

Which begs another question or two: If a casino has this video evidence of non-Ivey/Sun big baccarat edge-sorting wins, how come it has not been made public by that casino and with whom have they shared this evidence?

Or maybe some of you out there already know about this and it is not as big a deal as I think it is??

So if anyone out there has any info on this that they would like to share, please do!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Good Article on Online Cheating and Advantage Play

    Online Cheating and AP?

    Can you cheat online gaming sites? Yes and no. It’s more accurate to say that you can play them by giving yourself an unfair advantage.

    A genuinely foolproof way of cheating online gaming sites could make you some serious money. Plenty of people say they can do it, and many software copanies say they have the tools to help you cheat online casinos. But is it possible? Read on to find out.

    Online gaming generates billions of dollars every year, and most of that comes from the players. But for gamers to spend their money, they need to know they aren’t being cheated by the site they choose to use. Algorithms help online gaming sites keep their games honest.
    There are some major software providers of online casino games, including Playtech and Microgaming. Each of these companies uses a random number generator algorithm to keep the odds fair. This also works for the online gaming sites too, as it prevents players from being able to guess their hands or spins.
    Gambling companies are often accused of feeding addiction, offering free incentives to sign up and glamorizing betting. But the online gaming industry is putting considerable effort into tackling addiction, and AI is helping them to do this.
    UK online casino Mr. Green recently developed an AI tool together with Sustainable Interaction to help gamers catch addictive behavior. Players get their dashboard and are given a risk score from 1-100. If their risk level is unhealthy, they get advice on how to lower it and stop their behavior from leading to addiction.
    I said earlier that free incentives are one of the draws of online casinos. If you’re smart, you can cheat the system and get more than one free deposit bonus. How? By setting up multiple accounts.
    This is as easy to do as it sounds. All you need to do is use different details when setting up your account. This is made possible because many online casinos don’t insist on you providing ID when you sign up.
    Does it work? Yes and no. Though many online gaming sites let you slip through the door without ID, you’ll often need it to cash out. So while it is possible to cheat the system by setting up multiple accounts, it’s far from being a safe bet.
    Collusion has been a feature of gaming since it began. People come together and secretly pass on information to give themselves and their partners an advantage. If you play your cards right, this can be a winning way of cheating online gaming sites.
    A simple way of doing this is for you and your friends to sit alongside each other while you play. You can pass on any information you have and the one best positioned to win is allowed a free hit. You then share out the winnings between yourselves.
    Can you cheat gaming sites this way? Yes, to a degree. The caveat to this is that it’s only profitable in card games, particularly poker. Even then it still only gives you an advantage, as you won’t know what hand your opponent has.
    AI and algorithms aren’t only a force for good in online gaming. There are many tools and pieces of software you can download which help you cheat online games. How? By monitoring the behavior, dynamics, and performance of the game to point out weak points.
    Does this cheat the game successfully? Of the methods I’ve mentioned, this is the best way to cheat online gaming sites. It does so by giving you a competitive advantage, one that allows you to make informed decisions. So you’re not cheating the gaming sites, but playing them. The best example of this working in practice is poker tracker.
    Be warned, though. There are lots of hacking software out there which claims to beat casino games. I recommend steering clear of any slot games that claim to cheat online gaming sites. I also advise that you research any software company before downloading their tool(s).
    Can you cheat online gaming sites? Yes and no. It’s more accurate to say that you can play them by giving yourself an unfair advantage. There aren’t the hard and fast cheats to win, because online gaming sites have technology that’s sophisticated enough to catch them.  
    My advice is to head over to an online gaming website and get clued up on the rules. Once you’ve done this using industry approved software, like PokerTracker. If you and a few friends do this together, you may just cheat the system!
    My take: Pretty good article here.

    Wednesday, January 02, 2019

    The Great Hole-Carding-Cheating-or-Not-Cheating-Debate.

    Flashing a hole-card
    This argument is even older than the Phil Ivey Edge-Sorting debate which asks whether or not the practice of edge-sorting is cheating or not cheating. I have written loads of articles on Ivey's case and am clearly convinced Ivey was cheating, but edge-sorting is cheating ONLY when the edge-sorter(s) influences or alters the dealing of the game to achieve the possibility to edge-sort.

    The debate around the hole-carding-cheating-or-not-cheating-issue is similar to the edge-sorting case but not at all the same. Most experts and game protection people say it is not cheating, and I certainly agree with them.

    There are, however, two instances that make for good argument that hole-carding is indeed cheating.

    The first is when the individual hole-carder or hole-carding team does something to influence the dealer's dealing of the cards that causes the dealer to flash his hole card in blackjack or any card or cards in carnival games. To me, that would be cheating. Just like Ivey convinced the dealers to deal the baccarat games the way he wanted and against normal dealing procedure in order to make the edge-sorting possible, anyone coercing dealers, either mentally or physically, to flash hole-cards is the same type of cheating in my opinion.

    But if a dealer is giving up hole-cards only through fault of his own, there is no way that hole-carders reading the hole-cards can be construed as cheating. NO WAY!

    The second scenario is the signalling between hole-carders that gives them a bigger advantage against the casino because they can get more money on the layout when they have knowledge of the dealer's or other players' hole-cards.

    Is that cheating?
    Well, even if it is, it isn't.

    Am I trying to sound like a pompous idiot? No. What I am saying is this: Hole-carding may be morally cheating but it can never be construed as real or legal cheating.

    Why? Well, I will tell you this: No one would EVER be convicted for passing signals to other players at the table concerning the value of the dealer's hole card.

    Why do I say that? Well, the reasoning, if you agree that basic hole-carding without the hole-carders influencing the dealers, is not cheating or illegal, how can passing signals related to a legal act be considered illegal?

    After all, any lawyer could easily argue that since the act of hole-carding by itself is completely legal, how can passing signals about something legal be illegal? The "conspiracy" in question would be nothing more than conspiring to commit a legal act!

    OK! I am tired of writng and hypenating the word or words "Hole-Carding"!!!

    Friday, December 28, 2018


    To All of You!
    I want to wish all my blog readers a very happy and healthy New Year, and I look forward to writing more interesting blog articles in 2019!

    Thank you all very much!

    Saturday, December 22, 2018

    WSOP Cheating Allegations Fly!

    Justin Lapka accused of Poker Cheating
    I personally believe that cheating at the World Series of Poker Tournament has gone down substantially over the past decade but we still certainly hear of cheating incidents. The big one coming from the 2018 $600 No Limit Hold'em Double Stack event is Justin Lapka being accused of starting the tournament with $5,000 more in chips than the rest of the players, and trying to get away with it. All the players were given $40,000 in chips but Lapka was given $45,000.

    According to reports, a player named Shawn Daniels was sitting near Justin Lapka and noticed that Lapka had $5,000 more in chips than everyone else at the table. Daniels said he tried to get Lapka to acknowledge the error, made by tournament employees who just accidentally distributed the extra $5,000 in chips, but Lapka got mad and supposedly said, "I will do what I have's business." Daniels posted this account on Twitter and warned players to be aware whenever they interact with Lapka.

    Lapka responded to the Daniels' tweet by saying he had been aware of the error in his favor but since it wasn't his fault he wasn't going to return the extra $5,000 in chips. This type of excuse is not accepted in the poker-tournament community. The error was ultimately noticed by the dealer, who took the extra chips away.

    Another player named Steven Snyder said this about Justin Lapka: "He has to be the biggest douche I've ever met at the tables...Constantly talking shit when he loses a pot and just always unhappy making smart ass comments to everyone. He thinks he's some hotshot player."

    Another player named DJ MacKinnon said of Lapka: "If he admitted to the table he knew and didn't do anything about it, I would definitely give him a one or two-round penalty."

    It seemed all the backlash finally got to Lapka. He issued this apology: "I just wanna acknowledge that I made a decision tonight without a full understanding of how my decisions may affect other people or the poker community at-large.

    My take: This is more or less a minor cheating incident that, I would say, a fair percentage of poker players would let slide if the same over-distribution of chips went their way. However, that does not mean it isn't cheating.

    Thursday, December 13, 2018

    An old retired casino-cheat seriously ups the ante!

    Louie and his fake casino chips
    I am talking about Louie "The Coin" Colavecchio, the now seventy-six-year-old man who in the 1990s flooded Atlantic City casinos with high-grade $100 counterfeit chips. His casino exploits have been profiled on TV shows such as the History Channel's "Breaking Vegas" series. He ended up serving more than two years in federal prison for his counterfeiting-$100-chips crimes.

    Well, apparently Louie has been up to his old tricks. He is still counterfeiting $100 items, but now it's US $100 bills, not casino chips, which is a far more serious crime than counterfeiting chips. He was arrested last Friday at his Rhode Island home and charged with possessing equipment for manufacturing phony $100 bills and actually manufacturing them. According to reports, Louie had been under surveillance for several months and his telephone conversations were recorded.

    During one of those conversations, Louie purportedly said that if he were arrested he would claim he was working as a counterfeit-bill detection specialist LOL. He also purportedly said that he had developed technology that could replicate US currency security features including how genuine bills react to UV light.

    Louie, who was already serving 7 years of a suspended sentence for possessing more than 5 kilos of marijuana, could be looking at some serious time if convicted on these new charges.

    In fact, the next thing he may be counterfeiting is "Get out of jail free" cards.

    Saturday, December 08, 2018

    Robert Asiel's Casino Cheat Memoir "The Unexpected Gambler"...Any Credibility?

    Credible Cheat Tales?
    Back in April of this year, Robert Asiel released his self-published book "The Unexpected Gambler," in which he claims casinos rampantly cheated customers and explains how they did it. He then goes on to detail his own cheating moves that he used against these very same casinos, claiming that his moves are still being used today on casino blackjack tables.

    Is there any credibility to this book and Asiel's claims?

    Frankly, I don't know. I have been in and around casino cheating for 40 years, 25 as a top professional casino cheat and the better part of the last 15 as a game protection training consultant helping casinos protect themselves against all levels of casino cheats. Yet I never heard of Robert Asiel before I stumbled upon his book on Amazon.

    I will say this for starters: Asiel supposedly began his casino career as a casino dealer in a legitimate Nevada casino and then became a "crossroader," which is the casino vernacular for cheat. Inasmuch as that goes, his career is very similar to mine up to a point. That's to say that I began my casino career as a dealer in a legitimate casino before becoming a casino cheat.

    So, not having heard of Mr. Asiel, I went online and did some research. I came upon accounts of his involvement with Louisiana mob figures in a long-ago card-marking scam that beat the President Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi for $500,000. It is not clear exactly what Asiel's role was in this card-marking scam, but it appears it might have been limited to being a connecting contact to some of those who carried out the scam by sneaking the marked cards into play. I do not know if Asiel was a player taking down profits once those cards were in play.

    I do not have any other accounts of his cheating. No pastposting, capping or pinching scams.

    I have not read the book, and I am not sure I will, but I have spoken to several people who have. In spite of the raves for Asiel's book on Amazon, the general consensus among seasoned casino people who have read the book is that they believe Asiel participated in the marking-card scam, which took place in the 1990s, but find his tales of legitimate US casinos rampantly cheating customers far-fetched.

    Thursday, November 29, 2018

    Interesting Baccarat Dealer Cheating-Case in Australia...Another Big Inside Baccarat Cheating Scam at Australia's Crown Casino Melbourne

    Accused Baccarat Dealer Cheat
    Supposedly it came to light during the Crown Casino's routine review of its big baccarat winners. The group of winners in question won some $430,000 during several baccarat sessions last April and May. Then the suspected dealer was taken to the casino's back room and interrogated. As is normal procedure, or at least what should be normal procedure, the interrogation of the dealer was recorded.
    The dealer's attorney then requested access to the audio tapes but was told by the head of Crown Casino's investigation unit that the tapes no longer exist. 
    Finally, the shit hit the fan!
    The scam itself, although not detailed, supposedly has the dealer informing a group of players what the cards were before the deal so that they could bet accordingly. Surveillance operators claimed they noticed the dealer lifting and shifting the cards before he dealt.
    In any case, this is one of the most complicated cases of baccarat cheating I've yet heard of.
    Here is the related news article that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.
    The head of investigations at James Packer’s Crown Resorts says audio recordings from a “holding room” used to interrogate an employee who allegedly scammed the casino giant out of more than $400,000 no longer exist.
    In the high-roller Mahogany Room at Crown’s flagship Melbourne casino last year, baccarat dealer Michael Huo is alleged to have looked at cards and informed his associates – card players Fiona Shum, Yixuan Cui and Ke Wang – which cards were about to be dealt, helping them win $431,000 across 58 hours of playing at his table in March and May.
    Mr Hou came to the company's attention during a “routine” review of the previous day's 10 biggest winners, including examining CCTV footage of their betting and pulling up data on their betting patterns.
    Crown’s internal investigators arrested Mr Huo and his co-accused on the night of May 1, when the three women were playing at his table. Mr Huo was detained for more than three hours in a “holding room” before police arrived, the Melbourne Magistrates Court was told.

    Defence lawyers have sought access to a logbook of the personal audio devices worn by the casino’s security and investigations staff on the night of the arrest, as well as audio and visual recordings of the interrogation of Mr Huo, and copies of text messages sent and received by investigators during the interrogation.
    Peter Haag, representing Mr Hou, said Crown was refusing to comply with court orders to produce evidence and on Monday subpoenaed Crown’s investigations manager, Jason McHutchison.
    “The orders of the court last time were not complied with,” Mr Haag said, “and the subpoena endeavours to obtain the materials that were the subject to the court orders last time by a different route.”
    Mr McHutchison said his text messages were cleared when he replaced his smartphone late last year because he “didn't think they contained any evidentiary value”, while an audio recording from the holding room that day had since been deleted, because a request was not made for it to be preserved within 14 days.
    “It wasn’t requested in the time frame,” he said. “It’s no longer in existence.”
    Defence lawyers also sought a logbook of personal recording devices worn by Crown staff on the night, and copies of those recordings.
    But Mr McHutchison said the logbook did not contain relevant information and did not produce it. He also said the “only recording I was able to obtain was my own”. “The rest cannot be found,” he said, adding that one had malfunctioned on the night.
    Daniel Harris, the former senior surveillance analyst at the casino, said it was Crown’s routine practice to conduct a review of CCTV and internal betting data for the top-10 winners each day, to “see if they are legitimate”.
    Mr Harris said surveillance footage showed Mr Huo spending an unnecessary amount of time straightening and handling cards.
    “The front few cards could be seen to shift slightly and were leaning over the deck,” he said.
    The hearing before Magistrate John Bentley continues.

    Tuesday, November 27, 2018

    5 Best Gambling Books

    Bestselling Gambling Book
    If you’re a reader and a casino fan, there 5 books are good reads. But, if you’re a gambler and you want to improve your gambling skills, then these books are a must. Some of these books are actual autobiographies, some are biographies and some are fictional but with a lot of research done on the subject. Nevertheless, you will learn a lot about gambling, the life of gamblers and most importantly, the tips of real pro gamblers.

    Bringing Down the House – Ben Mezrich
    If reading is not your strongest suit but you’re still interested to know what this number one gambling book is about, you can watch the equally popular movie. It is actually quite an interesting book that narrates the true story of a group of MIT students that decided to bring down the house by counting cards in blackjack. Thanks to their brilliant, genius minds and exceptional MIT math skills and knowledge, they started training as a card-counting team, with the sole aim of winning over the house and make millions, which they eventually did.

    Gambling 102: The Best Strategies of All Casino Games – Michael Shackleford
    This book is more of a beginner’s guide to the casino games strategies. However, the author supposes that you have a previous knowledge of at least the basic rules of the games and gradually teaches you how to improve your odds of winning. The author is a statistics and mathematics expert analyst, so the book is based on real statistics made over years of study and experience. Essentially, you will learn about the house edges and the best strategies that can be used for winning at online casinos.

    Beat the Dealer – Edward O. Thorp
    Although quite an old book, Beat the Dealer is definitely not a book to be underestimated as it is actually the first book that proved the ancient myth – that you can use card-counting to win over the house. As a mathematician, Edward O. Thorp proved that mathematically speaking card-counting is real. In fact, the entire book is scientific, with equations, charts and all, and it served as the beginning of the card-counting movement, inspiring many authors to keep digging into it.

    The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time – Michael Craig
    Michael Craig did a fascinating job in capturing the world of the high-rollers, the huge bets and the lavish lifestyle of big-time gamblers. It actually tells the story of a billionaire banker Andy Beal, determined to beat the most skilled poker players at their own game of choice. With detailed descriptions about the secrets of the poker strategies, Craig skilfully combined a good story with a useful gambling material.

    Blood Aces – Doug J. Swanson
    You must have heard about the World Series of Poker, but do you know the true story about its creator, the mob boss and casino owner Benny Binion? Well, if you're interested in having a peek into the world of mobsters and their notorious lifestyle, you must read this book, with a gangster movie dynamics.

    Friday, November 23, 2018

    Game Protection Robots Cruising Casino Floors...Are They Coming Soon?

    Can "Buddy" catch casino cheats?
    For those of you who missed it, the Pechanga Casino near San Diego, California has debuted roving security robots that patrol the casino, or at least areas near the casino such as the hotel lobby and hallways, in order to give casino guests more security and, even more important, a sense of more security and being as safe as possible.s

    This brings an interesting question. These robots (for now) are more of a security apparatus than a game protection one...but will we ever see robots patrolling the actual casino floor looking to spot cheats, advantage players and even scams in progress?

    Honestly, I don't know. The first thing that comes to my mind is: even if these robots were equipped with enough cameras and artificial intelligence to perform such a vital game-protection task, would they be able to walk themselves around a casino floor without getting in everyone's way?

    I mean, picture a crowded Vegas casino on New Year's Eve, which happens to be the annual preferred working-night of professional casino-cheating teams. Forget about the angst those professional casino cheats would feel at the sight of robotical armies honing in on their scams and then one of them rolling right up to their roulette table and in a metallic-pitched robotical voice saying, "You guys are caught cheating"!...what about the regular players only wanting to grab a seat at a slot machine or blackjack table who might be bumping into these strolling robots? Sure, it might be fun greeting and taking selfies with a robot or two in the middle of the casino as long as it doesn't interfere with the gambling.

    So just the mechanical driveability of the robots might pose a difficult problem to solve.

    But beyond that, would digitally-equipped-video robots on the casino floor actually help casino surveillance departments identify cheats and spot their scams going down?

    I must say it would be possible. Although I have never been a big believer in the usefulness of facial recognition technology in casinos, if it were directly put to use right on the casino floor, I might be convinced otherwise, especially if the robots zeroed into a face of a suspected casino cheat and zoomed in, then compared the contours of the face with an existing casino-cheat data base. In that scenario the robots could help.

    But what about detecting a scam going down without any facial-recognition leads to the cheats being there, or more specifically, being at a table in set-up or operation of their cheat moves?

    That remains to be seen. Of course these robots could be programmed to recognize tells of professional and sophisticated casino-cheat teams, but wouldn't a skilled human being with knowledge in those tells have to do the programming?

    Of course he or she would.

    And that's where these robots, named "Buddy" at the Pechanga, might fall short...though by no fault of their own!