Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Game Protection Post: Why some casino staffs just don't get it!

Teaching the right way
I travel to different areas of the world doing game protection seminars and hands-on training to casino floor staffs and surveillance staffs. I often visit the same casinos more than once, and the second time around is when I notice how much the casino’s staff benefited from my first visit.
Sometimes it’s not as much as I would’ve liked.

Is it my fault?

Well, I like to believe that with all my experience as a casino-cheat and advantage-player, and then as a speaker and trainer of casino game protection, that what I deliver to casinos that hire me is the best out there.

So then if I’m not to blame for this lack of game-protection progress on the part of the casinos, who is?

I hate to say it but the answer is: the casinos. I mean their staffs.

And the reason is twofold:

One is that not enough key employees are in attendance.

The other is that some of the key employees who are in attendance are not there with the right attitude. I have encountered many with an already-know-it-all attitude that is very detrimental to both themselves and the casinos they work for.

A good example of this occurred recently at a major South American casino. The head of its surveillance department was from the United Kingdom, which happens to be the sharpest casino area in the world as far as cheating is concerned as far as I’m concerned.

This particular Brit, who no doubt had seen his share of high-end casino cheat scams, immediately took on an attitude of “How can I learn anything from you if I’ve already seen it before.”

I had asked the casino’s director of table games beforehand to supply me with an employee who could help me during the seminar by actually doing cheat moves I would teach him. I often do this to draw attention away from myself so that the attendees can witness (after the fact) that it was their own colleague doing the cheating and mot me, whom everyone expected to see do it.   

This type of attendee-participation approach serves well to get attendees interested in the seminar.

But in this case at the South American casino, the surveillance director who was assigned to help me decided to challenge my knowledge at every turn. I was trying to get him to a blackjack pastpost to which he responded, “That’ll never work in a casino where I’m surveillance director.”

I wanted to respond, “How much would you like to bet?” but instead asked the table games director to lend me another employee, which she did.

Then during the seminar, while the self-exiled surveillance director stood behind the blackjack table with his arms crossed and a bored look on his face, his replacement did the blackjack pastpost and fooled the dealer and everyone else in the room.

The surveillance director saw nothing, but still insisted in rebuttal that the move would not work in a real blackjack setting. What he ignored is that it worked over five thousand times over the course of twenty-five years on real blackjack tables.

He and I got into it verbally throughout the seminar and the result was that the more than one hundred employees in attendance got very little out of the seminar.

So my point is: casino employees—especially key employees--need to keep an open mind and leave their egos at home when attending and participating in casino game protection seminars.

Link to Richard Marcus Game Protection Seminars

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Las Vegas Riviera Hotel-Casino set for Implosion--Sad Day for Me.

Sad to see you go
After a long and colorful history, mostly painted by its various Mafia affiliations and ownership, the Riviera (called "the Riv" by its loyal patrons over the years and the inspiration of the Scorcese film "Casino"), will meet its final fate with the big wrecking ball today. Implosions are always treated with fanfare in Las Vegas, almost like a mini-July 4th, but for me it will be a sad day on a personal note.


Because my personal journey through casinos and cheating them all began at the Riv when I was not even legally old enough to gamble. Those of you who read my memoir "American Roulette" might recall my story.

In the summer of 1976, I drove my convertible Mustang out to Vegas and parked it at the Riv. I took the twenty grand I had in the trunk along with my overnight bag and checked in. Then I ensconced myself at the baccarat table and ran that twenty grand into a hundred!

The Riv comped me into a luscious suite, threw all the champagne and ladies at me I wanted, and made my life a temporary paradise.

A VERY temporary paradise.

On the night of my twenty-first birthday, the first day that I was legally permitted to gamble, I lost it all. The hundred grand I had burning holes in my pockets turned into one single $1 chip, which I tossed to the cocktail waitress as I stumbled out of the baccarat pit in a shocked daze.

I had no one to call and nowhere to go except my suite at the Riv. But when I put the key into the door lock, I realized I was pinned out. Back in those days you used actual keys and not computerized plastic cards to get into hotel rooms. Thye'd actually hammered a pin into the lock so I couldn't get in.

It hadn't taken the Riv long to realize that I was a deadbeat.

I ended up sleeping with the winos under an overpass in 115 degree heat. I finally got a job dealing baccarat at the Four Queens downtown and the rest is history.

One final note: I did get the Riv back for their harsh treatment of me. After joining up with Hall of Fame casino cheat Joe Classon and his gang, I had the pleasure of performing various pastposting cheat moves at the Riv.

My favorite memory of attacking the Riv was of an old, grumpy pit boss whom we obviously called "Grumpy." Each time I did the classic "ten-oh-five" blackjack move and the dealer informed Grumpy that he didn't see the purple $500 chips we'd switched in, Grumpy would throw his writing pad on the table in disgust and grunt, "What the hell's the matter with ya? Can't you see there are two $500 chips under there?"

Then he would yell at the dealer to pay me correctly.

This went on for a decade and Grumpy paid me the pastposted thousand bucks at least twenty times!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Are Poker Tournaments Safe From Cheating--By Tournament Directors and Poker Room managers?

The Flamingos would be ashamed!
When it comes to cheating in poker tournaments, the first things that come to many minds are collusion play, soft play and chip dumping.

But what about poker tournament cheating orchestrated by those charged with running the tournaments—mainly tournament directors and supervisors? Are the players safe from them?

Well, until recently I hadn’t heard of anything done wrong by tournament directors and supervisors that was serious enough to warranting this article. But that changed last August when someone noticed something—in fact several things—that were amiss at the largest Texas Hold’em poker tournament in the history Miami’s Hialeah poker room, which is adjacent to the famed thoroughbread racetrack.

That someone was longtime Florida poker tournament pro T.J. Shulman, who has over the years racked up nearly a million bucks in tournament prize money. At first the Hialeah Texas hold’em tournament seemed to be running well like it should be. But then Shulman noticed some disturbing things.

First, certain players were chatting up supervisors in order to receive preferential seating. Then he noticed that managers were handling the cash without receipts. If that were not enough, Shulman calculated that the listed prize money payouts were too low in correspondence with the entrance fees. Shulman brought these faults to the attention of the Hialeah poker room manager, and when he mentioned that the prize pool was short by $50,000, the manager told him to take a walk if he didn’t like the way the tournament was being run.

Take a walk is what Shulman did—right to the Florida Division of Parimutuel Wagering. The Division launched an investigation and found Shulman’s complaints to be valid—and then some. In addition to Shulman’s claims, it was discovered that there was shoddy video surveillance (most likely to protect the crooked supervisors), and that some supervisors were pocketing cash—alas the $50,000 shortage of prize money for the players.

Shulman said that these supervisors said they were going to take the pocketed cash to the poker room cage later (Yeah, sure).

The Parimutuel Division did not believe them either. They noted a dirty tournament and as a result of their investigation, Nelson Costa, the Hialeah poker manger, resigned, and three of his assistant managers were fired.

No arrests are expected, however.

But despite that, Shulman noted other important improprieties at the Hialeah poker room. He said that some players were allowed by the staff to bypass the entry fees—as long as they kicked back a percentage of their winnings to the supervisors involved. One player reportedly said that he got only 20% of his winnings while the supervisors reaped the other 80%.

Then there were questions regarding the poker room’s jackpots, mainly whether all the cash meant for funding the jackpots ever got to the winners. It appears that lots of it got into the dirty supervisors’ pockets instead.

In a formal complaint against key employees of the Hialeah poker room, the State of Florida noted that receipts were not issued to players entering tournaments, surveillance coverage was lacking throughout the tournament areas and the areas where cash was handled, and that Costa, the room’s manager, was running the game in a very shady manner--to the extent that he kept large amounts of cash in his office rather than where it was supposed to be kept—in the casino cage under the lock and key of the vault.

My take: Wow, this is really a black eye for such a historic place in American gambling!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Yet Another Roulette Chip-Color Manipulation Cheat Scam!

How much are these chips really worth?
You´ve seen it've seen it a thousand times!

And I guarantee you will see it another thousand times!

Last May a Latino Roulette Cheat team from New York victimized the Sands Bethlehem casino for more than $13,000 with the old--and I mean VERY old--roulette chip-color manipulation scam.

The way it worked was that one of the gang would sit down at the roulette table and buy a color of roulette chips and assign the minimum $1 value to them. But when he cashed out he would hold out several of them and pass them off to another cheat gang-member who later bought-in at the same table for the same color, but this time assigned the maximum $25 value to them.

Then upon cashing out his paid-for $25 roulette chips, the second guy snuck in the $1 chips his partner had handed off to him and cashed them out as well for $25 a piece--making a nice 2,500 % profit on each chip.

And as you can see, it added up quicly.

But they finally got caught because they went to the well one time too many.

My take: Just unbelievable how this almost ridiculous roulette cheat scam keeps beating American casinos!

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

What's the latest with Spyware online poker-cheat hack-attacks?

Win32/Spy.Odlanor Evil
We have known for sometime about the devastating effects on the online poker world of the Spyware Win32/Spy.Odlanor. This trojan spyware is usaully installed on an online poker victim's computer without his being aware. It happens when the victim downloads and infected app or software onto his computer.

Once in place, the Odlanor malware creates screenshots of the victim's computer when he is on the targeted poker site, which in Odlanor's case has been mainly PokerStars and Full Tilt. These screenshots are immediately relayed to the hacker/online-poker cheat's computer, revealing the victims' hands and player IDs.

Because both Full Tilt and PokerStars allow online players to search for other players through their IDs, the hacker-cheats can easily locate the tables their intended victims are playing on.

The bottom line of this successful cheat implementaiton is that the victim will be destroyed rapidly.

So what's being done to combat the online-poker cheating malware?

According to Robert Lipovsky, a highly respected malware researcher at Eset, an anti-virus online security company, the Eastern European block has been hit hardest by the online poker hackers, although he stresses that anyone anywhere can become a victim to this huge online poker fraud.

The best defense for poker players online is to be vigilant and note and report any suspicious activity by their poker-playing opponents, especially when it seems as though their decisions are right such a high percentage of the time that they might be looking at your hole cards.

As with the vast majority of highly effective online poker cheat scams, this particular scam will be defeated to some degree by the online poker-playing community as a whole, who against well armed and sophisticated cheating must take the attitude "one for all and all for one."

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Russian Poker Cheat gets Jail Time in London

Poker-Cheat Heavy

Fifty-seven year old Russian national Valeriy Mikhaylets works for a Moscow construction firm. But that's just his day job. At night, or during trips to the UK, he was both a poker hold-out and card-marking artist.

By holding onto key cards he played during previous hands and then reinserting them into play when he needed them on subsequnet hands, Mr. Mikhaylets poker-cheated his way to more than $80,000 profit at a lively poker game at London's Palm Beach Casino in November, 2014.

He was also using sandpaper to mark cards at the same table.

Even though his big win that night generated a lot of suspicion at the Palm Beach poker table, Mikhaylets was not arrested until he returned to the casino in early 2015. He posted bail, then fled the UK only to be arrested when returning to his native Russia from Finland in April, 2015.

For all his efforts, the Russian poker cheat was sentenced to four months in prison and fines, court costs and restitution totalling a quarter of a million dollars.

My take: Well, Mr. Mikhaylets had a good night that November at the Palm Beach, but he's gonna have to figure out another poker strategy to get back all the money he's lost to the UK court system--and hopefully for him it will be an honest one!

Take note that although holding out cards at the poker table is a rare cheat-scam, card-marking seems to be as popular as ever, even more so than the old Wild-West Days when poker cheats cheated cowboys by sun-drying cards before they were put into play. More and more of these modern card-marking poker-cheat scams involve invisible or disappearing ink and infrared lenses to see the marks on the cards.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Casino Game Protection Post: The Importance of Blackjack Shuffle Maintenance

Are your dealers boxing?
The shuffling procedure of brick and mortar casino blackjack is extremely important. When it is done correctly, many forms of cheating and advantage-play are wiped out before a player even has the chance to implement his attack.

What I have noticed lately during my worldwide casino travels is that many casinos are letting their regular brick and mortar blackjack shuffle procedure be affected by the shuffle procedure they use on their online live blackjack games.

Of course there are valid reasons why live blackjack shuffles differ from those used in the brick and mortar casino, but this must not influence how shuffles are done when real human players are at the table.

A good example of this problem is the stacking of packs of cards after the riffles into several small stacks across the entire perimeter of the insurance line. This is real dangerous on brick and mortar games as it opens up cheating opportunities, especially the thievery of cards at the end positions of the table.

One player could distract the dealer from first base during the shuffle and another can then pilfer a card or two from the stack so close to him at third base. Then of course these cards can be switched into play at key moments for the cheats.

So it is imperative that the stacking of cards after the riffles be done into no more than two stacks directly in front of the dealer. And equally important is that all brick and mortar blackjack shuffles contain strips which prevent ace and key-card tracking, and "boxes," which is the 180 degree turn of packs of cards within the stack to offset the possibility of edge-sorting scams.

Here is a good video on proper blackjack shuffling and dealing procedures.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Still Waiting for more on PokerStars Spin & Go Online Poker Scam

So what really happened?
The player account refunds started coming down three weeks ago, and some of them were quite hefty--in the thousands of dollars.

When that occurs, it usually means a very large cheating scam took place, one big enough to bring down the integrity and credibility of a major online poker site.

The PokerStars Game Integrity Team issued a site-wide message that was quite evasive on what cheating tactics were actually used and stuck with the very ordinary apologies to those whose PokerStars accounts were effected along with protestations to the continued integrity of online poker at PokerStars.

They called it "a situation involving a violation of our Terms of Service" and repeated its policy to confiscate funds from the accounts of players perpetrating scams and redistributing them to the accounts of players who are victims.

Okay, that's all well and good, but I, for one--probably among many--would like to know what the heck went on there with the Spin & Go PokerStars online tournaments!

So if someone out there can upsate me, please do!

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Ol' Sticky Palms Roulette Cheat Move

Remember Fred Biletnikoff?
It's a humdinger! It takes balls! And it gets the money--every time!

And here's how it works...or I should say worked because according to reports I'm getting out of France, one very sly gentleman (not sure if he's French) has been casino-hopping up and down the casino-happy French Riviera with some very sticky palms below his wrists.

Using his hands to spread his own roulette chips over the layout, those sticky palms lifted up other players' cash chips the way the soles of your shoes lift gum off the street. He started by sucking up $5 chips, then graduated to $25 chips, and really had a heck of a roulette scam going, one that only victimized other players at the table and not the casinos.

His hand movements were all completely natural as he did not have to bend his hands to get the chips.

But then, like almost all greedy casino cheats, he got greedy. He decided to apply the stick'em to black $100 cash chips being bet by a high roller who was keenly following his bets. When number 13 came in, as bad luck would have it for the stick´em cheat, the high roller was waiting for the $3,500 payout his winning $100 chip straight-up on the number would bring.

But the high roller got a rude surprise when he looked and there was no black chip on number 13.

He was sure he'd bet one there, and when he complained to the pit inspector, who called surveillance, the sticky-palm cheat was caught red-handed...or should I say sticky-handed?

My take: Another great casino cheat scam done in by greed. The guy should've stuck (pardon the pun) to $5 chips. People playing those are much looser and don't generally hawk their bets as much as high rollers do.

Even with $5 chips, I'd think the guy could've easily made a few hundred bucks a day if he moved around  a bit.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Casino Card-Counting Detection Software--Does it work?

Find out by reading this timely article on the blog.