Friday, August 17, 2018

Do Today's Legitimate Brick and Mortar Casinos Cheat Their Players?

Sexy woman luring victims?
I bet you have all heard stories about legitimate gambling casinos in the past willfully cheating their players. Most likely you heard the stories about card "mechanics"operating in the early days of legalized gambling in Nevada back in the '30s. Or those about shady casinos on cruise ships sailing in the middle of a dark and murky ocean.

But what about today's casinos? Do they cheat you?

Most of you would probably say no. Casinos have so much the best of it as far as odds go and are so heavily regulated that they simply would not and could not cheat their players...right?

WRONG!

And guess what: legitimate casinos cheat their players far more than you think.

Many of you probably disagree. You're working in reputable casinos all over the world and news of your casino deliberately cheating your players would be "fake news."

So let me qualify my statement.

I said that casinos today do deliberately cheat their players--but most of the time they are not actually doing it themselves and at times might not even be aware they're doing it.

At other times they are surely aware of it but feign ignorance to it.

Now you're saying to yourselves, "What is this guy talking about?"

I will give it to you straight.

The vast majority of casinos that intentionally cheat their players do it indirectly. By that I mean this casino-cheating happens through a process in which casinos lease casino space to disreputable gaming operators that are private entities and not affiliated with the ownership or operation of the casino itself.

A prime example of this are the casinos in the Dominican Republic. In many of them, off to the side in a shaded corner of the casino often not covered by surveillance cameras, are carnival-like bingo and keno games fronted by a sexy girl dangling free-bet coupons to draw players to the game.

One of these games goes by the name Jackpot-8 Ball or other names like Super Bonus Bingo or Keno. This questionable game is played at the Avalon casino in Punta Cana, the Diamante casino in Santo Domingo and in others throughout the country. Each casino offering it has the sexy girl luring customers to the table, which has a roulette-type layout for the bets.

The game starts where you get eight balls in a cup and have to throw them into a bin with numbers. They tally all the numbers and you get a chip on the corresponding number. There are three spaces on a board where your bet will double as well as the pot. These are common numbers, so the bet doubles frequently and you cannot lower your bet. They give you several legit ways to win but in order to win the jackpot you must reach 100 points total on the board.

That's where the scam comes in. The game itself is not a scam but making you believe you can win the jackpot is the BIG SCAM...HUGE SCAM!

You see, the only way you can get the 100 points and win the big jackpot, usually more than a hundred grand, is by repetitive investing in the game. And as it doubles and doubles again that investment becomes a fortune and ultimately breaks you.

So if you start out betting $10 and the pot is $1,000, you think you're looking good. Then you hit the double and your bet doubles to $20 per roll and the pot doubles to $2,000. Then both the betting and pot double again and again, and while this is going on the dealer and supervisor (who happen to be Americans I am told) are notifying you that all kinds of payment forms including credit cards are accepted to keep up with the frenzied betting pace.

What eventually happens is that the players max-out their credit cards because they've already invested all their cash, and finally the corresponding banks say "no more credit" or the players finally realize they cannot take the chance investing more money into this crazy game in a Dominican casino.

The casino con men running the scams know this...that everyone chasing the jackpot will eventually bust out chasing it. Therefore, no one wins and the casinos get an average take of about seven to ten grand per victim.

And they can claim there was no scam because the prospect of winning the jackpot is real.

This is a brutal scam and one to be very wary of. And for those who fall victim to it there is no recourse. The casino claims it has nothing to do with the game and refers you to the "casino vendor" who runs it in their casino. The vendor, you will painstakingly realize, is virtually non-existent, at least as communication goes. And the actual dealers and supervisors of the scam, who may or may not be real employees of the actual casino, will deny any knowledge of any impropriety whatsoever.

Then when you go looking for a casino gaming commission or control board, you learn there is neither in the Dominican Republic. And when finally, exasperated, and heartbroken over a ruined vacation, you go to the United States Embassy, or that of any other major country, you are cordially informed that the State Department consular page on the Dominican Republic warns of this very casino scam and to avoid separated areas of casinos!

Damn! You should've listened...but how the hell are you supposed to know there was a casino-cheating warning on, of all  places, the State Department consular page for the Dominican Republic.

And your last bailout-hope...of course is your bank. You call them and explain you've been victimized by a vicious casino scam and want to stop payment. But your bank can't help you either: you have already authorized the payment and the transaction for it is etched in stone.

So you're stuck the money and hopefully you've learned a painful lesson.

And be aware! This type of leasing-casino-space-to-shady-gaming-operators scenario is not limited to the Dominican Republic. I have heard of casinos in Bulgaria and other Eastern European countries doing the same thing, and there surely are incidents of casino-cheating-by-casino in these areas.

And be aware as well that in some casino jurisdictions willful casino cheating by casinos themselves, not by vendors leasing casino space, does go on. I would point at Cambodia, Vietnam and perhaps Russia as places to be wary of as far as crooked casinos go.

So now that you know that legitimate casinos, either directly or indirectly, can and will cheat you, I offer you one single caveat: Never and I mean NEVER chase a jackpot or any other casino proposition where you have to keep paying to obtain your "guaranteed" win or jackpot.

And never...EVER...get your credit cards involved!

It all goes back to the ages-old axiom: "If it seems too good to be true..."

Monday, August 13, 2018

Beware of 8 Ball Scam against American tourists in the Dominican Republic...

Crooked Keno/Bingo in Punta Canta

The scam game
especially in Punta Cana.

I have gotten several reports on this and noticed the same reports in the Trip Advisor blog.

They use a game called Jackpot-8 Ball (or other names like Super Bonus Bingo) where you get eight balls in a cup and have to throw them into a bin with numbers. They tally all the numbers and you get a chip on the corresponding number. There are three spaces on a board where your bet will double as well as the pot. These are common numbers, so the bet doubles frequently and you cannot lower your bet. They give you several legit ways to win but in order to win the jackpot you must reach 100 points total on the board.

That's where the scam comes in. The game itself is not a scam but making you believe you can win the jackpot is the BIG SCAM...HUGE SCAM!

You see, the only way you can get the 100 points and win the big jackpot, more than a hundred grand, is by keep investing in the game. And as it doubles and doubles again that investment becomes a fortune and ultimately breaks you.

So if you start out betting $10 and the pot is $1,000, you think you're looking good. Then you hit the double and your bet doubles to $20 per roll and the pot doubles to $2,000. Then both the betting and pot double again and again, and while this is going on the dealer and supervisor (who happen to be Americans I am told) are notifying you that all kinds of payment forms including credit cards are accepted to keep up with the frenzied betting pace.

What eventually happens is that the players max-out their credit cards because they've already invested all their cash, and finally the corresponding banks say "no more credit" or the players finally realize they cannot take the chance investing more money into this crazy game in a Dominican casino.

The casino con men running the scams know this...that everyone chasing the jackpot will eventually bust out chasing it. Therefore, no one wins and the casinos get an average take of about seven to ten grand per victim.

And they can claim there was no scam because the prospect of winning the jackpot is real.

The Dream Casino and Avalon Casino, both in Punta Cana, have been alleged to be running this scam.

My take: This is a brutal scam and one to be very wary of. Never and I mean NEVER chase a jackpot or any other casino proposition where you have to keep paying to obtain your "guaranteed" win or jackpot. It goes back to the ages-old axiom "If it seems to good to be true..."

Richard, Jarecki, Father of Modern Roulette Wheel Clocking, Dies at 86.

The man who loved roulette
Clocking roulette wheels reached its heyday in the 1990s and 2000s, at least as far as press on it goes, but the man who started it all began clocking roulette wheels all over Europe in the 1960s.

Clocking roulette wheels is taking advantage of imperfect or damaged wheel parts that render the wheel with a bias, meaning that some numbers or sections of numbers will come out more than the others, thus defying random probability.

The skilled roulette clocker can chart or record numbers coming out over a long period of time and determine if a wheel has a bias, which can be bet on.

And bet on biases is exactly what Dr. Richard Jarecki did, not only in Europe but as well in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Australia and the Philippines. He became a huge pain in the ass to many casinos across the world, amassing a small fortune.

Needless to say Jarecki was both a medical doctor and scientific researcher--in short just a plain old genius!

He truly loved his art of clocking biased roulette wheels and finding them led him on travels all over the world. In his time he saw many roulette balls jump the frets and fall into the black, red and green pockets.

Dr. Jarecki will be missed sorely--but not by casinos.

You can bet he will be showing up in the Poker and Casino Cheats Hall of Fame!

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Can You be Cheated in Casinos by the Poker Analyzer?

Poker Analyzer Cheat Hardware
Earlier this month we heard about a poker scam at the Alea casino in Glasgow, Scotland, where a poker dealer teamed up with a player and used high-tech electronic equipment to swindle the game.

So how much of a threat is this to you in brick and mortar poker games...and perhaps other house-banked games as well?

Before I answer that, let me explain how this Poker Analyzer scam works.

It takes a collusion agreement between a dealer and at least one player. It also requires that an electronically-marked deck of cards, similar to the way retail bar codes are embedded into boxes and bags, be put into play at the target game. The dealer must lay the deck of cards on the table untethered to his hands.

This allows a tiny mobile phone camera disguised as a cell phone lying on the table to read the "bar code" off the cards. It then sends a signal to a second mobile device inside the playing-cheat's pocket, which generates a recording that is received by an earpiece plugged in the cheat´s ear. The recording gives the cheat at the table the value of all the cards as they come into play.

That's pretty much the stone cold nuts advantage when you're playing poker against legitimate players.

But does this really happen in public casinos and card rooms?

Well, my short answer is that I've only heard of it happening this one time at the Scottish casino. I don't know how accurate the report is or how much money players at the table were fleeced for. I would say that you being a victim of a poker-analyzer scam inside a legitimate gaming establishment is extremely unlikely. Too many variables are involved, let alone the risk of bringing all that electronic equipment into the game, which in many casino jurisdictions is a felony in itself punishable by prison time.

However, this electronic poker scam can be deadly in home games and unlicensed and illegal games. Cheats working those games with the Poker Analyzer wouldn't have to worry about any legal consequences when getting caught, although they might face the risk of getting the shit kicked out of them.

The giveaway to this scam is the dealer laying the deck of cards on the table after each shuffle, as this is necessary to give the camera the space and time it needs to record the markings on the cards. Also beware of a winning player often touching his pocket to adjust the mobile device hidden there.

What about other casino card games such as blackjack and 3-card poker? Can you be cheated at these games by the Poker Analyzer?

Same answer as above: most likely only if you are playing in somebody's house or in an unlicensed or illegal casino.

All in all, I wouldn't worry about Poker Analyzer as a threat in aboveboard casinos.

What happened in Scotland probably stays in Scotland...and who knows just how aboveboard that Scots casino even is?

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Can Roulette Dealers Control Where the Ball Will Land?...to Some Extent?

Can the dealer control where the ball lands?
If I was asked that question two years ago, I would have answered a firm "no."

But that all changed when I was training the staff of a Midwest Native American casino in 2016. I got into a conversation with the casino's table games director who asked me if I was going to include roulette-dealer-ball-control in my table-games-protection segment.

I told him no because there was no validity in roulette dealers controlling where the ball lands.

The astute table games director begged to differ.

He took me over to one of the wheels in his training room and asked me to pick a number. I felt like I was participating in another ages-old boring card trick, but not to be rude I said, "0".

He yanked the ball and I watched it spin around the cylinder with disinterest.

It bounded a few times and then dropped into the pocket for number 35, just three numbers away from his target 0.

"Not bad," I said, just to be polite.

"The objective is to hit a six-number quadrant of the wheel," he explained...to a still dubious audience.

"Let me see you do that again?" I quipped.

"Okay, pick the number."

"Go for 31."

He spun and hit number 6, just two numbers away from 31.

Still not impressed, I said, "Come on, this wheel must be biased, and you've been practicing."

He laughed and motioned me to follow him to another wheel in his training room. "You're right, I've been practicing...but you're wrong, that wheel is not biased. None of the wheels in here are."

There were four wheels in the training room. At this one, the second, he missed the six-number quadrant, but then hit it three of the next five spins. On the third wheel, he hit the number straight-up...and it was 13! Two more spins on that wheel and he hit the quadrant once more. On the fourth wheel he hit the six-number quadrant two of four times.

"Convinced?" he chirped after the multi-wheel ball-control demonstration.

Not wanting to give in, I said, "Well, maybe it's your lucky day. And I'll think about including it in tomorrow's training class.

I thought about it all night, and I have to admit I was intrigued. I did not include it in that next day's presentation but I did the following day. And I had the table games director help me out. He spun the ball six times and hit the six-number quadrant twice, still a profitable outcome if betting equally on all six numbers.

After the demonstration he explained the three anti-roulette-ball-control measures that casinos should take, and I now include them in all my game protection seminars in casinos that offer the ball version of roulette.

They are:

1) Do not let dealers look into the wheel when they set and spin the ball. If they cannot set up the same way with the same starting point every spin, they will have a much tougher time hitting their target.

2) Have the dealers change the speed of the rotor before spinning, and even change the speed of their spins. I'm not saying every spin but certainly a few times during each individual tour at the wheel.

3) Change the roulette balls. Roulette balls come in different sizes and each size has a different feel in the dealer's hand. Therefore, by changing the balls you are making the dealer who is looking to control the spin less comfortable.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this lesson as much as I did when I received it...and don't get this mixed up with dice control! I will never believe dice control works with legitimate throws of the dice...unless, of course, I run into another sharp table games director who shows me differently LOL.

And by the way, that table games director who taught me roulette-ball control is now the head of casino operations at the same casino.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Do Casinos that charge Antes for non-poker Table Games actually have built-in Table Game Protection?

Ante-up in order to play...or cheat
Many of you might not know that casinos in some states actually charge players an ante on every deal in blackjack, spin of the ball in roulette, and toss of the dice at the craps table. I didn't know this myself until I arrived at an Oklahoma casino to conduct Table Games Protection Classes. I learned that every player must ante up 50 cents on all bets of $50 or less and $1 on all bets more than $50.

I couldn't believe that this was actually happening, but it is! And it doesn't seem to have any negative effect on table-games players, mainly that they still come to these casinos in droves.

But does the ante requirement effect table-games protection?

It actually does...and it helps casinos protect themselves from cheats! Though I doubt more than a few casino table-games personnel realize this.

The fact that all bets made without the player having put up the ante beforehand are declared "no-bets" makes certain casino scams more difficult to achieve, especially professional casino pastposting scams where a pro team uses a "claimer" who did not actually bet the pastposted chips he or she is claiming to have won.

A good example of this would be on a roulette team where a mechanic (person who manipulates chips) pastposts a high-denomination casino chip on a number in roulette and another person, the claimer, claims the winning bet was his. If that claimer did not put up an ante bet before claiming the pastposted winning bet, he would not be paid due to the violation of the ante requirement.

Notice I said that the ante requirement makes some casino scams "more difficult to achieve." I did not say that it eliminates them. Skilled professional casino-cheats find ways for their claimers to put up antes even if they are not actually making the pastposted bet. One way would be to have the claimer actually make a legitimate big bet on another section of the roulette layout and pay the $1 maximum ante per spin, and therefore he'd be able to claim the pastposted bet without it being voided for ante-violation.

Conversely, the ante requirement has little or no effect on run-of-the-mill casino-cheating scams.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What will Casino Cheating be like in Japan when Casinos Open up...Will it follow its Asian Counterparts?

Cheats Coming to Japan?
We all know there are currently four major casino gaming areas in Asia: Macau, Singapore, Cambodia and the Philippines...and we all know that each of the four are MEGA-Casino-Cheating areas. There is no doubt that casino-cheating scams in Macau and Singapore are the highest "per capita per casino employee/customer" in the world, and there is even more no doubt that they are the highest when speaking about casino scams engineered by dealers and other floor employees.

So what can we expect when Japan opens its casino doors? More of the same?

Well, I am already reading articles about the impending Yakuza infiltration of Japan's coming casinos, but that mob invasion is not directly, at least to my knowledge, connected to actual casino-cheating operations, unlike the Chinese Triads that do actually pilot casino-cheat gangs running rampant in Macau. The Japanese Yakuza gangs will most likely be limited to non-gaming casino criminal activities such as loan-sharking, money-laundering and prostitution.

Apart from that, I don't see Japanese professional casino cheats sprouting up all over the Japanese archipelago. My opinion is based on the difference between Japanese culture and other Asian cultures, especially when it comes to gambling. As it can be said that Chinese, and to some extent Koreans, have gambling in their blood, it cannot be said this is true about Japanese. There is too much honor in Japanese culture to allow gambling, any form of gambling, to sit on such a high perch of cultural importance.

Therefore, when there is less general gambling within a population, there is, generally speaking, less people cheating at gambling. So we will not see the tremendous volume of cheating in Japanese casinos that we do in Singapore and Macau, and certainly much less when it comes to Japanese casino employees getting involved in cheating their own casinos. The Japanese Honor Code forbids it.

But don't forget that Japan, like all other major casino gambling areas, will get its fair amount of international professional casino-cheat teams flocking to the tables when they are open for business.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Harrah's New Orleans Card-Counting Scuffle Turns into Federal Lawsuit

Harrah's New Orleans
We first saw it in the movies.

Remember the scene in Martin Scorsese's "Casino" where the two blackjack hole-carders get dragged into the back room and one of them gets his hand crushed with a hammer?

Then came the famous Las Vegas wrongful-imprisonment lawsuit filed by renowned card-counter James Grosjean against the Imperial Palace, Caesars Palace and Griffin Investigation, where Grosjean was awarded $400,000 by a Las Vegas district judge after being roughed up and sent off to the Las Vegas city jail.

Well, apparently not all casinos have learned the lesson about not roughing-up and illegally detaining card-counters and advantage players, who by plying their crafts in casinos are not breaking the law.

This new card-counting/alleged false imprisonment scenario is playing out at Harrah's New Orleans casino. In this case, Justin Grant and Jordan Kerr, two self-proclaimed professional card counters, say they were assaulted, handcuffed, illegally detained and threatened with long prison sentences over the card-counting accusations, all of which their complaint says caused them grievous emotional distress and embarrassment.

They have filed a federal lawsuit against several employees of the casino and the Orleans Parish Sheriffs Office, whose officers put the handcuffs on the two accused gamblers.

The complaint also says that Grant and Kerr repeatedly notified the casino authorities that card-counting and advantage-play (any form of legal play-strategy that gives the player a statistical advantage over the casino) are not illegal, which they argue shows that the authorities knew indeed they could not charge either with any crime yet they still told them it was criminal because it was against the casino's policy, perhaps a ruse to get them to somehow cop out to a crime.

No charges were filed.

My take: This is a very stupid action taken by (a) the casino, whose employees should have known better, and (b) the Orleans Parish Sheriffs Office, who officers obviously didn't.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Has Collusion Cheating Been Down at 2018 World Series of Poker?

WSOP Collusion Book
The answer to that question is an absolute yes. And decreased collusion at the WSOP has been the trend for more than a decade, especially during the main event.

Why is that so? you may ask?

Simply because there are just too many entrants at the main event, which makes it statistically improbable to obtain a big enough advantage with collusion play to make it worthwhile.

Back in the late 90s and early 2000s collusion play at the WSOP was endemic, even at the main event. This is because the fields were much smaller than today, just a mere fraction of the multi-thousands of entrants we now see each year.

In my 2006 book Dirty Poker, for which I took a huge amount of negative criticism from the poker community, I pointed out how professional tournament collusion teams involving big-name players were taking down several tournaments at the WSOP.

They were able to do it mainly by chip-dumping in order to get key members of their collusion rings to advance as the limits went up. I showed how the numbers of both repeat final-table players and tournament winners defied probability when you compared the degree of difference in skill between the top players who were mainstays of the WSOP.

Adding to that the huge luck factor intrinsic to poker, it was just impossible that collusion rings weren't the best strategy for taking down tournaments in the WSOP.

But today the fields are just too big, thus professional poker tournament collusion teams now play smaller tournaments.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Ex-NBA Star Charles Oakley Busted in Vegas for Cheating Casino! Accused of Pastposting and Pinching Bets.

Accused casino cheat Charles Oakley in better days
First thing I want to say is that I hope Charles Oakley didn't get his idea to cheat casinos from reading my website!

I'm serious. Although my website is meant to be educational and somewhat entertaining, I do not endorse casino-cheating in any way, shape or form, and I discourage people from cheating each and every time I am contacted by someone I think might be interested in cheating.

Oakley is accused of "pinching" a $100 chip from a betting table (I don't know which game) after realizing he had a losing bet at the Las Vegas Cosmopolitan Casino. Pinching is the act of taking your losing chips off the table before the dealer can collect them for the casino. It can happen after a loss or when a player realizes he will probably lose, being at a disadvantage.

Some accounts state that Oakley was also "pastposting" bets, which is the opposite of pinching when a player adds chips to his bet after it won or when he realizes he probably will win the bet.

Oakley is not the first superstar athlete to be arrested for casino cheating. Back in April 2017, Australian rugby star Joe Ofahengaue was caught at the Treasury Casino in Brisbane for pastposting a $100 chip in a proprietary poker game, eerily similar to what Charles Oakley was arrested for.

My take: First thing that comes to mind is why Oakley would be involved in cheating a casino...and for a mere $100. I use the word "mere" because Oakley earned nearly $50 million during his prolific NBA career.

The first thing that comes to mind answering my question is gambling. Many high-profile athletes, especially NBA basketball players, have either admitted to or been alleged to being very heavy gamblers. I believe Charles Barkley has admitted to losing huge sums of money gambling while Michael Jordan has been alleged to have gambled for big money as well.

Perhaps Oakley had gotten himself into severe financial trouble through gambling. I sure hope not, but in any event this is indeed sad news.