Friday, March 16, 2018

Chinese Student Caught Cheating British Columbia Casino tells Judge that his Humiliation is enough of a Punishment--and the Judge Agrees!

University Bet-Capping
25-year-old Thomson Rivers university student Mingzhe Xu was arrested in front of his classmates in a classroom a few days after surveillance cameras caught him capping bets three times at the Lake City casino in Kelowna, British Columbia. He did it twice on a roulette table and once on a three-card poker table and he had a cohort, who just happened to be a dealer at the casino. The pair earned more than $1,500 for their cheating exploits that occurred on two different days in October 2016.

Xu's lawyer told the judge that his client's crime was unsophisticated while Xu, in a letter to the judge, said he was under a lot of stress at the time because he had been the victim of a phone scam, been in a car accident and learned that his mother had cancer.

He added how humiliating it was to be taken out of his university class in handcuffs.

Apparently Judge Meg Shaw agreed, or at least felt sorry for the casino-cheating student. She ordered him to repay the casino the $1500 he cheated it out of and dismissed all other charges.

As for the cheating dealer involved with Xu, he lost his work card and still faces an additional cheating charge.

My take: Apparently the judge does not empathize as much with cheating dealers than cheating players with mitigating circumstances. As for what the dealer actually did besides look the other way, I have no information. In any case, I agree that the young student be given a break.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Smart Chip Trays...Are They Smart Enough to Give Game Protection Help?

Smart Chip Tray
Every time there is some new high-tech piece of equipment attached to table games on the casino floor, one of the questions that invariably pops up is:

Will this help casinos protect their games and reduce losses from cheating and advantage play?

The latest high-tech gadget is on the way. It's called the Smart Chip Tray and is the brainchild of Darrell Ratliff, an inventor, entrepreneur and blackjack enthusiast. He came up with his casino invention after being annoyed at a blackjack table that was running hot for the players and was suddenly interrupted by a dealer change followed by a chip-rack count and refill that took several minutes and sucked the energy right out of the air surrounding that table.

What the Smart Chip Tray does is use advanced laser technology to electronically count each tube in the tray in real time, meaning at any given moment a casino employee in any casino location with access could touch a key and get the real-time count of all the chips in a chip tray instantaneously. Moreover, multiple tables can be linked together and counted as well as can multiple casinos.

The immediate benefit of this technology is that it can completely revolutionize the entire fill process casinos used to bring chips and take off chips from gaming tables. Casinos would be able to completely do away with the manual count, so there would be no reason to interrupt the action to deal with chips-fills. The whole process would be automated. The software would notify the cage automatically with the information of how many chips in which denominations are needed at any given table or tables.

Okay, this sounds great to me...and Mr. Ratliff says, among other benefits the smart tray will bestow on casinos, that it will greatly reduce losses to casino cheats and advantage players.

Will it?

I think it has some promise.

When RFID chips debuted, its makers promised they would greatly deter any kind of chip-manipulation cheating simply because every bet on the table would be registered by its RFID chips on the table and transmitted to monitors attached right to the games. Yes, that's true but did it render pastposting and bet-capping obsolete on RFID tables?

It reduced it but not as much as you might think.

At the 2013 Usenix security symposium in Washington D.C. I explained why. Just like all that state of the art video surveillance equipment, RFID needed good human performance levels to make it as effective as possible. At Usenix I showed methods by which advanced casino cheats are able to bypass RFID, not all the time but surely enough to not have to systematically avoid RFID tables.

So that said, how will Smart Chip Trays reduce cheating? Against what kind of table-games cheating will they be effective?

Well, the first thing that these SCTs (it's about time I converted to the acronym!) might signal to warn of possible cheating is a sudden large loss of chips in a tray, which could mean a scam is underway or the table is just getting beat on a negative swing. But if the casino is on its toes and reacts quickly to the SCT alert, then surveillance can immediately start zeroing in on the game and possibly uncover some cheating going on.

One thing I must point out here is that just like with the surveillance cameras, floor personnel should not depend on this new technology to tell them a chip tray is suddenly low. Supervisors being observant on their feet will further protect the casino. Sometimes the technology, even when it functions perfectly, does not serve because the people on the floor or up in surveillance aren't listening to what it's telling them.

So yes, functioning SCTs will help alert casino personnel to elongated cheat scams and advantage play attacks, the types where advantage players and cheats work a table for a period of time, perhaps hole-carding, counting or marking cards. All these operations when done successfully can certainly cause a diminishing table-rack.

But what the SCTs will not be able to do is alert casinos to professional casino cheats who work a particular table for just one move, albeit a large one. If a quick $100 straight-up pastpost on a roulette wheel goes undetected by floor personnel on the game, the $3500 gone from the rack is not going to alarm anyone, especially since the pastpost is believed to have been a legitimate bet.

So any cheat or team of cheats who are hitting numerous tables with just one move will not be thwarted by SCTs because their damage will not have a drastic effect on the table-rack.

In either case, I cannot stress enough that floor and surveillance staffs must remain vigilant as well, to the point as if the high technology did not exist

All in all, I like this SCT concept. I expect there will be the normal glitches during its initial period on the tables, but once that clears we should see a pretty effective device with lots of benefits for the casinos--and a lot fewer unhappy customers!

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Casino Dealer Post: The Pastposting Slide...or The Sliding Pastpost...By Michael Tabasco, ex-Atlantic City Craps Dealer/Supervisor

The Ol' Sliding Pastpost
So this is a craps move that is not so obvious other than the fact that you won't hear the dice crack the layout and / or the size of the pastpost bet "SHOULD" alarm some people, especially the base dealer and the box person...however, sometimes, because they don't really know what happened, it just gets paid. 

Here goes....... Three players walk up to a game, but they need to have specific spots. Two players are on either side of the stick man, the other player will position himself next to the base dealer. The player next to the stick man and on the same side (let's say left side, 3rd base for craps people) as the "arm" or pastpost player, is just a 5 dollar or 10 dollar player. The player on the other side of the stick man is the "resident drunk", a guy that appears to be intoxicated, not necessarily betting any big increments either. He will be disruptive, reaching onto the layout right before the dice leave the shooter's hand on the other side, and he does it before the move so as not to raise suspicion...the thinking is this guy is a problem but not enough to throw him off the game, he's just an amateur reaching in late and kind of inebriated... 

So here is the move... The player on the opposite side of the disruptive guy (other side of the stick man) now gets the dice. He shoots the dice normally maybe once........all of a sudden, he goes to shoot the dice again, the disruptive character reaches into the base dealer's layout or into the field, and lo and behold, the shooter slides the dice down the table, preferably on aces or ace/deuce...if they are really greedy they will slide them on aces...Why? 

Because the player next to 3rd base places a late bet into either the don't come line or even the field, depending if the base dealer on his side "hawks" at the commotion on the other side, which he normally will do on a weak crew.....

The windup is nobody can see what happens, the base dealer where the disruptive guy is is too busy telling him sir, sir, no bet ! Hands back ! and most likely the box person as well...point is, with the guy leaning over, they can't really see the dice land (in this case slide) and you have a "Call it" come from the stick man, and sure enough, the next thing you hear is "two crap aces"...when it should have been no roll.... 

Now, on the opposite side, shooter side, the "big" player has pastposted in the field or don't come with a real large bet. When I caught this move at the Taj Mahal, the guy tried it with 5k in purple....I was on the floor and actually had my back turned...but how did I catch it ? I didn't hear the dice crack the I just reached in, took the bet, and put it in the middle....the box person was buried, had no idea, and neither did any of the three dealers.... 

These guys practice this move and they get it down pretty well.... It will happen over and over again, and they will get paid most of the time because, like I indicated earlier, if you have weak help at the supervisory level in a craps pit, they will pay the bet in lieu of getting in a jackpot with management.... 

It happens pretty quick and the only way you can really catch it is if you understand that the dice have to tumble...even if you don't see the dice go down the layout all the way, if you don't hear them hit the layout, it's no roll.....that and, of course, the base dealer on the pastposter's side has to watch his own end....but with the ruckus going on in the other end, they typically "hawk" it and that's when they get pastposted..... 

Bottom line is, the shooter slides either one of both dice and they actually pass under the guy creating the ruckus..... Two things to concentrate on, the base dealer on the past poster's side, or late bet in the field or don't come side, MUST FOLLOW STANDARD POLICY AND PROCEDURE, i.e., watching his on end and not "hawking the dice" on the other side, which, if you watch crap games and dealers, you'll frequently see them "peek" down the other end of the table...this is a BIG NO NO, for obvious reasons...that's how they get past posted. Additionally, if the shooter even manages to only slide one die on aces, e.g., it's a fifty shot that that it's a winner in the field (the other die landing on 1, 2, or 3 is a winner in the field), plus, if the guy bets the don't come, he's got a 50/50 shot that he either gets paid (1 or 2 on the non sliding die) or, if the non sliding die lands on 3, he goes behind the 4 and still has a 2 to 1 advantage that 7 will roll before 4 rolls

(To me, Richard Marcus) Hope this was a good story for you's a real move...LOL

My take: I love it!...even if I'm a bit confused LOL!

Monday, March 05, 2018

Casino Personnel Post: "Quick Craps Shot" by Seven-out

Watch those call bets!
Craps shot 

I’d like to preface this shot by saying that there is a rule taught to our craps crew that there are NO CALL BETS.  Meaning, someone cannot walk up to the table with no money in their hand and CALL for $6 six. BUT, we also teach them that if you do see the chips/cash, you can book the bet verbally.  

With that said, "Player Big Shot" walks up to the craps game holding a very large stack of money and CALLS, “Fifty four across” …. the dealer sees the money and books the bet and repeats verbatim … “fifty four across, bet!”  The roll is eight.  The dealer sets up $12 on the eight and starts to cut out the $14 payout.  Player Big Shot says, “Nope, I wanted $5400 across and you owe me $1400!”  You could bet that if the roll was seven Player Big Shot would have dropped $54 on the layout and walked away.  This went all the way up before it was resolved and they ended up giving him the $1400.  

The lesson to all dealers here is you must use the word “dollars” when booking any bet.  If the dealer would have said, “Fifty four dollars across, bet!”  There would have been no shot. 

My take: I think the game-protection lesson here speaks for itself!  

Friday, March 02, 2018

FIRST CASINO PERSONNEL POST from "Jokersmild"! "The Cheat"

Must be Ash!
There is a cheat.... it's so simple...... And it's only been successfully used against me twice in my career. And it will never happen again.

It's called a shot, and the worst offender of this move became my target, and the reason it's never going to happen again. It's extremely simple. Get the dealer to do something against standard procedure, then claim the game wasn't dealt properly to either attempt to regain a lost bet, or to get paid when you shouldn't. I've heard of players doing this on $100k hands, but I'm going to focus on one particular player who would literally take a shot every 10 minutes. The casino decided to put only the strongest and most experienced dealers on his game. Aaaaaaaand I got him for my whole shift a few times. Let's call him Ash, and you'll know why in a minute.

Ash's game was pitch double deck. Due to him fighting with other players, he was told he could only play by himself. (Ash was a regular player, and would lose 10k on a daily basis, so the casino would try to keep him.)

He had three favorite moves to mess the dealer up. First, he would make verbal requests for hits. Policy states that a player must scratch the table with their cards to receive a hit, or tuck the cards under the bet to stand. We did not accept verbal requests because surveillance couldn't verify it. So a new dealer (or maybe a tired dealer who didn't know Ash) would give him a card from a verbal request, and if Ash didn't like the card he would say he never asked for a card and to call surveillance. The camera never saw a hit, so either the hand (that he would have lost) gets pushed or the hand plays out where he might have a chance to win. He never did this with me, but did it to a few co-workers.

Shot number 2 was Ash placing his cards next to his bet, (not tucked under but very close) in hopes the dealer would expose the under card. When an unfavorable outcome would happen, Ash would claim he didnt stay, but set his cards down to think. Either the floor would kill the hand entirely, or back the cards up allowing Ash to have a chance at winning. This happened quite a few times with other dealers, and once with me. And it was the last shot he every had on my game. Which leads me to his last major shot.

And this is purely evil, and a testament to this player's devotion to scamming. Ash was a very heavy smoker. Probably 4 packs from the start of my shift to the end (all comped by the casino). He would miss the ashtray regularly. And with ashes on the table, he would use his cards to clean a spot of ash, making it look like he wanted a hit. When he was delivered a card he would claim that he didn't hit, and that he was cleaning up the the table. The floors would always ask the shift manager, and the shift manager always gave the player the shot.

Then I showed up. I became his dealer. He could only play with me. I was Ash´s babysitter. He tried getting away with everything, and I shut him down every time. I would stand there for 5 minutes waiting for a signal. He would repeatedly ask for a hit and I would just look at him with a dead stare and say, "we do not accept verbal requests, sir."

He would put his cards down, and I would wait for them to get tucked. We would both be locked to a stalemate until he made the proper move. I would clean up the ashes on the table before he did anything. I kept tissues on the side to clean everything up to make all the space by him clear. And then, on my last day at that casino, I was on his table. He's up to all his old tricks, with a new one. He's trying to "micro scratch." He's scratching the cards so slow and tiny that surveillance might not notice them moving. He's baiting me to give him a card. I didnt do it. And I still won't.

I left that casino a long time ago, but I wonder if he still plays there, trying to mess up the dealer.

MY COMMENT: Great first article to start my new CASINO PERSONNEL PARTICIPATION BLOG! I was quite entertained by this article and the Ash character. I really liked Ash's little ash scam!


Today is the beginning of a new era in the history of this Poker and Casino Cheating/Advantage-Play Blog on!

After nearly 14 years of blogging on just about everything concerning casino cheating and casino advantage play, I am getting a little tried of hearing myself talk...or I should say of hearing myself write...or better yet, seeing myself write! WHATEVER...


So I have done something to change it...And I am proud of it!

Beginning today, I am accepting guest posts from those of you who currently work or have worked in some direct capacity in the casino industry--mainly dealers, floor supervisors, pit managers, shift managers, surveillance and upper casino operations people and directors.

The articles you can submit do not necessarily have to relate to cheating or advantage play. I am very interested in hearing and posting your work-related stories and experiences that you lived on the front lines of the green-felt jungles we've all worked in (Yes, I was once a casino dealer too!). The articles can be funny, entertaining, dead serious or all three!

Since there will of course be sensitivity involved, you can choose whether to post your article attached to your real name or a pseudonym.

The only thing I will edit is obvious grammar and punctuation mistakes. I realize that some grammatical errors are intended for effect, so if there is any doubt I will check with the writers before editing.

I will also add my comment on each article posted.

So let's get writing and sending 'em in!

The first one has arrived and is being posted right now!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Just How Friendly Should Dealers and Floor Staffs be with their Players at the Tables?

Who's Controlling the Mini-Bac Game?
I'll bet that 99% of you know that answer about as quickly as I wrote "99%".

Obvious you're thinking, "Friendly but not too friendly, right?

And you are right. Any casino whose staff is as cold as ice is going to quickly steer their players right to the next casino. And any casino whose staff is too friendly to their players opens itself up to many game-protection risks at their tables.

But let's get into this analysis a little deeper.

Suffice it to say that you don't want your staffs to be cold, nasty, robotic or mechanical while dealing and supervising their games. We need not spend any time analyzing that.

But what are the real problems with your staff being too friendly and over-talkative with your players? Is it that they might meet up with them at a local bar and have a drink or two?

You bet that's one problem. My 25-year casino-cheating career began just like that. I was dealing my mini-baccarat game and was being chatted up and entertained by a real cool dude, who two weeks after meeting up with me in a bar became my professional casino-cheating mentor. The first result of that was my performing a mini-baccarat false shuffle scam that took my casino for $20,000.

But let's put my personal cheating career aside and let me give you two scenarios from my career as a game protection consultant/trainer, one of which risked game-protection problems while the other caused very serious game-protection problems.

Case 1)

I did a two day multi-shift undercover investigation of a major Native American casino. I cruised by every table-game in the casino several times and stopped to observe those that needed to be observed. I found some disturbing instances of dealer and supervisor over-friendliness with their players. Not only were the dealers and supervisors both encouraging their players how and how much to bet, some were jumping up for joy with them when they won and cussing out and stomping their feet on the floor when they lost.

In once instance, a blackjack dealer, after drawing out a five-card twenty-one to a table filled with splits and double-downs, actually slammed that last five-value card onto the table in disgust. It then fell off the table.

I witnessed several incidents of this type. One dealer advised a roulette player, "Don't bet on zero! It hasn't come up all night." Another roulette dealer paused in mid-sweep to have a minute-long conversation with a player at the game who appeared to be a friend.

Later on, in a meeting with upper management, I commented on these observations. They told me that it was casino policy for the dealers to be very friendly to their clientele at the tables. I quickly told them that that policy was inviting trouble. They at first demurred but then seemed to be in agreement. I have not been back to that casino since, so I don't know if they actually changed their "over-friendly" policy.


I recently completed a two-casino training engagement in Canada. As I often do, I conduct an undercover investigation and evaluation of the casino before the training begins. In the first casino I noticed a stunning procedural violation of table-game protection.

A group of high-rolling Asian baccarat players were jammed-up at the casino's number-one mini-baccarat game with hordes of family members and friends behind them. Each player had at least $1,000 bet on the layout. Checking out big action games is of course a part of my game-protection job.

I stood and watched...and listened.

There were two bets on Player, the rest of the table on Banker.

The dealer dealt the cards. Then he suddenly did the unbelievable...or at least what I considered unbelievable.

He turned over the Banker cards first!

Rules state that the Player cards must be turned over first.

I was so stunned I almost said something. Of course I never say anything during an undercover investigation no matter how flagrant the violation. I always discuss it with upper management at the appropriate time.

So I held my tongue. I guessed that maybe the dealer made a mistake, although that seemed odd. He definitely was experienced.

The players on the Player side did not seem to object to the Banker cards being exposed first.

The dealer dealt out the hand, took the losers, paid the winners.

On the very next hand it happened again. The dealer dealt the cards and turned over the Banker cards first.

It didn't take but a few more hands for me to realize what was going on.

The dealer was turning over the Banker cards first because that's what the Asian player with the biggest bet wanted!

As I stood and watched in amazement, the dealer waited before each hand for the Asian player with the largest wager to command how he wanted the dealer to deal the game.


And when the relief dealer appeared, nothing changed. The high-rolling Asian baccarat players were actually controlling the deal of the game.

And the casino had no problem with this gross violation of dealing and game-protection procedures. In order to accommodate their prized high rollers, most likely out of fear of losing these players if they refused to grant their wishes, they relinquished to them the very control of their baccarat game.

When I came back to that mini-bac table on the next shift with a completely different staff--and a different group of Asian high-rollers, the same thing was going on. When the players wanted the Banker cards turned over first, the dealer obliged and the supervisor, glued to the game, did not object.

On my way to the second casino, I thought incredulously of what I'd witnessed at the first.

And guess what?

You guessed it! The same exact practice was occurring at the second casino. It all became very clear. Several casinos in this part of Canada, each afraid to lose high-rolling baccarat players to other casinos breaking the rules, broke the rules themselves in order to prevent a mass defection of their high-rolling baccarat players.

So next came my meeting with upper management of both casinos. They explained what I thought they'd explain: That they had to bend the rules and compromise their tables because other nearby casinos were doing it.

I wondered which was the first casino to do it.

I also wondered what the Asian high rollers would do if all the casinos in that part of Canada refused to alter the deal of mini-baccarat.

Would they get on a plane just to have the game dealt their way? I don't know the answer to that, but what I do know is this: If all the casinos in Canada, and the rest of the world for that matter, didn't break the rules for these high-rolling players, the Asians would not quit playing baccarat.

I'd bet my life on that!

So, the story told, where is the REAL danger of these compromised dealing and game-protection procedures?

I explained it to upper management of both casinos: I said to them, "What happens when one of these Asian high rollers blows off lots of money and his business goes bad at the same time? What happens when he goes broke?"

I know it seems like these Asian baccarat players have endless supplies of cash, but believe me, many of them don't!

I'll tell you what could happen. That particular suddenly-broke Asian, who already is chummy with the dealer and speaks his native language, and who already has exercised some control over him as he has for a long time now dictated to that dealer how he wants him to deal the game, starts talking to that dealer about entering into a collusion partnership against the casino.

Look, I am not saying that this will happen, but I am saying for sure that the possibility of it happening is much greater when the casino shows its weakness to a desperate high roller by having let him control the game for a long period of time.

After giving several possible examples of how this compromise of game-protection procedures to keep high-rolling players high rolling at their casino can backfire, I added...

"Oh, by the way, did you hear what happened to Crockfords Casino in London and the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City when they altered their baccarat-dealing and game-protection procedures for Phil Ivey?"

They shook their heads in comprehension.


If you do you will eventually get stung.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Video Nabs Poker Card-Swapping Pair at Grosvenor UK Casino

Jolly Card-Switching Buddies
Apparently the two laddies were drunk the night they played 3-card poker at the Grosvenor casino in Stockton. But that didn't stop 54-year-old Ian Banki and 51 year-old Steven Pooley from pulling a little card switch at the poker that netted the card-swapping cheats $2,500.

There was no one else involved in the scam. The dealer was distracted by a fellow employee coming over to the table and the pair just seized the moment.

In fact, Banki told the judge, "There's not a lot we can say. We didn't go in there to cheat. We had a good drink and it just happened. We are very very embarrassed and ashamed of what we did."

Well, that "good" drink turned sour when casino personnel played back the video and saw the pair switch the cards.

The judge, Kristina Harrison, after listening to Banki's excuse, said, "Probably opportunistic after a few drinks." She then ordered the pair to pay back the money they swindled from Grosvenors and slapped Banki with fines and costs totalling $150 and Pooley $450. I don't no why she held Pooley three times more responsible than Banki--Must be a personal quirk.

My take: Well, I think this judge was both cool and fair. She didn't make a big deal of this and give the pair a prison term or a felony conviction.

The Ol' False Shuffle Scam in a New Casino Bad-Beat Jackpot Scam

The Ol' false shuffle back again!
The Bad-Beat Poker Jackpot was set at more than $166,000, and sixty-six-year-old poker dealer Ashley Solomon and his fifty-one-year-old cheat-agent Dale Foret decided it was ripe enough for the taking. So Solomon set up the deck to give Foret a very high-value losing hand and some other player at the table who was not involved in the scam and even better one.

He then performed a false shuffle to protect the order of the cards set up.

The exact values of the hand were not disclosed. Usually, a bad-beat jackpot occurs when there is a losing hand of at least Aces-full. In some casinos the losing hand must be four of a kind or a straight flush.

Apparently, Solomon set up the cards right on the table in front of all the players, which leads me to believe that several had to be involved in the scam. It is quite difficult to set up an entire deck without any of the players noticing it.

As is routine each time a bad-beat jackpot is hit, casino surveillance reviews the video to see if there were any irregularities. They spotted the false shuffles and therefore expelled the jackpot and called the Louisiana State Police Enforcement Divsion, who arrested the couple.

BTW, even though each of the two poker cheats has a unisex name, they are both men. 

North Korean Computer Hacker/Defector Reveals Army of North Korean Hackers Attacking Online Poker Sites From Their Base in China!

North Korean Army of Online Poker Hackers
I first blogged about this back in May of last year when reports of North Korean hackers breaching online poker began surfacing.

Now a North Korean hacker/defector calling himself "Jong" has gone public with his detailed story of an actual army of Korean leader Kim Jong Un's very skilled hackers sitting in wide rows and long columns in barren warehouses infiltrating online poker and casinos.

According to Jong, each hacker was personally responsible to send their leader Kim Jong Un at least US $100,000 per year of hacking proceeds.

 All this while they lived in deplorable conditions in downtrodden areas of Chinese cities.

Jong said they were treated like unskilled laborers and that their living conditions were so bad that many suffered from hunger and disease. He added that the mere thought of going south on the North Korean dictator with any money was inconceivable, of course only out of fear.

The North Korean Hacking Army did several things to pilfer money from online sites.

First, they just stole money outright.

Second, they garnered player-information and sold it to online poker cheats and collusion operations.

Third, they stole commercial software and used sophisticated bots to assemble multi-player assaults on online games.

Jong said the whole thing was torture and he couldn't take it anymore, so he risked his life to defect. 

My take: Well, maybe Jong can be of service to Western governments and supply valuable computer-hacking info to the CIA and other agencies???.