Monday, May 21, 2018

Will Japan Follow its Asian Casino Neighbors as a Casino-Cheating Hub?

Resultado de imagen para japanese casino
Japanese Casinos!
Soon we'll be seeing legal gambling casinos in Japan. They're already playing poker there, in a country that has scoffed at legalized gambling for decades.

So now the big question is: Will Japan's new casinos follow in the crooked footsteps of it Asian casino neighbors...mainly Singapore and Macau?

I don't think it will, although I'm not sure why. I guess it has something to do with Japan's centuries-old honor code, called Bushido. Japanese people just don't tolerate thieves and criminals the way other Asian peoples do.

And I imagine Japanese lawmakers will legislate severe penalties against those casino and poker cheats unlucky enough to be caught plying their trade in the land of the Rising Sun.

Do I think this would deter the hordes of casino and poker cheats that invariably invade new gambling meccas?

Absolutely not! Build casinos and the cheats will come...

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Origins of Casino Cheating...Dates Back 600 Years!...To Norway of all places!

World's first crooked die?
Well, I, for one, was always interested in the answer to the questions: Who was the first casino cheat and in which casino did the first actual cheat move take place?

We might never know the answer to who was the first casino cheat, but we just go an idea as to which casino that original cheat cheated in.

Apparently it happened in Norway on a craps table...

Well, sort of. Of course there were no craps tables 600 years ago, and there was probably no craps either.

But there were crooked dice.

That said, I'm gonna send you to this article on the discovery of perhaps the world's oldest crooked die...fascinating stuff!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Is Simply Armed-Robbing Casinos Easier Than Cheating Them?

"Because that's where the money is."
Starting to seem that way, ain't it!

 It seems that hardly a day goes by that we don't hear of an armed robbery of some casino somewhere or some way-out-of-the-way card room.

It seems just the same that in Las Vegas there's an armed casino robbery every week.

What the hell's happening?

What's happened to good ol' casino cheating?

Okay, I'm just being facetious, but I'd really like to know why US gambling casinos have become the US banks of the '30s...albeit, judging from the surveillance photos of these casino bandits, they ain't exactly Bonnie and Clyde!

Notice that I said "US" casinos. That's because this type of dangerous casino assault doesn't occur anywhere else...or at least hardly.

So if anyone can explain why this is happening in our US casinos, please do...but don't give me that famous Willie Sutton chirp, "Because that's where the money is..."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

More Ridiculous But Profitable Insider-Dealer Casino Scams

This Scam was a gas!
Two made headlines this week.

The first was carried out by 36-year-old London roulette dealer Stuart Shipp at the Grosvenor casino in Kensington. Apparently Mr. Shipp had a cocaine habit and needed to fund it. Thus he signalled his cohort over to the table by a tug on his hair, and the cohort placed several bets straight-up on the numbers. The cohort stood in a "strategic" position to block out the view of the roulette table's inspector. Then, as the coast was clear, Shipp just placed the roulette dolly on one of his cohort's numbers, regardless of which number came in.

The pair managed $10,000 in profits over several occasions before they got caught by surveillance.

My take: I read an article about this in which the writer used the word "mastermind" to describe dealer Shipp's role in the roulette scam. (GOL...grunt out loud) I would have used the word "minormind." I mean, come on, just paying losing bets is about the most idiotic scam on any casino game....


So what does that say for the inspectors at Grosvenor casino?...Imagine if the surveillance crew was a bad as the inspectors on the floor!!!

The second scam occurred on (of course) the baccarat tables at the Crown casino in Melbourne, Australia, where the crooked baccarat dealer and his three cohorts took down over $400,000 during 58 hours of playing time spaced over 5 weeks.

The scam was simply that the dealer peeked at several of the cards at the top of each new shoe and then signalled his three female cohorts (who may have been wearing surgical masks during the play) how much to bet and on which side, Player or Banker.

They finally got caught by surveillance video.

My take: Did you READ what I wrote above about the details of this baccarat scam???!!!

FIFTY-EIGHT hours over five months getting away with this rinky-dink scam!


What does that say about the inspectors in this pit?! And no kudos to surveillance either. Not after 58 hours of the cheats getting away with this one.

And they got away, more or less, in court as well. Sentences ranged from a forced $500 donation to charity to community service to diversion programs that expunged the arrests and convictions if the guilty parties stayed clean for a year.

I think Australia may be way down under when it comes to dealing with casino cheats!

And if they were indeed wearing surgical masks (their photos appeared that way), what were they for? choke off their laughs?

Friday, April 06, 2018

Casino-Cheat Insurance???!!!

Casino Cheat Insurance?
I've been around the casino cheating world for more than 40 years, and I thought I either knew or heard of everything that had to do with cheating. But that thought disappeared during a conversation I had with a very, and I mean very knowledgeable casino surveillance director. It proved as well that you're never too old or too experienced to learn something new...even if you are an "expert."

We were talking about a significant baccarat scam that happened a few years back. The cheats had partnered with crooked dealers who were marking the cards so the cheats could know in advance what first-card the PLAYERS hand would receive. They eventually got caught and the scam ended up in court, where the dealers, who'd confessed and cooperated with prosecutors, were convicted via plea bargains, while a jury acquitted the cheats.

And then the surveillance director said to me, "But it wasn't so bad for the casino because they had cheat insurance."

I said, "They had what?"

He repeated it, and after I expressed my disbelief and confusion, he reaffirmed that the victim-casino did indeed have cheat insurance, meaning that they were covered by an insurance company up to a certain amount (a large amount at that) for losses sustained from cheats cheating their gaming tables.

I couldn't believe my ears!

I knew casinos had blackjack "insurance." But casino-cheat insurance?

You mean casinos actually take out insurance to cover casino-cheating losses???

Then I cracked a joke, maybe just to cover my ignorance. I said, "So why then are casinos so worried about being cheated if they have insurance to cover their cheat losses? Why do they bother with all this game protection then?"

Then I thought half-heartedly, "Well maybe if they got hit too much by cheats and filed too many casino-cheating claims, their policy rates would go up too much." LOL

This lighthearted moment reminded me of a famous line once uttered by baseball Hall of Fame great Mickey Mantle, who said, "Had I known I was gonna live this long, I woulda taken better care of myself."

I chuckled and then said to myself Mickey-Mantle-like, "Had I known casinos had casino-cheat insurance to cover their cheat-losses, maybe I should have cheated them out of more money during my 25-year career cheating casinos. I mean, maybe they would have cared less while I cheated them out of more...

I can just gleefully imagine the following situation:

I do a monster multi-thousand-dollar cheat move and the dealer is suspicious. He notifies the supervisor, who is in turn suspicious and notifies the shift boss, who is in turn suspicious and notifies surveillance, who run back the video and confirm the cheat move to the shift boss, who immediately notifies the casino manager expecting a swift reaction to bust me, but instead receives a shrug of the casino manager's shoulders with an "Ah, forget about it...we have cheat insurance here, didn't you know that?"

And when the shift boss gives him a befuddled look, the casino manager adds, "Just let Marcus cash out his cheat winnings. Let some other casino that doesn't have cheat-insurance deal with him,"

Just joking! Please don't take it or me seriously!! 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Another Guilty Party in Phil Ivey Edge-Sorting Cases?

Defective or Not Defective?
I know you've all heard enough of my opinions on Phil Ivey and his baccarat edge-sorting scam...but before you say you've had enough of me, this is an entirely different angle!

I promise.

Some of you may not know that Phil Ivey's lawsuit against Crockfords casino and the Borgata's lawsuit against Phil Ivey (both of which Ivey lost) are not the only lawsuits in the case. The Borgata in turn sued Gemaco Playing Card Company, the manufacturer of the defective cards used in the games that Ivey and his partner Sun beat the Borgata for $10 million. Borgata sued Gemaco for that same $10 million--and received the embarrassing judgment that the most it could recover from Gemaco was $27, the cost of replacing the defective cards with new, flawless cards.

Which brings me to this article: Should Gemaco be held liable for its defective cards that caused this whole baccarat-cheating debacle in the first place?

Well, this time I am not giving my opinion. I would much rather hear yours. So what I'm going to do is state the obvious in support of each side of the argument. I'm sure I'll have left out something when it's all said and done, so you can let me know any pertinent facts I may have missed.

At the end, those of you who would like to share your comments on whether or not Gemaco should be held liable to some extent more than $27, please do!

Argument 1: Gemaco should be held liable:

Assuming they entered into a contract with Borgata to supply and deliver high-standard playing cards protecting the integrity of the casino using them, and that they were indeed paid for those very services, then Gemaco certainly breached the contract, therefore their defective cards exposed the Borgata to the very dangers by which they were victimized. That's to say that had their defective cards not been supplied and delivered to the Borgata, Ivey and his partner Sun never would have been able to scam the casino for $10 million.

Simple enough? Sounds good to me.

Argument 2: Gemaco should not be held liable:

First of all, the cards are not defective! Just because the backs of the cards on one side had a infinitesimal difference in the size of the white border columns or a tiny tip of the diamonds cut off, who is to say that that constitutes defective cards? No one inside Gemaco could reasonably think that such a slight "imperfection" could be used to wipe out a casino's baccarat tables. Furthermore, even if these infinitesimal imperfections can be considered a constitution of defective playing cards, then the casino should be responsible to inspect each and every pack of cards they receive from Gamaco before putting them on the games. Had they done so, they should have noticed the defect and immediately removed them from the casino decks ready to be played, and then notified Gemaco of the imperfections so that new, perfect decks could replace them.

Simple enough? Sounds good to me.

I await your vote...and please: No "It could go either way" votes!

Friday, March 23, 2018

So what do I think of the soon-to-be Edge-Sort-Killing Card Shoe?

The magic edge-sort killing card shoe
Wow! It's great!

Imagine this!...A young UNLV student in Gambling Innovation class has just received a patent for a new card shoe she developed that will make Edge-Sorting impossible at all card games including baccarat, at which, as you all know, poker legend Phil Ivey edge-sorted his way to more than $20 million in winnings...or I should say 20 million in temporary winnings, as courts on both sides of the Atlantic decided edge-sorting is cheating, and I certainly concur.

So how does it work?

Young Brittney Martino's invention uses flashing lights to obscure the backs of the cards. Instead of explaining exactly how it works, I will take the liberty to copy and paste PlayUSA's description of it in its article.

“The purpose of the light(s) is to overlay colors or tones and white background on the back of the playing card. The wavelength, pattern (e.g., discontinuous distribution of light) and intensity of the shone light being sufficient to reduce optical contrast of different colors and/or shades on the back of the first playing card. The pattern can disrupt visible perception of the actual pattern printed on the back of the playing card. The emitted/projected pattern may be significantly different from the printed pattern, or only slightly vary from the printed pattern to confuse optical/visible reading of the printed image.

“Where the back of the card, for example, has red-and-white colors, the emitted light should be sufficiently red to color and blend the white into the red; when the back of the card is greenish, the emitted light should sufficiently match the green, and similarly with single colors or multiple colors on the backs of the cards and the emitters.”

Okay, you got through all that, and I say it is mighty impressive, perhaps the biggest table-game/game protection invention since Arthur Miller's hole-card reader device, now omnipresent on blackjack tables in virtually all casinos worldwide that take a hole card before players' hand decisions.

Except there is one little mitigating factor as to the new invention's usefulness.

Sorry to say, Brittney, as I know you are extremely excited about this and surely anticipating the millions in royalties coming your way, but your edge-sorting device is....


Well, I should say, "ALMOST USELESS!"


I'll tell you what...

I am simply saying that if casino personnel do their jobs and listen to, and implement, all the game protection procedures I and others have taught them, their casinos would need this device about as much as I need to shut my mouth!

Again simply stating, if the proper shuffling procedure in all table games (regardless whether or not automatic shufflers are in use) is strictly followed, then we do not need yet another high-tech gadget to protect us from doing our jobs.

I assume, based on my visits to train casinos, that many of you reading this article do not know how damn easy it is to nip edge-sorting in the bud without having to resort to this gadget, whose annoying flashing-light-and-color display are sure to bother some of your playing customers!

So how do we nip edge-sorting in the but? It's as simple as wiping out dice-sliding in craps by assuring that both dice tumble and hit the back wall.

We simply make a "turn" part of our shuffle process. This means to rotate half the cards in each pack being shuffled 180 degrees. So if you're currently doing the riffle...riffle...strip...and repeat, you now need to riffle...riffle...strip...TURN...and repeat.

It's that simple.

But you mustn't forget to have your dealers perform the turn before putting the cards into the automatic shufflers.

If you'd like to see the correct shuffle procedure including the turn, just search it in YouTube.

I don't know about you, but I am tired of seeing how technology has to entirely protect our table games when our human dealers and floor staffs can still do the bulk of the work.

So please...let's adhere to table-game-protection training and not table-game-technological reigning!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

New Slot Machine Hacking Scam in Eastern Europe

Bulgarian Slot Cheats Busted
The Russian casino cheats have become famous in recent times for high-tech slot machine scams, but let's not shortchange the rest of the Eastern Europeans!

This time the sophisticated slot-cheat team is out of Bulgaria, a country that continues to produce both highly skilled international casino dealers and supervisors and just as skilled casino cheats. In short, Bulgarian casino people, whichever side of the tables they may be on, are very sharp.

The details of this new high-tech slot scam are sketchy but here's what I know:

Four Bulgarian individuals have been detained in Bulgaria by the General Directorate Combating Organized Crime, which seems to be like a US criminal task force investigating American organized crime. The four Bulgarians, who have not been named at this time, were found to have defrauded casinos and "gaming halls" by hacking into their slot machines to manipulate outcomes and payouts that are said to be "large," although no actual amounts or estimates have been given.

The investigation seems to be somewhat secretive at this time.

The report does say, however, that the four slot cheats devised a very sophisticated program for obtaining remote access to the victimized slot machines. It goes on to say they operated as a coordinated team where each of the four had a particular function. One cheat was showing false play on the machines while another was accessing the codes and meddling with them. A third was responsible for fabricating the devices they used to trick the software.

All in all, it seems like a very professional operation but no details as to how they were caught were given. I am going to guess, however, that an unhappy associate or girlfriend dropped the dime on them.

My take: I can identify very well with their multi-faceted team operation. The best coordinated casino-cheating teams in the world use the same modus operandi where each member is assigned a specific function, much like a military commando operation. Each cog is equally important to the operation, and if one member does not complete his function correctly, the operation falls apart.

I might mention that back in November I was called by a Bulgarian casino who questioned me about a roulette scam where they were sure the cheats were controlling the ball's landing to some degree, but had no idea how. They mentioned they though slot cheats were involved and wanted my opinion, but I told them I could not offer one without actively investigating the case with the video evidence they had. In the end, they didn't want to pay my fee.

But do I think this Bulgarian slot-cheating team had something to do with rigging those Bulgarian roulette wheels?

Most likely not, whether or not there actually was any rigging of those Bulgarian roulette wheels.

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!