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.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Armed Robberies not the only Crime on the rise in North American Casinos

Canadian Money Laundering Palace?
Not by a longshot!

Pulling up alongside armed robbery at the top of the casino-crime stretch is...you guessed it!...money laundering.

As more and more casinos sprout out of the ground and those already existing get bigger, organized crime is growing along with them. And the new new-wave casino crime is big...and it's federal.

It's good 'ol money laundering.

And I'm not just talking about the drug and LA gangs using Vegas casinos to clean up their dirty money. Nor am I talking solely about the United States when I mention "North America."

Canada is getting their fare share of casino money-laundering action as well. Just today a report made available by the British Columbia Office of the Attorney General has poured rotten eggs all over Metro Vancouver casinos.

According to an article on Castanet.net, "information revealed through a freedom-of-information request details suspected cheating, fraud and money laundering at the Kelowna Playtime Casino."

The article goes on to state that eleven other investigations of cheating or collusion are underway, not only in Vancouver casinos but as well in Okanagan casinos.

One Vancouver casino allegedly accepted $13.5 million in $20 bills in a one-month period.

I don't know if all of Las Vegas gets that many $20 bills in a month! It does seem like money laundering to me.

Attorney General David Eby says at least $100 million has been laundered through these casinos.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Deputy Commissioner Peter German, commissioned to investigate by Eby, found that the actual total laundered is probably much higher.

To top that off, surveillance video from an unnamed Vancouver casino shows gamblers walking into the casino with suitcases and a hockey bag full of $20 bills.

It does not say if they simply dumped all those twenties on the craps table. 

Friday, June 29, 2018

Is the name Marco synonymous with Cheating Casinos?

 Most common casino-cheat name?
Well, all kidding aside, I am starting to wonder!

My first encounter with an Italian casino cheat named Marco was when I literally bumped into one while cheating a roulette wheel in Lake Tahoe back in the late 70s. That Marco was a roulette mechanic (one who switches, pastposts or pinches chips), and his hands were headed out to the dolly to switch the winning chips underneath it while my hands were headed in the exact same direction with the exact same intent.

Our hands collided, both the dolly and the chips underneath went flying, and the result was a doubly failed international pastpost by two teams from two different countries that led to a lot of chaos, which was finally cleverly subdued by my infamous cheat partner Joe Classon who purposely spilled his drink on the roulette layout, which was successful in covering one mess with another mess, the former being a lot riskier to us as casino cheats than the latter.

Well, we later met up with Marco and his Italian teammates, and after much haggling we forged an agreement to stay out of each other's way, not only that time in Lake Tahoe but whenever we had the misfortune of running into each other in different casino venues over the years.

If you want to read more about my encounters with Marco and the Italians, who, by the way, were the greatest roulette pastposters I've ever seen, there are some very funny and entertaining stories about us and them in my book "American Roulette."

The second casino-cheating Marco I met was not Italian but he was a member of my own cheating team, albeit briefly. This Marco was from Iran, and in 1989 he responded to this ad I put in the classifieds of a Las Vegas newspaper: "Ballsy guy wanted for Professional Casino Cheating Team."

Okay, I'm kidding about placing that ad in a newspaper, which couldn't be done for obvious reasons, but I did  put the word out at the time that I needed a claimer (person who claims and takes the money from pastposted bets off the table) for my casino-cheating team.

A guy I knew in Vegas hooked me up with the Iranian Marco, who was all swagger and braggadocio. He told me that nothing in this world scared him and that he even withstood torture from the Shah of Iran's secret police (SAVAK) and didn't tell them a damn thing. He said cheating casinos was just taking candy from a baby.

I did not bother asking Marco why he was being tortured by SAVAK. I already had an inkling that his bluster and bragging would later reveal that he was full of shit.

So I took him to a Downtown craps table in Las Vegas, had him stand behind me as I bet three red $5 chips on the pass line. I explained to Marco that if the bet won I was going to switch out the red chips and replace them with two black $100 chips with a red $5 capper on top, changing a $15 bet into a $205 bet.

I told Marco to claim the bet.

The very first roll was a winner-seven and not only did Marco clam right up, he shit in his pants he was so damn scared!

It was one of the funniest episodes of my 25-year casino cheating career, and as we walked out of the casino I told Marco he would be better off being a spy for some Middle Eastern country than a casino cheat because it was obvious he'd have an easier time being waterboarded in a dark cave than claiming a craps move in glittering Downtown Las Vegas.

I never met any other Marcos involved in casino cheating.

But lately, or I should say during the past several years, I've been reading about a heck of a lot of 'em.

First there was the Marco involved in a Russian cell-phone-hacking-slot-machine scam. Then there was the Marco who got caught bilking the Baha Mar casino in the Bahamas. Actually in that scam, someone else caught sneaking roulette chips from one table onto another where they played for a higher denomination admitted to casino security that he was convinced by a guy named Marco to do the scam.

Then along came the Marco in not one, but two different Players Club scams.

Now...how many times have you heard in a criminal light, even if it was in a film, "Yeah, a guy named Marco roughed 'em up..." Or..."Wait for Marco behind the truck..."

Okay, I know that Marco is a very popular and international first name, but it seems to me that a higher percentage of them than random probability would dictate are casino cheats!

Ahhhh...heck, it's just my imagination.

In any case, to all you hardworking Marcos employed honestly and gainfully in the casino industry, please don't take this article too seriously!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

What's With Tommy Hyland?

What's he up to?
The legendary blackjack card-counter has been popping up over the past few months in casinos you probably wouldn't expect to find him. But several smaller casinos across the US have not only spotted Hyland, they've shuffled up the decks on him. One thing I find a bit weird is that he has reportedly been playing blackjack without a disguise, which doesn't seem to fit when you're one of the most famous card-counting enemies of casinos across the country.

Why is he getting caught so often?

Why is he not bothering with disguises, which would most likely reduce the amount of times he gets caught, or at least the amount of time he spends in particular casinos before getting caught?

I've heard he's been caught several times just minutes after sitting down at the blackjack table!

So what's he up to? Did one of the best card-counters in history suddenly develop stupid-syndrome?

I highly doubt it. As a matter of fact, I have a hunch about what Mr. Hyland is up to. It's a little off-the-wall but it might make sense.

Consider this, especially if you're in casino surveillance: Could Tommy Hyland be using himself as a decoy while other unknown card counters, of course members of his team, are going through the casino devouring positive counts while the surveillance apparatus is trained on him?

Well, I guess that would work for him and his team, at least for a while. But eventually, and without me telling them, surveillance people are going to figure this out if it is indeed what's going on.

How? Simply by properly monitoring their tables and investigating all the red flags their software and table games staff alert them to.

Remember, good table games and surveillance game protection measures will weed out all the counters--no matter what guile and games they craft.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Barring Casino Employees From Gambling in Casinos....Is it Fair....and what's the Real Motive for Casinos doing so?

Is that an after-work bet?
Many casino jurisdictions have regulations that prohibit casino employees from gambling in the casinos they work at. Some jurisdictions also prohibit casino employees from gambling in nearby casinos. Others, to the best of my knowledge, have statewide or even countrywide restrictions on casino employees gambling in casinos.

And many of these prohibitions pertain to casino employees who do not work on the casino floor.

Presently in Macau, a huge gambling mecca that is strife with insider casino-employee scams that take millions of dollars out of the casinos there, we are hearing of proposed regulation that would bar all casino workers from entering any Macau casino outside of work hours and training hours. The bill would institute fines of up to more than US $1,000 to those workers caught illegally entering casinos.

Before talking about whether or not this is fair, let's examine casinos' motives for imposing this type of legislation.

And we're not just talking about Macau.

On the surface, there is always the claim that casinos are proposing employee-gambling-bans to prevent problem gambling among their employees. The rational is that people who work around gambling and then spend their time-off around gambling are perhaps more likely to develop a gambling addiction than those people whose work has nothing to do with casinos.

Is this true?

Well, I can draw an opinion from my own experiences as a casino dealer.

Yes, I was a casino dealer for one year back in the '70s in Las Vegas. I dealt in two Downtown casinos. I can tell you that I remember several dealers who could be constantly found in neighboring Downtown casinos blowing their tokes away. The problem seemed to be most prevalent with dealers working the swing shift. They would spend the early wee hours drinking and gambling at the tables rather than doing the same at bars and nightclubs. We mustn't forget that in Vegas and many gambling areas, casino workers are exposed to gambling via slot machines and other forms of electronic gaming in bars, Laundromats and food stores, so it might not be just the casinos causing the problem but the whole jurisdiction in and by itself.

One of these after-work-gambling dealers I knew ended up committing suicide, although I cannot say if problem gambling had anything to do with it.

All in all, I do believe that casino employees, especially those who work on the casino floor, are more susceptible to developing gambling problems if they are exposed to gambling and partake in it outside the casino workplace.

The more ulterior motive for casinos supporting these bans might be more to protect their bankrolls than out of genuine worry for their employees. They know all too well that dealers and floormen who gamble and develop gambling problems are very vulnerable to being coaxed into committing cheat scams against their casinos by other employees or by customers who get to know these gambling dealers and become aware of their degenerative gambling habits--and their gambling-induced financial problems.

This happens all the time around baccarat tables worldwide. I would say that a huge percentage of all baccarat dealers who've participated in inside baccarat scams with players at their games had already developed a serious gambling problem that propelled them to do it. Of course greed also plays a role but greed in itself is not usually enough to get honest dealers to fall over the edge.

So my opinion is that casinos cannot be faulted for wanting to protect their assets by restricting their employees' access to casino gambling.

That said, is that restriction fair?

Of course it's not fair!

It's no more fair than restricting bartenders' rights to drink in bars other than the ones they work at, in the objective to prevent their becoming alcoholics. I realize that analogy might not be perfect, so in spite of that, the casino-employee-gambling ban is unfair for other reasons.

The main reason it's unfair is because it's unconstitutional. The deprivation of rights to spend one's free time as one pleases is a violation of constitutional rights. All casino employees, just like everyone else who works for a living, should not have their employers impose restrictions as to how they spend their leisure time--and their money. All people working in casinos are adults and therefore capable of choosing whether or not they want to gamble, regardless of the negative and disruptive forces uncontrolled and reckless gambling can produce.

However, I will make one exception to my opinion: I think that casinos should have the right to bar their employees from gambling in the casinos they work at. But should that stretch to non-gaming-floor employees?

I'll let you decide.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Anyone know this "South African banned card counter?"

According to this article, this guy is the king of African card counters.

At least not in South Africa!
For five years, Robert (pseudonym) went to a casino every night to gamble with his employer’s money. Along with his fellow card-counting coworkers, Robert would hit the blackjack tables and walk out with at least double the money he went in with.
Then one night they got banned. They had pushed their luck too hard and the casino shut them down.

To this day, Robert said he can’t walk into a casino without being approached by men in suits who strongly suggest he should not attempt to play blackjack.

He added that it is very difficult to gamble professionally these days, however, as new shuffle machines and other techniques are used to frustrate card counters.

Table operators do get lazy and don’t immediately put cards into shuffling machines like they’re supposed to, though, and with a few basic tricks you can still make more money than most.

Just not nearly as much as before, he said.

Young and hungry

As an avid gamer, Robert was recruited straight out of high school through his job at an Internet cafe. The owner offered to teach him how to make money from gambling, on condition that Robert worked for him. His boss could not be seen in a casino, but his protégés could visit each casino within reasonable driving range on a rotation and play on his behalf.

Keeping in mind that this was nearly 20 years ago, Robert was paid 500 rand per night – whether he won or lost – to play with 40,000 to 100,000 rand of his boss’s cash.

“The deal is that when we get to the casinos, we don’t know one another,” said Robert.

It would often happen that three of them would end up at the same table. They would even have signals for one another if a table was “hot” and ready to be taken advantage of. Their aim was not to individually beat the house, but to collectively walk out with double or more than what they entered with.

“Sometimes you lose, but you never do anything less than break even,” he said.

VIP

In a short time, the crew became VIPs at the casinos they frequented – including achieving platinum status on Sun’s MVG loyalty programme.

“We didn’t just play in Sun International casinos, but it was mostly their casinos we went to,” he said.

Robert said that when your winning streak starts getting too hot, the casino will offer you complimentary rooms and meals. The aim is to get you away from the tables, with the hope you will play again in the morning and give the house a chance to win its money back. When you ignore the signs that the casino doesn’t want you winning anymore, that’s when you get barred for life, he added.

“They tried twice to give us free rooms and we declined, because we were on a roll,” said Robert. “We were three at one table, two at the other. Eventually, they made up an excuse and closed the whole MVG lounge.”

Casinos aren’t allowed to just ban you, but according to Robert, they can make things uncomfortable.

“Guys in suits follow you around the casino,” he said. “If you do decide to play despite the warnings, just to irritate you they’ll bring you a new dealer every hour.”

According to Robert, all Sun International casinos have facial recognition systems linked together on a network. Regardless of which casino he goes into, a man in a suit will appear at his side and ask him not to try and play blackjack.

Disputed

Sun International disputed Robert’s claim, however, and told MyBroadband it does not use facial recognition technology to identify people barred from its casinos.

“If a player wins legitimately at a casino, we will pay the player his winnings. The casino may review the play to ensure that no cheating activity takes place,” chief operating officer for Sun International, Thabo Mosololi, told MyBroadband.

Mosololi said casinos operate in a regulated environment, and the games offered are in accordance with their licences, the requirements of the provincial gambling boards, and the rules of the game.

“A player who breaches these, depending on the specific circumstances, will be considered cheating,” he said. “Examples of cheating may be placing bets on a roulette number after No More Bets has been called and the resultant number is known, or trying to change bets placed after the outcome of the game is known.”

He said the only instances where a casino will ban someone is if they are purposely cheating, or steal from other patrons or the casino. In certain cases, people may be banned for unruly behaviour, said Mosololi.

My take: Sounds like the African version of the cat and mouse game played by card counters and casinos. As far as what, if any, facial-recognition technology Sun International Casinos use, I doubt it makes much difference, as I have never been a fan of it anyway.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Gambler Says he was Banned by UK Casino for Playing a Winning Roulette System to Tune of $80,000 Profit

Did he buy the house with Roulette Profits?
There are many articles about claiming to have winning betting systems, be it roulette, craps or baccarat, but this one is interesting because the casino that  has barred the player  refuses to comment on why it did so.

Article:

My take: Well, as interesting as this winning-betting-system story may seem, it's got to be bullshit. There is no winning system possible that is based on mathematics. Not in roulette, craps or baccarat. So whatever the guy is doing, it's gotta be playing a biased wheel or something else connected to cheating.

And obviously, the Rainbow casino in Birmingham doesn't want anyone to know what it was.

Friday, June 08, 2018

How to Spot a Rogue Online Poker or Casino

Scope out Online Poker and Casino Sites
I found an article for those of you who´d like to check out a new or unheralded online poker room or casino. I think it's pretty good.

Article:

Just for the record, theoretically, anybody in possession of about spare $1000 could set up their own online poker room without licensing and long validation processes. In case your funds count a little larger sum, hiring web-development specialists to clone an already existing gambling resource is also an option to embark on a business trip across entrepreneurship. Fair enough that the gambling segment is gradually getting penetrated by amateur enthusiasts upside down, that’s why the number of dishonest online venues now poses a serious threat to players’ wallets if they decide to get into depositing and wagering at all. Obviously, scams are everywhere we go, but places with considerable virtual cash flow are more inclined towards greater cheating on customers. The problem is that the internet represents a globally anonymous pool spawning with tons of suspicious spots which cannot be easily authenticated.
That’s why keeping yourself safe and sound presides over every item on the list when it comes to playing in an online mode. To deal with remote places could be difficult especially if a newcomer doesn’t understand some essential points about casino organization. The thing you should remember right now about gambling sites is hidden behind ‘client turnover’ notion –  a reputable venue, in any case, wants their customers to always come back and be loyal. A rouge place couldn’t care less about your hesitation because their main mission is to make you deposit money which, by the way, would never return to you. The rest is nuances. But what if in reality, it’s an easy task to find out whether a casino plays dirty with you? You still don’t know canonic red flags marking vicious places? Well, it’s high time to hop aboard and learn a bit more about spotting corrupted casinos.
#1: Become a little detective armed with review-portals
Unless a gambling venue has literally just arrived at the online shop, there must be present customers who have already tested gambling production out and hopefully posted an opinion comment. You as a potential client should always scroll through reviews written in a place and sometimes read between the lines. When reports are way too positive and burst with torrents of sweetness, it has to be a warning sign for you – even Apple have negative reviews. That’s how you’d better act in case a new place becomes an interesting option to try: find a review-portal (there are reviews on reviewers, bear this in mind) and look up the desired casino. For example, you work with Slot Mine web-portal and you want to dismantle, say,  PLAY OJO Casino Review. Carefully go through the information all the way down to support services closing hours and make sure the place is worth your attention.
A respectable casino site shall have mixed review ranging from ‘extremely atrocious’ to ‘have never ever seen anything like that in my entire life’. Yet, on the whole, the average score must be respectively optimistic. Besides, an authentic user-review includes various details and intricate, small things – do not trust general points like ‘fast withdrawals’ and ‘great welcome offerings’, search for petite descriptions filled with specific clauses. As a result, before delving into gambling, you would be equipped with precious information which will surely help you make right choices.
#2: Watch out for contact methods
Quality of support services plays an integral part in your casino experience because this is going to be your only third-party to resolve delicate matters. Always try out customer support even if you have deposited a single zero to your user account. First of all, a good casino should have at least several phone lines (of course, toll-free) for different countries and languages, and if it’s a really good casino, this phoning service has to work in a schedule – it demonstrates that support agents aren’t artificial people, but well-trained specialists operating efficiently during their working hours. Though one line is to be available 24/7 as international venues face various time zones and everyone might run into a problems at night or at daytime. Responsiveness through chatting is also up to point adding credibility and weight.  
#3: Verification, licenses, papers
Note that there are dozens of sub-organizations regulating gambling business for the latter to run in a most legal direction. A rogue has nothing to displace – just void icons in the bottom of their website leading to no other website. To begin with, a good venue holds an active license issued by some floating gambling commission like UKGC or Malta GC depending on the audience the reviewed casino aiming at. Also, additional certificates stipulating fair and transparent gameplay must be displayed in the track record, so that you could personally witness audit reports on RTP percentages. When a casino hides game status, well, this shall drive you skeptical. Stick to big names like eCOGRA to ensure your gaming session is genuinely random and not biased.
#4: Software matters a lot
Overall casino reputation, undoubtedly, has initial importance, but so does a software company. Respectable and well-known developers will never mess with even slightly dodgy venues because providers also think of their own reputation in the first place. Therefore, looking through software reviews might be another helpful step on your way to evaluating a casino. Best casinos collaborate with best developers like Microgaming, NetEnt, IGT, Playtech, Betsoft which are the most trustworthy companies nowadays, so seeing them enlisted may be a nice sign. Become an informed player knowledgeable in moments like big software developers’ names.  
Finally




Wrapping up, the number of honest operators is actually a way greater than the number of deceitful rouges. In truth, you will be able to fully avoid bad places by following these four pieces of advice and nobody would drag you into working with obviously bad casinos. As the saying goes, information is power.