The following article with photos appeared on the cover of the Las Vegas Review Journal business section on Sunday, February 25th. It is not very accurate as far as the descriptions of my moves go, but it does do some justice in describing what I've done to casinos over the years!
CASINO BUSINESS: Blink and you'll miss him
Casino cheat shows how subtle moves squeezed out cash
By ARNOLD M. KNIGHTLY
Richard Marcus claims to have made more than a healthy living cheating
casinos all over the world.
It is a claim that has to be taken on faith because he was never caught.
"I looked at what I did as an art," said Marcus, who said his teams took
casinos around the world for $20 million. "Let's face it, who's going to
feel sorry for a casino?"
Judging by reactions of casino surveillance executives around the world,
the green felt tables on every continent were his victims.
As Marcus demonstrates his signature moves at roulette and blackjack
on a series of instructive DVDs, viewers can only shake their
Casino surveillance technology continues to evolve. Now cameras watch
every move in the pits and radio frequency identification track casino
chips. Nevertheless, Marcus tells his audience that their best protection
against professional cheaters is still educating dealers and floor
supervisors about what to spot.
"Even as technology progresses, my thing was still to beat the people on
the floor so they didn't bring the cameras into play," Marcus said.
Marcus, a former dealer, said he knows how boring floor jobs can be and
how he could psychologically manipulate the people his teams dealt with.
Hour after hour, shift after shift, year after year, he said, dealers
become robotic and pit bosses become complacent. Any little disruption can
throw casino personnel off their game.
"Touching a dealer is like hitting him over the head with a bat," Marcus
In one of Marcus' blackjack past posting moves -- past posting is when a
player switches a bet after the outcome has been determined -- the player
reaches out and taps the dealer with one hand while replacing a bet chip
with the other right after being paid.
Marcus said that early in his career, casinos didn't run cameras on all
the tables at all times, so the casino staff could not always go to the
tapes for replays.
It wasn't until The Mirage opened in 1989 that casinos ran cameras at all
By gathering inside information, Marcus said he came to learn how
different casinos operated security. Ironically, with the arrival of the
"eye in the sky" he found an unlikely alibi.
He developed a signature move, "The Savannah," named for a stripper in
Reno where he first executed it. The move was built around hiding a
legitimate bet in plain sight on the roulette table. The move required
patience because it could take anywhere from a half-hour to two hours to
set up, he said.
The pit boss must see the cheat playing for a while and the dealer must
become relaxed by the person's presence at the table.
Here's how it works. Standing farthest from the dealer, the cheating
bettor places what appears to be three $5 chips. But a higher-valued chip
is placed at the bottom of the stack, which the dealer fails to see more
than 95 percent of the time, Marcus said.
If the bet loses, the player rakes off the chips and replaces the high
chip with a $5 chip. If caught raking, which is illegal, he bumbles out an
explanation, apologizing profusely.
If the bet wins, the bettor acts surprised, as if the wager had been
placed by accident.
If the casino wants to look at the tape, which it rarely did, it would
only verify the bet.
If the bet hits, the bettor keeps playing, giving some of the money back
through losses. He then tips the dealer and slips away.
Marcus said he made $7 million during a 25-year run that ended in 2000
when he felt he had enough money and wanted to write books about his
He pitches himself as the ultimate riches-to-rags-to-greater-riches story,
albeit not legitimately.
According to Marcus' memoir "American Roulette," a not-quite-yet
21-year-old Marcus blew into Las Vegas from the East Coast in 1975 with
$20,000. He promptly lost it all and found himself living under an
After a few failed attempts at employment, Marcus landed a job dealing at
the Four Queens. Legitimacy only lasted until he was approached by a
professional cheat who had seen him at work and convinced him to run an
After running the cheat, which netted him $2,500, Marcus switched sides of
the table and was soon past posting craps with a four-man team all over
For the next two decades Marcus traveled the world ripping off casinos. He
was never caught, although he did end up in the casino back room five or
six times being sweated by casino security.
Nothing ever stuck.
Marcus has written two more books about the underbelly of casino gambling.
His fourth, "World's Greatest Gambling Scams," is scheduled for release
later this year.
Marcus said he receives e-mails from people who want him to teach his
techniques. He refuses, saying his story is for entertainment.
He also points out that if someone is caught cheating in a casino they
could face serious legal charges.
Marcus, who lives in France, said he has no moral qualms about how he
obtained his money or the lifestyle it still brings him.
"I've never stolen a penny from anyone in my life," he said. "If I went to
a restaurant and didn't have enough money to leave a tip I would feel