Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Casino/Gambling Cheating Turkey of the Year!

Now that it's Thanksgiving, the time is right for my first annual Casino/Gambling Cheating Turkey of the Year. In order to qualify, candidates must satisfy three main concerns:

1) Had to get caught (Obviously!) and prosecuted
2) His or her scam had to be either stupid or poorly conceptualized
3) The person had to have not only embarrassed himself but also others

After looking at two dozen candidates, I narrowed it down to three people. For those of you wondering if A.J. Green (or whatever his real name is) of Absolute Poker Scandal fame was considered for Casino/Gambling Cheating Turkey of the Year, he was not, simply because he made tons of money and never REALLY got caught, meaning formally charged with any crime.

The Bronze Gambling Cheating Turkey award goes to RICHARD MARCUS. Yes, that's right, ME! Why? No, I didn't cheat any real or online casino or perpetrate any scam, but I did make one horrible blunder that qualified me for the awards: I cheated in a game of a Strip Poker because I really wanted to get this hot babe, and I got caught! Not only did I end up not getting the babe but I embarrassed myself and others because a great ex-cheater like me is not supposed to get caught by a bunch of amateur drunks and strippers!!!

The Silver Gambling Cheating Turkey award goes to STEVE FORTE. Steve has been charged with 3 felonies related to the Borgata Poker scam last June. This is the scam where Forte and his accomplices allegedly set up high-stakes poker players in a private suite at the Borgata Hotel while the Borgata Open tournament was going on in its poker room. Hidden cameras and computer programs were used to peek at the victims' hole cards and then analyze the hands in order to come up with the playing strategy to optimize the pilfered information. But someone recognized that Forte was a celebrated ex-cheat turned casino consultant and then the cops came busting down the door of the fancy suite. Forte certainly qualified for the Golden Cheating Turkey award as he certainly embarrassed himself as well as other casino consultants in the industry, including me!

The Golden Gambling Cheating Turkey award goes to Jacob Nickels. Shit, he embarrassed an entire American City! His father Greg Nickels is the mayor of Seattle, and Jacob got caught up and busted in perhaps the most pervasive casino scam in the history of the world! I'm talking about the Tran Organization's major international baccarat scam that got busted after a multi-year FBI investigation found that nearly two-dozen casinos in the US and Canada were hit. Nickels, the son, turned out to be a corrupt pit boss who helped Tran's underlings recruit crooked dealers to perform false shuffles that enabled his casino to be bilked by crooked baccarat players. Nickels copped out, pleaded guilty, and whether or not he goes to prison, he certainly wins the award for being the CASINO CHEATING TURKEY OF THE YEAR!

Don't forget that beginning December I will begin my "Casino Scam of the Month," and at the end of the year rank the top 10 casino scams of 2007, and that will not be easy!

Handheld Blackjack Bet Pressing and Pinching

Are the arts of bet pressing and pinching with the camouflage of cards at blackjack still alive? Yes they are, and as there are still tons of handheld blackjack games available in the United States, the skilled cheaters using this method to beat casinos are still quite successful. In talking about bet pressing, which is adding chips to a bet after you've played your hand, I am not referring to amateurish scams using simple diversions like one guy at first base spilling his drink to distract the dealer while his partner on third base presses his bet. I'm talking about the talented cheats who can do this without the distraction and by himself. From time to time I stumble across them in the casino, and I can't very well take pictures of their actions. However, I did stumble across some videos on You Tube that are pretty good in depicting some of these moves. Go to this page and have a look

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New Casino Cheating Website!

Welcome to my new website!

Firstly, cruise around it for a while and let me know what you think. Do you like the color combinations, the pictures in the gallery? I have really expanded the site and want to make it as interactive as possible, which is why I have added several new features. First, there are going to be videos of me in action and interview, in English, and in Spanish! There's one Spanish video up now, and the rest of the videos will be up shortly. You will notice my Magazine Articles page. I have been writing for poker/gaming magazines worldwide for several months now, and I realize that not all of you have the chance to read these magazines, so I have begun posting articles I have written on this web page. I am trying to get the PDF files for these articles as they appeared in the actual magazines. The ones I don't get I will post in regular Word format, the text being exactly as it appeared in the magazines.

I have also added two new interactive web pages. The first is the "Cheating Tip of the Day," where beginning December 1st I will give a daily tip on how casino and online cheaters operate and how this knowledge can help you. Also starting in December, I will post the "Casino Scam of the Month." These scams will be either in brick and mortar casinos or online and I will give all the details pertaining to them.

If any of you have Cheating Tips that you want to tell me about, please do, and if one of them is named "Cheating Tip of the Year," the person submitting it will receive autographed copies of all my books and have his picture posted in my gallery if he or she so wishes.

The same prize is applicable for the "Cheating Scam of the Month." If someone out there turns me on to a great scam that makes it onto my web page, that person will receive the autographed books and the option to post their photo on my site as well.

So, please, send me your Tips and your Scam Reports. I don't know all of them!


I am also going to develop a Casino Cheating Knowledge Contest where 4 cash prizes are given out to those who prove the most knowledgable. It will be in a multiple choice format on my blog and there will be elimination rounds leading to the final four contestants, something like the Final Four in college basketball. I think that will be lots of fun.

Lastly, if anyone has ideas about what they would like to see on my website, please e-mail me and let me know.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Casino Scam Of The Month

December, 2007: Las Vegas Chip Cup Scam

This is one of the most simply ingenious scams of all-time. It has happened dozens of times across the world since its invention in the early 1970s. The most well known incident of the Chip Cup Scam occurred in the 80s in the giant Sun City Casino in what was then Bophuthatswana, South Africa. More than 30 individuals were involved, both casino employees and outside players. The method used to steal was a clever, but old-time device known as the "Las Vegas Chip Cup." It's nothing more than a hollow tube painted and designed to look like a stack of small denomination casino chips. The Chip Cup is made slightly larger than a standard 39 millimeter casino chip so that it can easily slide over a stack of standard casino chips. The casino chips then become hidden inside the hollowed cup. A real casino chip of small value is glued to the top of the aluminum cup, which is painted and speckled to look like a stack of five small denomination chips. In Sun City, the Chip Cup was painted to resemble a stack of five 10-Rand chips (South African currency). The beauty of the chip cup is that a player introduces the cup into play and also takes it out. The dealer and player work the scam together. In American casinos, the Chip Cup scam is normally done on a craps table. This is because the dealers stack chips straight up in front of them on a crap table, as opposed to laying them down horizontally in a table rack, as in a 21 game. Chips stacked straight up in front of a dealer make it easier for the chip cup to be placed over the chips, though it can be done without much difficulty in chips lying horizontally in table chip racks. In 1980s South Africa, craps was not popular in casinos, being mainly an American game. The big-money game in Sun City was "Punto-Banco", basically the same game as American Baccarat. In this game, unlike the Las Vegas Baccarat games, chips are stacked straight up in front of the dealers.

The scam works like this: The player/cheater, known as an "agent," sits next to the dealer who is standing. The agent places the hollowed empty Chip Cup on the layout as a bet. It looks like a 50-Rand bet, a stack of five 10-Rand chips. There were other legitimate bettors wagering 100-Rand chips on the game. If the bet wins, the dealer/cheater simply pays the bet as he would any legitimate bet, by stacking five 10-Rand chips next to the Chip Cup. What the cheaters really want is for the bet to lose. When the bet loses the dealer/cheater picks up the empty chip cup and in the process of picking up losing 100-Rand chips, he secretly slips the Chip Cup over four 100-Rand chips, so that there are four 100-Rand chips hidden inside the Chip Cup. If there are no 100-Rand chips in play, the dealer can momentarily place the Chip Cup on top of the stack of 100-Rand chips in his working well, and suck up four of them. By gently squeezing the Chip Cup, the hidden chips inside are held in place.

After the dealer finishes putting the losing chips collected from the table into his working well, he makes sure the Chip Cup sits on top of the stack of 10-Rand chips. Then the agent simply "buys" the loaded chip cup back from the dealer. He throws 50-Rand cash on the table. The dealer simply hands the loaded Chip Cup back to the agent as change. The cheaters have thus netted 350 Rand, the 400 Rand loaded inside the Chip Cup minus the 50-Rand cost to buy it. The real strength of the transaction with the chip cup is that the house has just won big bets from the legitimate players. The process then continues in accordance with the camouflaging action on the table.

A key element in the success of the Chip Cup scam at the Sun City casino was the involvement of bit bosses (known as "inspectors" there). They were key to the scam because they coordinated the dealers' schedules, designating which games the crooked dealers would deal on, how their breaks would be patterned and everything else needed to put the crooked dealers at the tables with the best opportunities to put the Chip Cups into play. The inspectors often sent a crew of three cheating dealers to one game, preferably games where the house was winning. This practice helped disguise the cheating activity, as the inspectors who were not involved and surveillance personnel would be watching the Punto-Banco games where the house was losing money. Crooked floormen were also in on the scam, and could easily alert the cheating crews if a boss not involved approached a table where the Chip Cup was in use.

Another key element to the scam was the involvement of a cage employee. This senior cage cashier allowed the agents to cash out considerable sums of chips without being questioned. At the time, South Africa had strict currency transaction policies. Large cash-outs should have been recorded and brought to the attention of upper management. Finally, it would be the currency transactions outside the casino that proved to be the downfall of the scam and its perpetrators. Many involved in the scam, mainly dealers and inspectors, were noticed spending large amounts of cash around town on various luxury items, which eventually drew suspicion as to where they were getting that money.

Over the course of several months, the cheating group was estimated to have taken the equivalent of $3 million dollars from the Punto-Banco tables.

Casino Cheating Tip Of The Day

December 13, 2007

"When playing poker, make sure that all the players at the table speak only the native language of whatever country the poker room happens to be in, unless, of course, everyone is in agreement to speak English (or some other common language), which is often the case in many European countries including Scandinavia."

The reason for this is that players speaking a foreign language at the table, especially a very foreign language like Farsi, Pashto or Dari, may be exchanging information crucial to the game, such as what cards they have in the hole. I am in no way accusing any native speakers of these languages of being more likely to collude than anyone else, just using the uncommon languages as an example of conversation that would rarely be understood by non-native speakers of them. The curious thing about minority players (in terms of being foreigners at the game) speaking their native tongues at the poker table is that often they fall into playing collusion without even realizing it, just having a laugh and innocently telling their comrades what "a lousy hand I have," or "finally I have a pair of bullets!" I'd even say that much more than not, that verbal form of collusion is completely innocent, but it still has a negative effect on your earnings...or losses. So if you find yourself in that situation, gently ask the floorman to inform the foreign-language speakers, "English only please!" These scenarios happen very often in the UK, and a sly professional cheating team can take advantage of it.

December 12, 2007

"While shooting craps and winning, beware of that sexy woman who's snuggling up beside you and rooting for you to roll another winner."

She's not flirting with you because she likes you. She's rubbing her body up against yours to get your attention away from your expanding rack of chips. On the other side of you is her partner, undoubtedly the guy she's sleeping with, who is nibbling away at your chips while your attention is garnered by the babe. Watch out and keep your eyes on your chips...or at least your hands over them if your eyes have to wander.

December 11, 2007

"While playing blackjack, make sure you watch your winning bet and corresponding hand until it is paid."

Dealers take winners for pushes more often than you might think. It happens on average 1.5 % of the time, and believe it or not, more with experienced dealers than those who are new to the game. Conversely, they make mistakes in your favor less frequent, so be vigilant at the blackjack tables. Doing so will save you a betting-unit every hundred hands.

December 10, 2007

"If you play online poker, make sure you have a tracking program at your side."

Programs like Poker Tracker are able to monitor hand histories on the poker sites with a great amount of detail. What they do is create databases of games that occur on the site. Then they run through them to look for statistical inconsistencies. They search for unusual deviations in deck shuffles, draws and other details picked up by their trackers. By using them you not only can analyze your own play and improve on it, you can also analyze the play of your opponents, and by doing so, pick up on various cheating scams going on in the games, especially online collusion.

December 7, 2007

"Good card-counting teams no longer use the old counter/big player method."

Ken Uston and the MIT Blackjack Team just about finished off this decades-old method of beating blackjack games. What do good teams do now? All their members sit at the table and play as ONE person. Of course they all bet, but when the count goes up they mix up their increased increments; for example, one guy betting two units, another three units, and a third only one unit. Then the next hand at the same count they switch around their bets, keeping the same total. Then if the count goes up higher, one player might actually decrease his bet while others at the table bet threefold or even more. This type of betting effectively disguises the card-counting team because if each individual is tracked by the casino, none will be exposed as a counter. This method even fools casinos' card-counting detection software!

December 6, 2007

"Try to avoid poker tournaments that have open seating."

This opens avenues of cheating, mainly collusion, softplay and chip dumping. Most brick and mortar poker rooms have the policy of assigned seating for their tournaments, but many still don't. If you happen to live near poker rooms that only offer open-seating tournaments, just be a little more aware of collusion groups in your tournaments. Watch for the telltale signs of collusion--lots of re-raising, and chips placed in different positions on hole cards by the same player or players. For more on collusion sign languages, see my book "Dirty Poker" or refer to my "Collusionspeak" article in Bluff Magazine's October edition (Bluff Europe as well).

December 5, 2007

"Unless you're counting cards at blackjack, avoid handheld games, especially at small out of the way casinos."

Although cheating by blackjack dealers in casinos is rare, it does occasionally happen. When it does, ninety-nine percent of the time it's in handheld games, where the dealer can peek at the top card and deal seconds. Usually this involves a dealer helping his partner playing on the game win, and in order to conceal this, he must help other players lose. So if you're not counting cards you have nothing to gain by playing the single and double-deck blackjack games. Just go find yourself tables using card shoes and automatic shufflers.

December 4, 2007

"If you're gonna play poker in the neighborhood, best is to play in your own backyard."

This means that there are lots of crooked players in home games, some of whom you may work with or even be friends with, so always be on the lookout. When the games are at their houses, they have more opportunities to cheat you, i.e. use marked cards, hidden mirrors or even cameras to see your cards. But when they come to your house, they can't really insist on using their cards, can they?

December 3, 2007

When playing poker online, track your hands and determine if you are losing more pots on the river to either of two or three players, regardless which one of them wins the pots. Then examine hands that you folded on the turn after a raise or reraise. If the last raisers in these pots are the same two or three players more often than normal, you may be getting chopped up in a collusion game.

December 1, 2007

"Cheat with your head, not over it!".......I'm only kidding!

Here's the real tip: "While playing cardroom poker, don't peek at your hole cards until it's time for you to act."

By adopting this practice you will cut down on opportunities for others to cheat you.
Most professionals won't look at their hole cards until it's their turn to act. There are intelligent reasons for this, and it's definitely something you should do yourself. Why? Because there's simply no upside to looking at your hole cards before it's your turn to act. You shouldn't need much time to decide whether you want to play the hand, especially if you're seasoned. But more important than this, if anyone's out to snatch up your hole card information, they will have more time to do so. With the advent of hidden micro cameras, this high-tech cheating is now a reality.

Most poker players like to believe they have faces of stone. They think they're incapable of revealing any physical tells. This is not true. Everyone has tells, even professionals, and if you watch players at the table carefully, you'll eventually spot them. The same thing applies to you. Pros, or even good amateurs, will catch on to your tells, so in effect, by allowing this to happen you are cheating yourself.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Reckless Driving Card-Marker pulled over in Connecticut

A reckless driver marking cards in the fast lane of the Mohegan Sun Casino's poker room apparently ran one red light too many...he got caught! Was he really using Vaseline?

Here's the article:


November 17, 2007 -- A Brooklyn man played a fast one at Connecticut's Mohegan Sun casino when workers caught him marking cards while playing Texas Hold 'Em, officials said.

Sholem Weisner, 26, of Williamsburg, had been cheating the casino for several days and was found with $55,000 in his hotel room when he was busted on Thursday night, Connecticut State Police said.

"He obviously was defacing the cards in a way that obviously would not be detected," Sgt. William Griffin told The Norwich Bulletin. "He was good at it."

Staff at the casino - which is located on an Indian reservation in eastern Connecticut - started picking up on the marked cards. They then reviewed surveillance footage and spotted Weisner playing poker at a table in the Casino of the Sky.

When they confronted the brazen gambler, they realized Weisner had been tossed out of the casino in September 2006 for cheating, Griffin said.

Normally, casino officials put known card sharps on a list barring them from ever entering again, but this time Weisner checked in using player reward and Social Security cards that belonged to a friend.

"He came here to get some money from the casino," Griffin said. "He came here specifically to make some money and got caught."

A spokeswoman for Mohegan Sun declined to comment.

Marking cards involves bending or gently creasing specific cards in a way that allows the sharp to track the location of certain high cards as they make their way around the table.

Sometimes, cheaters even use dollops of Vaseline to mark the cards.

Weisner was charged with felony charges of cheating, first-degree larceny and criminal trespass and was released on $5,000 bond.

His name was also passed on to officials at Connecticut's Foxwoods Resort Casino as well as casinos in Atlantic City.

The alleged flim-flammer has a long history of playing fast and loose with money and with the law.

He has several liens against him for failing to pay traffic tickets in New Jersey and for several thousand dollars in credit-card debts.

He is also listed as a persistent violator by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, whose records show Weisner has committed an almost endless list of traffic infractions, from running red lights, talking on a cellphone behind the wheel, speeding, and driving without a seat belt.

And he has failed to pay tickets at least 13 times, according to the records.

Neighbors in his South Williamsburg building on Hewes Street described Weisner, an Orthodox Jew, as little more than a con man.

One woman - who declined to give her name - dismissed him as a "lowlife."

Another said, "He is just dumb. And now he has ruined his life."