Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cheating at Blackjack: What's the Best Blackjack Cheating Move Ever?

I am often asked this question. Now card counting is not a cheating move, so I can't consider that, despite the publicity of the Kevin Spacey movie 21 coming out in on March 28. So here is the best blackjack cheating move of all time:

The Blackjack Ten-Oh-Five

In this blackjack chip-switch, for 25 years the bread and butter move of the famous Classon Pastposting Team, one “mechanic/claimer” (MC) walks up to a blackjack table as the dealer is sweeping up the cards after paying and taking bets from the previous round. He places three red $5 chips on the first betting circle to the dealer's right, the position we called 3rd base. As he sits down he places five purple $500 chips and one $5 chip on the layout in front of him, covering them with his right hand in the same motion so that they remain hidden from everyone else in the casino. These are the chips that are going to form the move, which is two $500 chips and one $5 chip on top (thus its name “Ten-Oh-Five,” which correlates to the amount, $1,005), and the three remaining $500 chips that are called “backup chips” and will serve their purpose after the move goes down.
With his left hand, the MC plays the cards, giving the hit and stand signals to the dealer. At 3rd base, he is the last to play his hand, but the first to receive the dealer's attention after the round is finished and all the cards played. This meant that he would be the first paid on winners, the first to have his chips swept on losers. The importance of the 3rd base position was the angle it formed between its betting circle and the dealer's head while the dealer performed the mechanics of paying bets on the layout. The blackjack move could also be done from the other positions, but 3rd base was optimum. Each spot to the right of it made the move slightly tougher.

During the play of the hand, the MC never lifts his right hand off the five purple and one red chip hidden on the layout in front of him. If he loses the hand he simply gets up and goes to another table inside the casino. He cannot make a second bet at the same table because he has been established by the casino as a red-chip player. When he wins the hand, he prepares the move by cutting the top three move chips (two purples and a red) and waits for the dealer’s payoff, which is obviously going to be three red $5 chips. Once the dealer slides the three red chips into the three red chips the MC had bet, the MC's left hand eases out onto the betting circle and scoops up the original three red chips he’d bet, while his right hand lays in the two purple $500 chips with the red-chip capper (chip on top) exactly where the three original chips had been. All in the same motion, the MC’s left hand dumps the three reds removed from the layout in his left jacket pocket, while the right hand chases down the dealer's hand and taps it. As the MC goes into his claim, both his hands are completely empty and exposed palms-up. And now his three purple $500 backup chips are in plain view. The dealer will be shocked by the MC’s touch. No matter how soft, it is reverberating because a player never touches a dealer's hand at the blackjack table. Even a soft touch to the hand is the equvalent of whacking the dealer in the head with a bat!
Then the MC “claims” the move. "Hey!" he says harshly, "you paid me wrong! I bet $1,000 here! You paid me $15. What is this nonsense!" Then with a little flick of his index finger, he kicks the three red chips that the dealer had paid out of the betting circle. This is done to subconsciously urge the dealer to put those chips back in his rack, so when the floorman arrives he'd only see the MC's $1,005 bet and purple backup chips on the layout, and be sold that the MC is a legitimate big player. The dealer follows the cue and puts the three reds back in the rack, then pays the MC two $500 purples and a red, after receiving the floorman’s permission, which is granted as the dealer normally tells him that he simply didn’t see the purple chips underneath the red and therefore took the bet for (what is was) three $5 chips.

The move is very psychologically powerful, as that gentle tap to the dealer’s hand renders the dealer helpless and makes him believe he actually misread the bet, which is physically impossible on a blackjack table.

Then to continue the psychological dominance, a standard “bet-back” procedure is used where the MC changes one of his $500 chips for five black $100 chips, then bets two of those blacks with a red capper on the following hand. This shows more purple action to the floorman and keeps conformity to the odd quirk the MC has of capping large denomination chips with a red $5 chip, moves all subtly laced to prevent the casino staff from becoming suspicious.

This move had a whopping payoff rate of over 95% and was also done with $1,000 chips underneath $25 chips and $5,000 chips underneath $100 chips. And the amazing thing about it was that with each step upward in denomination used, the payoff rate only increased! In fact, 151 moves using two chocolate-colored $5,000 chips under one black $100 chip were paid consecutively without a single “miss!” That is $9,800 profit a pop!