Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sexiest Roulette Cheat Ever!

When you think of people who cheat casinos and poker, you probably think of cool and suave male characters, maybe like a James Bond type. But, in fact, the central figure in what was probably the greatest roulette scam of all-time was a terribly sexy Frenchwoman. I imagine that most of you have heard about roulette computers and scanners embedded in cell phones used to predict with great accuracy on which numbers the little ivory roulette ball will land inside the spinning wheel. Well, those scams, including the most well-known one at the London Ritz Casino in 2004, are great, but how 'bout the ideal scam where you not only predict where the roulette ball will land but actually take control of the ball and make it land there!

This was actually done, believe it or not, way back in the summer of 1973, decades before the advent of cell phones and portable laser scanners. But there were ham radios in existence, and one French ham radio buff employed as a roulette dealer at the Casino Deauville on the Atlantic coast built a radio transmitter into a pack of cigarettes, embedding the tiny weightless receiver into a roulette ball made by a sculptor friend that he snuck into play while hiding the legitimate roulette ball in his pocket, and then switching the balls again when his casino shift was over. With the gaffed ball in play, his brother-in-law placed big bets while his sister, a sexy raven-haired temptress, softly pressed an invisible button on the cigarette pack as the ball was spinning, sending it into a controlled dive which resulted in the ball’s landing in groups of six numbers with ninety percent accuracy. In a week the Casino Deauville was beat for five million francs ($1 million at the time).
The owners of the casino could not figure out what was hitting them. First they thought the wheel itself was defective and that somebody had measured it. They had experts come in and completely dismantle the wheel, examine every working piece integral to the ball's spinning around the disk and the wheel's revolutions in the opposite direction. When the astonished owners were told that the wheel was in perfect balance, and that there was not even the slightest imperfection which could produce biased outcomes, they began suspecting the dealer. They watched him secretively from above, but his motion was the same every time; he was doing nothing out of the ordinary to control the movement of the ball. It always made the same number of revolutions before going into its descent.
The scam was truly a marvel, and neither the ball nor the cigarette pack ever malfunctioned. Like most ingenious scams do, it came apart for a reason that had nothing to do with the scam. The problem was that the dealer's sexy raven-haired sister was a bit TOO sexy and drew the attention of the principal casino owner who wanted to make her his mistress. He had subtly approached her in the casino several times while she was working the gadget. Being a chain smoker, he was often asking her for a cigarette with his apologies. The raven-haired beauty was cool and able to operate despite the man's presence. She told her husband about his advances, but he replied that the owner's libido couldn't hurt the scam, so they continued.

Finally, the owner—-realizing he was going nowhere fast with the temptress-—began watching her from a different eye. Why was she so often in the casino, apparently alone? Why did she always stand by the same roulette table without making more than an occasional bet? And most of all, what was the connection between her and that table losing so much money whenever she was in the casino? All the answers came when the owners, at last suspecting some kind of radio interference with the roulette wheel, had an expert debugging crew come in and sweep the casino while the wheel was in action. The next time the principal casino owner asked the temptress for a cigarette, the chief of the Deauville Police Force was there at his side to confiscate the pack and put the lovely raven-haired beauty in handcuffs.

This scam, which became known as the "French Cigarette Scam," was decades ahead of its time, and there was a 1984 movie made about it called “Les Tricheurs,” which means “The Cheaters.” It certainly was a precursor to all today’s roulette scams involving computers and cell phones.

The only negative about the scam: the cigarettes were not really French. They were Marlboros!