Saturday, April 12, 2008

My First Cheat as a Roulette Mechanic

I spent 25 years of my life as a professional casino cheater and have done all sorts of cheat moves on all the table games, but it was always cheating at roulette that so thrilled me above the rest. Its history fascinated me. I was inspired by the almost romantic tales of grand roulette cheats who rubbed elbows with European royalty in the fabled casinos of Monte Carlo, and even more so when I discovered that some of that royalty were indeed roulette cheats themselves!

For me, roulette pastpost moves were works of art, consisting of choreographed patterns of betting schemes that had to be followed to a tee by each member of a highly coordinated pastposting team, allowing it to take complete control of the dealer's movements. I started my career as a casino cheat claiming pastposted bets at the roulette table and eventually worked my way up the team ladder to impress Joe Classon, the team leader and my mentor, who decided I was ready to get my first crack as a roulette mechanic, the key member of a roulette operation charged with switching in high denomination chips after the bet won--underneath the dolly! That is no easy task, and the first time I tried it I found out how truly difficult it was.

It happened in Aruba, where Duke Wilson, our main wheel mechanic, prepared me for my first attempt at a roulette pastpost. Here's the story of exactly what happened as taken from my book "American Roulette."

American Roulette:

In Aruba our attack was equally deployed with everything in our arsenal. The best thing about the “friendly little island” was that each time we had a miss none of the bosses became upset. So we just kept going back inside those casinos refusing our payoffs until they obliged. Joe and Duke decided that the atmosphere in Aruba was right for me to attempt my first roulette move as the mechanic. What a disaster that almost turned out to be!
We chose the Sonesta casino. I sat at the bottom of the table with Duke right next to me and Joe standing in front by the wheel, giving me the chin. The dealer had turned his back and Duke whispered, "Now!" I was so tensed-up with anticipation that I sprung forward as if I had been shot out of a cannon. My body collided hard against the edge of the table, which caused an aftershock that sent the dealer's marker spinning a few numbers up the layout and made winners of a few losing chips and vice-versa. The dealer saw the green chip I was trying to pastpost on the straight-up and yelled for the floorman as I "galloed" out of the casino.
My second straight-up attempt at the Holiday Inn was even worse.
The dealer, whose back had been turned as he reached into his well for chips, turned suddenly back toward the layout as my extended hand was gripping the marker. Panicking, I pulled my hand off the layout but forgot to release the marker. I had actually swiped the dealer's marker off the table. And somehow the dealer hadn’t seen me.
Duke, who again was sitting next to me, instructing, whispered sharply, "Wait! He'll turn back around." He kept his cool and didn't want me getting caught trying to replace the marker.
As I sat there shivering, the dealer paid outside bets on the layout, completely unaware of the marker’s disappearance. I knew that I had to put it back before he turned his attention to the inside bets, when he'd look directly at the chips surrounding the winning number, which peculiarly had no marker placed on top of it. But I had to wait and be patient. Of course, I would have preferred just getting up and flying right out of the casino, then jumping into the ocean, and might have done just that had Duke not been there to guide me safely back down to the layout.
Incredibly, the dealer did turn his back again without noticing the anomaly, and when Duke nudged me with his elbow, I managed to get the marker back on the winning number without further disrupting the layout. Later on, before exploding into laughter, Joe and Duke chided me about not being cool enough to have also slipped in the pastpost when the dealer gave me that second chance. In hindsight, I most definitely could have.
A few tries later, I finally succeeded pastposting a green chip straight up. Then from time to time over the years, Joe let me mechanic wheel moves, though I never became half the mechanic that Duke was.