Saturday, January 26, 2008

Casino Cheat Ordered to Pay Back Casino He Cheated!

Cheater ordered to reimburse casino; Supervisor of Rama mini-baccarat scam enters guilty plea
Posted By Tracy McConkey
Posted 1 day ago

One of a slew of people charged in a high-stakes gambling scam at Casino Rama has pleaded guilty.

John Tran, 27, who was considered to be one of the supervisors in a sophisticated criminal organization that targeted Casino Rama, as well as several casinos in the U.S., was ordered to pay back money he pilfered from the casino.
That's a laugh! I think it's the first time I ever heard of anyone having to pay back a casino money he stole from it without having been an employee. So here's my advice to all you potential casino cheaters: Each time you go out to cheat casinos and cheat, be prepared to say this in the event you get caught: "How 'bout I just give you back the money I ripped off and we call it even???

Yes, I'm only kidding!...Though I did once hear about an Australian cheater who was offered by the courts the opportunity to give back the money he cheated from the Melbourne Crown Casino, and they would drop the charges. He did and they did, so what the heck, but then again, Australia takes casino cheating a bit less seriously than some other locales. Here's the article about the recent court decision:

CHEATER ORDERED TO REIMBURSE CASINO; Head of Rama mini-baccarat scam enters guilty plea

One of a slew of people charged in a high-stakes gambling scam at Casino Rama has pleaded guilty.

John Tran, 27, who was considered to be one of the heads in a sophisticated criminal organization that targeted Casino Rama, as well as several casinos in the U.S., was ordered to pay back money he pilfered from the casino.

Tran pleaded guilty last week in Orillia to one count of cheating at play and one count of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

He was sentenced to time served, which was 236 days in custody since he was arrested last May 24. He was also given 18 months probation and was ordered to pay back $10,000 to Casino Rama.

Tran and 15 other people were arrested last May following a 44-month undercover investigation by the OPP, Windsor police, the FBI and police from several American states.

Last week, two more casino employees and one former employee were arrested in connection with the same scam, which brings the number of arrests to 18.

Police say the cheat team funnelled away more than $2 million from Casino Rama.

Friday, January 25, 2008

RFID Technology as a Game Protection Device?

Here's an article I wrote for iGaming Business on the effectiveness of RFID chips as a Game Protection device. Mainly, can RFID technology help stop casino cheaters? I think you will really enjoy this article as it's got some humor.


In an interview with MSN back in November, 2005, I was asked to speak about the effectiveness of RFID technology as a tool to prevent cheating and internal theft in casinos. My opinion then was rather negative, as I stated that although RFID was a great innovation for casinos to track the gambling activities of its customers, mainly enabling a precise determination of average bets that governs executive decisions regarding comp awards and other benefits, its effect would not be that demonstrative in combating casino cheaters and dishonest employees who steal. Has my opinion since changed?

In some ways, yes. At the recent G2E Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas I had the opportunity to speak with representatives of Progressive Gaming International and other companies involved with the producing and marketing of RFID technology. Going in, I had the pervasive opinion that skilled casino cheaters were capable of skirting or disarming anti-cheating technologies the way computer hackers write programs to break source codes and maneuver through security systems protecting government, banking and online gambling websites. Much of this predisposition was due to a similar experience I had back in 1993, while attending another gaming trade show in Las Vegas. There, I stumbled across a booth in which two Englishmen were demonstrating their “anti-pastposting” roulette wheel. To my amusement and consternation, I watched as one of them played the dealer, asking me—at the time the world’s most notorious casino cheater (unbeknownst to them)—to spread some bets over the layout. Then he spun the ball and in his classy British accent called out, “No more bets, please!” just as roulette dealers do in real casinos. As he said it, I saw him push a button built into the layout in his working well.

The second Englishman then advised me to “Go out and make a late bet.” As if I never tried that before! I chuckled to myself, then accommodated him, but as soon as my arm encroached into the betting area of the layout, a loud siren started barking at me and even turned the heads of passersby crossing in front of the booth. “You’re caught!” the second Englishman chirped with a smile. “You see, it’s impossible to pastpost a bet on these wheels and not get caught.” I nodded and then quipped back, “Unless the dealer forgets to push the button.” The three of us shared a laugh.

I have to say that I was quite impressed by their little gizmo, especially since at the time my livelihood was centered on pastposting roulette wheels. Their anti-pastposting device with its siren posed a real threat to the roulette operations of my cheating career, if ever it became standard on roulette tables the way hole card readers have on the world’s blackjack tables. Upon further conversation with the two Brits, I learned that their device had already been installed in several casinos in London and they were waiting for approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s Enforcement Division to get a field trial for it in Las Vegas. Well, this was more bad news for me and my team as we already had air tickets on a flight leaving for London two weeks later. We certainly were not about to cancel the trip; we figured we’d just stick to blackjack and baccarat to make our money.

In London, we soon found out that the Brits had not been bull----ing. Inside the very first elegant casino we entered, I noted that half the roulette tables had the pastposting alarm button in the dealer’s well, in the same spot I’d seen it on the prototype table at the Vegas gaming expo. As bad luck would have it, the wheels without the device were full, so our choice was either going up against the anti-pastposting roulette tables or attacking blackjack and punto banco. Just about ready to concede roulette defeat and head to blackjack, an idea struck me. I suddenly said to my partners, “I think I figured out how to beat this thing.” They both looked at me confusedly; one asked simply, “How?” I smiled, “We get them to shut the damn alarm siren off.”

The three of us sat at one of the anti-pastposting tables. We were all accompanied by our girlfriends, all of whom were willing to do what it took to help our cause. For the time, we were in an experimental phase, trying to defuse what was the first ever non-surveillance electronic attempt to block cheating at the tables. Everyone at the table was in a typical European roulette frenzy (roulette tables there tend to have much more action than in the US and Asia) to get all their bets on the layout when the gentleman dealer called, “Finish betting please,” and then closed off the betting with a sweep of his arm above the layout. Everyone, including us, obediently stopped betting. But then my partner Joe, sitting across the layout from the dealer and acting on cue, asked my girlfriend Dawn, who sat at the bottom of the table, if she had a spare cigarette. Dawn said, “Sure,” reached into her handbag, grabbed her pack of Marlboros and passed them to Joe, purposely letting her arm cross over the betting area of the layout. The anti-pastposting siren went off and Dawn got scolded by the dealer, who said strongly but politely, “Please don’t reach over the layout until I open the betting for the next spin.” Dawn apologized, then the dealer explained that the device was there to prevent late-betting, using the customer-friendly casino euphemism for pastposting. Dawn blushed and apologized again.

When the dealer waved off the betting on the following spin, Dawn asked my other partner Mark, standing at the only position allowed on the inside of the table, for a light. Mark immediately removed his lighter from his pocket and passed it across the layout to Dawn. The siren went off again. This time the dealer’s reprimand not to reach over the layout was noticeably less polite. When the betting was closed on the third spin and Tina, Mark’s girlfriend, “accidentally” lost control of one of her rolling chips and reached onto the layout to retrieve it, again setting off the device, the dealer’s rebuke carried a swift and nasty tone. But we didn’t stop our barrage of setting of the siren. It soon turned into a “sirenfest” that was not only upsetting the dealer and the rest of the casino personnel in the pit, but also embarrassing the other players at the table not with us. Finally, as we all pretended to be getting drunk and continued our disrupting forays onto the green roulette felt, the supervisor in charge of the game ordered the dealer to shut off the siren. The dealer flicked a switch, disarmed it, and in doing so opened our path to pastposting the anti-pastposting roulette table, which we did successfully and got the money. Soon after that London trip, those anti-cheating roulette tables disappeared forever from the casino landscape.

Back at the G2E in Vegas, with this humorous roulette incident on my mind, I engaged the PGI representative in conversation about how RFID chips and table technology could render cheating useless. We spoke in depth about bet-pressing, pastposting and pinching (decreasing the bet after a losing outcome is known). I was now interested from a different perspective, not as a cheater but as a game protection consultant searching for the right advice I could give my casino clients. The strengths of RFID chips are obvious. They do register on a monitor when they are placed in the sensitized betting areas. If a cheater tries any of the chip manipulation techniques, the changes in number of chips and chip-value amount will register fast enough to possibly thwart the cheater. But notice I said “possibly.” Why? Because the fact that the technology picks up the manipulation of chips and transmits it to a monitor does not alone seal the deal. Firstly, the dealer does not look at this monitor, so he is unaware of the cheating move unless he actually sees it. Second, the floor supervisor assigned the particular game will probably not be watching the monitor inside the pit at the precise moment the cheating move happens, so unless there is an audible alert, he can miss it too. Granted, the alert will also be visible on monitors in the surveillance room, but will surveillance operators be tuned into quickly enough to A) see it, B) correctly evaluate it and C) transmit the information back down to the floor supervisor in the pit, quickly enough to hold up the cheater making the move? I really don’t have the answers to this, but clearly there is some doubt as to the system’s absolute effectiveness. What I do know is that RFID, just like surveillance cameras, will not adequately protect the casinos against cheaters if their human staffs are not on the ball.

There are other concerns I have about its effectiveness. The most important is the simple fact that RFID signals can easily be interfered with at the tables. With as little as an ordinary cell phone a cheater can hamper the signal and cause errors in the readings displayed on the monitors. Sophisticated cheaters using various electronic equipment would probably be able to immobilize the technology for lengthy periods of time, enabling them to engage in many cheating operations at the table that require a reduction of the casino’s ability to track their bets. Another potential problem is that cheaters can “traffic” the actual chips. What I mean by that is that they can take high-denomination chips off the table and out of the casino, where they can render the RFID chips within the casino chips useless. Then the casino chips become “RFID-invisible” on the tables, which for someone of my cheating ability opens up important opportunities. What comes to mind is my infamous “Savannah” move where I hid $5,000 chips underneath $5 chips to make dealers believe there were two $5 chips there. Suppose I trafficked a $5,000 chip and a $5 chip, then bet them with the $5,000 chip hidden. The bet would not register with RFID, and the dealer would not notice it since there are dozens of bets on the layout for every spin at a busy roulette table. If the bet loses and I rake it off unseen, the casino won’t know it. If the bet wins and I claim the legitimate winner, the casino will balk at paying because it never registered with RFID. What happens next?

Well, the first thing the casino will think is that those winning chips are counterfeit because they didn’t register with RFID. They would then have to notify the gaming authorities who’d come to the casino and investigate the suspicious incident. After reviewing surveillance tape and finding no evidence of a cheating move, the only thing to resolve would be whether the chips are genuine or counterfeit. I imagine the only way to do that would be to bring in the actual manufacturer of the chips to make the verification. Hopefully, they’d be able to do so, but my point is that I would have gotten away with the scam because I trafficked the chips. Another crucial element to this potential breach is having the ability to reactivate the deactivated RFID chip in a casino chip, so that upon redeeming their chips at the cage, cheaters’ chips would register normally on the monitors and thus be cashed out without question.

So, what’s my overall conclusion? RFID technology will wipe out most forms of cheating involving chip manipulation, including those mentioned above. Only the best of the best cheating teams practicing chip manipulation will find ways to beat RFID, and only some of them will be profitable enough to warrant their efforts. RFID will also help expose betting patterns that cheaters often use to obtain the big-denomination chips they need for their moves, and make it easier for casino employees on the floor to recognize “offset” betting patterns used by cheaters trying to camouflage their scams and phony high rollers looking to bilk casinos out of comps for false play. On the other hand, RFID as it now exists will do nothing to thwart cheating operations based on card-marking or card manipulation, nor will it prevent ball-tracking roulette scams and craps moves involving manipulation or modification of dice. It could, however, depending on its application, make it more difficult for dealers working with or without agents to steal chips, and it certainly would make it a world more difficult to counterfeit chips...or should I say counterfeit RFID chips?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Poker Lists Poker Portals Poker Informational Sites Poker Tips

How many are there? I give up. I couldn't even guess how many zeros would follow the main integer. But are any of them better or more informational than others? Especially if you're looking for information on which online poker rooms are safer and less vulnerable to the types of cheating incidents we've seen in 2007. Well, I can tell you this: I have done lots of research on these Poker Listings sites, especially when compiling my online poker reviews page, and have found the overall content on most of them to be excellent. Some of the better ones can be linked to from this page and my home page. However, there is not much information about the general safety of particular online gaming sites. I am not talking about the safety of the operating software; as a given, practically all of it being used today by the sites is extremely safe, and if the best of the best hackers can figure out a way to bypass security codes and get inside one of them, they'd probably be able to get inside any of them.

What I am talking about is the more common forms of online poker cheating, mainly collusion play and the use of bots. True, many of these poker informational sites report on major incidents such as the Absolute Poker Scandal, but as far as I know, none of them keep regular pages or even parts of poker pages devoted to cheating. For now, I try to do my share by posting my online poker safety ratings, detailing which of the online poker sites are the safest and riskiest, but soon I will get into this aspect of online poker in a much more detailed way.

Tomorrow: Game Protection Article for casino executives and those of you who are interested in what some of the realities are in this field, including attendees of the World Game Protection Conference.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

MIT Blackjack Team Card Counting Classes By Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus Blackjack Card Counting and Advantage Play Courses Now Available

I am now offering intense "Beat the Heat" Blackjack Card-Counting seminars and Advantage Play courses. I will teach you the exact same card-counting and tracking methods taught by the ex-MIT Blackjack Team members, but with an added invaluable element that makes my courses better. I will really show you how to BEAT THE HEAT while you're playing. Counting systems are not difficult to learn. What makes the good teams successful is the ability to play "clean," without taking heat from the pit for as long as possible. This is my TRUE specialty. Because of my unique intuition and knowledge for sniffing out heat and the right playing conditions in blackjack pits, I was able to cheat casinos for 25 years without ever getting caught. I will also teach you special tricks the MIT guys do not know about, camouflaging not only your play but also measures to be taken BEFORE your blackjack play and AFTER it, both intrinsic to your success. This kind of advantage you will NEVER get from the MIT courses. So if you want to beat the casinos at Blackjack using card-counting and sophisticated advantage play, I'm the guy to teach you...PERIOD.

My prices are the same as the MIT courses, but in effect less because I come to you. I charge $5,000 for a one-day course or $8,000 for a two-day course. All courses can be attended by one to ten persons, the prices remaining the same. I will come to YOUR location and pay all my travel and lodging expenses if the courses take place in North America. For other locations there is an additional travel and lodging cost of $1,000. The courses will be held in a hotel conference room.

My classes will provide a full day of expert instruction and hands-on training. Not only will you be taught the art and science of card counting, you will also have the opportunity to ask questions and apply what you learn in break-out practice sessions at multiple blackjack tables.

I will also detail a virtually unknown and undetectable card-counting method. Read about it here.

My courses will also provide you with everything else needed to know for the protection of your operation--from how to dress to how to enter the casino to how to obtain your chips to how to approach the table to how to conduct yourselves at the table to how to leave the table and, most important, how to carefully cash out your chips and other essential information pertaining to your chip inventory, especially when working several different casinos in the same gambling town.

In a personal and interactive learning environment, I will include the following topics and more:

* Basic Strategy
* Counting Systems
* Running Count
* True Count
* Speed Count
* Betting Strategies
* New Wave Counting
* Deck Estimation
* Standard Deviation
* Money Management
* Self-Training Techniques
* Blackjack Tournaments
* Card Counting & The Law (all jurisdictions)
* Game Selection
* Table Selection
* Team Play
* Individual Play

Please contact me to book your courses at:

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Taxi Drivers / Angry Reader Blasts My Flush Magazine Article


How ubiquitous have online poker ads become? Well, read this and you’ll see!
LONDON — Taxi drivers here have never been shy about sharing their views. George W. Bush? The royals? Cabbies are sure to have an opinion. But what if they start talking about Texas Hold ’em or a royal flush?

In a promotional campaign for, an online gambling business, 375 London taxis have been decked out with advertisements for the company’s Web site. Most cabs are simply moving billboards for 888, which provides online poker and other kinds of gambling.

But in 10 cabs, the marketing pitch goes further. The drivers may seek to engage passengers in conversation about poker. If customers take the bait, the drivers try to steer the conversation gently toward Those who show particular interest may be given coupons offering free hands of virtual cards — worth as much as $10 — on the poker site.

Taxi Promotions UK, the agency that set up the campaign, calls its roving pitchmen ambassador drivers. Since the program was set up more than a decade ago, the drivers have served as informal representatives for a variety of tourism destinations and charities.

Now Taxi Promotions is trying to expand the ambassador program, creating a unit called Womad Taxis, short for “word of mouth.” It aims to capitalize on the growing interest in word-of-mouth advertising, which is based on the notion that consumers place more trust in something they hear directly from another person, rather than something they learn through the media.

PQ Media, a research firm in Stamford, Conn., estimates that marketers in the United States alone spent $1.35 billion on word-of-mouth marketing last year, up 38 percent from a year earlier.

The fastest growth in word-of-mouth advertising has been on the Internet, where marketers are working with blogs, social networking sites and other forms of communication to try to get ordinary consumers to spread the word about their products and services. Web-based buzz is easier to track than offline word of mouth.
A taxi ride gives marketers something they find increasingly elusive — a captive audience — at a time when consumers are bombarded with commercial messages and when digital technology gives them the power to skip TV ads.

The average London taxi ride lasts 16 minutes, said Asher Moses, managing director of Taxi Promotions. In a normal day, a driver picks up 40 to 60 fares; multiply that by 10 drivers, for the 888 campaign, and the audience that can be reached is sizable.
Taxi Promotions is training more drivers; Mr. Moses said he wanted to have as many as 300 involved within a year. Already, 888 has signed up for a bigger campaign, involving 20 drivers, for the introduction of a bingo Web site next month.

Matt Robinson, the marketing director of 888, said the company was paying about half a million dollars for the campaign. Online gambling, which is banned in the United States, Germany and other countries, is legal in Britain, as is advertising of such sites.

Mr. Moses said drivers generally had not been given formal training.
Sometimes they have received free trips to destinations promoted on the exteriors of their cabs — to acquaint them with the hotels, restaurants and beaches at tourist hot spots in Thailand, for instance.

“The driver can choose what he wants to point out,” Mr. Moses said. “It’s not a hard-core sales talk; it’s sort of a subliminal talk.”

But now Taxi Promotions is fine-tuning the program, bringing drivers together with advertisers so they can discuss ways to promote the product, service or destination.
Marketing specialists are working with the drivers to explain the best ways to engage different audiences in conversation.

Mr. Robinson said the 888 campaign had been successful, but he acknowledged that it was difficult to measure its effects.

And then there is another problem with relying on taxi drivers: Some people would rather spend their cab rides speaking on their cellphones, reading the newspaper or looking out the window in silence.

“There are two kinds of passengers,” said Mr. Moses, a former cabby who set up Taxi Promotions in 1995. “There are those who interact with the driver and those who don’t.”


Well, when you write the controversial articles that I write, you have to be prepared for the criticism, even when it’s a bit more than called for. Here’s a reader’s attack on my article that’s appeared on several blogs, followed by my rebuttal:
Reader’s critique to magazine editor:

OK, I'm going to have a bit of a rant. Make yourselves a cup of tea and sit down. In case anybody didn't realize, the article that swampster and I were talking about was by Richard Marcus, the self-confessed and unrepentant cheat, who (realizing that nobody's likely to offer him a job in any establishment that doesn't keep the paper clips under lock and key) has rebranded himself as an "expert" on cheating. Now I'm not getting at you personally, Jon. In fact, what really made me see red was an article by him in another magazine, on collusion in the WSOP. This article had a lot in common with his Flush article on players in HSP not really playing for the high stakes that they "pretend". In neither case did he give any evidence for his accusations. In neither case did he even claim that he had any evidence for his accusations. No, in both cases his entire case was that, with a lot of money at stake, it was inconceivable that there wasn't dodgy business going on. Pure speculation.

Now, if Mr. Marcus has something to say about the mechanics of cheating at casino games, he may well have some insight that most of us don't. If he has something to say about detecting cheaters, then I concede that he is probably well-qualified to speak. But when it comes to what people in general will do when faced with a situation where they might gain by cheating, then he's one of the least qualified people to give an opinion. We can probably place Mr. Marcus fairly uncontroversially in the bottom percentile of the population, ranked by integrity. What on earth does he know about how likely people with a normal share of moral fibre are to cheat? If you'll forgive a rather tasteless comparison, it's like getting Harold Shipman's opinion on how doctors in general are likely to deal with vulnerable patients. (Shipman is a doctor convicted of killing hundreds of his trusting patients in the UK.)

Now, I'm not saying that I know there is no collusion in the WSOP (with the large number of players involved, I'm sure there must be some bad apples). I'm not saying that I know that the players on HSP don't reduce their risk behind the scenes (I have no idea). I'm just saying that both of these articles were almost entirely free of content: no information, just baseless accusations.


I am used to these kinds of comments and understand them. When I released my book "Dirty Poker" and gave my opinion about major online poker cheating including hole-card reading, people called me basically the same things as the writer of these comments. And what happened in 2007? We saw the Absolute, Full Tilt and Ultimate Bet scams which only proved me right. When I said that the Fox Sports Net $60 million freezeout (where each of six players was to put up $10 million in a winner-take-all) was bullshit, I was attacked the same way. Funny, though, right after my book, Fox cancelled it. So now that when I say GSN is bullshit, I get the same response.

The problem is that I write about things before they happen, when no one wants to hear about them. Then when they turn out to be true, no one gives me credit because my warnings were long ago forgotten. Naturally my take on GSN's High Stakes Poker IS nothing more than an opinion, but it's based on very deductive analysis of what I see going on. Look, let's face it: if I could prove that the show is a fake and the players have prearranged agreements not to lose any money, then there would be no show and the players wouldn't be interested in doing it.

Remember, scams are only scams once they are caught.

Nobody wants to listen to the warnings in advance because everyone is having so much fun watching the show, especially when these warnings are coming from someone who is an admitted ex-cheater. But this does not mean that I as an ex-cheater can't be believed. Even though this is ONLY my opinion about "High Stakes Poker," I am certainly more qualified that most people (including poker players) to recognize the elements of a poker or gambling scam. So instead of dismissing my comments as ridiculous, try heeding them now, and please, remember to send me an e-mail in a year or two or three, when you can say "Richard, you told me so!"

Again, my article never stated to have evidence. I am just trying to get people to think about things they might not want to believe are going on.

Remember: where there is poker and gambling, there is certainly more deviousness and corruption than in just about every other sector in life. That's not to say anything close to a majority of people playing poker are prone to cheating, simply that more cheating and scams happen in this venue than in practically all others.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Poker Cheating / My First Casino Cheating Novel!

In some communities, the authorities will not only not tolerate poker cheating, they won't even tolerate illegal non-cheating poker! In San Mateo, California, a suburb of San Francisco, the cops actually conducted an undercover investigation to bust up what wasn't anything more than a friendly home poker game. Some people, including myself, might think that this was a bit over the top.


SAN MATEO — A raid on a poker operation in the San Mateo Highlands has the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office battling accusations that it overplayed its hand.

Participants in the game argue it was a friendly, low-stakes affair — not the den of iniquity portrayed by authorities. After a three-month undercover investigation, 15 officers from the Sheriff's Office and the state Department of Justice poured into the house Saturday afternoon with guns drawn.

They arrested organizer Bert Cardenas on charges of fraud and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and participant Trish McCoy on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The minor was McCoy's 13-year-old son, who allegedly participated in some of the games.

The raid shocked some participants, who argued it was overkill for a social game with buy-ins of $25 to $55. News has since spread to Web sites such as and Boing Boing, where it has sparked criticism and discussion about the laws surrounding home poker games.

Police and neighbors, however, say the operation was getting out of hand and needed to be shut down.

A Sheriff's Office news release following the arrests charged that Cardenas organized the poker games "to fraudulently obtain money from the unwitting participants." While private poker games are legal, the organizer is not allowed to collect any money from the participants.

Cardenas allegedly collected $5 from every participant for "refreshments,"
and he took extra money from buy-ins for a "freeroll" tournament that police believe paid out less than Cardenas took in.

Philip Travisano, a San Mateo graphic designer who regularly played in the games but wasn't there Saturday, said he's not surprised to hear of the raid. "I'm not clear on all the laws, but it was my impression that to take a rake or a fee to play a home game was illegal."

Travisano took issue, however, with police's description of the participants as "unwitting." He noted that the games were advertised openly on and drew a diverse crowd of professionals from around the area.

"As far as Bert, I know he was doing it for the love of poker, not making profit on this," Travisano said. "There was no cheating, no shills, nothing fraudulent going on."

Teresa Benitez, a Stanford master's-degree student who played Sunday, agreed. "Definitely, nobody felt like they were being cheated. We're hoping this all gets sorted out so we can start again."

Alcantara contends the bust was carried out professionally, and was fully justified based on information obtained by undercover officers who infiltrated the game. He believes the players were being scammed, whether they knew it or not.

Alcantara also objected to misinformation posted on some of the message boards about the raid.

He said the Sheriff's Office investigators didn't set out to break up a home poker game. They were just responding to neighbors' complaints of noise and other quality-of-life issues associated with the games, which often drew 20 to 30 people to the quiet, hilly neighborhood west of San Mateo.

Cary Weist, president of the local neighborhood association, said the problem has grown over time. "People want to come home and see it as their sanctuary, and all of a sudden there's anywhere from 20 to 40 cars in a one-block area — and they stay 'til the wee hours of the morning."

Residents also have noticed a jump in burglaries since the games began, Weist added.

When police found out the issues stemmed from a gambling operation, Alcantara said, they were obliged to look into it, along with state gambling control officials. Seeing adults gambling against a minor was the clincher, he said.

"If the adults are not going to look out for the welfare of this kid, we have to act."

Alcantara debunked rumors that any child was taken into protective custody by police. A minor on scene during the raid — not the one who had previously gambled in the games — was referred to relatives because a parent was arrested.


After writing five books about casino cheating, poker cheating and identity theft, I have decided to plunge into the world of fiction. Naturally my first novel will have a Las Vegas backdrop, and of course there is some hefty casino cheating in it. It is called "DEADLY DEALER." The synopses follows. What I am proposing to you is that with my blog entry each day, I include 5 pages of the book (more or less depending on feedback). But I don't want to do this unless there is interest in my readership. So please, IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN MY NOVEL TO START, PLEASE E-MAIL ME AND TELL ME! I will only do this if there are a sufficient number of people who wish to read it. And then I will continue posting pages if the readership continues.


In “Deadly Dealer,” LANCE MITCHELL, an ex-con who’d served four years in Texas for manslaughter that was really self-defense, is now a Las Vegas blackjack dealer in the palatial Poseidon Casino. Nine years earlier he had stolen $500 in chips from his blackjack table at the downtown Fremont Casino, where he first dealt the game. He’d done that only once in a desperate situation to make ends meet. Since then he has married, had two children, gotten his life together and become an upstanding citizen of Las Vegas. But then he is blackmailed by Poseidon casino owner ART RUSK into cheating the high rollers gambling at his blackjack table. RUSK’s giant casino has been hit with an unbelievable streak of bad luck and is facing ruin, and this is RUSK’s last desperate act to save it. LANCE must obey because RUSK has threatened to expose LANCE’s long-ago crime at the Fremont and have his gaming license revoked, and worse, sent back to prison. He is shown a surveillance videotape of his taking the chips. Even though LANCE complies, he keeps his predicament hidden from his loving and supportive wife, LINDA, and their children.

RUSK uses his two most trusted and crooked casino employees, casino manager JACK SARGE and security chief ED WHITTEN, to teach LANCE the dirty tricks of the trade, mainly using marked cards that can only be seen with special contact lenses worn by the dealer. LANCE is told to deal “seconds” to cheat the unsuspecting high rollers. As the tremendous dirty-money-making scam moves along, LANCE believes that he is the only Poseidon casino dealer forced to deal seconds and that his terrible secret will remain protected. But then he is assaulted on his table by HATASHI HIROSHI, one of the three HIROSHI BROTHERS, a Japanese syndicate of multi-million-dollar gamblers who have lost their entire fortune at LANCE’s crooked table and then commit suicide in their Poseidon hotel suites because they have lost face back in Japan. LANCE knows he is largely responsible for their deaths and finds it increasingly difficult to continue on with the scam, but the vise he’s squeezed in is inescapable. If he stops participating in the scam, RUSK and his powerful partners will have him returned to prison. They constantly threaten him with the incriminating videotapes.

LANCE, overwhelmed by the pressure, tells his closest friend SCOTT, another Poseidon casino dealer, how RUSK and his associates have forced him to cheat the HIROSHIS. LANCE had been warned and threatened repeatedly by WHITTEN to keep his mouth shut and the scam secret. He soon realizes that he should have heeded that advice when SCOTT disappears, presumably killed by the wicked trio running the casino. At the same time, LANCE is now dogged by two Las Vegas police detectives who also know he’s an ex-con. They tell him that they suspect the HIROSHIS were victimized at his blackjack table and that RUSK was behind it. They threaten him with prison if he’s covering up for the Poseidon. LANCE resists out of fear for his family, but after constant badgering finally admits the scam to the cops, thinking they will save him from RUSK and that he won’t be charged in any crimes related to the scam or the HIROSHIS’ deaths. But it turns out that these cops are corrupt and on RUSK’s payroll. Their pursuit of LANCE was just a game engineered by RUSK to see if he could withstand the pressure and keep his mouth shut. LANCE now finds himself threatened again and feeling more hopeless than ever. Next he is accosted by Gaming Control Board agents who tell him that they are suspicious of the HIROSHIS’ losses and think RUSK is using him in a scam, just like the cops said. LANCE, desperately wanting to come clean, can’t because he suspects that the Gaming agents are also working for the omnipotent Rusk. If he opens his mouth again, he may end up buried in the desert. Finally, terrified beyond his worse nightmares, LANCE tells his wife, LINDA, what has happened.

After a terrible time of indecision, together they hatch a plot to not only free LANCE of his predicament but also to turn the tables on RUSK. First LANCE hires a private investigator to enter the casino and secretly film him cheating RUSK’s surviving high rollers. LANCE later sends the videotapes along with a microcassette recording of RUSK’s and his men’s voices to the authorities. But in the meantime they recruit LINDA’s best friend JACKIE, a cocktail waitress with a larcenous heart; her husband MARCO, an ex-Vegas cop with the helicopter unit; and PAUL (JACKIE’s brother), a computer whiz familiar with identity theft scams, to join their plot. PAUL creates new identities for himself and JACKIE as MR. STEVEN TAYLOR and his wife SHERRY, a wealthy New York couple with money to burn gambling at the Poseidon. RUSK, thinking he’s stumbled on a bonanza with this legitimate high-rolling couple, directs them to LANCE’s crooked blackjack table to be cheated. But instead of cheating the TAYLORS, LANCE turns the tables and deals them winner after winner. They end up bilking millions from the casino as RUSK, SARGE and WHITTEN watch hopelessly with livid disbelief.

After the rip-off, LANCE, JACKIE and PAUL must all escape RUSK and his evil men. JACKIE and PAUL simply walk out of the Poseidon casino with the money, protected by the gaming authorities who’ve supervised their massive cash-out and their own private security force. LANCE, however, must make a run for it on his own once he leaves the blackjack table. He sprints across the casino and is chased on foot along the crowded Las Vegas Strip by WHITTEN and his security goons. LANCE, his life in danger, jumps into a cab. WHITTEN, in hot pursuit, jumps into another cab behind him. The race is on to Red Rock Canyon in the desert, where MARCO is waiting with an escape helicopter they’ve hired with the help of MARCO’s retired police buddy. LANCE eventually makes it to the chopper after a thrilling car chase and MARCO flies them across the desert to California, where LINDA and their children have been waiting.

In the coming days as LANCE and his family begin setting up a new life in Carmel By the Sea, the incriminating evidence they had sent to the authorities causes RUSK, WHITTEN and SARGE to be indicted on numerous felony charges as well as the closure of the Poseidon.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Roulette Computers

I have some interesting news on the world of roulette computers being used to beat roulette in brick and mortar casinos. But before we get to that, here's what's going on in the mainstream:

Firstly, the war over selling roulette computers online continues between Stefano Hourmouzis and Mark Howe, among others rapidly entering the scene. There is still the constant barrage of accusations, warnings and even satellite photos on the Internet with one guy showing where the other lives in an effort to show how he's fallen on rough times. In fact, another online roulette computer seller recently threatened me because he wasn't satisfied with my evaluation of his equipment, although I had thought it was rather favorable. He said he was going to sue me for libel and attack my reputation. This mess has gone so far that now you can't even trust the roulette computer review sites, those that do not sell equipment but give their advice on its effectiveness after claiming to have thoroughly examined the equipment they're reporting on. You don't know who is behind or backing these sites or what to believe, and I would surely place much less faith in them than the reputable online poker portals out there. Even when one roulette computer reviewing site posts documentation for or against a particular computer or piece of equipment, the other will show you how that documentation is faulty, based on the levelness of roulette wheels that it was tested on or just about anything else that can be found to contradict it. So in short, you can't much trust these roulette computer "portals" either. In my opinion, as I have said before, some of these online computers costing a few thousand bucks or quid are effective in some ways, but unless you really know what you're doing in the casinos, you won't have much success.

Now for some real news: I have just received information that a major roulette device cheating team has been apprehended in Russia. I do know which casino this happened at but I have been told by someone whose info has always been reliable that it was some serious high-tech non-laser equipment that did not involve the use of cell phones, and it was supposedly much more sophisticated than the London Ritz scammers' equipment back in 2004, which of course it should be. I have ideas what the equipment entailed but I do not want to report on it before I get more from the source. It also seems that the casino was alerted to the team by an unhappy person either affiliated with the team or formerly affiliated with the team. Could be a jilted girlfriend or something like that.

As far as getting caught in Russia, I don't know what the laws are over there concerning gambling devices in casinos. I never cheated a Russian casino, and I surely hope for these guys that the punishment is not a free meal--laced with polonium-210!