Saturday, February 02, 2008

Major Casino Cheating Ring about to get busted in Connecticut!

Mohegan Sun Casino is again hit by Cheating Ring!

The details are fuzzy but here is the first news release about a major casino cheating operation going down at the Mohegan Sun.


MAN ARRESTED ON CASINO CHEATING CHARGE

The state police casino unit arrested a Memphis, Tenn., man Thursday in connection with a cheating incident at Mohegan Sun.

Richard S. Taylor, 41, was charged with first-degree larceny and cheating while gaming. He was served with an arrest warrant when he appeared in court on an unrelated charge, according to state police.

Taylor was held on a $100,000 cash bond and is scheduled to appear in Norwich Superior Court today.

State police said the arrest is part of an ongoing investigation and that more arrests are expected. No further information was available.

My take: What makes this big is the size of that cash bond, a hundred grand! I have never heard of Richard S. Taylor, but if he is being held on such a large bond for a casino cheating charge, then this has got to be the first drippings of a major casino storm. Remember, the huge international baccarat scam headed by the Tran Organization that got busted last May had victimized both the Mohegan Sun and its neighboring casino giant Foxwoods.

Stay tuned for more on this impending mega scam as soon as I get it.

Blackjack Cheating

What's the best method of live blackjack cheating?

We all know that blackjack card-counting is no longer considered cheating in any casino venue, at least not any that I know of. There are also other blackjack advantage play techniques that have passed below the bar that constitutes cheating in casinos. These are mostly the shuffle and ace tracking methods and their accompanying "steering" devices by which skilled practitioners of these plays use multiple-hand play to steer aces and tens into key hands off the first deal out of the card shoe. Early on, some jurisdictions considered those tricks illegal and actually arrested players caught doing it. But now, advantage players can do just about anything they want with not only their brains but also with their eyes to gain an edge on blackjack tables.

The fine line between advantage play and cheating is crossed when a player uses other parts of his body to gain the edge, mainly his hands but sometimes his feet as well. In short, anything done to observe and tally the cards at blackjack is not cheating. But anything done to gain an advantage through touch (except inserting the cut card) is most likely cheating. This includes, of course, marking cards, bending cards or any fashion of altering the cards even in the slightest way. And don't forget, cards can be marked in face-up shoe games where the players are not permitted to touch the cards after they are dealt from the shoe. I have seen players mark the cards through many ingenious means, one of which was a player gently touching cards with a chip that he gave to the dealer as a tip in the same motion, adding a "Thanks for the good cards" to further distract the dealers. The result was that the chip left a tiny nick in the center of the card that he could see when that card later appeared at the top of the shoe ready to be dealt.

So, what's the best method of cheating at blackjack?

It is still chip manipulation. Messing with the cards will get you caught and in a lot more trouble faster than messing with the chips. Good ol' pastposting and bet pressing when done right is the safest way to riches at the blackjack table, but unless you're really good and have perfected your craft, don't dare go out and try it. On the other side of the coin...or I should say chip...pinching or dragging, which is pulling chips off your bet when you've lost or think you're about to lose, is a little more dangerous.

If you want to see some good videos of some good bet pressing and bet pinching moves, check out You Tube

Friday, February 01, 2008

Online Poker Cheating Bots and Collusion Cheats

Online Poker Cheating

This article was written by someone supporting PokerStars as the safest online poker site. Obviously we have since learned that PokerStars is not the safest online poker room, but I thought this article was still insightful, and, much of what it says seems to support the findings in my 2006 book "Dirty Poker."

In my personal opinion, cheating is going to happen in online poker. Whether the cheating will actually by carried out by the actual poker site, is pretty hard to believe. An online poker site like Party Poker may have some problems, but I'm sure even they know that rigging the deck would be the absolute worst thing they could do to shoot themselves in the foot. There already exist a number of poker programs out there like Poker Tracker that are able to monitor hand histories on the poker sites with an incredible amount of detail. I'm sure some sophisticated players who have the capability have written their own poker tools for that matter.

What these programs can do, is create databases of games that occur on the poker site, which can then be statistically run through to look for inconsistencies. Although most players would never play enough to make a case for statistical deviance, professional players would definitely notice strange deviations in deck shuffles, draws and and other details with their trackers.

For instance, to hit a flush draw with two of your suit on the flop, the probability is about 35% from the flop to the river. In essence, the chance of the board having three to a suit fall is around 35%. Through tracking software, one can easily notice over 10,000 hands (what a professional probably plays in a month) any deviations in flushes. If flushes are falling 36% of the time, that's probably just a random blip. 37% and that's a big blip. If we get near 40% then there's definitely something to be looked into. Seeing how a pro player would have a database easily reaching into the hundreds of thousands of hands, they would definitely be able to judge the randomness of the deck (if they were technically able to run reports against their own data).

But so far, I haven't heard any reports of any bad deck dealing that has solid fact backing. That's not to say that there isn't, but the chances are unlikely.
Players Cheat with Bots and Collusion

The type of cheating that does go on falls into two categories of active cheating and passive cheating. Active cheating works just like it does in real life, where players work in teams to raise other players out of the pot or juice the pot for each other. This play manages to maximize value bets because both players are as far as money goes, playing as one. Fortunately, this style of play can usually be detected by the trained eye, although reporting this action usually will not result in anything. The poker sites usually have automated software that tries to interpret if you are engaged in this type of betting. I would imagine it tries to find if you are raising weak hands when you normally don't or if you constantly do better when playing with a certain player, etc. People are caught using these methods, just so you know.

Passive cheating is generally harder to catch and is also known as collusion. This is when players share their cards with one another to help them make better choices when it comes to odds. For the most part, this cheating is normally not very beneficial to the cheaters to begin with except in few situations where the information may actually help. With more than 2 players in on it however, it may become a problem with 4 players are all sharing information. This is difficult to catch because in this scenario, cheaters will fold their hand when they realize another one of theirs has a stronger hand. Since you can't see mucked cards online, it's impossible to know if people are folding monsters. However, the poker site may or may not be able to detect this type of play. For instance, if a flop showed A/K/2 and cheater #1 held KK while cheater #2 held AK, if cheater #2 folded to a bet from cheater #1, there should (one would hope) be some warning bells raised from the server end.

Lastly, there have been inquiries about the possibility of cheat software or ways to view your opponent's cards. Obviously these inquiries are usually made by players who want to cheat instead of the worried players. Coming from a computer background, I have a good knowledge of how most software applications are written and how server software operates. My assumption would be that Party Poker only sends to your computer data about the board and your hand. Only at showdown does it actually send data about other players to your computer. Sending the data for each player would be a completely insane approach in terms of security- and any good programmer would know not to write a server in this fashion. You can say your computer is on a "need to know basis" when it comes to poker data. Because of this, there is no feasible way to cheat because you are only limited to the amount of data you have on your computer. There is also close to a zero percent chance of being able to send data to online poker servers that would have you magically win a hand or get cards of your choosing. It would take deliberate coding on the part of the online sites to have this happen- and again, it would not be in their best interests (or so we hope).
Final Thoughts on Online Poker Cheating

So, should you worry about cheating? Probably not as much as you might think. At the higher limits, there may be more chance of passive and even active cheating, but by that point, you should know that if you're losing at a table- it's time to go. Don't fret too much over what you cannot control.

Again, if you still absolutely think that whatever site you are going to is cheating you out of your money, do yourself a favor and leave that site! I still recommend PokerStars if you insist on playing at the site with the most integrity.

The Best Card Trick Ever Done

Of all the casino scams, poker scams and gambling scams I've ever heard of, this one is the best of all-time. And it has a special twist. You see, I, Richard Marcus, probably the best poker-casino-cheating con man of all-time, was the victim! It went down like this:

One night twenty years ago while getting drunk in a New York Irish pub, the conversation turned to gambling and card playing. I was there with a girl I had met hours before in another pub that might also have been an Irish one; I can’t remember. There were twenty or so people engaged in this conversation and it was quite lively. Two Irish guys—I mean real Irish guys from Ireland with red hair, white skin and freckles— had everyone cracking up with their little gambling anecdotes leading to one catastrophe or another. Then a woman who was plainly Italian pulled a deck of cards and slapped them on the bar.
“Anyone want to see a great card trick?” she beamed, probably at least as sauced as I was.
Everyone pitched in with encouraging laughter to say how thrilled everyone else would be to see her card trick. She then proceeded to do that classic dopey poker-hand trick everyone has seen performed by at least four generations of his family: the one with the four hands of seven-stud ending up four jacks, four queens, four kings and, of course, four aces for the dealer.
Everybody applauded her, anyway, and then another schmuck took the cards and began shuffling. When he’d finished, he dealt three columns of seven cards face up. He said to the girl who’d just finished her crummy trick, “Pick a card, but don’t tell me what it is. Keep it in your head.”
The girl was either stupid enough or drunk enough to blurt, “Does it have to be one of the cards you dealt on the bar?” The rest of the deck was lying off to the side.
The guy indulged her with a smiling nod. She was kind of hot and had big tits, so obviously he didn’t care how dumb she was.
The girl’s drunken eyes passed over the twenty-one cards. “Okay, I chose a card.”
I recognized the trick as soon as the guy started dealing out the columns. It was one of those mathematical numbers that could never go wrong if you didn’t fuck up the procedure. The version he was doing was the one with the petals and the flowers, goading the victim to pick this petal then that one after she’d already picked the two columns that didn’t contain the card. I think the first time I saw the trick done was in kindergarten.
The woman, ever so drunk as she was, managed to play along and finished by affirming that the card the guy flicked over at the end was indeed hers.
I’d just about had my share of card tricks when one of the two redheaded Irish guys clamored, “Those tricks are for bloody boobheads!” Anyone here want to see a real good one?”
For some reason I volunteered, surely hoping it would be better than the previous two and the last of the night.
He picked up the deck off the bar and fanned them face up in front of me. “Pick any card,” he said.
I looked at him. “Just like that, face up?”
The other Irish guy piped in behind him. “Yeah, mate, just like that.”
I slid out the 9♠ without hesitation. I looked up waiting for one of them to do something.
The one next to me spoke. “What would you say if I told you I know someone back in Ireland whom I could call right now, hand him the phone without saying a word, and he’ll tell you that the card you picked was the nine of spades?”
I looked at my watch. It was eleven o’clock at night in New York, which meant it was four o’clock the next morning in Ireland.
“I’d say the guy either goes to bed late or gets up early.”
They laughed heartily, then the one behind suggested slyly, “Care to make a little wager on that, mate?”
I looked at the girl I was with. I could see she knew as much about cards as I did about the theory of relativity, which was zero.
“Come on, mate,” the one who’d spread the cards said. “Why not put a little fun in the evening. Soon it’ll be the top of the mornin’.”
“Okay,” I said pulling out my wallet. “I’ll go twenty bucks saying you’re friend in Ireland can’t tell me my card if you don’t tip him off.”
“Twenty bucks!” they exclaimed in unison. Then they took turns telling me I insulted their chivalrous play. The one behind finished off with, “The phone call over there will hardly be covered for twenty bucks, mate.”
Well, whatever their gig was, it was clear they knew I’d lose the bet. And this in spite of the fact they didn’t know whom they were trying to hustle. But I was curious about their trick, plus I was in a good mood knowing I was going to get laid once I got out of there.
“So how much do I have to do this for?” I asked them.
“You got fifty.”
“Sure.” I laid the fifty on the bar. They did not hesitate to lay theirs alongside it. “Now let’s make that call.”
You have to remember that twenty years ago there were no cell phones. There was just a cranky old pay phone near the entrance. The front guy asked the bartender, “Pat, gimme ten bucks in quarters, would ya?”
“It’s okay,” Pat chimed, you can use the bar phone.” He reached underneath the bar, pulled it out and slapped it on the surface next to the nine of spades. “Who you calling, anyway?”
“Some bloke in Ireland.”
The phone slid off the bar and disappeared faster than you could say “Dublin.”
I followed the two Irishmen to the pay phone. At least ten people followed me, everyone with either a drink or cigarette in his hand. As the one dropped a load of quarters into the phone’s slot, he piped at me, “Are you ready, mate?”
I nodded.
“I’m not going to say a word to my buddy on the phone about your card. I’ll just see if he’s home and pass you the phone when he comes on. Okay?”
“Okay.”
He dialed a number, then after a few seconds said into the receiver, “Is Mr. O’Leary there?” Then he said, “Hold on,” and passed me the phone.
I put the receiver to my ear. “Mr. O’Leary?”
The cheery voice on the other end was indeed Irish. “That’s me, mate. Your card is the nine of spades.”
At first I thought it no big deal that he knew my card, but when it finally hit me that he knew my card I was flabbergasted. For some reason I thanked him before hanging up.
When I turned back to the two Irishman, they were already at the bar scooping up my fifty-dollar bill. Everyone else was asking if the guy on the phone guessed my card.
“He didn’t guess it,” I informed the crowd with a bit of thespian delight. “He knew it.”
The two Irish guys were laughing as I came over. “You want to do it again, mate?” one of them asked.
“Yeah,” I answered immediately, “but how ‘bout for less money.” I knew that I was outhustled but I wanted to see this again, figure out how they did it. I knew they wouldn’t give it up for nothing.
“Okay,” the second one said as he picked up the cards and gave them a quick shuffle with a fancy bridge. He spread them and told me to pick a card. I fingered the width of the fanned cards and slipped out the 4♣. Then the first Irishman put a twenty-dollar bill on the bar and told me to match it.
I laid the bill on the bar and followed them back to the phone. Evidently enough quarters remained in the Irishman’s pocket to make the second call. He dialed and again asked for Mr. O’Leary. When O’Leary came on the line, he told him to hold on and passed me the receiver. I bid the familiar voice hello and he answered with “Your card is the four of clubs.”
“Wanna go again, mate?” The Irish guys were having a ball with me.
“How the fuck did you guys do that?” I demanded.
The first one gave me a peppered shrug and said, “You know magicians don’t give away their secrets.”
“It’s not magic,” I protested. “It’s a goddamn card trick.”
The second one had a great retort for that. “It’s not a trick. O’Leary just read your mind. He knows you’re thinking of your card when you get on the phone. So he just hones in on your brain and finds the part of it thinking of the card.”
“You guys got a good line of shit,” I said, and they got off laughing at me. The whole bar was getting in on it, including the bartender who seemed to have already borne witness to their little gag. I approached the bartender and asked him how they did it. He just chuckled and said in an Irish accent, “I haven’t the foggiest idea, mate?”
How the hell did they do it? That thought prevented me from both getting laid and sleeping that night. I lay awake for hours in the girl’s apartment, in her bed with her lovely body sprawled naked in the same spot where she’d finally given up on me and fallen asleep.
Not only am I a fairly intelligent person but I know how to navigate pretty well around logic. The first thing I was sure of was that somehow that Irish guy in the bar told Mr. O’Leary what my card was. The only way that certainty would not be true was if there had been another unseen phone extension inside the bar and somebody else told Mr. O’Leary the card. But after being led on a tour of the place by the bartender, during which I felt like an idiot, I had to accept the fact that there was no other phone there.
So then how did the Irish guy tell O’Leary which card I’d selected? I had been right by his side when they spoke. Twice. Each time, the Irish guy said nothing more than “Is Mr. O’Leary there?” and “hold on.” Neither utterance contained words that would indicate the nine of spades and the four of clubs. But somehow those words did indicate those cards. And it was killing me to find out.
I racked my brains. Somewhere in those lines was a hidden code that told Mr. O’Leary what my cards were. But how could the same exact lines give him the correct information for two different cards? I even asked myself if it were possible that the inflection in the caller’s voice tipped off O’Leary. But if that were the case then O’Leary would have to be sensitive to fifty-two different inflections. Impossible.
The unknown solution ate at me an entire week. Then finally, not being able to take it anymore, I returned to the pub on a busy Saturday night. The place was packed, and sure enough the two Irish guys were hustling another customer with their trick. Only this time the bills on the bar were hundreds and the guy getting taken was sweating and did not look happy.
I watched all this from a distance. The Irish guys either didn’t see me or didn’t recognize me. The victim followed them to the phone, probably for the second or third time, and upon hanging up came walking back toward the bar in disbelief, then did an about-face toward the exit. The second he was out the door, I saw one of the Irish guys pass a bill off to the bartender, who promptly stuck it in his pocket.
So the bartender was in on it as well. They were working a major scam with this trick, or whatever the hell it was.
I came back the next night determined to crack the case. Irish pubs in Manhattan usually drew crowds every night of the week. Sunday night at this one was no exception. The Irish guys were flirting with a couple of women by the bar. I decided to wait patiently until they went into the routine. I knew they would eventually because these guys were not there for just booze and women. The place was their livelihood.
At midnight, just before I was about to pack it in, two slick looking black dudes walked inside the bar. They had that instant air of loose cash, either pro athletes or musicians. The Irish pair adroitly got them into conversation and within a half hour the bartop was crawling with hundred-dollar bills. I was thinking to myself that the scammers had better be careful with these black guys. They looked like the kind you didn’t want to fuck with. But obviously the Irish duo was very well rounded and knew how to handle whatever situation arose during the working of the scam.
Well, we’ll see about that, I said to myself.
After it happened, I realized I’d been destined to do it. But at the crucial moment I still had to make sure not to blow it. Bad timing could have blown the whole thing, and I would’ve been in a lot of pain for nothing.
As soon as the Irish guy dropped the quarters into the phone’s slot, I made my way through the thinning crowd toward him. I watched him dial and waited until I knew instinctively that the moment had arrived to make my move. I charged the pay phone and grabbed the receiver from the guy’s hand. He protested but I quickly knocked him out of the way. I then put the receiver to my ear without uttering a sound. What I heard at first made no sense. It was indeed O’Leary’s voice and it was counting…“two, three four, five, six…” The Irish guy made a lunge at me but I knocked him out of the way again. His buddy was coming after me too, but one of the black dudes stuck out a big arm and held him at bay. By that time O’Leary had reached “king.” And then his voice rasped in my ear, “What’s the fucking card, mate! Did I miss it?”
“You sure did, scumbag!” and I hung up the phone.
There’s an old New York joke about asking a bartender what time his Irish pub closes. He doesn’t answer you with a time; rather he says, “As soon as the first fistfight breaks out.”
Well, that meant that this Irish pub would be closing real soon. In the ensuing brawl I got whacked with a few good shots that drew blood from my mouth. The poor Irish guys, whose names turned out to be Arnold and Donald Lorrigan and who were currently on their way to the hospital ward at the Rikers’ Island jail, got the shit kicked out of them. The arresting cops asked me what it was all about, and when I told them, one of the coppers, who was also Irish, quipped, “Musta been a pretty good card trick.”
It was simply the best card trick I had ever seen. The way it worked was in reversal. It was true that the caller was transmitting the information to O’Leary, but he was doing it in reverse. That’s why virtually no one can figure it out. The key to deciphering it is that you have to know it was O’Leary speaking first, not the Irish guy. The first words I had heard from the caller were “Is Mr. O’leary there?” Upon hearing those words you naturally assume that whoever answered on the other end had picked up with a “hello” or something to that effect. Then when the Irish guy says “Hold on” and passes the phone off to the victim, you naturally think that O’Leary had just come to the phone after having been summoned by the person who had picked it up.
But it is really O’Leary who answers the phone. And instead of saying hello, he goes right into a recital of counting the cards…“ace, two, three, four…” Then when he arrives at the card you had chosen, the caller says “Is Mr. O’Leary there?” That stops O’Leary’s counting dead in its tracks. For if the last card O’Leary said was “jack,” then he knows it’s a jack.
Next only the correct suit needs to be transmitted. Once O’Leary receives the signal that the card is a jack, he begins reciting the four suits…“spades, clubs, hearts, diamonds.” As soon as he hits the correct one, the caller says “Hold on,” which tells O’Leary he just said the right suit, and passes the phone to the victim who’s about to be stunned.
What makes this trick so unbelievable is how natural the talking sounds. The set-up guy just dials a number, asks to speak with someone and then asks that person to hold on while he passes the phone to the victim. I had never been so impressed by a card trick or phone trick, whatever you want to call it. Learning it was well worth the seventy bucks I lost and the busted lip.
Over the years I’ve done that trick dozens of times, though never for profit. The most fun performing it is at parties or anyplace with large gatherings of people. Listening to people trying to figure it out is as funny as any comedy routine you’ll ever see. The ridiculous theories people put forth to solve the puzzle are as unreal as they are hilarious. You hear everything from high-tech satellites eavesdropping on the room to infrared lenses spying on the deck of cards from another galaxy.
One time at a party while doing the trick, a cute girl made me come with her into the bathroom with the lights off. She said she wanted to be sure that no one else could see which card she chose. I wondered if it was a pretext to jump my bones, but when she struck a match to create a small light while she picked the card, I realized how nuts this trick drove everybody, as it had once done to me.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

New Cheating Scam of the Month is Posted!

My new Cheating Scam of the Month for February is now posted. And you will love it! Why? Because I was the victim! That's right, Richard Marcus, the World's Greatest living Poker and Casino Cheat got swindled by someone better than he!

Read about it here.

Poker Cheats Accused!

POKER CHEATING IN THE PHILIPPINES

For more than three years now, I have been reporting about poker cheats getting everything from "away," caught, busted and worse. But here's a flip: In Quezon City, located in Metro Manila, a crooked high stakes poker game ended tragically...not for the cheaters but for the accusers. After accusing a group of men of cheating them at Texas hold'em, a man and his brother enraged the accused cheaters so badly that the accused group ended up mauling the man and his brother. The man died and his brother is in critical condition.

There is a point to this story beyond mere reporting: Sometimes it is better when you suspect being cheated to just leave the game without confronting the suspected cheaters. ESPECIALLY in a home game where there is no official security to protect you. Just harken back to the Old Wild West where many an accusing man got shot up in a poker game because he accused someone of cheating. And what makes it worse, if you are right you are in more danger!

In a legal public poker room environment, you can of course voice your suspicions to the authorities.

Gambling Cheating Blog of the Year!

Poker Cheats, Poker Cheating, Gambling Cheats, Gambling Cheating. These are some of the most popular search engine phrases that have led people to my American Roulette Poker and Casino Cheating Blog for more than three years now. And I am proud to say that my blog has been elected the "Gambling Cheating Blog of the Year!"

By whom?...Well, this is a little embarrassing. You see, I don't know. Yesterday I received a e-mail that was rather anonymous, meaning the sender's e-mail address gave no indication of a name, and the message was left unsigned.

The content, though: "Dear Mr. Marcus, we want you to know that for us, your American Roulette Poker and Cheating Blog is the Gambling Cheating Blog of the Year!"

I sure felt good hearing that...and notice the words "we" and "us." That means that at least more than one person enjoys reading my blog! I hope you do too.

Singapore Casinos Worry about Cheating

Singapore Casinos are not even up yet, though two of them are slated for a 2009 opening. Due to the recent stories about widespread cheating and corruption in Macau's casinos, Singapore is now feeling the "Asian cheating pinch." Last April I spoke at the 2007 Asian Casinos Executive Summit. Naturally my platform was cheating, and as a new casino and gambling territory, many of Singapore's casino regulatory officials were in attendance and quite attentive to what I was saying. Some asked me privately for my opinion about how vulnerable their casinos would be to cheaters. "Well," I responded, "isn't this where thieves and criminals get flogged in public?" They looked at me funnily and one said, "Yes, if you're talking about a half dozen or so strokes of the dreaded "ratan." Which, if you don't get it, is the whip. Remember Michael Fay? He's was the young American in '94 who got a half dozen whips or slashes for vandalism and mischief. In fact, while I was in Singapore last year, I did get enthralled by my conversations with native Singaporeans about the public floggings. They told me about it so distinctly that at times even the conversations hurt! Stuff about not being able to sit on your butt for months. Dire pain when sitting on the toilet bowl, etc., etc.

But after the flogging exchange talk with the casino regulators, who told me that harsher penalties would be in store for casino cheaters and thieves (although short of the Muslim tradition of cutting off hands!), I told them candidly that whenever a major new casino territory opens, the cheaters flock together like birds of a feather. In other words, the two new giant Singaporean casinos will get hit hard. They seemed to be taken a bit aback (pardon the tongue twister) by this, and before leaving I handed each one my casino game protection consulting business card. I imagine I will be hearing from them shortly.

Here's an article about these cheating concerns:

ASIAN CASINOS NEED STRONG SURVEILLANCE AGAINST CHEATS: NEVADA OFFICIAL

SINGAPORE (AFP) — Asia's casinos need strong internal controls and surveillance to guard against organised efforts to cheat them, a member of the Nevada Gaming Control Board said Wednesday.

While Las Vegas once had a reputation for mafia infiltration, Randall Sayre told reporters that those now attempting to cheat its casinos "are not necessarily connected to traditional organised crime as one would anticipate."

He said "smaller groups that are very adept at cheating techniques" are attempting to compromise the casinos' controls, and gaming operations anywhere are vulnerable.

"It can be organised crime or it can be organised groups that conduct criminal activities," he said after addressing the Interpol Global Conference on Asian Organised Crime.

"So you've got to have strong internal controls and you've got to have strong surveillance."

Gaming receipts from the southern Chinese enclave of Macau, where casinos have burgeoned in the last few years, last year overtook revenues pulled in by the 40 gaming centres along Las Vegas' famous Strip.

Recent official figures in the former Portuguese colony said Macau had 28 casinos last year.

Among the three Nevada operators with major Macau operations is Las Vegas Sands, which is also building a multibillion-dollar casino development in Singapore.

According to a survey of industry executives polled by the South China Morning Post newspaper and reported last month, illegal under-the-table betting is depriving Macau casinos of up to 50 percent of all gambling revenues.

Sayre said his agency had close cooperation with both Macau and Singapore, which has sent its agents to Nevada to gain a better understanding of procedures there.

The first of two casinos in Singapore is to open in 2009.

Sayre said his message to the conference organised by the global police agency Interpol was that, "no matter where you're... located in the world, if you have legalised gambling you will be a target for the infiltration."

He said the problem of loan sharking outside casinos themselves was also "an issue on everybody's radar screen."

Singapore officials said they were aware of the threats posed by casinos.

"This industry has traditionally been associated with organised crime and sleaze, and there would surely be criminal elements who would try to exploit this," Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs Ho Peng Kee told the gathering of law enforcers from around the world.

Singapore Police Commissioner Khoo Boon Hui told reporters that organised crime was not "physically present" in the city-state -- one of Asia's safest cities -- but police were ready for the worst.

"Just to assure you that we are well prepared," he said.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

PartyPoker's Poker Den Returns Tonight!

POKER DEN TONIGHT FOR UK FANS!

PartyPoker's 'Poker Den' Returns Tonight

UK fans of televised poker have a treat in store tonight when new episodes of "PartyPoker Poker Den: The Big Game II" begin to air. The popular show is the UK's rough equivalent to "Late Night Poker," which offers a slightly different format and is more familiar to North American viewers.

Nonetheless, "Poker Den II" offers a stellar lineup of players for what is billed and filmed as a "24-hour continuous cash game." The series was organized by Matchroom Sport and filmed at an East London studio late last year. Expect to see British poker-playing celebrities like FHM's Piers Hernu on hand at the table.

Viewers who tune in to the action on England's Channel Five are likely to catch any of the following big-time players: Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott, Tony 'G' Guoga, Mansion
Roland De Wolfe, Brian 'sbrugby' Townsend, Jamie Gold, Thomas Bihl, Todd Brunson, Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson, Robert Williamson III, Max Pescatori, Kirk Morrison, Hoyt Corkins, Pamela Brunson, Kasey Thompson, Ian Frazer, Roy Brindley, Ian Woodley, Anthony Hardy, Neil Channing, Dave Gregory and Phil Curtis.

Jesse May returns to do the commentary with guest audio provided by many of the players themselves. PartyPoker's pre-broadcast release noted that despite low starting blinds, it "took just ten minutes for the first $20,000 pot to be won." The release also noted: "The stakes were high and tempers were frayed as the big guns flexed their egos in London's most notorious back street venue."

Tune in and have fun!

Poker Cheating: Strip poker

Strip Poker Cheat: I got an interesting e-mail today that really made me laugh. A young lady complained that she was cheated in a game of strip poker. Before I read the next line, I was already guessing ahead to what she could mean...actual cheating with cards or some guy somehow trying to cheat her clothes off. Well, it was about the clothes alright, but not about a guy!

It was a Lesbian Strip Poker game!

She said that she was drunk and one of her fellow players...or "playerettes" took advantage and removed two articles of clothing off her body instead of the one that was dictated by the rules. Naturally, you can all guess what that second article of clothing was, and she did tell me, but then I wondered why she was writing me about this. After all, I might be a world-renowned sleight of hand artist but I only worked with cards and chips, not bras and panties...well, at least as far as cheating casinos is concerned!

Anyway, I e-mailed her back and asked her exactly that, why was she telling me that a lesbian suitor was cheating clothes off her body?

Her answer was "I just wanted a straight guy's opinion." Weird enough, huh?

But there's one thing I left out: she sent me a picture! No, it wasn't a nude photo, but I will tell you this: Damn, how I would've liked to have been in that Strip Poker game!

Poker News: Online Gambling / Identity Theft

Online Gaming Ban...If there's one state in the US serious about banning online gambling, it's Washington. I came across this article that appeared in several Washington newspapers and it gives a chill up the spine to those who are involved in the multi-billion-dollar online gambling business. Heck, they're even mixing it up with Identity Theft:

DON'T BET ON INTERNET GAMBLING IN WASHINGTON


Internet poker is one of the more popular forms of online gambling, which is illegal in Washington state. The Seattle Seahawks set a Super Bowl record in its 2006 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unfortunately for ‘Hawks’ fans, it wasn’t on the field. The game drew a record $94.5 million in Nevada sports books bets, as reported by the USA Today. Last year’s Indianapolis Colts-Chicago Bears matchup fell $1.5 million short of the Seattle-Pittsburgh action.

Gambling experts believe next Sunday’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants may top $100 million in bets for the first time in history, but Washington State gamblers need to be aware of the rules.

Online betting is against the law.

As of 2006, Internet gambling is a class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Other class C felonies include possession of child pornography and animal torture.

Gamblers and Web site administrators are at risk of conviction if caught engaging in illegal gambling. State officials are focusing on Web site operators and service providers in an attempt to reduce scandals and cheating, according to Washington State Gambling Commission spokesperson Susan Arland.

“If we hear of an operator, the procedure is to contact them and advise them to stop. Normally they will,” Arland said.

The commission recently shut down an illegal gambling site operated out of North Seattle called Betcha.com. The site owners filed an appeal on Dec. 5.

Gambling has three requirements in order to be considered illegal in Washington. It must involve a paid fee, or a buy-in. It must involve chance. And a prize must be the ultimate goal.

Removing any of those three factors legalizes the activity. Fantasy sports played for money are considered illegal gambling, Arland said.

Internet gambling was changed to a felony in 2006 because offenders were not deterred by a misdemeanor, said Arland. The state’s goal is to encourage voluntary compliance.

But state officials say the threat of a $10,000 fine should be the least of an online gambler’s worries.

Identity theft and scams are a large factor in the state’s attempt to crack down on Internet gambling.

“You have no idea who’s behind that computer screen,” Arland said. “There’s no recourse if you’re not paid or if you’re cheated. It’s extremely risky.”

Internet gambling is a $1.5 billion industry involving more than 15 million players worldwide, according to the National Law Journal. Many experts believe the popularity of online gambling can be partly attributed to the emergence of Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments broadcast on major TV networks.

In 1995, the Journal of Gambling Issues reported 24 Internet gambling sites, according to the state gambling commission. In 2006, the number had increased to 2,500 sites.

Sports media like ESPN have had conversations centered on the odds of the upcoming Super Bowl on Feb. 3. Commentators have discussed oddsmakers in Las Vegas who continue to close the gap between the favored Patriots and underdog Giants and what affect that will have upon the betting industry.

About 80 percent of bets to this point have been placed on the Giants, according to USA Today, but most bets are usually placed 72 hours or less before kickoff. The state’s enforcement of Internet gambling laws has come under scrutiny since the law was passed in 2006.

A Bellingham man was reprimanded by the state for writing about gambling on a Web site. He posted reviews of online casinos, links and listed casinos that were known to cheat people out of their money.

State officials called it “aiding and abetting” online gambling, according to a Seattle Times column. The paper itself drew fire for posting a poker how-to column on its Web site with a link to a poker site where people can discuss the game.

Although Washington is one of the nation’s strictest states on gambling, according to Arland, certain methods are allowed. Businesses can conduct a sports board where players bet $1 on each numbered square. The winning number is the square with the combined score of both teams in the Super Bowl. All winnings must be returned to the players, businesses cannot make any money on sports boards.

Casino Cheats: Skimming Macau Style Side-Betting

Remember the old term "skimming" for the mob stealing money from Vegas casinos and which reminds us of the movie "Vegas" with Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone? Well, in Macau with its tremendous casino boom, mobsters have taken skimming to new heights! Over there it's called "side-betting."

Here are two articles to explain exactly how they do it:

SIDE-BET SCAMS DWARF BAD OLD DAYS WHEN MAFIA RAN VEGAS

"Let me tell you a little bit about skims. There is no casino, in this country at least, that is capable of defending itself against a skim. There are no safeties. You can't prevent a skim if a guy knows what he's doing." So warned Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, the former boss of the Stardust casino in Las Vegas, where officials in the 1970s and '80s exposed one of the city's largest mafia skims.
The revelation that Macau may have lost more than HK$100 billion in casino winnings and HK$40 billion in tax revenue over the past five years due to side betting is reminiscent of Las Vegas before it became an American conventioneer's paradise dominated by billion-dollar resorts. The Nevada gambling hub was for decades the target of large-scale, systematic casino skimming operations ultimately directed by the country's top mafia bosses.

From the 1946 opening of notorious gangster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel's Flamingo casino to the '80s, when Mr Rosenthal's reign at the Stardust ended with Nevada authorities adding him to a blacklist, the mafia skimmed millions of unreported, untraced and untaxed dollars out of casinos in Las Vegas.
In the Stardust operation, documented in the book Casino by journalist Nicholas Pileggi and turned into the 1995 film of the same name with Robert De Niro playing Mr Rosenthal, the key was infiltrating the casino's supposedly secure money-counting room. Complicit staff underweighed coin winnings from slot machines and set aside bricks of paper money for mafia couriers, who simply walked it out the door.
"Even when you know what can happen, it's almost impossible to keep a casino from leaking cash," former Stardust casino manager Murray Ehrenberg, who previously worked at Steve Wynn's Golden Nugget casino, told Pileggi.
"The systems for skimming casinos are as varied as the genius of the men doing the skimming," Pileggi wrote.
While it is a different type of skimming, the Macau scam probably dwarfs anything that ever took place in Las Vegas.
Five senior executives at licensed Macau casino operators polled by the South China Morning Post (SEHK: 0583, announcements, news) estimated side-betting volumes in Macau at between 20 and 200 per cent of the officially reported market for VIP gaming.
Macau reported VIP gaming revenue of 46.88 billion patacas in the 12 months to September. Based on the lowest estimate from the Post survey, side-betting volumes in Macau were around 9 billion patacas or US$1.1 billion in the last year. At the time of the Stardust skim, which involved three other Las Vegas casinos owned by the same company, Nevada officials estimated the operation never netted more than US$20 million.
The key figures behind side betting in Macau are the players themselves and the junket operators - middlemen who bring high-rollers to casino VIP rooms, issue them credit to gamble with and collect their debts in exchange for a commission on the sales of gaming chips.


MACAU SAYS REPORTS OF SIDE-BETTING SCAMS ARE OVERRATED

A report suggesting more than US$12 billion has been bet under the table in Macau casinos during the last five years is an exaggeration, said the director of Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ) yesterday.

The report in the Hong Kong newspaper, South China Morning Post said a poll of five senior executives from Macau casinos put the average total of side-betting in local venues at equivalent to 78 percent of the total VIP gaming market.

Reported VIP gaming revenue of the 12 months to September was 46.88 billion patacas.

Side betting takes place when casino junket operators, who supply VIP gamers to Macau casinos, also wager with their clients.

“I don’t believe it’s the amount the newspaper suggests, it’s almost impossible,” Manuel Joaquim das Neves, director of the DICJ told the Macau Daily Times.

“Side betting involves many risks for the player and the junket promoter, first they play on credit, if someone has bad debts you can not use any legal way to claim your money, so there is no logic to the amount in the newspaper.

“The majority of junket promoters don’t take this risk.”

Yesterday’s report suggested the practice was wide spread in Macau with the five unnamed executives putting the total of the side-betting market in Macau at between 20 and 200 percent of� total VIP revenue.

An executive of a licensed Macau casino told the Macau Daily Times he was not surprised by the report.

“I think side betting is going on in every casino and every VIP room in Macau,” he said, wishing to remain anonymous.

One of the most common forms of the under-the-table betting is when operators offer the high-rollers a multiple of what happens on the casino tables.

An often used method is to offer players the value of bets in another currency, for example US dollars.

The two parties agree that the value of the chips on the table is multiplied, for example by a factor of 7.8 if the US dollar value is used.

If a player bets HKD10,000 in chips, the real bet between the player and junket operator is HKD78,000.

Side-betting removes the casino’s take from the turnover and the 40 percent government tax from the gaming equation, leaving all of the revenue with the players and operators.

Mr Neves admitted their was no way his bureau could know the extent of the practice in Macau casinos.

“We take some measures with the Judiciary Police (JP), but nobody tells if they are taking side-betting, it’s impossible to prove it,” he said.

“If I go with you to a casino and bet with you according to the result of the table, nobody knows if you don’t tell.”
LVS

Stephen Weaver, Asian region president of Las Vegas Sands, owner of the two largest casinos in Macau, Sands Macao and Venetian Macao, said he did not believe side betting was prevalent in the company’s venues.

“We are not aware of it going on, on an ongoing basis, in our operations but I’m not sure how you would know because of the nature of how that practice would be conducted,” he said.

“I would have thought the government regulators carefully regulate the industry and if it was possible to discern the existence of side betting, the government has a bigger stake in it than we do given the rate of taxation.”

Junket operators have the opportunity to run side-betting scams because of the access they get to VIP gaming rooms in Macau.

Each room is leased by the casino license holder to a third party operator. The operator reportedly pays a deposit upwards of HKD100 million to secure a 15 table room and must provide at least the same amount in working capital. The control the operator has over the room depends on the license holder. In all rooms the dealers and pit-bosses are supplied by the casino, however in rooms provided by Galaxy Entertainment Group and Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, the operator also runs the room’s cage, or chip cashier. This allows the junket operator to keep track of each players chip volume and therefore multiply any side-bets.

The operators also employ marketing agents, who are generally female, to accompany players and track their level of play.

Players also receive other benefits from the junket operators, such as a discount of chips if they bet over a certain level.

All debts and payments are then taken care of once the operators and players return to the mainland.

Macau casino operators with venues in other jurisdictions in the USA and Australia are prevented from turning over control of a room’s cage due to the overseas regulations that extend to all of the company’s venues.
Prior cases

Proving alleged side betting is even more difficult than catching suspects, suggests Mr Neves. Although no charges have been laid since the handover in 1999, two previous cases were dismissed because of a lack of evidence.

Prior to 1999 Mr Neves recalls two cases where players were caught discussing a side bet at a table.

“The Judiciary Police and my bureau put two cases in the court and nothing happened because there was not enough proof,” he said.

The JP also regularly undertake sweeps of casinos where customers, including those in VIP rooms are questioned.

One such action occurred the week before the opening of the Asian Indoor Games in October.

“Sometimes the police go to a casino and check many people and certain people in the VIP rooms they ask about side betting or if anyone tells you to do side betting,” said Mr Neves.

“… until now nobody has said anything about side betting.”
Necessary evil

The practice of side-betting appears to be an accepted cost of doing business in Macau. Removing the junket operators, who provide credit to Chinese VIPs who could not otherwise take currency outside of the mainland, would collapse the market.

“Junket’s bring in positive benefits for the gaming industry in Macau because it brings in the high rollers,” said Mr Neves.

The practice is also not restricted to Macau, he believes.

“This happens in all jurisdictions. I talk with my colleagues from other jurisdictions such as Nevada, they believe they have side betting but it’s difficult or impossible if nobody tells.”

Casino Cheats: Macau

"Macau casinos are the world's most secure": Macau Gaming Inspection chief

Well, I beg to differ. I have been to Macau twice since the casino development boom and I can tell you that, first off, Macau has a long way to go before they even get close to making that claim a reality. There have already been several major multi-million-dollar baccarat scams there (baccarat is the game of choice in Asia), and that in spite of their multi-million-dollar surveillance systems. The problem is that these casinos are truly gigantic, in every sense of the word. They dwarf Vegas casinos. And they do not have the best surveillance personnel over there. As I have always said, what makes the tightest and most efficient security and surveillance operations is the human element, not just state of the art equipment. If people don't know what they're watching on video or don't know how to react, the equipment becomes worthless. My ex-partners Pat and Balls have worked over Macau pretty good in the past year and they delighted in telling me that it was easy pickings.

The following article appeared in some Asian newspapers:

"Macau casinos have the tightest and most modern security of all the world's gaming venues," said the chief of the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ) yesterday.

Arriving back from a 10 day trip to London, which included informal discussions with European gaming regulators, Manuel Joaquim das Neves said the security in Macau is the best he has ever seen.

The statement comes after a member of the Nevada Gaming Control Board said last week that Asian casinos are vulnerable to small groups that are “very adept at cheating techniques”.

On the sidelines of an Interpol Global Conference on Asian Organised Crime, held in Singapore, Randall Sayre said Asian casinos need strong internal controls to guard against organised efforts to cheat them.

He said those attempting to cheat casinos “are not necessarily connected to traditional organised crime as one would anticipate.”

“It can be organised crime or it can be organised groups that conduct criminal activities,” he continued.

The Nevada board member's statement can not be applied to Macau, said Mr Neves.

The DICJ is responsible for ensuring casinos in Macau have adequate surveillance measures and comply with the SAR's financial regulations.

It is the level of technology Mr Neves has seen in the local casinos that gives him the confidence that Macau operators have the most advanced surveillance equipment in the world.

Once a casino is built, the DICJ inspects the surveillance equipment before the venue opens.

“We have new casinos and the systems are more modern than in other places,” said Mr Neves.

“Our security systems that we have in Macau casinos are the best in the world.”

The equipment in Macau is “without a doubt” better than “older” systems in Las Vegas, said Mr Neves.

Digital imaging technology is used to follow the activity at each of a casino's tables. Players and dealers are not only tracked live, the images are also used to resolve disputes and prove crimes.

The DICJ receives on average 20 reports a day from casinos about suspicious activities and alleged illegal behaviour.

“Fortunately they are (mostly) small things, such as stealing chips from the table and disputes over chip ownership,” said Mr Neves.

The casino's high resolution images are then called on to show what really happened and pinpoint an alleged crime.

“The video is used to clear up a lot of cases,” said Mr Neves.

“The zoom is very powerful, you can even see someone's fingernail”.
No trouble at MGM

The vice president of casino operations at the SAR's newest casino, MGM Grand Macau was also left scratching his head over the Nevada board member's comments.

“We don't have any problems with them (small groups of organised criminals),” said Gabe Hunterton.

“Our surveillance team is extremely talented and doing a very good job.”

The number of reported incidents in Macau has risen with the number of casinos, but as a percentage of overall play the cases are falling, said Mr Neves.

Casinos are yet to adopt face recognition software to pick-out previous trouble makers, said Mr Neves as “the probability of failure is very high, it is not workable”.

The DICJ has a team of 200 inspectors that work around the clock to keep tabs on Macau's 28 casinos.

The commission is particularly interested in the movements of money.

“We concentrate on money counting and (chip) refills (of tables) which can have a big effect on a casinos profitability,” said Mr Neves,

On average each of the 4,375 gaming tables in Macau refill with chips between four and five times a day.
VIP crime

Instances of reported problems in VIP rooms are “very little because the number of players is so few,” said Mr Neves.

Casino staff are able to keep track of chip movements in the small and high stake gaming rooms. However it is what happens under the table that is still a problem, admits Mr Neves.

Last year the the South China Morning Post reported that an anonymous survey of gaming executives in Macau concluded casinos had lost USD2.5 billion a year to a practice known as side-betting. The scam involves gamers and gaming promoters agreeing to multiply the value of chips on the table, thus cutting out the casino and government from their shares of any win.

“Side betting is a problem that the police are following but this is not easy to detect,” said Mr Neves, adding that he believed the reported size of the scam to be exaggerated.
Civil servants off the leash

The board will be stepping up its efforts during next week's Lunar New Year celebrations. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected, Macau civil servants, usually banned from walking onto a gaming floor, are allowed to gamble from February 7 to 9, said Mr Neves.

“17,000 more potential gamers, that is a lot of people,” he said.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Poker News

Poker News coming to my Poker Cheating Blog!

As I am continuing to expand the information available on this website, my American Roulette Casino cheats and Poker Cheating Blog will now include posts about poker news not necessarily related to cheating. Of course I will continue reporting on that side of poker as well, but now you will be able to read articles with my insight pertaining to multi-faceted issued in the poker world. Much of these postings will pertain to the online poker world, which has been so much in the news lately, unfortunately more for online poker cheating than online poker playing. I will give constant information and updates concerning what is going on in the various online poker rooms, in addition to my online poker safety ratings, which are found on its separate page.

My first poker news item is on the Stars Sunday Million:

Online Poker Weekend: 'SNo0oWMAN' Tops 'roosterbill' in Stars Sunday Million Duel

The big story of Sunday's major online tourneys was a long heads-up duel to determine the winner of the Stars Sunday Million. 'roosterbill' and 'SNo0oWMAN' began their battle after the exit of third-place finisher 'batoelrob', a screen name frequently associated with Dutch star Rob Hollink. The end came after 64 hands and included four double-throughs before SNo0oWMAN emerged as the winner.

PokerStars Sunday Million

The final Sunday of the month meant it was time for the $500+30 version of the PokerStars Sunday Million. The turnout remained outstanding, however, with 3,192 entrants making for a $1,596,000 purse. 486 players cashed, with the winner
Daily tournaments scheduled to receive $278,502. 'jonop56' led the way to this final table by amassing over 6.7 million in chips.

The first knockout took place eight hands into the final table, when 'Demonrob' was all in against 'roosterbill' after a (3-Diamonds)(8-Hearts)(5-Spades) flop. Demonrob showed (Q-Spades)(Q-Diamonds) to roosterbill's (7-Spades)(7-Hearts), but a tough (7-Diamonds) turn put roosterbill ahead and the (10-Diamonds) river ended Demonrob's run. Several dozen hands elapsed before eighth place was decided, when 'mjh0318' was eliminated. The knockout hand saw the chips in preflop, with mjh0318's (K-Diamonds)(J-Clubs) against 'SNo0oWMAN's (A-Diamonds)(Q-Hearts), with the (Q-Clubs)(2-Hearts)(8-Clubs)(9-Spades)(2-Spades) board giving SNo0oWMAN the pot.

Another lengthy stretch of hands elapsed before the next knockout, with SNo0oWMAN again doing the honors. This time early leader jonop56 was the victim, with the chips again all-in pre-flop. jonop56's (A-Hearts)(7-Diamonds) started out ahead of SNo0oWMAN's (K-Diamonds)(J-Diamonds), but a board of (10-Diamonds)(6-Spades)(8-Spades)(A-Diamonds)(8-Diamonds) gave SNo0oWMAN a winning flush.

The next knockout occurred after a preflop raising war between 'oogee' and 'batoelrob', with batoelrob showing (A-Clubs)(A-Diamonds) to oogee's (A-Spades)(K-Diamonds) and having oogee covered. The board of (9-Spades)(9-Hearts)(4-Hearts)(K-Hearts)(10-Spades) didn't improve oogee enough, giving him a sixth-place finish. It marked the start of a surge in knockouts, with a short-stacked 'Suck My Ace' exiting only three hands later. On that hand, Suck My Ace pushed with (A-Clubs)(10-Hearts) and was called by roosterbill with (A-Spades)(K-Diamonds), and the board delivered (10-Spades)(K-Spades)(6-Hearts)(K-Clubs)(5-Clubs). Eleven more hands brought the departure of 'Kenjh', whose (A-Spades)(8-Spades) went nowhere against batoelrob's waiting (A-Diamonds)(K-Hearts) as the board brought (9-Spades)(J-Hearts)(6-Clubs)(4-Diamonds)(7-Hearts).

Three-way play between batoelrob, SNo0oWMAN and roosterbill see-sawed until roosterbill sent batoelrob to the rail in third. In that hand, batoelrob committed the last of his chips to a preflop, reraise push with (A-Clubs)(8-Spades), and roosterbill made the call with (A-Spades)(Q-Diamonds). The board rolled out (J-Hearts)(10-Spades)(3-Diamonds)(4-Hearts)(5-Clubs), bouncing batoelrob and setting the stage for heads-up play.

First, the two survivors tried but failed to agree on a chop, and a lengthy string of small pots and few flops seen marked the early heads-up play. roosterbill expanded his lead slightly during this stretch, but saw the tables turned when the chips went in with his (Q-Diamonds)(Q-Clubs) against SNo0oWMAN's (A-Hearts)(J-Diamonds). The board brought SNo0oWMAN not once ace, but two, moving him out to a more than 2:1 advantage, which lasted only six hands until roosterbill doubled through himself to regain the lead. Again, though, SNo0oWMAN surged back to the lead.

The end came on the 64th hand of heads-up play, when the chips went in preflop to reveal a classic race: (9-Clubs)(9-Spades) for roosterbill against the (A-Spades)(J-Clubs) of SNo0oWMAN. The flop decided it, coming (4-Hearts)(A-Diamonds)(10-Hearts), and the (2-Hearts) turn and (2-Clubs) river left SNo0oWMAN's aces in front, securing for him the $278,502 victory.

Final Results:

1. SNo0oWMAN — $278,502
2. roosterbill — $140,607.60
3. batoelrob — $101,026.80
4. Kenjh — $79,800
5. Suck My Ace — $62,563.20
6. oogee — $46,2284
7. jonop56 — $33,516
8. mjh0318 — $21,067.20
9. Demonrob — $12,488.80


Full Tilt $750,000 Guarantee

The night's largest attendance among the online majors was at Full Tilt, where 4,430 players spent $200+16 each to join the $750,000 Guarantee. This made for a total prize pool of $886,000, with 585 players making the payout spots and first worth $156,458.74. 'JSchnett' was narrowly in the lead when this event's final table began, with a total of 2.5 million in chips that was narrowly ahead of three other players.

'GrMonkey' bowed out immediately, making a short-stacked, all-in reraise with (A-Hearts)(J-Spades). JSchnett had only to add a few more chips to make the call and did so, showing (A-Clubs)(Q-Clubs), which held up when the board arrived (9-Diamonds)(2-Hearts)(7-Hearts)(2-Diamonds)(5-Clubs). 'busyboy' was next to fall when he tried a reraise steal with (A-Diamonds)(2-Diamonds), pushing all in, only to have 'jonnyblaze23' find (K-Hearts)(K-Diamonds) in the big blind and move all in over the top. The board came (10-Hearts)(J-Clubs)(5-Diamonds)(10-Diamonds)(9-Clubs), and the field was seven.

Another picked-off steal attempt meant the exit of 'Squirrely1' in seventh. Squirrely1 pushed from the cutoff with (J-Spades)(10-Hearts), and 'd0wnosaur' called from the button with (A-Clubs)(8-Diamonds). The (3-Diamonds)(9-Spades)(2-Hearts)(9-Diamonds)(3-Hearts) board helped neither player and left downosaur's A-high the winner. Sixth went to 'Hustensaft', whose (K-Clubs)(10-Clubs) started off behind JSchnett's (A-Diamonds)(8-Hearts) and went nowhere when the board brought (A-Spades)(7-Hearts)(2-Diamonds)(Q-Hearts)(9-Diamonds). 'MoormanI' dropped a couple of big pots and bowed out next, his last chips disappearing when his (K-Clubs)(3-Clubs) couldn't connect against d0wnosaur's (A-Diamonds)(6-Diamonds). The board on that hand finished (7-Hearts)(J-Clubs)(2-Diamonds)(9-Clubs)(6-Clubs).

However, d0wnosaur exited next after a huge race pitting his (A-Spades)(K-Hearts) against 'jonnyblaze23's pocket tens. The (9-Spades)(9-Clubs)(5-Spades)(2-Hearts)(6-Clubs) board left jonnyblaze23's hand in front and narrowed the field to three. Another huge race unfolded soon after, with JSchnett's (2-Spades)(2-Diamonds) against 'deanoll's (K-Diamonds)(Q-Spades). JSchnett remained ahead through the (7-Diamonds)(9-Diamonds)(8-Spades) flop and (8-Diamonds) turn, but the (9-Clubs) river counterfeited JSchnett's baby pocket pair and gave deanoll the knockout.

deanoll and jonnyblaze23 began heads-up play virtually deadlocked, and deanoll moved out to an earlier lead before jonnyblaze rivered trip tens in a big hand to take command. The end came in a hand where deanoll made a button raise with (9-Spades)(4-Spades), and jonnyblaze reraised with (A-Diamonds)(K-Hearts). The flop came (3-Spades)(4-Diamonds)(10-Clubs), and deanoll moved all in with middle pair. jonnyblaze23 was behind with his overcards, but watched the board complete with (5-Clubs)(2-Clubs) for the runner-runner wheel straight and the win.

Final Results:

1. jonnyblaze23 — $156,458.74
2. deanoll — $94,713.40
3. JSchnett — $62,020
4. d0wnosaur — $48,730
5. MoormanI — $36,591.80
6. Hustensaft — $27,111.60
7. Squirrely1 — $20,378
8. busyboy — $15,948
9. GrMonkey — $11,872.40


PartyPoker $300,000 Guaranteed

1,723 players made it to the Sunday $300,000 Guaranteed at PartyPoker, making for a total prize pool of $344,600. Barring any late chops, the winner could expect to receive $67,197, and 250 players made the money. Tight play marked the final-table bubble, with 'TheLimitRush' narrowly assuming the lead --- with about 1.45 million in chips --- when the last ten players came together.

The shortest of the ten stacks departed first. Barely scraping through to the final was 'ozisaz', and his last chips went in with (J-Diamonds)(10-Spades). He was quickly called by 'idiotmonkii' with (J-Hearts)(J-Clubs), and the board of (K-Diamonds)(K-Clubs)(4-Diamonds)(7-Diamonds)(2-Spades) meant okisaz's departure in tenth. idiotmonkii exited next, getting it all in after a flop of (8-Spades)(3-Spades)(7-Spades) while holding (K-Hearts)(8-Hearts) for top pair against 'HallonKaar's flush draw ((A-Hearts)(9-Spades)). The (Q-Diamonds) turn missed HallonKaar's flush draw but the (9-Spades) river connected, narrowing the field to eight.

Early leader TheLimitRush bowed out in eighth after his all-in with A-K faced a tough battle against HallonKaar's kings. The board brought nothing higher than a ten and TheLimitRush's no-limit rush was over. Seventh went to 'ATCFaust', the next shortest stack after ozisaz's exit, whose own last stand went for naught when 'casinoice' was ahead with an ace and paired it on a (9-Spades)(5-Spades)(7-Hearts)(A-Diamonds)(10-Clubs) board. casinoice picked up the next knockout as well, sending an aggressive 'HouseRentBoogie' to the rail in sixth after getting the chips in ahead with (A-Spades)(9-Clubs) to HouseRentBoogie's (K-Clubs)(J-Clubs), and watching the board roll out (3-Diamonds)(7-Clubs)(10-Hearts)(6-Hearts)(4-Clubs).

casinoice made it three in a row after being priced in to seeing the board after trying to steal against the shortest remaining stack, 'Gnubas', who was in the big blind. Gnubas was way ahead to start with (A-Hearts)(K-Diamonds) to casinoice's (J-Hearts)(2-Hearts) but a fortunate river on an (8-Diamonds)(7-Diamonds)(8-Spades)(7-Spades)(J-Spades) board trimmed the field to four. Gitte26 was the extreme short stack of the four, but made trip sevens to top casinoice's unimproved A-K and then cracked 'connieoffski's pocket aces a few hands later to move back into the hunt. connieoffski departed in fourth a dozen or so hands later after getting all his chips in with (A-Diamonds)(Q-Hearts) against casinoice's (K-Diamonds)(K-Hearts) and seeing the (5-Diamonds)(J-Clubs)(3-Clubs)(4-Spades)(3-Diamonds) board miss his holdings. At this point the three survivors easily agreed to a chip-count deal for the remaining prize money, with casinoice the official winner of the event.

Final Results:

*1. casinoice — $56,369.70
*2. Gitte26 — $36,125.91
*3. HallonKaar — $35,178.20
4. connieoffski — $18,263.80
5. Gnubas — $14,817.80
6. HouseRentBoogie — $11,371.80
7. ATCFaust — $8,787.30
8. TheLimitRush — $6,030.50
9. idiotmonkii — $4,479.80
10. ozisaz — $2,929.10

Poker Cheating Poker Cheats at B&M and Online Casinos

American Poker Cheats vs European Poker Cheats: Who's best at poker cheating? Read my Bluff magazine article and decide for yourself.
DOES EUROPEAN STYLE B & M POKER CHEATING DIFFER FROM THE AMERICAN?
Of course we Americans do not hold a monopoly on poker cheating. Europeans, South Americans and Asians are just as capable as we are in figuring out ingenious ways to cheat in public cardrooms. It might be true that Americans represent the greatest percentage of poker cheats in the world, but they also represent the greatest percentage of honest players. But what about the types of cheating that go on in brick and mortar cardrooms on both sides of the Pond? Are they different? Does the cheating going on in Las Vegas and Atlantic City vary from that happening at poker clubs in London and Paris? And what about the cheaters? I’ve said that Americans represent the greatest percentage of cheaters, but, relative to their poker population, does the same ratio hold true for European cheaters? Do they make up the same percentage of the Continent’s professional players?
Let’s start off with cheating before getting to the cheaters. The answer to whether cheating differs on either side of the Atlantic is both yes and no. Cheating in its basic forms is more or less the same on both sides of every ocean. Collusion in the US works exactly the same as it does in Europe, follows the same basic principle of whipsawing victims between the raising and reraising of cheaters. The same goes for card-switching, card-marking, tournament chip-dumping and softplay. In short, no cheater in, say Sweden, is going to come up with a new way of marking cards unknown in Vegas. By the same token, Vegas’s oldest sharpies are not going to come up with marking methods that boggle the minds of Europe’s most diligent cheaters.
But wait! What about high-tech cheating? Does that vary between the two continents? For the time being, it does. I’m not saying the technology is different; it’s the same: mainly tiny hidden digital cameras filming hole cards that are screened on monitors outside the casino and transmitted back to the cheaters inside via cellphones and audio devices. But what is different is the prevalence of high-tech cheating. Whereas in the US high-tech (non-slot) scams are virtually unheard of, in Europe they have indeed been happening. First it was the roulette cell phone scam in London’s Ritz Club in 2004, then the hidden-camera three card poker scam that rocked several more London casinos a year later—and I have heard of others happening in European poker rooms. Why the lack of computers and hidden cameras in American poker scams (besides the private-game con in Atlantic City’s Borgata)? The answer is obvious: In the US, employing any kind of equipment to cheat at gambling is a major felony; in most of Europe it is either a much lesser crime or one of unclear classification. What is clear is that the world’s cheaters are much less inclined to try high-tech poker scams in the US than they are in Europe.
There are also subtle differences between European and American poker cheating. The most important one lies in the first difference that Americans will (hopefully!) notice upon stepping foot in Europe: people are speaking languages other than English. This is even true in the United Kingdom. On my last trip to London it seemed that White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestants actually formed a distinct minority, and when you get inside the city’s card clubs, sometimes that doesn’t change.
So how does the use of multiple languages at the poker table affect cheating? Well, first of all, a lot of players can’t understand what a lot of other players are saying. This breeds countless opportunities for players to say things to other players they don’t want non-targeted players to understand. Things like “I have ace-king suited” and “Raise me after the flop.” And sometimes this information-sharing is completely innocent, though it can still lead to collusion play by players ignorant to the fact they’re involved. Take this example: Two Mideastern gentlemen sitting in a pot-limit game at the Victoria Casino speaking their native Pashto or Dari tongue. In oblivious high spirits, one says to the other without intention, “I finally have a pair of bloody aces! It’s about time!” Unbeknownst to them, a third person sitting at that table understands their language. If he so desires, that person can now use the compromised information to his benefit, and if both their hands are verbalized between them, the third speaker of the language has that much more of an edge. It’s not a big edge, but that verbal form of collusion when done with intent will have a negative effect on your earnings...or losses. I have noticed foreign-language speakers in Europe, especially in the UK, who upon entering a poker game without any ill-willed intensions, turned to their native language to give each other a boost after taking bad beats.
As in the States, UK poker clubs prohibit the speaking of any language at the tables other than English. But in order to totally enforce this, poker rooms would need bugs installed in the tables—which, by the way, is not an unheard of practice in Great Britain. But still, the anti-cheating spies clandestinely listening to the flows and crosscurrents of all that poker-table gibberish would have to be fluent in many languages to weed out the cheat talk from the normal poker chat.
In reality, this English-only rule cannot be strictly enforced. I mean, how many times can a floorperson keep coming over to admonish certain players at the table to “Speak English, please!” You would think such harassment would both tire out and embarrass most floormen charged with that disciplinary function. It would also chase a lot of honest foreign-language-speaking players from the games. And if the British ever went to extremes in order to enforce this speak-English-only edict at UK poker tables, imagine what the French would do! As most of you veterans of European travel know, the French have more pride about their language and safeguard it more than any other people in the world do theirs. If French players at poker tables in London are subject to “Speak English, please,” aren’t native Anglophones playing poker at the Aviation Club in Paris going to get a huge dose of “Parlez français, s’il vous plaît?” You can bet your Anglo ass that the French, who in general terms plainly despise the British, will not put up with the English language on their poker tables if the English are going to reject the language of Molière on theirs.
So all in all, neither country enforces the language rule strictly and therefore many foreign languages prevail at European poker tables, which at times results in collusion play.
Another significant difference pertaining to European cheating is one that has nothing to do with the method utilized but rather the consequences of getting caught. In American casinos and cardrooms, any attempt of cheating at gambling, no matter what the game or the amount of money in question, and whether or not equipment was used, is an automatic felony (with the exception of some Midwestern states and Indian reservations). This means that if you’re caught shortchanging a poker pot by a $1, you can theoretically be arrested and charged with a felony. In all of Europe, however, cheaters caught in the act are handled differently: a lot less severe. In Great Britain, for instance, all gambling establishments, whether they’re full-fledged casinos or just poker rooms, are private clubs policed by their own security. Brick and mortar casinos in the UK are not permitted to advertise and likewise do not want any negative publicity. Cheating is negative publicity, so instances of it are normally hushed up very efficiently. A prime example of this was the roulette scam that beat the Ritz Club out of $2 million in 2004. Although the scam received widespread publicity when it was uncovered, three other London casinos that fell victim to it kept quiet.
When poker cheats are spotted committing their act in a typical UK cardroom, even if it’s as flagrant as marking cards, their punishment often consists of nothing more than being rounded up by the internal security staff and hustled off the premises without further incident. Any of those caught cheating who are members of the establishment will automatically have their memberships revoked, and word of the episode will spread to all casinos and cardrooms throughout the UK, whose committees will follow suit with swift revocations. But this is not nearly as serious as it sounds. The key element is that the police are generally not called and no charges are ever pressed against the cheaters (with rare exception). Whereas in the US players face real prison time when caught cheating, their British counterparts are only subject to getting tossed out the door with a warning not to come back. With the revolving-door entry of guests in UK gambling establishments, those barred find ways to reenter using fake ID and disguise kits.

But what about these European cheaters? Have they kept pace with the Americans? We certainly know they’ve kept pace as far as legitimate poker players go (the Swedes have even outpaced the Americans). But answering this question is not as readily obvious as the expansion of poker in Europe. However, I do have a way of measuring it. Many Europeans who read the blog on my website richardmarcusbooks.com report both confirmed and suspected cheating incidents in their home brick and mortar poker rooms. As my book “Dirty Poker” has been just as available in European bookstores and Amazon websites as it has been in American bookstores and Amazon US, and as I write for both European and American poker magazines, I get equal exposure proportionate to the populations of both continents, therefore, I can derive a pretty fair opinion based on the e-mails I get from players on either side of the ocean. Based on reports and suspicions of collusion play, card-switching, card-marking and tournament cheating that includes chip-dumping and softplay, there is no question that—and for you Europeans this is good news—cheating incidents in direct proportion to US cardrooms are happening less in European cardrooms. By following mathematical formulas based on the number of rooms, tables and players in each country and dividing them by the number of estimated Americans and Europeans who play live poker, and then inserting the cheating complaints into the equation, I feel quite confident with my statement. My overall conclusion is that you are less likely to be cheated at any given time at a European B&M poker table than a US one, including in tournament play.

Why? Does it have something to do with the general fact that US cash games and tournaments have higher limits and prize money? Partially. Which brings us back to the question of whether or not European players make up a percentage of professional cheaters equivalent to their populations. Well, I am quite aware of several European professional poker cheating teams, but in spite of that, I can tell you that they do not yet quite match up to their demographic numbers when compared to Americans. Why? At that I can only guess. Being an ex-professional cheater myself, I would think that history and levels of cheating experience have something to do with it. I would also say poker cheating is just more in Americans’ blood than in Europeans’. It’s probably got something to do with a connection to America’s Wild West days, where two of every three players were cheating at least some of the time.

Another good thing I can tell you honest European players is that those among your countrymen who cheat on a professional level spend most of their time doing so in the good old USA. Why ? Come on, you know the answer to that one! There’s a heck of a lot more cash over there than there is here! And that’s not deflated by a weakened dollar.

ESPN on Online Poker Cheating Josh Field JJProdigy

Here is what ESPN.com has to say about Josh Field JJProdigy and Online Poker Cheating.

By Gary Wise.

Turning 18 is a big moment in any man's life. Granted, these days it's not as honorary as it was in the age of the hunt, but you can vote, serve in the military, and in some countries, you can play poker anywhere you damn well please.

Recently, Josh Field hit the big one-eight. Before we get into who Josh is, can you think of any time when an 18th birthday ever registered in your mind in relation to poker? Each year, lists of up-and-coming soon-to-be 21-year-olds are compiled as we try to figure out who the next big thing at the World Series of Poker will be, but 18 is a whole other matter.

Field is a different story because he's emblematic of a lot of the problems within this industry. That's not to say he's responsible for them. He's a kid who was smart and cold and merciless enough to take advantage. Those familiar with Field's story will tell you he epitomizes the problems in the poker industry. They're right, but the problems in question are not the ones they're thinking of. Bear with me.

Josh Field

Jamie McDowell/PokerNews.com

Josh Field saw his first live action during the Aussie Millions.

Field is better known to many as "JJProdigy." It's his online alias that he once used at online tables. "Once used" because two years ago, he was caught multi-accounting and was made an example of, banned by PokerStars and PartyPoker and made a pariah by the online community he once called home.

Rather than take these developments as a calling to something more earnest, Field continued going with what he knew. "My immaturity again was working against me," he wrote in multiple online forums, confirmed by ESPN.com on Dec. 22, 2007. "I didn't think what I was doing was wrong. After that, it was a downward spiral. I was a fugitive in the online poker world. I used the reasoning, 'If I'm already a wanted man, I might as well maximize my value.'"

In the time since his actions first came to light, he's continued to break online poker rules by multi-accounting, purchasing accounts mid-tournament and gaming the system, all without showing much in the way of remorse. He apologized for his actions in that Dec. 22 posting, but without any reparations other than public embarrassment. After all, this is poker, where the object is to get the most money. In this particular version of the game, he was winning.

Justin Bonomo, a 22-year-old pro with experience in both the live and online poker worlds, wasn't impressed with that rationalization.

"In the history of poker, 'JJProdigy' is the only person to be publicly caught cheating more than once, and it was a lot more than once," he said. "I don't think JJ realizes, even now, that what he's done was wrong. I wish he would realize the damage that cheating does, not only to his opponents, but to the image and health of poker as a game."

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Justin Bonomo

Joy K. Miller

Justin Bonomo has had his own share of problems in the online realm, but has apologized for his actions numerous times.

Bonomo knows of what he speaks, because he used to be a "JJProdigy." He was banned from multiple sites for the same offenses, also around the same time Field was. Not surprisingly, in poker circles, their names have become synonymous. The difference however, is that Bonomo has expressed continued regret for his past actions, constantly taking steps to not only repair his once-fractured image, but also to educate the poker community about the mind-set behind cheating and how it might be prevented.

The reception to Field's writings was divided. On one hand, he was unrepentant and therefore undeserving of forgiveness. On the other, there was the realization that for all of the rule-breaking he's done and the monies gained through illicit dealings, there was no punishment. Cheat the system for a few years, apologize for a few years and move on. That's what Field was attempting to do, without so much as giving a penny back.

It was when Field mentioned in another post that he'd be going to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure a week after his 18th birthday (which made him legal to play in some live tournaments abroad) when a backlash began. PokerStars was flooded by complaints and as an apparent reaction to public demand, released a message to concerned players (and ESPN.com) which informed Field he would not be allowed to play in its event. Field adapted and decided that his first live tournament would be played at the 2008 Aussie Millions.

It was there he did two interviews that caught the community's attention . The first was with Amanda Leatherman for pokernews.com and the second was an appearance on Poker Road Radio, the Joe Sebok/Gavin Smith/Bart Hansen show hosted online. Both interviews threw Field some soft-toss questions, not shying away from the tough subjects but not condemning him for his actions, either.

It was after the two interviews when Dani "Ansky" Stern had enough. Stern, a 21-year-old pillar of the online poker community, wrote a long, passionate, frustrated diatribe about how the interviews had let Field off too easy and how the community should not. He called out to players to be more vigilant in ostracizing those few who would remind the world of poker's checkered past instead of embracing the newer, cleaner game. He also called out industry leaders to come together to ensure players like Field would not go unpunished.

"The casinos are brutally efficient in weeding out the card counters, they even keep records with rival casinos about the card counters because it suits both their interests to do so," he wrote. "If someone is caught counting cards at the Bellagio on Monday, do you think he will be able to walk into the Venetian the next week? Fat chance.

"Card counters are not cheaters, and yet they are so vigilantly and unequivocally barred from casinos. Yet known cheaters are banned from one site and not the next, or are banned from one tournament and not the next. Why is there no unity amongst the casinos or the sites in this case, but such fervor for unity in the case of card counters? Oh right, money, it's always about money, and never integrity. Card counters win money from the casinos, multi-accounters and cheaters pay rake just like everyone else, they are only stealing from us. This is why the burden is on the PLAYERS to pressure the casinos, the sites, and even TV networks to be harsher about this, and why people like JJProdigy should not feel comfortable enough to sit down face to face with two important figures in the poker community."

There weren't a lot of answers in Stern's post. It was more an attempt to wake the world up and inspire some action. In reading through Stern's and Field's writings, one thought kept screaming through my mind: "Who cares?"

Harsh? Yeah. I mean, I obviously don't want these actions to occur, and more importantly, the offending players aren't being punished. Like Stern wrote, it's all about the money. As far as the short term is concerned, caring for the state of the game is not a profitable endeavor. The answer to "Who cares?" is "The wrong people."

I've long held to a theory about poker players in business doing business like poker players. Accustomed in their time at the felt to employing a "me against the world" mentality, they often (or so the theory goes) allow that mentality to supersede other logical progressions in their business dealings. "Grab as big a piece of the pie for me while I can. Rake in those pots. Let someone else worry about the greater good, I'm here to make money."

There are exceptions to the rule, but their pleas often fall on deaf ears, and that leaves an industry that exists in a cyber Wild West vacuum. Without a regulatory body, everyone makes their own rules and those rules only fall over the scope that the rule-makers survey.

There are no real solutions here. After all, I'm just a lowly writer sitting on my perch commenting on the big things other people should do. The thing is, if I were one of the folks sitting on an eight- or nine-figure bankroll, looking at the game that had attained me that lofty station, I'd want to do something for the good of the game, even if that wasn't commensurate with profitability. Knowing I feel that way, I take the prerogative and wonder why those folks have done no such thing.

Poker remains to this day a world divided: WSOP and WPT, Bluff and CardPlayer, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, the biggest islands in the lawless industry ocean. If these entities stopped focusing on beating the other guy for just a minute of each day, it would mean so much to the long-term health of the game.

A regulatory body supported by, funded by, but not answering to industry biggies could codify the rules of the game and the punishments for breaking them. It could blanket the players in a measure of security. The relationship between regulatory body and poker room would benefit the latter in being recognized by the former. Is there any way to ensure rogues don't try to get their piece of the pie? No, but at least the prospective player would know the risks they'd take by taking a seat with an unrecognized entity. Any company donating either time or money toward this endeavor would gain the benefits of being recognized as an industry pillar that wants to better things for all of us.

Greg Raymer, the 2004 World Series of Poker main event champion, has been one of the few TV pros who has been open-mouthed with their disdain for Field's actions, vigilant in his referrals to them as criminal activity. On the idea of our autonomous body, he's cautiously optimistic.

Greg 'Fossilman' Raymer

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Greg Raymer believes online players would be less likely to cheat if there were known major repercussions.

"Anything we can do to make cheating more difficult is going to be a deterrent," he said. "There are always going to be people who try to cheat the system, but knowing there are real ramifications for those actions might stop them before they start."

Raymer points out there are many little issues that would need to be handled. Overshadowing them all, however, is the reality that this is an industry in which the money is the scorekeeper, so chucking some cash at "the good of the game" endeavors is about as likely as I am to find the money needed to start such a project in a jacket pocket.

Bonomo agrees, however, that our hypothetical organization's existence would go a long way toward stopping cheating at its roots: "A set of standardized rules could eliminate the gray areas of cheating. Once everything is defined as right or wrong, it becomes a lot harder to justify the wrong."

Cheating, unfortunately, is inherently human. We as a species are never wholly content to sit on our laurels when there are advantages offered, especially without matching consequences. It's frustrating to know that players like Field have cheated, but if it weren't him, it would be someone else, and then someone else and then someone else. It's also inherently human to strike out at those few individuals who tarnish the game in loud, emotional but ultimately forgotten strokes. Companies of massive standing have the power to be inhuman, to do the things that individuals can't for the greater and enduring good. The real blame should be placed on the shoulders of those with the power to make change that aren't seizing the opportunity. Until they do so, the Josh Field's of the world won't have much to disincline them from doing what they do.

I hope I'm wrong. Happy birthday, Josh.

Gary Wise is a regular contributor to ESPN.com, Bluff magazine, worldseriesofpoker.com and other publications. His podcast, Wise Hand Poker Radio, can be heard at roundersradio.com and airs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays.

Daniel Negreanu lashes out at Josh Field JJProdigy and cheating!

Daniel Negreanu: JJ Prodigy Josh Field "may grow up someday."

Daniel Negreanu concluded a recent blog post about cheater JJ Prodigy by saying, “It is a real shame that the poker world hasn’t advanced enough so that we can keep a kid like that from playing in live events. It’s a shame that we can’t keep him from playing online. It’s a shame that there are no concrete penalties for what he did.”

In what reads as a personal and pondered reaction to the Poker Road interview in which JJ basically said he’d cheat in the future, Negreanu compared him to Justin Bonomo, another player caught cheating, who reacted by apologizing and changing his ways. Excerpt from Daniel’s post:

Let me start by saying this: I don’t know the kid. He may grow up some day and be an upstanding citizen, but he SHOULD have a lot of work to do in order to earn any kind of acceptance in the poker world. His ban at both FTP and PokerStars are totally just.

You see, this isn’t a kid who got caught cheating, realized it was wrong, apologized, and then turned a new leaf. No, this kid went balls to the wall and did it even more. He said that in the interview. To be capable of that, you couldn’t possibly care about “doing the right thing.” You couldn’t possibly have legitimate remorse for what you did.

Again, I don’t know the kid, but my instincts just from listening to him actually speak about the issue is that he is a liar that still has no idea what he is going to do about what he’s done.

Canadian Poker Players Canadian Poker Cheaters

I recently wrote an article for Canadian Poker Player Magazine in which I contrasted poker cheating between Canadian cheaters and cheating in Canada and American cheaters and cheating in America. Here's the article:

HAVE CANADIAN CARDSHARPS BROKEN INTO POKER CHEATING’S BIG LEAGUES?

When I was a kid I was a diehard hockey fan. My favorite team was the New York Rangers and I followed them devoutly. But as a teenager my interest in the NHL began to wane. For a funny reason. Not that my fascination for the game had diminished but rather I learned that none of the players on my beloved New York hockey team were American. For that matter, neither were the vast majority of the remaining players in the league. I learned that they were mostly Canadians with a speckling of Europeans. Not that I was jingoistic about anything American, but I just thought it strange that a professional sport with most of its franchises in America was peopled by ninety-nine percent foreigners. Somehow that bothered me.

Why am I talking about hockey and how does it relate to poker cheating? Well, obviously it doesn’t but it does recall an e-mail I received from a young Canadian poker player last month. He explained that he was contemplating quitting his day job in Toronto and packing his bags to hit the poker circuit south of the border, mainly in Las Vegas and California. His specialty was high-limit cash games and he’d been playing successfully at the poker tables at Rama, Windsor and Niagara. He said he’d read about me in the Toronto Star in which I’d commented about the huge baccarat scam that had hit Canadian casinos and was busted last May, and he’d figured I’d be the right person to ask his questions.

Getting ready to embark on a career as well as a location change, the young Canadian wanted to know two things: if there was more cheating in American brick and mortar poker rooms than those in Canada and whether Canadian players represented poker’s cheating ranks in numbers proportional to their population. He specified that his second question was posed merely out of his curiosity while the first was of sheer importance. Obviously the cheating factor weighed on his decision whether to emigrate to the US in search of a better poker future.

Reading his e-mail, my childhood hockey-rooting days came to mind, which then accelerated to the present-day NHL. There are now many Americans playing in the NHL. But can we say that there is a parallel in the poker cheating ranks, that Canadians are now abundant in this dirty world? There is no question that thirty years ago, when American-born NHL hockey players were at an extreme premium, cheating at poker was as dominated by American poker players as hockey was by Canadian players. This was not surprising as poker itself in Canada was much less prevalent than in the US, albeit not quite as rare as the sport of curling was in the Fifty States. There were few Canadian professional poker players among the likes of American legends such as Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim. Chances of a Canadian cardsharp in the mix of some of Vegas’s most notorious poker games were just that—slim. But as the game has tremendously grown in popularity, even more so in Canada than the US if one looks at demographics, Canadian poker players have appeared on the pro circuits just as stunningly as American hockey players did in the NHL.

But what about Canadian cheaters? Have they as well kept pace? Well, this is a question that is not as readily answered as the obvious expansion of poker in Canada and Canadian players. But I do have a way of measuring it. Many people who read the blog on my website richardmarcusbooks.com report both confirmed and suspected cheating incidents in brick and mortar poker rooms. As my book “Dirty Poker” has been just as available in Canadian bookstores and Amazon Canada as it has been in American bookstores and Amazon US, and as I write for both Canadian Poker Player and American poker magazines, I get equal exposure proportionate to the populations of both countries, therefore, I can derive a pretty fair opinion based on the e-mails I get from players on either side of the border. Based on reports and suspicions of collusion play, card-switching, card-marking and tournament cheating that includes chip-dumping and softplay, there is no question that—and for you Canadians this is good news—cheating incidents in direct proportion to US cardrooms are happening less in Canadian cardrooms. By following mathematical formulas based on the number of rooms, tables and players in each country and dividing them by the number of estimated Americans and Canadians who play live poker, and then inserting the cheating complaints into the equation, I feel quite confident with my statement. My overall conclusion is that you are less likely to be cheated at any given time at a Canadian poker table than a US one, including in tournament play.

Why? Does it have something to do with the fact that in general US cash games and tournaments have higher limits and prize money? Most definitely yes. And I would say that those Canadian cheaters who do cheat on a professional level have basically done the same thing my young Canadian e-mailer is planning to do—emigrate to the United States. Which brings us back to his second question asking whether Canadian players make up a percentage of professional cheaters equivalent to their population. Well, on this front the answer is not as benevolent to the Canadian people. Although they do not yet quite match up to their demographic numbers, Canadian cheaters are growing in population and will probably catch up to their American counterparts. Although I cannot mention names, there have been several incidents coming to me where the suspected cheaters were Canadians, even a woman or two. I can say this, however: in nearly all of these incidents the poker room where this questionable activity occurred was in the United States. So for all you honest players in Canada, rest assured that the vast majority of your not so honest compatriots have gone south.

What about online poker? Well that’s another story. You see, the histories of our two countries in that regard started at about the same time.