Saturday, March 01, 2008

Poker Cheating the Easy Way!

I am often asked what was the easiest score I ever made cheating casinos. Was it at roulette? Was it blackjack? Craps? Baccarat? Some people even ask if I ever rigged a million-dollar slot jackpot, which is about as far away from my cheating activities as slot machines would be from the Dalai Lama! The answer, however, is "none of the above." In fact, the easiest score I ever made in a casino had nothing to do with cheating. Nor did it have anything to do with gambling! It did have something to do with the Mirage poker room, but only because I was standing on its rail when it happened.

Back in 1989, when the Mirage was barely open, I was hanging out in its casino waiting for my casino cheating partners to arrive in Vegas for a big cheating weekend. There was a heavyweight championship fight and the town promised to be packed up with big action. I arrived on a Wednesday, two days before my teammates were flying in that coming Friday. Just trying to kill time, I wandered into the sports book. While watching the myriad of TV screens covering 3 different sports, I got to bullshitting with this guy named Joe from Brooklyn. He seemed like my kind of guy, and I could tell right away he was hustler. After a few hours in the sports book, we went to the coffee shop and grabbed a bite to eat. While there, a well-dressed guy came up to our table and approached Joe. This guy was of a classy type and reeked of money and style. He sat down at our booth next to Joe; they obviously knew each other. After some quick casual conversation, the sharp-looking guy got up and left.

Later that night, I saw Joe playing blackjack at a $100 minimum table near the poker room. I came up behind him and he acknowledged that it was okay that I stand there and watch him. In his hand he had a fistful of purple $500 chips, and he was shooting a $1,000 a hand. During the ten minutes I watched, Joe held his own but didn't appear to win any money. Then the handsome guy appeared and they started talking in hushed tones. I felt I should leave, so I did.

The next morning I ran into Joe in the coffee shop and we had breakfast together. We again shot the shit, although he never said anything about who the other guy was or whatever he (Joe) did for a living, which I sensed had something to do with shady trade and that he was doing it now with this other guy. I of course mentioned nothing about the way I made money in casinos. Then after coffee, I followed him out to that same high-limit blackjack table near the poker room. He reached in his pocket, pulled out a handful of purple $500 chips and started playing two hands. I watched him play for a half hour and he did okay, winning around $4,000. Then I strolled into the sports book to watch a ballgame.

I ran into Joe three more times that day, and again that evening we dined in the coffee shop. Then later on, around midnight, I saw Joe playing blackjack at the same table next to the poker room. He again had a handful of purple chips in his hand, and he was playing two spots at $1,000 per hand. But this time he was making a killing. After winning both hands three times in a row, he spread to three hands and raised his bets to $2,000. He caught a big streak and was soon ahead more than thirty grand! At that moment, I saw him look over his shoulder and a funny look came over his face. I turned in that direction and noticed the sharp guy heading toward us.

Suddenly, I felt a hard slap on my hand. I was totally stunned. It was Joe grabbing my hand and jamming something inside it. "Get lost!" he roared with throaty viciousness. "Now!"

My mind was twirling in confusion, but I knew enough to get lost. I also knew that what he jammed in my hand was casino chips. And, that unless he was a magician pulling a fast one, those chips had to be purple--$500 chips!

I kept my fist tightly closed and headed to the men's room. Inside a stall I opened it, and there they were: seven purple chips--$3,500! At first I was leery about cashing them out; was this some kind of setup awaiting me at the cage? But I couldn't resist the lure of the easy money, so I went right to the cage and cashed them out. The cashier asked if I had any markers to pay; I answered no. She gave me the cash, no problems. I stuffed it in my pants pocket and got out of Dodge in a heartbeat!

I wondered about that incident for years. Why did this guy give me $3,500 simply to get rid of me? I would have just as equally fled under the harsh tone of his order to get lost. There was no need to give me one dollar, let alone thirty-five hundred of them. This was probably the most amazing thing that ever happened to me, even more so than my 25-year cheating career. A total stranger gave me $3,500 in a casino! Unbelievable, but true!

The only conclusion I could draw was that Joe was scamming the rich guy, probably playing on his money with a promise that he had some kind of system to make big money, and for that he would get a percentage of what he won, an arrangement similar to deals made between poker players and their backers. But I guess Joe was going south with the profits from the big score he was making and was afraid that I would say something about how much money he was winning in front of the guy. That's a laugh! Little did Joe know that he was in the company of someone who knew how to keep his mouth shut!

I saw Joe one more time in Atlantic City two years later. We crossed by each other on the boardwalk and definitely made eye-contact. Neither of us stopped. Neither of us even hesitated. It was like...well...two ships passing in the night.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Caught Cheating Casinos When Not Cheating Casinos!

As many of you know from reading this blog, I often recount some humorous stories about incidents that took place over my 25-year cheating career. One of the funniest, although it was not so funny for me when it happened, took place in the early days of Atlantic City when I was there on an inaugural (for Atlantic City, that is!) casino cheating trip with my mentor Joe Classon and his Classon Pastposting Team. It was the only time in my entire life that I was accused of cheating a casino when in fact I did nothing of the kind! Here's the way it went down:

One Sunday afternoon in the summer of 1978 I was shooting craps at Caesars newly opened Boardwalk Regency. I’d arrived at the table with over $1,500 in black $100 and green $25 chips. My plan was to show a little action, then color out to get the purple $500 chips Jerry needed for blackjack moves. For my first bet I put a green chip on the don't pass bar. Chips lying on the don't pass bar stick out because the overwhelming majority of crapshooters bet the pass line, going with the shooter against the house. At that particular table, I happened to be crunched between two meaty tough guys at the horn, each with $2,000 bets on the pass line. One had the dice, the other a thick wad of hundreds he let dangle over the rail above the felt, and with my measly $25 bet going against their four grand I felt a little uneasy. The guy with the dice rolled snake eyes, crapped out. When the inexperienced dealer swept away their $4,000, he also wrongly swept my green chip off the winning don't pass bar. I immediately protested, innately stopping the action as I would when claiming.
"Hey!" I cried. "You swept my quarter off the don't pass bar! What is this crap?"
The dealer looked at me blankly, not having the slightest clue.
"Your bet was on the pass line, sir." It was the boxman who spoke. He was one of those gym-rat types with big shoulders, thick chest and oily slicked-back hair, and the attitude that went with it. Looking at that idiot immediately enraged me. A raw dealer's honest mistake was one thing, but for a boxman—just as raw—to back up something like that, which he obviously could not have seen, was another.
"My bet was on the don't pass line," I argued.
"I'm sorry, sir," retorted the boxman, "but your bet was on the pass line."
Now I was furious. I found myself in a situation where I was actually claiming a legitimate dealer mistake—probably for the first time in my life. And I couldn't win out, couldn't get paid the lousy $25. The thought that this was some kind of ironic payback from above for all the illegitimate claiming I had done flashed through my mind.
"He had his bet on the don't pass bar," the guy who’d just rolled the dice and lost $2,000 said. "I saw his bet going against mine."
I was quite surprised that the guy was backing me up. Seldom did a big craps player have any pity for a little green-chip pauper going against him.
"No he didn't," the boxman said with arrogant defiance to the high-rolling shooter. "His bet was on the pass line next to yours."
I felt the veins popping out in my neck. I didn't appreciate the way that boxman said his. Weight-lifting dummy or not, I wanted a piece of the guy. I was really getting worked up. Then the other high roller—also a two-thousand-dollar loser on the roll—got involved.
"What're you, a schmuck?" he said to the boxman. "My buddy Jimmy here's telling you that the kid bet his quarter on the don't pass line, and you sez no. Whaddaya calling him a liar?"
"The bet was on the pass line, sir," the boxman said to the second tough guy in the same tone. I couldn't believe he was going to the wall on this. I was beside myself. Here are two typical tough guys from Philly who just lost four grand on a single roll of the dice backing me up for $25 and the boxman doesn't want to believe them. What could he be thinking? That they were both working a scam with me, and that the three of us would cut up the twenty-five bucks in the john?
I couldn't take it anymore. My head was pounding from the anger. Despite the arrival of the floorman, who I figured would probably back up the boxman, I lunged forward and was climbing into the craps table to get at the boxman, who had stood up and steeled himself for my charge. Had one of the two tough guys not grabbed me around the waist and held me back, I might have killed that idiot with the big pecs and written this book from a New Jersey state prison. When it was all over, the pit boss (after the floorman's indecision) finally reversed the boxman's call and had the dealer put my quarter back on the don't pass line and pay it. During the ruckus the dealer had remained silent. I could see that he was fearful and felt bad for him. So instead of picking up the two green chips on the don't pass bar, I left them there and said to the dealer, "That's for you."
Who said that pastposters don't have a heart?
I thanked the two guys from Philadelphia for backing me up and went outside on the boardwalk to cool down a little.
"What're you, nuts?" Joe said, handing me a soda he'd bought in one of the pizza joints squeezed between two souvenir shops on the boardwalk. I had been leaning against the railing lining the beach, letting my head fall back as I watched and listened to the seagulls overhead.
"Probably," I said. "I just snapped. Two guys betting two grand a pop stick up for me and that idiot boxman doesn't believe them."
"Take it easy," Joe said, tapping me gently on the back. "You're not in Vegas. This is Atlantic City. You have to give these people a chance to learn."

Unfortunately (for them), they never did.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Are Poker Machines Creating Hardcore Criminals?

Apparently they are, at least in Australia. According to the Australian media, people who are addicted to poker machines ("pokies") and who they've labeled "pokie paupers" have become the newest group of hardcore criminals Down Under and are linked to hundreds of serious criminal cases. Well, this is certainly understandable as nearly all addictions in one way or another lead to crime. And I doubt that Australian casinos or casinos anywhere else for that matter are going to pull their pokies. And, not surprisingly, executives affiliated with companies and casinos that manufacture the pokies deny that any rise in crime is a result of these poker machines. You be the judge!

Here's an article on the important matter that is circulating in Australia:


POKER machines are creating a new criminal class — pushing law-abiding Victorians into a life of crime to feed gambling addictions that are tearing families apart while the State Government reaps a $1 billion-a-year tax jackpot.

People with no prior criminal records are being jailed for years after succumbing to pokie addictions and resorting to fraud, theft and embezzlement, often after gambling away their life savings.

In one case, a woman was murdered by a colleague for a shop's takings. The killer then went to the casino and within four hours of the May 2006 killing had lost a third of the money.

Lawyers say the Government must act urgently to address the gambling crisis which saw Victorians lose $2.5 billion last year.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last week expressed concern that gambling tax contributed more than $5 billion to the states' and territories' annual revenue.

The State Government is set to announce new 20-year poker machine licences within weeks — a once-in-a-generation chance to reduce the number and accessibility of gaming machines, according to Opposition gaming spokesman Michael O'Brien.

He said the State Government was ignoring "the social cost and the economic cost through the criminal justice system, through the health system, through the social welfare system that gambling addiction creates".

His views are backed by senior lawyers. Bernie Balmer, who represented Kate Jamieson, a former Bendigo Bank loans officer and a mother of two who stole $3.5 million to feed her gambling addiction and is now in jail, says poker machines are white-anting ordinary families.

"Once upon a time you didn't have this offending in court — these are mums who have been dragged away from their kids for four years," he said. "The community have got to support them in jail — husbands become single parents, it's just bullshit."

A Melbourne-based ANZ bank teller who stole $826,000 after gambling away her savings was recently jailed for 4½ years.

Last week, it was alleged in a Victorian parliamentary gambling licence inquiry that a former Tattersalls chief executive had said in 2002 that "he was going to … screw the problem gamblers for as long as he could until he was forced to stop by government legislation".

The political party Family First is trying to fast-track such legislation. It entered a bill in Federal Parliament on Thursday aimed at phasing out pokies from pubs and clubs and limiting them to racetracks and casinos.

Independent senator-elect Nick Xenophon, of South Australia, who will meet with Mr Rudd to discuss how the states should be encouraged to curb their reliance on gambling taxes, said: "The state reaps a huge dividend — this really is blood money in terms of the impact of pokies and the devastation it causes to people."

The Victorian Government took $1.56 billion in gambling taxes last year, $1 billion of which came from pokies.

But it spends less than $27 million a year on addressing problem gambling.

Sue MacGregor, from the Law Institute of Victoria's criminal law section executive, said pokies were the sole reason many people were in legal strife.

In some "tragic cases" women had even lost the right to care for their children, she said.

In December, Judge Roland Williams said he did not see "any real civilised justification for (poker machines) other than a means of indirectly taxing the people who are too stupid to work out what they are doing".

Tabcorp spokesman Bruce Tobin said the levels of problem gambling were falling in Victoria, while Tattersalls' Michael Mangos said "Tatts is not aware of any evidence that there is an increase in the prevalence of problem gambling".

Emma Diffen, a spokeswoman for Gaming Minister Tony Robinson, said the Government had a proud record of "investment and achievement" in supporting problem gamblers.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Virgin Poker Top 10 Safe Poker Site

To see current safety ratings, click here.

VIRGIN POKER is a new addition to the online poker marketplace--and as you'd expect, the quality of the product is right up there with the market leaders. Registering and getting to the tables is straightforward and quick. New customers get a deposit-match bonus of up to $200 when they start up, so you've doubled your bankroll before you start. Once you're into the lobby, there is the usual selection of games on offer. Cash games, single and multi-table tournaments and heads-up games are all available, and the site offers Omaha, 7 Card Stud and 5 Card Draw as well as the obligatory Texas Hold'Em. I have not seen any evidence of serious cheating since I've been monitoring this site. Both collusion and bot play have been well below the industry average, and Virgin Poker has never appeared on my list of unsafe sites. For my complete review of Virgin Poker, click here.

Pro Poker Players Caught Cheating the Law / More Hacking Attacks Against Online Casinos and Poker Rooms!

HONEST POKER PLAYERS AND CHEATERS sometimes become one and the same outside the boundaries of poker. We have all had our fill of the Absolute Poker Scandal and its aftermath of various online satellite scams, but also popping up in news accounts these days are stories of professional poker players who have no known histories of cheating getting into trouble cheating--and worse--outside the game. The most recent, and busted in a MAJOR scam, was Canadian pro player Shaun David Rootenberg from Toronto. Although by no means has Rootenberg been tearing the suits off the cards, he is still widely known on the professional poker tours.

Aside from Rootenberg, there have been other incidents involving pro players breaking the law away from the table. Professional player Scott Obst of Las Vegas, who owes $115,000 in back child support payments, in now being actively sought by Wisconsin police who have obtained a warrant for his arrest. It appears that Scott is either morally negligent or is just blowing that child support money at the tables.

Then last month in an uglier revelation, professional poker player Shahram Sheikhan of Las Vegas was disinvited from a charity poker tournament run by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, after it was revealed that Sheikhan is a convicted child molester who served time in prison for committing sexual battery on a minor.

Here's an article about Rootenberg's multi-million-dollar scam:

A professional poker player from Canada has been charged with fraud and other crimes for pretending to be an investment broker and defrauding clients out of $7 million.

According to Canadian media reports, Shaun David Rootenberg, 40, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, persuaded people to give him money to invest in businesses in Canada and the United States to which he had no connection.

When victims suspected fraud, Rootenberg issued phony checks to them from different banks to make it seem like their investments were paying off, the reports said.

In all, Toronto police charged Rootenberg with four counts of fraud over $5,000, four counts of attempt fraud over $5,000, three counts of property obtained by crime over $5,000 and two counts of failure to comply with probation, the reports said.

“He was taking money out of one person’s pocket and putting it in another,” said Detective Constable Chris Devereux of the Toronto Police Department’s fraud squad.

“That’s what he does. He defrauds one person one day and then he has to defraud somebody else to pay that person. He has to go find somebody else to get the hounds off.”

Devereux said Rootenberg was convicted of two counts of uttering forged documents in 2006 and was given a 15-month sentence and nine months probation.

“The ironic thing is he was on probation for these previous charges when he did all of this,” Devereux said. “He has the golden tongue.”

According to the media reports, Rootenberg ripped off four people, including an ex-girlfriend and an ex-college pal, and two banks, for a total haul of nearly $7 million.

So how did the scam work?

Rootenberg presented himself to gullible friends as a successful investment broker and suggested he had stakes in several potentially lucrative business deals, the reports said.

After persuading people to put money into his projects, he would recruit new investors and use that money to keep the earlier partners satisfied that their investments were paying off, the reports said.

It was a classic pyramid scheme.

“There was no intent whatsoever on his part to fulfill any kind of contract or obligation he had set out to the victims,” Devereaux said. “These are smart business people who, based on the trust he garnered with them, ignored the red flags that were flying up.

“There’s a lot of frustration and anger and embarrassment on their part. They’re smart business people and they can’t believe they were taken.”

As a professional poker player, Rootenberg’s career has been less than spectacular.

According to tournament records, the only time he has finished in the money in any poker tournament was on December 12, 2005, when he finished in third place and won $16,401 in a no-limit Texas hold ‘em tourney at the Casino Rama in suburban Toronto.

So far, 2008 has been a bad year for professional poker players and the law. In addition to Rootenberg’s woes, it was revealed earlier this month that police in Wisconsin have issued an arrest warrant for poker pro Scott Obst of Las Vegas, who owes $115,000 in back child support payments.

And last month, professional poker player Shahram Sheikhan of Las Vegas was disinvited from a charity poker tournament run by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, after it was revealed that Sheikhan is a convicted child molester who served time in prison for committing sexual battery on a minor.

MORE HACK ATTACKS AGAINST ONLINE POKER ROOMS: Yesterday I posted about DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attacks against online gambling sites. This is sending huge amounts of request to some servers in order to bring them down. Full Tilt has been hit with this the last couple of days and now it seems that the latest victim is Ladbrokes, which as of this writing is down. I'm beginning to wonder if the hackers have not declared full-scale war against online poker and casinos! And if so, why? Is it about trying to divert huge sums of money to sites not getting hacked? Or is it perhaps some morals group or cult that detests gambling and is making their voice heard in disabling online gaming sites in some attempt to rid the Internet of them? Well, ask me, I'd say it's the former. Probably a group of hackers looking to put specific sites down for specific financial reasons.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cheating Poker Hack Attacks!

POKER CHEATING HACKING: An interesting phenomenon has suddenly began gripping the online poker world. It's a hacking technique called DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service. This is sending huge amounts of request to some servers in order to bring them down. And it seems to have been repeatedly used against some gambling and poker websites within the last couple of weeks. And not surprisingly, there seems to be a Russian connection to this.

Here is the first article I have seen on this:

Monday, 18 February 2008
Gambling Websites Under Attack

As many of you know, we do a lot of work with internet relay chat (IRC)-based botnets. It was and for the most part still is the bread and butter of the botnet world. However, more and more new botnets are turning their backs on IRC and are moving to the web and embracing port 80. Well we haven’t just been sitting idle and twiddling our thumbs. We have been watching and monitoring HTTP-based botnets for quite some time now. Just yesterday one in particular managed to grab our attention, so we have decided to put it under the microscope.

Early yesterday morning I logged online to take a look at the live output of the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that have been coming from HTTP botnets we are monitoring. It only took a moment for this becoming rather interesting. The word “poker” appeared a few times and quickly caught my eye. As it turns out, I was logged in from my hotel room in Las Vegas and had actually just returned from playing poker. The output I was presented with looked something like this (extraneous and other information have been removed/edited):

ddos_command=`flood http`, control_server=``, ddos_target=``

ddos_command=`flood http`, control_server=``, ddos_target=``

ddos_command=`flood http`, control_server=``, ddos_target=``

These are all familiar websites, especially the website for Full Tilt Poker. They are one of the bigger Poker websites on the Internet. Typing all three of these websites into a browser revealed that only one of them, CDPoker, was actually accessible. For the next hour or so that I checked, I could not reach Full Tilt's website at all and Titan Poker would load sporadically. Further review would later show that CDPoker may have some form of DDoS protection through Prolexic and that Titan Poker was using four different IP addresses. That might explain why CDPoker had no load issues and Titan Poker would periodically load, albeit usually rather slowly. It would appear that Internet poker websites were under attack. As a result we decided to dig a little deeper into the activities of this particular HTTP botnet.

It wouldn’t take long to find out this botnet wasn’t just going after poker, but rather gambling sites in general for the past week or so. Some were attacked for a few hours and others for a few days. Each attack is designed to overwhelm the websites with tons of bogus GET requests. The desired result of the attacker is to completely disrupt service to the website (hence denial of service). We do not know how many of the attacks succeeded since there’s no way for us to go back and tell. However, we do have a list of the gambling websites they attacked. From February 10, 2008 to February 18, 2008, the following gambling websites were targeted: (does not currently resolve) (currently resolves to (currently resolves to

This is a rather staggering list. Keep in mind this is just going back a week and each listed DNS entry was attacked for at least multiple hours if not days. Also, this is only the gambling related websites. Mixed in between are websites for dedicated hosting, financial earnings, advertising, e-payment and more. However, there is a quite obvious and consistent theme on attacking poker and gambling websites for the past week.

It would appear that most of the websites are Russian gambling websites. However, the most recent attacks have been against larger non-Russian websites and we can see they also attacked Party Gaming (one of the largest if not the largest) and Virgin Games in between. Why are they doing this? That we do not really know. This could be a range of tests that precedes an extortion attempt. Perhaps someone is paying to have the websites of the competition brought down? We do not have any real way to tell at this point. What is clear though is that several gambling websites are being brought down.

As of the writing of this post Titan Poker and Full Tilt Poker are still being attacked. It appears Full Tilt Poker has just started redirecting traffic to which is on a new IP address. Titan Poker is currently fully unavailable for the last few hours as they have shifted their most recent attacks against We have just recently sent the details of this command and control (C&C) server to Layered Technologies (the current location the bots phone into) for action. Hopefully they will be able to assist us in putting stop to some of these attacks.

Update: It appears the C&C server is now offline. We cannot confirm it but it appears Layered Tech took relatively swift action and has taken this server down.

One of my site visitors e-mailed the following:

I used to browse and read different poker forums and it's true that the
last couple of weeks there was quite an unusual amount of posts from
people complaining that they were not able to log in on their favorite
poker room (especially Full Tilt), or were suffering some lags or even
being disconnected while playing online. I guess the information
from this website is just bringing some light on what may have really
happened then...especially when we just can't expect the poker rooms to
tell us what's really going on....

IN ANY EVENT, this is very interesting!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Casino Cheater Nets 5 Years for Amateur Scam!

Wow! Steven Stotts gets 5 years in an Iowa prison for a stupid blackjack bet capping scam I've repeatedly warned cheaters not to do! The difference between bet-capping, which is adding chips to your bet once you know you're a heavy favorite (for example, when you have a hard twenty and the dealer has a seven showing), and Richard Marcus style pastposting, when you switch your bet for higher denomination chips AFTER you've already won the hand and been paid and THEN claim the dealer paid you wrong, is night and day. The bet-capping is repetitive action that gets you busted while pastposting ONLY ONCE for large amounts at the table gets you the money! I guess Stotts deserved the sentence for being so stupid!

Here's the article:

Mason City man gets five years for cheating at Diamond Jo

MASON CITY — A Mason City man has been sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of cheating at gambling at the Diamond Jo Worth Casino.

Steven Stotts, 57, was arrested in November 2006. He was sentenced on the Class D felony charge in Worth County District Court late last month.

In addition to the prison time, Stotts received at suspended $750 fine and was ordered to pay $230 in court costs and reimburse his court appointed attorney $60.

According to Worth County Attorney Jeffrey Greve, the conviction is the first on a cheating at gambling charge in the county since the casino opened in April 2006.

“We did have an investigation earlier,” said Greve, “but the individual was involved in a similar situation in Dubuque County, which had a much stronger case and it was prosecuted there. So this is our first conviction.”

According to court records, Stotts was convicted of “capping” and “pinching” bets while playing blackjack. (Pinching is the opposite of capping, when you reduce your bet with the knowledge you are probably going to lose it.)

“Video footage shows Stotts knowingly added more chips to his wager when odds greatly favored, or when the outcome of the game was already determined,” said the complaint filed in the court record.

The complaint was signed by Adrian McGeough, an agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

“Stotts has done this a minimum of six times,” continued the complaint, “as well as pinching a bet one time.”

Capping and pinching are typically done at blackjack and craps tables, according to Larry Mullen, special agent in charge for the DCI. Mullen oversees DCI agents assigned to casinos in Northwood and Waterloo.

“Capping is done when the player knows the outcome of the game and he tries to add chips, making for a larger payoff,” said Mullen. “Pinching is just the opposite, taking chips back before the dealer collects.

“If you get a busy table, with a lot of players, it does get difficult for a dealer to watch all the hands,” said Mullen. “That’s when we turn to the surveillance cameras.”

Greve and Mullen noted that Iowa’s state casinos are regulated by strict laws.

“Any form of cheating in an Iowa casino is a Class D felony,” said Mullen. “It doesn’t matter if it’s in a 1-cent slot machine or thousands of dollars, it results in a felony charge.”

Mullen said casino operators and security are more serious about charges when larger amounts of money are involved.

“An initial response, on a smaller infraction may be removal from the casino,” he said. “But anything involving the $5 chips and larger, gets people’s attention.”

Mullen said attempts at cheating are fairly rare. “Most people realize that if they make any attempt they’re going to get caught,” he said.

In addition to the trouble at the casino, Stotts will also be doing some prison time on charges he piled up in Cerro Gordo County.

He received two, two-year sentences for breaking his probation on driving while barred charges.

The court is allowing the driving while barred sentences to run concurrent with the cheating at gambling charge.