Saturday, March 29, 2008

New! Online Casino Safety Rankings Page

The main difference in the compilation of data for online casino cheating versus online poker cheating is that the cheating going on at online casinos is primarily instigated by the casinos themselves, through their software, whereas in online poker it is the players who cheat other players. With that fact in mind, it is obvious that much more cheating occurs in online poker than in online casinos, however, there are still instances today of online casino cheating. One facet of online cheating that affects casinos as much as poker rooms is the tampering with player accounts by means of hacking, identity theft, personal "friendship" manipulation and other ways cheaters and crooks employ to glean players' personal information.

The overwhelming majority of online casinos are on the up and up, nonetheless there have been cases in which some websites have been suspected of having fixed their gaming software so that they enjoy and even greater advantage. For instance, a casino's Random Number Generator (RNG), the pre-programmed mechanism that ensures fair play among an online casino's slot machines, blackjack deals and rolls of the dice could be manipulated to payoff less than that casino's advertised slot payout rate, and of course to not deal decks of cards randomly, perhaps loading decks with small cards that give the online casino the advantage. Again, this is rare but it does happen.

Another form of cheating by online casinos is carried out by some very short-sited online casino companies. These shady operators have a tendency to either drag out how long it takes for a player to withdraw cash from their casino account, or prevent them from accessing their cash at all. These "slow poke" websites tend to do this with the mindset that players will simply continue to play, and wager, until they finally lose all their funds, which sadly lots of players do.

My online casino safety rankings take all these factors into account. I cannot assure you that on any given day the rankings are entirely accurate but in the long run they will pan out, giving you a solid idea base of which casinos are safest over an extended period of time. What this means is that a casino ranked 5th in my ratings, might not actually be the fifth safest online casino, but it will surely be A SAFE ONLINE CASINO.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Cheating At Craps: Loaded Dice and Dice Control

CRAPS CHEATING has not gotten much press in recent times, mainly because of the poker craze and all its attendant cheating, both online and in live poker rooms. Add to that the card counting frenzy tied into the MIT Blackjack Team movie and other forms of advantage play in 21, and craps really takes a back seat when the subject turns to casino cheats.

But what really is the current state of affairs with craps cheating? Are there still incidents of switching dice, loaded dice or dice control? Well, the only form of dice cheating or manipulating worth talking about is controlling the dice, and only because it's NOT worth trying. I have witnessed numerous so-called dice dominators, dice terminators, dice exterminators, dice regulators and dice-just-about-everything-else-"ators" putting their talents on display and have yet to be convinced that any single one of them can control anything more than the bullshit they roll across the table in place of the dice! Get what I'm talking about? I'm saying that dice control is simply "no roll!"

As far as switching dice into a craps game goes, it's still relatively easy, but the problem for the dice cheats doing the switching is that loaded and otherwise gaffed dice will not stay in play too long before an alert boxman or stickman running the table notices them. If you've ever seen a boxman holding up a die to the light while rotating it between his fingers and examining it, he is looking for exactly that--dice that don't belong in the game. Then a simple replay of video footage by surveillance will pick up the switch that got the crooked dice into the game--and will soon get the crooked craps shooters switched into jail.

In short, apart from pastposting and chip manipulation scams, the pickings in craps cheating have grown rather slim.



Now there are casino scams...and then there are casino scams! I participated in a TV series called the "World's Greatest Gambling Scams," and also wrote a book about them. Most good casino scams require lots of brains and lots of balls. But some only require the balls! Here is one of those, called the "Bet and Run scam," which was laid down on Las Vegas during the 1980s. The idea was simple: bet your chips to the max on a hand of blackjack; if you win, fine, collect your money...if you lose...well, I think you get the idea...BOLT! Get your ass out of Dodge! Hence the scam's name "Bet and Run."

In one scenario of this scam there were four players on the team: John, the bettor (and runner); Gunther, the escape specialist biker; and Raul and Rene, twins who provided blocking and interference against the casino. It happened at the Holiday casino in Las Vegas (now Harrah's), which was located on the Strip across from where the Mirage now stands. They had already cased the target casino and its surrounding grounds and deemed it one of the best for their operation. Even though it stood mid-Strip with no convenient perpendicular side street, ingress and egress were rather uncomplicated, with Las Vegas Boulevard only thirty feet from where Gunther's shiny black Harley would be waiting.

The blackjack table John laid his twenty black $100 chips on was ten feet from the door, a joke of a "runaway." Rene hung by the door like he was watching the action in the busy casino. Raul was just outside it. Gunther on the Harley was rearing to go but hoping not too soon. The beauty of this design was that they’d be using a side door. There was hardly traffic moving through it. On the inside, besides the occasional security guard making his rounds, there was absolutely nothing that would impede an escape.

A friendly Mexican pit boss named Miguel greeted John as soon as John’s mighty stack of black chips appeared in his betting circle, in centerfield position of the full table. “How’re the tables treating you?” he asked John amiably.
“I could use a little luck,” John said with his ingratiating smile.
“Well, good luck to you then, sir.”
“Thank you, Miguel.”

John turned his attention to the cards the dealer removed in succession from the shoe and snapped in a horseshoe arc onto the layout. A handsome king of diamonds landed in front of his chips. John stared at the red and blue paint on the card and prayed for another. He was then treated to a one-eyed jack, giving him a hard twenty. Very strong hand against the dealer’s up card of 7. If the dealer had a 10 or an ace in the hole, John would be instant winners. If not, the dealer would have to draw out until he reached seventeen or busted.

Each player played his hand. When it came time for the dealer to play his, John felt a nervous twinge in the pit of his stomach. The dealer flipped over his hole card, a 9. He had 16 and had to hit.

John tensed up like desert cactus. Please, he thought, anything but a 4 or 5.
The dealer pulled a card from the shoe and placed it next to his 9 and 7. It was a 6! Just enough to bust his hand and make John a winner.

John let out all his nervous energy in a joyful scream. Rene immediately flashed a “chin” through the door at Raul, the sign that John had won the hand. Raul removed his ball cap, giving Gunther the same good news. Upon receiving the signal, Gunther revved the scooter and drove off to park and wait until he was signalled back to the door for John’s next bet.

Inside the casino, Miguel the pit boss smiled warmly. “Nice hand, amigo. You got us good.”
“Thanks,” John said, thinking he’d get them better.

The dealer paid him four pretty purple chips, $2,000. John scooped them from the table with the twenty blacks and headed straight for the casino cage. He cashed out the purples, then walked through the casino to the sports book, where he met up with Rene. He gave Rene the cash, then proceeded back toward the table he’d just won on. Rene scurried back to his spot by the door and “chinned” Raul. Outside, Raul took off his hat, prompting Gunther’s new arrival at the door.

John stepped up to the same blackjack table and saw someone had taken his spot while he was gone. The next spot over was open. Given the adrenaline rush of winning the previous bet, John couldn’t care less from which spot he made his bet. He laid down the $2,000 in chips.

Miguel welcomed him back. “Good luck again, sir.”
“Thanks,” John said and smiled.

The dealer dealt John a nineteen, then drew out to eighteen for the house, another winning hand for John and a second reprieve from running out the door. Again he was paid with four purple chips.

“Would you like me to change your black chips into purples?” the dealer asked.
“That’s all right, Robert,” John said quickly, noting the dealer’s nameplate. “They’re my lucky black chips.” John didn’t give two shits about luck. He was thinking that he didn’t want the team to be stuck cashing out purple chips after a "runaway." He remembered that Gunther had warned him about casinos keeping track of their purple chips.

John carefully gathered his black and purple chips off the layout and went directly to the cage. At the same time, Rene flashed the “won” signal through the door outside to Raul, who again took off his cap to urge Gunther’s retreat back to the waiting position. John cashed out the four purples, then met up with Rene in the sports book and handed him $2,000 for the second time in five minutes. Finally, the team’s set-up signals bounced from Rene to Raul to Gunther, who again brought up the Harley. It took but five minutes for them to be in position for John’s third bet at what was becoming their lucky table.

Again seeing John’s tall stack of black chips in the betting circle, Miguel said amicably, “You really like to hit and run,” apparently not the slightest bit suspicious that John might be a card counter taking pot shots in the middle of the shoe, let alone that he might bolt out the door with $2,000 in losing black chips.
“Yeah, I do this all the time,” John said cheerfully. “Keeps me in action longer.”
“I’ll bet,” Miguel agreed, as if he liked to do the same thing.

The dealer acknowledged John with a smile, then surveyed his imposing black stack along with the other puny red and green piles on the layout.

John was dealt a blackjack! This time he received a $1,000 bonus for his ace and jack.

“This must really be your lucky night,” Miguel gushed. Then when he saw John was again leaving after the single wager, he inquired with puzzlement, “You’re going to leave right after a blackjack? Why not stay? You might hit a lucky streak.”

John loved it because now he really had him. Miguel had bought his act—-lock, stock, and barrel. Believed he was just a happy-go-lucky gambler who liked cherry-picking his spots for his huge bets. “That’s okay. I like winning ’em one at a time.”
Miguel shrugged. “More power to you.”

The third payoff to Rene in the sports book was $3,000.

John’s fourth hand at that table was dealt by a shapely California-blond relief dealer with pretty painted fingernails. She smiled when she busted her hand and paid him $2,000. She smiled wider five minutes later when she paid him again. John appreciated both smiles with a $25 tip.

He had now won five hands in a row! Rene’s pockets were lined with $11,000 in cash, and the night was still young. John still carried the $2,000 in Holiday black chips and could hardly wait to get them back in the betting circle. Maybe this would turn out to be the dream streak that every gambler strived for. Maybe not, but whatever the case, John was certainly enjoying this.

The original dealer, Robert, was back from his break when John arrived for bet number-six. “How’s it going?” he asked.
“Couldn’t be better,” John replied happily. “I’m five for five.”
Miguel came over. “Are you going to go for ten straight?”
John couldn’t help but notice that Miguel seemed awful cheery for a pit boss whose pit had lost eleven grand, even chummy with the lucky gambler who’d won it. He imagined how Miguel’s demeanor would change once he ran out the door with $2,000 in chips that were supposed to go into the dealer’s rack. “Why not?” he said in a carefree tone. “Ten straight would make my day.”
“Are you going to keep doing it one hand at a time?”
“Only till I lose,” John said, which of course was no lie.

When John saw his pair of 8s staring at him from the layout along with the dealer’s king, he realized quickly that the loss might be coming sooner rather than later. He reminded himself that he had to swipe the chips and run if it did. Having won five hands in a row, it might be easy to freeze up when losing the sixth, in a state of contentment that could be summarized by a “What the hell, I’m still up eight grand.”
But letting that happen would be a lapse that might cripple their entire operation before it really got off the ground. So when the dealer flipped over his hole card, a five that gave John a sudden rush of hope, but then slapped down a six for a perfect twenty-one, John swiped his stack of black chips like a bird of prey snatching a snake out of a pond and dashed toward the door.

He heard absolutely nothing behind him. Evidently Miguel and Robert were too stunned to react, or maybe their brains needed more time to process what happened. After all, it wasn’t easy to believe that a guy who won five hands in a row and $11,000, would balk at letting the casino win back $2,000 of it, to the point of grabbing the chips and running out the door! But that’s what John had done, and as his palm reached for the handle, the chips safely tucked in his jacket pocket, he broke out into the same fit of laughing he’d displayed running out of the Tropicana earlier that evening.

The second he burst through the door, Gunther revved up the Harley and John jumped on. He wrapped his arms around Gunther’s lower torso as the motorcycle lurched forward and disappeared into the Saturday night traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard.

This scam was certainly one of the ballsiest of all-time. You can read all about the planning and execution of it, and get to know these characters, in my book "The World's Greatest Gambling Scams."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Italian Roulette Cheats: Best in the World!

Cheating at Roulette with the masters.

I am often asked who were the best roulette cheats of all-time. Were they the Serbian computer geeks who used cell phone scanners to beat London's Ritz Casino for $3 million in 2004? Were they the '80s Brit "biased wheel" team who crushed casinos worldwide simply by finding defects in roulette wheels' balances, enabling them to predict which sectors of numbers would come out more than probability would dictate? Were they the notorious Classon Pastposting Team of the '80s and '90s of which I was part?

The answer is none of the above. It's the Italian pastposting team of the 20th and 21st centuries! That's right, they've been around that long; they're generational. I had the pleasure of meeting them right on a roulette wheel in Lake Tahoe, Nevada in 1977. They were in position on the wheel to do a cheating move. The only problem: so were we (my mentor Joe Classon, our roulette mechanic Duke, and team member Jerry). Here is the story of quite a hilarious incident that has to go down as one of the funniest in the annals of casino cheating.

WE WERE in position at a roulette table at Harrah's Lake Tahoe on Saturday afternoon. We had already been paid three times at the Harrah's down in Reno, so we figured that would be a good place to start. The limits at Lake Tahoe were higher than in Reno; they accepted black $100 chips straight up on a number, so we were going to pastpost one (make the $100 bet after the number already won) straight up on the number for $3,500. Number 25 had just come in and I was subsequently signalled to the table to claim the winning bet. Everything was a go and I waited for Duke, the mechanic, to switch the chips. The dealer turned her back and Duke pushed forward. As his hands arrived at the dolly placed atop Jerry's winning chips, there was a crash. The dolly got knocked over and the move-chips in Duke's hand went flying off the layout onto the floor.
The incredible had happened!
That crash was the result of a collision between Duke's hands and the hands belonging to a swarthy European-looking guy sitting between Joe and Jerry along the table. Duke and this other guy looked at each other wide-eyed, both in shock, then they both pulled back their hands. What had occurred was that the other guy, also a roulette mechanic, was looking to do his move the same instant Duke was doing ours.
The middle-aged woman dealer’s head snapped back toward the layout in horror, bulging eyes fixed on her dolly lying incongruently between numbers 0 and 00, all the way at the top of the layout. I saw the expression on her face and thought she was going to drop dead.
Then I witnessed Joe do the most amazing thing I would ever see him do. In the split-second between the collision of the two pastposters' hands and the dealer's cognizance of what had happened, Joe spilled his full glass of tonic water onto the layout, soaking it thoroughly. He then stood up and went into an act I could not believe.
"Oh, I'm so terribly sorry," he began his profuse apology. "I cannot believe that I am such a klutz. Look what I did to the layout. I knocked over your dolly, Barbara. Please forgive me. I really didn't mean to do that…" He went on and on.
When the floorman came over, Barbara was already soothing Joe, just as profusely accepting his apology. "Oh, that's alright sir," she was saying. "These kinds of accidents happen all the time on my table. Don't worry about it."
The floorman instructed Barbara to pay off the winning bets, and after she did he went to the mid-pit podium, returning with several rags to dry up the layout. He then called the cocktail waitress over to bring Joe, who was still apologizing, another glass of tonic water. A few minutes later the game resumed.
When the fracas was over, the guy who’d collided with Duke cashed out his roulette chips and left the table. Then one by one the three remaining male players not with us did the same. It was quite obvious that all four of them were together, which meant that Barbara's roulette table at Harrah's Lake Tahoe that Saturday afternoon was completely filled with pastposters from two different teams and two different countries, probably the only time in the history of casino gambling that such a strange event took place.
Later, back in our motel room just across Stateline on the California side of the lake (we always stayed on the California side for security reasons in case of escape), Joe awoke from a nap with a start. "They didn't have any winning bets on that spin," he said in stark realization. I didn't have the slightest idea what he was talking about. "The guy who bumped into Duke," Joe continued, "did not have any winning bets for the number 25. The only winners on the layout were Jerry's chips straight up on the number and my stack in the 3rd dozen box. Whose chips was the guy planning on switching? Or was he just going to lay in a naked capper?" (when a pastposter slips in a big denomination chip on the winning number, underneath a roulette chip stolen from another player.)
Joe had noticed that three of the other four guys who’d been at that table were playing roulette chips and betting large stacks of about twenty chips on the inside numbers. The fourth guy had been constantly betting on even, so it was easy for Joe to recall that none of them had a winner that particular spin. As far as he could remember, each of the three betting the inside numbers had made two bets, covering a total of six numbers. The more he reflected upon what he was recalling from their betting sequence, the more curious he became. They were much too organized, he decided, to just be laying in naked cappers.
Joe picked up the phone and called Duke and Jerry's adjacent room.
"Come over here," he told whichever one of them answered. "Sorry to disturb your nap but we have to discuss something."
Ten minutes later we were all in our room. Joe explained what he had seen and more importantly, what he hadn't seen. "I want to know what those guys were doing," he said. "Tonight, we're going to suspend operations and find them in the casinos. When we spot them, we lay back and observe. I'm pretty sure I've seen these guys somewhere before and it must have been several years ago, which means they've been around a long time and are extremely good."
Suddenly, I felt as though I had jumped over to the other side of the fence. Now we were looking to conduct a surveillance on another team. It was all kind of ironic—-a pastposting team going under cover to spy on another pastposting team. Since there were only four major casinos on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe, we didn't separate while conducting our search. We entered each casino and spread out around its perimeter, not getting too close to the wheels.
We eventually spotted them, all casually dressed in jeans with sweaters or lightweight jackets, on a wheel inside Harvey's Wagonwheel casino, across the road from Harrah's. Jerry saw them first and immediately signalled the rest of us into the Harvey's keno lounge, where we discussed strategy. It appeared they hadn’t seen us.
Joe told Duke and Jerry to observe them from behind a blackjack table down the pit from their roulette wheel. He told me to go right up and buy-in at their table and watch everything they did. He was confident I'd catch their move. I was surprised at that blatant approach.
"They probably don't know you," Joe said. "You weren’t on the wheel with them at Harrah's like we were. You only appeared when our number came in. If they see one of us, they'll remember. But not you. You're our best chance to pick up on their move."
I took the only vacant chair on their table and bought chips, avoiding eye contact as I watched them bet. Three of the four were betting stacks of twenty roulette chips on the numbers inside, two numbers each like Joe had said. I noticed they each bet two numbers in a different section, covering a total of six numbers in the three sections. Besides that, there were no discernible patterns. They changed the numbers after every spin, but each stayed in his own section. The fourth guy, the mechanic, was only betting the even-money propositions on the outside. When one of their inside stacks on a number won, they got paid. When their stacks lost, they got swept. There was nothing happening out of the ordinary. After forty-five minutes on the table, I got up and met Joe in the keno lounge.
"Nothing's happening," I said. "There is no move."
"There has to be a move," Joe said emphatically. "That guy's hand was not out there to shake Duke's. Go back and stay there until they move."
I went back to the table, observed their unchanging betting patterns for another half hour, and still nothing happened. Then they began cashing out, one after the other, leaving me alone at the table. When I finally got up, I went first to the keno pit, then located my partners in the casino lounge where a band was playing rock music.
"They must have picked up on you," Joe said over the music, putting his drink down on the bar against which we were all leaning. "That's why they didn't move."
"They bet stacks of roulette chips on the numbers, all straight-ups," I said. "Whatever they do, I can't imagine them switching in whole stacks."
"No, it's not that," Joe said. "They're doing something else..."
"You guys shouldn't be following us around." The voice was definitely foreign-accented. It belonged to the other team's mechanic, the guy that had bumped hands with Duke. He took us completely by surprise. "You don't think we're going to put on a show for your amusement, do you?" He was speaking to Joe, not doubting for a second that he was our leader.
Despite that accent his English was perfect, and the guy had class. He invited us all over to a table at the rear of the lounge and bought us drinks. His partners were not with him. "Obviously, you and us are in the same business," he said with a preening smile after sending off the waitress with a hundred-dollar bill. “However, I think the casinos in this pretty little town are big enough for everyone to work without getting in each other's way..."
"The Lido in Lake Como!" Joe cried suddenly. "That's where I know you from. You're Italian."
"Precisely," the now identified Italian said. "If my memory serves me well, you were with a gentleman who looked just like you, but a bit taller—your brother perhaps—and also a pretty woman with auburn hair."
Joe mimicked the Italian's "precisely."
We had a few drinks with the Italian, who was joined fifteen minutes later by his partners. They didn't speak English nearly as well as their boss, but nevertheless, we all shared a big laugh about what had happened at Harrah's that afternoon. One of them was giving a demonstration of the collision between the two mechanics' hands on the roulette layout, going "Boom!" as he threw his arms upward in the air to simulate an explosion. It was really funny and was the first of my downright-fun adventures on the road. After the drinks were finished, Joe and the Italian agreed to divide up the casinos. Since there were four workable casinos on the lake's South Shore—all about the same caliber—we would take two; they’d take the other two, in agreement not to step on the other guy's turf for the remainder of that and the following weekend. We took Caesars Tahoe and the High Sierra; they’d stay in Harrah's and Harvey's. After they left, Joe shook his head and said, "They have a fifth guy. He's the one that picked up on us following them. I made a mistake. Now they know all of us but we don't know one of them. Don't think for a minute they're not going to spy on us to see what we're doing. We can't do anything but roulette for the rest of the time up here. I don't want them knowing we also work craps and blackjack."
Joe was really bugged about not finding out what the Italians' move was. He knew it was big. Unlike us, the Italian team only worked the wheels, and had been doing so for years. For a team to make a living off the casinos with just one move, it had to be really powerful.
Several times over the coming years we would run into them in different casinos all over the world. Always an agreement was made not to encroach on each other's turf, and sometimes we dined and drank together—but we never identified their fifth partner. However, one balmy night in the Bahamas when I was leading my own pastposting team on an island road trip some fifteen years later, I walked into Merv Griffin's Paradise Island Resorts Casino and caught the same group of Italians—-with a new member or two—-doing their move.

Like Joe had said, it was a beauty. What they did must have taken years and generations of Italian casino cheaters to master. They bet their six stacks of roulette chips on six numbers, two in each section. When one of their numbers won—they just left well enough alone. When their numbers all lost, they fabricated a winner. The mechanic, the same guy who had approached us in the lounge at Harvey's, simply slid their stack of chips which was closest to the winning number right on it, before the dealer could mark it with the dolly. If, for example, the winning number was 5 and one of their stacks was on 4, he would slide that stack of chips onto number 5 with a movement so deft and swift it defied reality. They used a split-second distraction on the dealer that involved one of them away from the sliding stack asking the dealer for change at the crucial movement. This move was unbelievable and the real killer was that they could stay on the same table and repeat it several times, as long as they didn't pick up steam. Their roulette chips were worth either $1 or $5, depending on the casino limit. Which meant that in a casino with a hundred-dollar straight-up limit, they were bopping them for $3,500 a shot.

After witnessing their move three times, I shook my head in disbelief and then pushed it out of my mind—for I knew I could never even dream of replicating their craft—not with Joe, not with anybody—not with ten, twenty or even a hundred years of experience. It was only my grand Savannah move that would one day prove to be even better than the Italians.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Do Sunglasses Hide Poker Cheats?

Cheating at poker takes many forms in brick and mortar cardrooms, and some people have been asking me if sunglasses are part of a cheat's cheating arsenal. Well, more and more these days we see an increase in the amount of players sporting sunglasses. The primary reason for players wearing them has always been taken for granted: that they try to hide their eyes in order to protect themselves from other players picking up their "tells" by looking into their eyes. Then there's the psychological aspect some players use by wearing sunglasses to intimidate other players or to give themselves a certain mystique or individuality if the sunglasses in question happen to have a marked uniqueness.

But is there more to all this? Have some poker cheats taken to wearing sunglasses to enhance their cheating techniques and at the same time further blend in with the other players at the table. I mean, you are now part of the anomaly if you don't wear sunglasses at the table!

The reality is that organized poker cheats have indeed taken advantage of the poker sunglasses fashion craze. Not only do sunglasses do a good job of hiding nervousness at the tables, which cheaters may be feeling, but they also hide furtive communication. Ever hear of communicating with your eyes? I'm sure you have, but have you ever heard of communicating with your eyes when they can't be seen? Aha! That's a bit different. Professional collusion cheats can use their "shades" to actually enhance visual communication, by making subtle head movements and upper body gestures. So then, where do the sunglasses come in? Well, if you're at a table and you notice one of these subtle movements, you still can't tell which player is the target of the communication because the communicator's eyes are blacked out. You may think that this is no great matter, but you tend to subconsciously let your suspicions subside when you find yourself staring into the darkened abyss of lifeless lenses.

And get this: The other day I got an e-mail asking me about X-ray glasses at the poker table! A poker player wanted to know if those weird looking sunglasses he saw Greg Raymer wearing at the table might be X-ray lenses to see through the cards!...or underneath the cards...or whatever! I'm trying to say, see the faces of the cards so that the wearer of these glasses would know everyone's hole cards.

First off, let me assure you that Greg Raymer is a TOTALLY HONEST player and that my posting his photo here is only to show the distinctness of his glasses! I am in no way implying anything other than Greg Raymer's integrity.

Well, my answer to the e-mailer was..."If that was the case, you better never look any other poker player wearing sunglasses at the table in the eye again...wait!...I mean in the lenses again...AND, you better not go to the dentist for a few years!!! "
If you're not laughing...RADIATION, MAN!!!

If you're still not laughing, try this: Another e-mailer asked me, "Mr. Marcus, can you tell me if wearing sunglasses would help an online poker cheat?"

Monday, March 24, 2008

Neteller Phishing Cheats Online

Online gambling continues to get hit by high-tech cybercrooks as I have been reporting heavily over the past several months. It's been happening in just about every venue connected to online gaming, especially online poker. Sophisticated hackers and run-of-the-mill cheats have been victimizing everything from poker accounts to poker forums. Now the online payment processor Neteller has made an announcement warning its customers about phishing scams, those insidious attacks to hijack your personal info and get your cash. Barry Carter wrote this article in pokernews detailing Neteller's announcement:

Online payment processor Neteller was in the news again last week, this time warning their customers of a 'phishing scam'. Many Neteller customers received an email from 'communications@NETELLER' advising them that the e-processor intended to re-introduce IP tracking from March 31. The email then reads "This is a security measure to ensure the location of your login matches the country of residence registered with your NETELLER account."

It has now transpired that the email was in fact a genuine email, as the security division of Neteller have confirmed to us. Neteller have now assured customers that they will be reviewing their communication policy to ensure all Neteller staff are informed in advance when communications are sent to Neteller members to avoid this confusion in the future.

The email in question that was suggested may be fraudulent requests that customers click on a link to inform them when they are planning an overseas trip, to allow them use of Neteller in that country. If customers do not do this, they will not be able to transfer funds while abroad.

A spokesman from Neteller informed us that:

"NETELLER takes phishing and online fraud very seriously, and employs the latest services and technologies to detect and shut down phishing sites quickly and efficiently. We encourage customers and the general public to continue to submit suspicious emails targeting NETELLER clients to We investigate all reports of phishing and other criminal activities targeting NETELLER merchant partners and customers and take appropriate action where necessary"

Casino Cheats Hit Mohegan Sun Again!

Casino Cheats include dealer this time.

You know, one of the watershed moments of my grand career as a casino cheat was when Connecticut's first giant casino, Foxwoods, opened its doors in 1992. That very first week there, my partners Pat and Balls and I cheated them out of $150,000 at $1,000 a move using $500 chips, which is a feat we never came close to matching in a single casino over the course of a week. True, we made much bigger scores than that, but they happened when we used $1,000 and $5,000 chips, which was not possible because of the bigger size of those chips (our operation required same chip-size for all denominations).

At that time, I couldn't even imagine another giant casino in Connecticut, and by the time the Mohegan Sun opened in 1996, I was too busy laying down $5,000 and $10,000 Savannah moves (see video page) to be bothered with measly $1,000 moves at the Mohegan, which, believe it or not, I've only "visited" a half-dozen times. But now I'm thinking that maybe I should have hit it a few more times! There seems to be an inordinate amount of casino cheating going on there. First there were counterfeit chip scams, then some major card marking scams, pastposting scams, and now we have dealer/player collusion scams at the blackjack tables. I have heard of some major ones going down for lots of cash, where the crooked dealers and their agents have not taken much heat. But today we get news of a dealer and his cohort on the blackjack table getting busted...and it's a laugher! Apparently, the dealer was capping (adding chips) the player's winning bets as he paid them!

Well, I must say that such a scam is ballsy if not altogether stupid! They couldn't have made that much before the Mohegan's surveillance operators got a gander at that one! I can imagine their wide-eyed expressions with mouths agape.

Here's a little news clip on it:

A dealer was arrested Sunday afternoon and charged with conspiring with a patron to steal chips from the casino. Troopers with the State Police Casino Unit charged Charles Lafont, 28, of 70 Anthony St., New London, and Anthony Constantine, 61, of West Harwich, Mass., with sixth-degree larceny, cheating and conspiracy.

According to police, Lafont took $85 in Mohegan Sun casino chips at a gaming table and added them to Constantine's bets. The dealer and patron later met and Constantine gave Lafont $200 for helping him cheat as part of a prearranged deal, police said.
Both are scheduled to appear at New London Superior Court on April 4. Constantine was released on a $500 cash bond and Lafont was released on a $1,000 non-surety bond.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sexiest Roulette Cheat Ever!

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

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

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

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

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

Poker Bots Vote of Confidence

Cheating with a bot gets vote of confidence!

Poker Academy’s Anuman Deal

Following a deal announced earlier this week, French games publisher Anuman Interactive now has the exclusive marketing and trading rights for selected Poker Academy training tools. The deal was recently announced by Online Casino News.

The pan-European licensing deal with the American software developer will see Anuman sell products over the Internet to Texas Hold‘em players seeking to improve their poker skills in a risk-free, educational environment by training against advanced computer opponents.

The artificial intelligence inside Poker Academy’s software was developed by experts at the University of Alberta and is part of its mission to improve the poker skills of Texas Hold’em players around the world.

"If a player can consistently beat our bots that play near-perfect poker, then they should do very well competing in any situation against humans who play flawed poker," said Kurt Lange, President for Poker Academy.

As part of the agreement, Poker Academy's suite of poker skills training tools for Texas hold ‘em will be available throughout Europe including Russia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

"We continue to grow the number of languages we offer our products in and this deal with Anuman will increase our footprint from English and French to up to six new languages including Russian, German, Italian and Spanish," said Lange.

Poker Academy stated that there were multiple bidders working to expand its international presence but Anuman was selected because of its proven track record of success.

"They made our poker skills training tools a top product in France, they understand the product and the market and they are committed to success," said Lange.