Saturday, April 05, 2008

Video Games Cheating Codes Turning Video Games Cheats to Online Poker?

One area of competitive games that has not lost ground due to the online poker explosion is video games. And about as long as video games have been around, so has cheating at video games. The first video games cheat codes were put in place for play testing purposes. Playtesters had to rigorously test the mechanics of a game and introduced cheat codes to make this process easier. An early cheat code can be found in the video game "Manic Miner," where typing the phone number of the developer, Matthew Smith, enables the cheat mode. From there, early video cheating was largely exploited by technology-orientated players due to the difficulty of early cheats. However, a cheat industry quickly emerged as gaming systems evolved, through the packaging and selling of cheating as a product. Cheat-enablers such as cheat books, game guides, cheat cartridges helped form a cheat industry and cemented cheating as part of gaming culture.

So what is the relationship of this video games cheating culture to the burgeoning poker cheat culture? Is there one? You bet, there is indeed one, and it is as clear as any Internet link from one site to another. As cyber-technology has dramatically increased this past decade in unbounded "exponentiality," many who came of age as video games cheaters then matured into online poker cheaters, and, I might add, the inverse of that it not true. Those cheats who evolved in the online poker cheating age do not generally crossover to become video games's not as profitable!

Cheating at Chess and Backgammon

Backgammon and Chess Cheats

I have often been asked about cheating at Chess and Backgammon. Firstly, anyone who cheats at chess is, in my eyes, a really low character. I mean, why do it? It's such a regal game and even much more than a game--it's embedded in history. If ever I would take a moral stance against cheating, it would certainly be against chess cheating.

And how would one do it? Well, besides blatantly trying to move a piece to occupy a different square on the board, or trying to somehow sneak back onto the chessboard a piece that had been taken, there's not much a chess cheat can do than any qualified opponent wouldn't notice. Unless, of course, his opponent is blind (lots of blind people are tremendous chess players). And as far as cheating online goes, what's the point? Chess bots, like poker bots, do exist, of course, but who's playing chess online for money anyway? And what would be the fun of cheating with a chess computer? I don't see any point.

Live Backgammon is a different story, though. Backgammon is a major gambling game in the real world, and there are many ways to cheat at backgammon, some of which are similar to craps cheating, mainly dice control, and crooked or loaded dice. In online backgammon, I would make the same point as I did for online chess, mainly, what's the point? If you're somehow playing backgammon online for money and are using a backgammon bot (they exist too) to cheat your opponents, then more power to you because your opponents must be idiots, unless of course, they are cheating you back with their own backgammon bots!

For some really good information on backgammon cheats, check out George Joseph, a well respected authority on casino cheating who has a DVD out on the subject. He says that Backgammon is one of the first documented board games and the oldest that is still being played...that it is one of the most widely known and played games in the world and is enjoyed by adults and children alike...that it has evolved as a social activity with many local Backgammon clubs around the world that feature tournaments and money games. AND...that because it is a two-person game usually without supervision, it is susceptible to cheating.

Subjects covered in his DVD include: Dump Shot, peek, killed die, Hold Out Dump Shot, Slick Shot, tops, Juice Joint, gaffing fair cups, Butterfly Cup, dice switching, palming, Doubling Cube Hustle and much more.

Joseph claims that millions are lost to backgammon cheats every year and that his DVD is solely to provide protection for honest players.

Macau Cigarette Casino Cheat Scam!


Those of you who often read my blog or surf my website probably know about the famous French Cigarette Scam that happened at the Casino Deauville in 1973 and is featured on my Scam of the Month page. I had thought that this great scam would surely be the one and only major casino scam pulled off with a pack of cigarettes! I was right--until last week, that is. In one of the major casinos in Macao (I don't know which one because I can't read the Chinese from the newswire), a doozy of a casino scam was pulled off using a pack of cigarettes--and yes they were Marlboros! Just like in the French Cigarette Scam 35 years ago. This time it happened in the high rollers VIP Baccarat Room. A certain Chinese ultra-high roller (UHR) was wagering HK$400,000 (Hong Kong Dollars) per hand. That's approximately US$52,000. Two skilled casino cheats posing as high rollers sat on either side of the UHR, also betting high, albeit much less than he. When the UHR got on the Bank and hit a hot streak, the two casino cheats began taking turns tapping his growing stacks of HK$100,000 chips (US$13,000) with their respective cigarette packs in a gesture of good luck. The UHR seemed to like the gesture as his mountain of chips kept getting higher and higher each time they tapped it--although not as high as it should have! That's because on the bottom edge of the cheats' cigarette packs there was double sided tape that was extremely adhesive. Each time one of the cheats tapped the UHR's stacks of $13,000 chips, the top chip in the stack found itself stuck to the bottom of the cigarette pack and was immediately peeled off and transferred into one of the cheats' pockets!

A grand scam and one I truly appreciate!

But so did the surveillance room of this Macau casino. As it is standard procedure to observe ultra-high rollers, the surveillance operators were watching this one play fifty-two grand per hand as they were supposed to. They couldn't help but notice the two men on either side of him tapping his chips with their Marlboro packs. But as the UHR didn't seem to mind, neither did they--until one of them spotted one of the cheats peeling something off the bottom of his cigarette pack that looked like...well, a casino chip. They zoomed in their cameras, and then when security swarmed over the cheats and confiscated their cigarette packs, they found twenty-nine HK$100,000 chips in their jacket pockets. That's 372,000 US dollars!

If only they would have gotten away with it! But they didn't...Why? You guessed it: Greed. They should have been happy with ten of those chips or so...but I know it's kind of hard if not impossible to walk away from a scam when the money is rolling in like that...or should I say "when the money is sticking in like that!"

Friday, April 04, 2008

Nat Arem Claims "60 Minutes" Wants to "Out" Online Poker Cheats!


The piece slated to air on CBS' "60 Minutes" regarding the online poker industry and a notorious "insider poker cheat" has the entire industry fearing the damage that might occur in its aftermath. In a past "60 Minutes" segment, Chief CBS correspondent Morley Safer revealed how easy it was for minors to access online casinos with their parents' credit cards. That was bad enough for the industry, but it got over it.

Now, Nat Arem, a well known poker insider, claims that "60 Minutes," in conjunction with a reporter from the Washington Post, contacted him regarding a story about the Absolute Poker scandal from last fall. For those of you who don't remember the details of the biggest scandal in the history of online poker, back in September, Absolute Poker began fending off accusations made by members of several Internet forums that the online poker room had a "superuser" account which allowed one player to read the hole cards of others during a game. By October, widespread Internet allegations of cheating led to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission opening an investigation. Both Absolute Poker and Kahnawake later confirmed an "internal breach" in which a crooked insider, Alan John Grimard, did indeed see other players' hole cards during play.

What is really bad about this "60 Minutes" expose is that it butts heads with attempts to get online gambling legalized in the United States. While politicians and the Poker Players Alliance (a million-plus-member organization trying to get it legalized) appeared in Washington this week for a hearing on the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, online poker players expressed deep concern about CBS' intentions for their "60 Minutes" segment, which are clearly to expose vast cheating scandals.

Exposing the Absolute "internal breach" to the masses will hurt not only Absolute Poker but all other online poker rooms, and even more the ones that have had to deal with major scams, such as Full Tilt Poker, Ultimate Bet and PokerStars. And more damaging to the industry as a whole: most viewers will not differentiate one online poker site from another. If it can happen at one Internet poker room, they'll surmise, it can happen at all of them.

Mr. Grimard is still running around free and neither Absolute nor the Kahnawake Gaming Commission have filed a complaint against him. If "60 Minutes" plans to focus its investigation on Grimard, they certainly have the resources to locate him. Another related scandalous incident "60 Minutes" might look into is the rumor that Absolute Poker bigwigs, trying to silence the cheating scandal before it got out, flew two individuals who were especially vocal about the incident to Antigua and supplied them with hookers, booze and other favors that might persuade them not to keep on rambling about the Absolute Poker Scam.

Still another sensitive topic at CBS' disposal is the "bedfellows" relationship between Absolute Poker and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. Who knows what's going on there? Some industry observers have been vocal in expressing their opinions that it's a "little too cozy" in light of the seemingly small penalty that the Commission imposed on Absolute Poker for its "negligence" in the scandal.

So we will see what effect this has on the US government in terms of legalizing and regulating the online poker industry, now a multi-billion dollar affair.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Ringleader of Biggest Casino Cheat Scam in History Pleads Guilty!

Baccarat Casino Cheats netted millions.

As reported by the San Diego Union, Phuong Quoc Truong, known as John Truong or “Pai Gow” John, who as a fired Sycuan Casino card dealer went on to set up the largest casino cheating ring ever brought down by U.S. authorities, pleaded guilty to organized crime and theft charges Wednesday.

Truong, the head of a corrupt criminal gang called the Tran Organization, admitted in San Diego federal court to founding a ring that eventually hit more than 16 casinos and made more than $7 million.

Investigators said Truong, 42, and other members of the San Diego-based cheating ring bribed card dealers into pretending to shuffle decks of cards – a “false shuffle” – and then placed bets while knowing what cards were about to come up.

The cheaters also used hidden transmitters and custom software to predict winning hands in mini-baccarat and blackjack games, investigators said.

The ring recruited dealers and their supervisors in casinos from Connecticut to Mississippi and from California to Washington state.

Many of the dealers assisted investigators during the five years detectives tailed the ring and were not charged in the criminal case.

Truong admitted conspiring in 2006 to cheat Sycuan.

Investigators said Sycuan fired Truong four years earlier after he performed a false shuffle that allowed his cohorts to win $525.

Other members of the ring are accused of stealing more than $211,000 from the Barona casino over two weeks in 2005, but Truong wasn't among them.

Truong is the seventh of 19 members of the ring charged in San Diego federal court to plead guilty. He faces up to 20 years in prison at a hearing scheduled for Sept. 15, though the plea bargain he reached with prosecutors indicates he probably will get much less time.

He also pleaded guilty to charges in a related case in Washington state, where prosecutors charged seven others, including the son of Seattle's mayor, who was sentenced to three months in prison.

Efforts to reach Truong's attorney were unsuccessful Wednesday.

As part of his agreement, Truong agreed to turn over $2.8 million to the government, including houses in La Mesa and Escondido, two properties in Vietnam, a 2001 Porsche Carrera and a Rolex watch.

He will also have to give up a gold pendant in the shape of a Mercedes logo encrusted with 104 small diamonds and one 2-carat diamond.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

New Poker and Casino Scam of the Month!: False Shuffle

I have posted the casino cheat scam of the month for April. To read it click here.

Collusion in Poker and Online Poker Cheating--Which is Worse?

Over the past few years, I have been blogging a lot about collusion play by poker cheats. This epidemic of cheating began in the days of games aboard Mississippi paddlewheelers and in Wild West saloons, then naturally found its way into legal brick and mortar cardrooms first in Nevada and then Atlantic City, finally spreading to Europe and the rest of the world as poker caught fire globally. The newest collusion epidemic is of course in online poker.

But in which venue, many people have been asking me, is poker collusion not only endemic but pandemic? In other words, are the collusion attacks worse in brick and mortar cardrooms or online?

Well, believe it or not, the correct answer to this question is not the same as it was a year ago. Back in late 2006, early 2007, online poker cheating began reaching a peak, as we all learned soon afterward by the spate of major scams that erupted last summer. During the same period, regular run of the mill online poker collusion and bot play were also in peak form, running at all-time highs across the online poker world. But suddenly that has been changing. With all the heat generated by the recent insider hole card and account selling scams, along with non-play attacks such as pilfering funds from players' accounts, thousands of everyday poker colluders and bot players have begun hitting the cyber-highway in search of other pursuits. This means that online poker collusion has actually been decreasing sharply the past several months, even to the point where it has fallen behind the old and now renewed number-one collusion scourge: brick and mortar poker rooms.

How wide is this margin? That is difficult to say, at least in terms of assigning numbers and percentages to it. But I will say this, For at least the remainder of 2008 and probably much into 2009, collusion play in online poker will follow a downward trend while its evil brick and mortar counterpart will hold steady.

The good news about brick and mortar collusion play? At least it's holding steady.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

How to Cheat at Blackjack and Poker You Tube Videos

Cheating at blackjack...Cheating at Poker...can I learn these arts by watching You Tube casino cheat videos? Are the You Tube videos on how to cheat the casino showing quality cheating moves or are they just another April Fools trick?

Actually, the majority of You Tube cheating videos are very good and show high quality cheating moves. The best of them I've seen are for blackjack and poker. With blackjack, there are some really good demos on bet pressing and bet pinching, adding or subtracting chips from your bet after you know the winning or losing outcome. I am not going to link you to any of these particular videos as one might construe my doing so as "encouraging" you to cheat casinos, and besides, there are so many different videos listed in these categories I would have to spend a month going through them all to select the best ones. But in general, they are very good, and yes, several videos depicting some of my classic moves are on You Tube too!

As for "How to Cheat at Poker Videos," there are zillions, and again, most of them are good, but the percentage of bogus ones is a bit higher than for blackjack. There are the professional ones depicting false shuffles and false cuts along with second dealing and bottom dealing. Then you have You Tube's selection of card mucking and card switching videos, where sharp cheaters remove cards, hold them out of the game and reinsert them in their hands when needed to win a pot, and pairs of poker cheaters working together switching one of their cards to form the best hands.

How to Cheat at Roulette and Craps videos are also prevalent on You Tube, though some of the roulette cheats shown are amateurish and some of the craps hustles are just hustling viewers, such as the dice control scams. Did you ever hear the expression "I wouldn't trust 'em as far as I could throw 'em"? Well, think of that when you see or hear someone claiming they can throw the dice and make them land on certain numbers with a proficiency greater than what probability dictates.

But the most important thing to remember about You Tube poker and casino cheating videos has nothing to do with the cheats they teach you--it's that casino surveillance departments watch them too!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Ultimate Casino Cheat on TV Tonight!

See preview!
Now that you're already primed for casino cheating action by the Blackjack Movie 21, don't miss the story of my 25-year casino cheat career on TV tonight. The show is called "Breaking Vegas" and it is on the Biography Channel. It airs twice at a four-hour interval, so you have two chances to see it or TiVo it!

The times are:

11:00 pm EST 3:00 am EST
10:00 pm CST 2:00 am CST
9:00 pm MST 1:00 am MST
8:00 Pm PST 12:00 am PST

Check your local listings or the Biography Channel's website for confirmation. And DON'T MISS IT!!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

James Grosjean and the Griffin Black Book

With MIT Blackjack Team's Jeffrey Ma getting all the publicity surrounding the card counting movie "21," many people are forgetting who the real best card counter in history was: James Grosjean. If you don't want to take that from me, just ask Beverly Griffin, the head of the notorious Griffin Investigations Agency, the organization that not only claims to have put an end to the MIT card counting team's Vegas and Atlantic City exploits but also chased me around Vegas for two decades. I can't say for sure what effect Griffin Investigations had on the eventual demise of the MIT Blackjack Team, but I can tell you they had absolutely none on me. Notorious Griffin Agent Andy Anderson will tell you how he personally chased me around Las Vegas for 20 years, never succeeding more than getting me interrogated in a casino back room.

But with James Grosjean, Griffin not only met their match but also their demise. After a series of incidents in the year 2000 that saw Grosjean detained by Caesars Palace and the Imperial Palace casinos for card counting, then arrested by agents from the Nevada Gaming Control Board Enforcement Division and sent to jail, Griffin had the bad sense to label Grosjean as a "cheater," and courts have ruled both in Las Vegas and Atlantic City that card counting is not cheating. What really ended up frying Griffin's ass was its decision to put Grosjean in its notorious "Griffin Book" or "Griffin Mug Book" and brandishing him as a known casino cheat.

Grosjean ended up filing suit against Griffin for defamation.

On September 13th, 2005, Griffin Investigations was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to legal costs and damages stemming from a successful defamation lawsuit against the company by Grosjean and Michael Russo, another card counter. Griffin Investigations had long worked for the casinos, compiling information on cheaters, card counters, and other "undesirable" casino patrons. In many cases, casinos would detain or ban customers based on the information provided by the firm. The lawsuit stated that Russo and Grosjean had both been improperly detained, labeled as cheaters, and arrested, all due to information provided by Griffin Investigations. In July of 2005, a jury in Clark County District Court issued a $45,659 judgment on behalf of the two gamblers. Russo was awarded $25,000 in damages and $15,000 in punitive damages, and Grosjean was awarded $25,000 in damages and $10,000 in punitive damages.

Among Casino card counters, cheats and crossroaders, James Grosjean is a true hero for having crumpled the much hated Griffin Investigations. Andy Anderson, the agent who was the face of Griffin during the 80s and 90s as well as my personal nemesis, now works as an independent casino consultant, and he has told me that his final dealings with Griffin Investigations left him with a bad taste in his mouth.