Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Best Roulette Cheat Move Ever Gets Its Due!

I just came across an article about roulette cheating in Casino Enterprise Management Magazine by Bill Zender, an ex-Nevada Gaming Control Board agent whom I know fairly well. Zender writes about my infamous "Savannah" move as well as a move I once explained to him that was done by generations of Italian roulette cheats. Although much in Zender's article about the performance of these moves is inaccurate, he did get one thing right: the Savannah roulette move was the best cheat move ever conceived for cheating casinos!

Here is the relevant portion of his article:

Non-Classic CheatingMove: The“Nudge”

I learned these next two non-classic moves from world-known cheater, Richard Marcus. This next scam was done by an Italian pastpost. It was done so they could lower the chances the dealer and floor supervisor would resort to calling the surveillance room to verify an unusual pastpost move. What did this cheating teamdo to cover its
move? They placed their late bets using stacks of chips. Yes, you read that correctly: They wagered stacks 20 chips high. Here’s the set up. The cheater, who is positioned by the layout near the wheel head, buys in for $1 chips and wagers only in 20-chip stacks at the far end of the layout. The stacks are placed on numbers straight up, split numbers and corners. Just following the dealer’s wave off, a second player makes several single-chip late bets. As the dealer contends with
the late wagers, a team of cheaters stands around the far end of the
layout—inside, outside and at the end of the table. Their job is to spot the winning number and simply “nudge” one or more of the stacks onto a winning number, split or corner. For example, one stack just happens to be positioned on 32 and another happens to be positioned on the split of 27/30. The spun ball leaves the wheel head, and after bouncing around the crown, comes to rest on 29. The cheating team goes into
action. One team member, using his finger tips, nudges the stack on 32 to the split of 29/32, while another team member nudges the 27/30 split stack to the 26/27/29/30 corner. Two previous losing wagers become two winning wagers in a blink of the eye.
When the dealer marks the winning number and sees two large stacks of chips that happen to be winning wagers, does the dealer question these bets? First, he’s well aware that color stacks are on the layout since he witnessed their placement. The appearance of winning stacks on or near winning numbers, usually a point of “legitimacy” contention, does not trigger suspicion. The dealer knows and expects
stacks of color chips to be on the layout. Second, even if the dealer had his doubts, how does he explain to the floor supervisor that a stack of color chips simply “materialized” on the roulette layout? To add insult to injury, if the subtle move is successfully performed without suspicion, it can be done several more times before the cheaters terminate their play.

Detection Tip (Written for casino surveillance)

Whenever your roulette tables are receiving betsmade with stacks ten chips or higher, take a second and check out the play. In the past, big games were assigned an extra dealer,or “mucker,” to assist the roulette dealer. Today we utilize automatic chip-racking machines to handle mucking and stacking chips. The problem with the machines is they have no eyes with which to look at the table layout. Someone needs to review heavy play from time to time, making sure the entire function of the game is correct and fair. If someone’s wagering in stacks, have surveillance look at a sample of the play tomake sure everything is fine.

Non-Classic Cheating Move:The “Savanna”

Even though Richard Marcus is a cold-blooded cheat, you have to give the devil his due. (thanks Bill!) The “Savanna” move is about the most ingenious cheating technique I have ever heard about. Designed by Marcus and another cheater, the Savanna (named after their favorite exotic dancer), not only allowed them to ply their trade under the watchful “eye” of surveillance, but it also allowed them to use our own technology to support the “legitimacy” of their cheating move.

Here’s the set-up to the scam: One of the cheaters obtains a $500 casino check. He goes to the roulette wheel, positions himself at the far end of the table, and buys-in for color chips of a similar color to the $500 casino chip he holds in his possession. After making a couple of three chip bets on the column, being sure to cover the outside minimum bet requirements of the casino, the cheater brings the $500chip out of his pocket. Before the next spin, the cheater places the $500 check beneath two of the color chips on the first column of the layout. In an attempt to
partially conceal the $500 check, the cheater slightly out-jogs the two color chips in the dealer’s direction. From the dealer’s position near the wheel head, the column bet looks just like three color chips. The positioning of the $500 check and the dealer’s inability to notice the high-value chip is what makes this cheating move so strong.

Let’s look at the two possibilities that will happen once the ball drops and the column bet either wins or loses. Since it should lose more than 67 percent of the time, we’ll look at that situation first. The cheater has a confederate positioned by the wheel head. If the ball does not drop into a winning column number, the confederate gives the cheater a verbal signal, such as shouting “no” loud enough for the cheater to hear. Once the cheater hears “no,” he simply reaches down and plucks the three chips off the column. If the dealer sees the chips being removed and
questions the cheater, all the cheater has to do is say he’s sorry and replace the three chips back in their previous place on the layout. The problem for the dealer and the casino is that the cheater places three color chips on the layout without the $500 casino check. Because the dealer doesn’t know a $500 check was there in the first place, he doesn’t question the three color chips. He just sweeps the “losing” chips into the muck of other losing bets. Even though the cheaters aren’t under suspicion for trying to rip the casino off for a $3 bet, they move on to
another casino.

Next, let’s see what happens when the column wager wins. If the cheater hears his confederate shout “yes,” the cheater doesn’t touch anything. He might celebrate a little bit because he just won two-for-one on his $502 bet. When the dealer goes to pay the wager, he notices the $500 chip for the first time. At this point, the dealer will call the floor supervisor over to the table and alert him to the $500 chip that “materialized” in the winning column. The supervisor, smelling a possible
pastpost move, goes directly to the pit phone and calls surveillance. In reviewing the video of the spin in question, surveillance notes the player makes a legitimate wager placed well before the ball fell. The casino has no other choice but to pay the suspicious wager. The cheaters have taken a big shot against the casino, and not only have they figured out a way to get around the 24/7 camera coverage, they also use the casino’s own game protection technology to help aid in putting the ill-gotten
gains into their pockets.

Prevention and Detection Tips (Written for casino surveillance)

Unfortunately, there is no way to defend against this pastpost move (you got that right, Bill!). The Savanna move is about as invisible as a cheating move can get. As a floor supervisor or surveillance operator, you would have to get real lucky to catch this. REAL lucky. The best suggestion for preventing this type of cheating move is to focus on all columns and outside payouts that occur when high denomination chips just happen to materialize out of thin air. If you get a reputation for your due diligence in checking out unusual winning wagers, the cheaters will have a tendency to shift their attack elsewhere.

Well, I'll tell you this, Bill: Wish those cheat-catchers up there in the eye in the sky lots of luck. You're right, they're going to need it!

If you want to read more about the Savannah and the Italians' move, click here for Savannah and here for the Italians' move.