Saturday, July 25, 2009

No Dice For 10 Years For Convicted Craps Cheat!


That´s what a Connecticut judge told Mr. Richard (Mr. Cool) Taylor at his sentencing hearing yesterday. Well, I don't entirely agree with the judge because Taylor will surely find some craps games in state prison, but he will have to play without the hot babes on his arms, and surely without cheating. You can bet your ass his fellow jailbirds will be watching him like a hawk around the prison makeshift craps table, which will probably be a dirt pit in the prison yard and not one of those miniature craps tables you can by in novelty stores that the prosecution brought into the courtroom during Taylor´s trial. In any event, Taylor got more prison time for his little $70,000 2-casino scam than those so far sentenced in the Tran Organization baccarat scam that netted $20 million in fifteen casinos over five years. I guess his attitude in the courtroom didn't help him much.

Here's a newspaper account of the events:

Richard “Mr. Casino” Taylor proclaimed himself “the best dice player in the world” and declared his innocence just minutes before he was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison for masterminding a craps cheating conspiracy that cost Foxwoods Resort Casino an estimated $70,000 and ruined the careers of a dozen employees.

A New London jury found Taylor guilty in May of cheating, conspiracy to commit cheating, first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny. It was the first major cheating trial in the state that plays host to two of the world's largest casinos. According to court testimony, Taylor had recruited dealers who were willing to pay players for late or illegal bets, then met up with the casino employees outside the casino to pay them for their services. The scam involved a dozen employees, including dealers and managers.

Taylor maintained his confident attitude and his innocence to the end, strutting into the courtroom in his prison tans in the same manner that dealers testifying at the trial had described him walking up to craps tables with large amounts of money and women on his arms. He said the former Foxwoods employees were liars. In taking his case to trial, the 43-year-old Memphis, Tenn., resident had rejected the state's offer to plead guilty in exchange for a four-year prison sentence.

”Yes, I played at the casino,” he said. “I won and I lost. I am the best dice player in the world, period. And I do not cheat.” In anticipation of sentencing, Taylor's supporters had sent letters to the court on his behalf that his troubles were the result of a gambling addiction. ”Mr. Taylor, your family and friends and neighbors call it an addiction,” said Judge Stuart M. Schimelman. “I call it arrogance, because in the course of this trial, you made it clear to me and the jury that it's everyone's fault but your own.” This was not a victimless crime, Schimelman said. He listed among the victims the casino, the tribal entity that owns it and the citizens of Connecticut. ”Mr. Taylor made it clear that not only did he think he could beat a legal gambling system by cheating but he could beat the judicial system as well,” Schimelman said.

During the trial, Taylor claimed he had a winning system for craps and did not need to cheat. Prosecutors Stephen M. Carney and David J. Smith had called a craps expert to debunk his claim and had set up a makeshift craps layout in the courtroom to demonstrate the game. The case was important to the operators of Foxwoods Resort Casino, who were watching to see how the state, which has criminal jurisdiction over the casino, would handle the case, and were hoping a message would be sent to prospective cheaters.

Jeffrey DeClerck, inspector general of the casino, and other executives were pleased with the outcome and immediately began making cell phone calls to tribal officials and regulators in other jurisdictions. Taylor had been charged with cheating elsewhere but had never been convicted. ”We think it should be well known that Connecticut is very willing to pursue these charges so people who would pursue these activities do not come here,” said Carney, the prosecutor.

Taylor plans to appeal his sentence of 13 years in prison, suspended after 10 years served, and three years probation. The judge set a $350,000 appeal bond, meaning Taylor would have to post that amount in order to get out of prison while his appeal is pending. Schimelman ordered Taylor to undergo gambling treatment while on probation and said he would be banned from casinos everywhere and from Internet gambling.

Now that this portion of Taylor's case has been resolved, the state will begin discussing resolution of the former employees' cases. Taylor still faces other charges in connection with alleged cheating at Mohegan Sun. Defense attorney Ralph U. Bergman told the judge Friday that he wants to withdraw from representing Taylor. Schimelman told Bergman to take it up with Judge Susan B. Handy, who will be handling the pretrial portion of the new case.

Poker and Casino Cheats...Pack Up and Go to Korea!


Here's what you'll be up against, and to me it doesn't seem like much. Taking an inexperienced woman like Yoon Young-im and making her a surveillance head of a major casino is like taking a cabdriver and sticking him in the cockpit of an airbus. Now way she can do the job!

Here's an article on her. After reading it, do you think this woman would really know a good casino cheat move if she tripped over one?

Korean Woman Turns the Tables on Casino Cheaters.

Yoon Young-im Yoon Young-im is a manager at the foreigners-only Seven Luck Casino at the Millennium Seoul Hilton, where she has just one main job: spotting cheaters. Some 350 CCTV cameras tracking every corner of the casino, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, are under her control.

"It's quite a fun job if you enjoy tense moments," Yoon says. After graduating from university Yoon joined the Korea Tourism Organization in 2001, marketing Korea to American and European tourists for four years. When the KTO set up the foreigners-only Seven Luck Casino as an affiliate in 2005, Yoon, seeking a new challenge, volunteered to transfer. After starting as a scout for monitoring experts in Las Vegas, Yoon herself was selected as a monitoring agent.

Switching from a KTO employee to a monitoring agent wasn't easy. Working with an American expert, she underwent intensive one-on-one training in Baccarat, blackjack and poker, and ways to detect sharpers. She reviewed videos of cheaters discovered in real casinos countless times. She continues to hone her skills by watching gambling movies like "Tajja (The War of Flower)", "21", and "Rounders." She also meets regularly with fellow casino experts in Las Vegas and Macau to swap information on new tricks and blacklisted gamblers.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Good Newspaper Casino Cheat Article Featuring Richard Marcus and George Joseph

This article on casinoo cheats appeared July 22, 2009 in the Norwich Bulletin. Well-written!

In May, a jury found Richard S. Taylor guilty of leading a craps cheating ring at Foxwoods in the first major trial in the state involving casino cheats. Prosecutors said Taylor recruited dealers to pay players for bets placed after the outcome of a craps roll. The scam is a variation of a method known as past posting, in which bets in a table game are made after the roll or hand is determined. The term originates with horse racing, where a bugler sounds a call to the post just before the race begins. This also is the signal that no more bets can be taken. Any bets made after that time occur past the post. In casino circles, past posting also can mean increasing a bet after the outcome is determined. In blackjack, a player switches a winning bet of three $5 chips with two $500 chips topped by a $5 chip and then claims the dealer paid him the wrong amount. (This is my ten-oh-five blackjack scam)

Past posting, along with pinching, is the No. 1 scam across table games, said Ray Pineault, senior vice president of casino operations at Mohegan Sun. In pinching, the cheater attempts to remove part, or all, of a bet from the table after losing.

While both these scams sometimes involve dealer cooperation, most often they depend on old-fashioned sleight of hand or dealer distractions. Run-of-the-mill cheat teams will look for sloppy dealers or for dealers and pit personnel who seem preoccupied or uninterested. They take advantage of the monotony of a dealer’s job, said Richard Marcus, a professional casino cheating expert who ran such teams for years and is now a game protection consultant working for casinos worldwide. “Most professional casino cheating teams will do a lot of scouting of the staff,” Marcus said. “But top teams, such as mine, do not concern themselves with doing this. In my team’s case, our moves were designed to beat all casino dealers, floor staff, even all the surveillance personnel. In fact, I preferred going up against the most skilled and sharp casino dealers,” Marcus said.

These days, past posting and pinching are a calculated risk, given the more than 3,000 surveillance cameras covering the casino floor at Mohegan Sun, Pineault said.

“Some cheaters go for years without getting caught, but most do get nabbed. If not for informants, half of what we discover would never be uncovered. They play a big part,” said George Joseph, a Las Vegas cheating expert.

Cheaters in the 21st century employ high-tech methods to fleece casinos. Hidden cameras, for example, pick up the hold card in table games, or players mark cards with infrared dyes when touched during play. The card is then transmitted to someone away from the game who reads the dye. “You touch the back of all cards. Once you marked a sufficient number, you now have an edge,” Joseph said.

In a false shuffle scam that involved 18 casinos, dealers wouldn’t shuffle cards, but kept them in the same order or reverse order. The cards were recorded with a pencil and paper or a hidden camera. This worked for blackjack and baccarat, Joseph said. (I first performed this baccarat false shuffle scam as a dealer in Las Vegas in 1977.)

There was a scare several months ago when Apple included a card counting application for iPhones, Pineault said. Like most gaming jurisdictions, Mohegan Sun does not permit the use of any electronic device at table games, even cell phones.

Card counting

While card counting is not illegal, casinos can take steps to minimize the effect, such as limiting wagers to the table minimum. “We do not shuffle more frequently,” Pineault said. “But you can’t raise the bet and increase the probability of certain hands.” If a $100 table has a maximum bet of $5,000 per player, the counter could not exceed a $100 bet.

There are multiple ways to pick out a card counter, Pineault said. Casino survey teams watch live high-end play or review recordings afterwards. “The teams are versed in the strategy of increasing wagers and varying bets. Floor supervisors are also trained to look for card counting,” he said.

Craps (These don't really happen in casinos)

Outside of past posting, cheating most often involves tampering with the dice themselves. Loaded dice are modified to make a specific number turn up more often than it should. These modifications include shaving, weighting, magnets and heating, among others. In the “Ocean’s Thirteen” movie, magnets were placed in dice during the manufacturing process. Then George Clooney’s character used a device designed as a lighter to trigger the magnet and roll the dice in the direction to win big.

Another scam is to use blank dice and have shooters insert dots in such a way that a seven, could never come up, for instance. Those dice would contain only a one, four and five on the faces, for example. “This type of dice juicing is very easy to detect,” Pineault said. Of course, for these to work, the player would need to control the dice or the dealer at the table. “It requires a sleight-of-hand switch,” Joseph said.

Still another cheating method involves the shooter sliding the dice along the table so they don’t tumble, and the numbers have a better chance of staying in the same position. To work, another team member has to distract the dealer or boxman, who runs the table and oversees the payouts. Bally’s casinos has installed mini-speed bumps on the table layout down the center to thwart sliding. The dice would trip on the speed bump. (This one is more feasible in casinos.)

Slots

Cashless slots eliminated dozens of cheating methods involving coins. Cheaters can no longer use false tokens or coins on a string to confuse the machine or rely on a device inserted up the chute, which foiled the count of coins coming out, Joseph said. In the days before ticketing replaced coins, an optic pen or red flashing LED light would function by defeating the payout meter that gives access to coins in the hopper. This battery-powered optic device featured a bent arm that would fit snugly into the slot machines innards to trip the payout meter and yield all the coins in the hopper. The device could easily be concealed in the cheater’s jacket or sleeve.

These days, cheaters attempt to use gadgets that try to trick the bill validator. Another scam involves putting a $100 bill covered with baby powder on the end of dental floss. When it racks up the credits, the player pulls the bill back out. Other gadgets include a metal probe to activate the computer to increase credits.

More than a decade ago, there were cheating scams that involved picking a lock on the slot or opening up the machine and switching the computer chip to trigger the jackpot. Today’s electronic layouts and shrunken chip boards make that all but impossible.

In the near future, server-based machines will put the computer control in a back-of-the-house room, rather than have 1,000 different mother boards. “You cannot attack the machine at the site,” Joseph said.

Roulette

The Savannah move was a variation of a bet-and-run scam, where desperate players made simple proposition bets on roulette and grabbed the chips off the layout when they lost, before the dealer could sweep them away, Marcus said. “By hiding $5,000 casino chips (or $1,000 chips in lower-limit casinos) under $5 casino chips on the 2 to 1 column bets, we won $10,010 each time these bets won while losing just $10 when they lost,” Marcus said. “We accomplished this by quickly switching out the losing bet containing the $5,000 chip and replacing it with $5 chips the instant the ball dropped.” He said if he was caught, he feigned drunkenness, claiming he didn’t realize the ball had dropped. “We got away with it because the dealer never saw the $5,000 chip to begin with, so he was satisfied the $5 chip set down to replace it was the one originally there,” Marcus said.

The wheel track design used to make the ball fall rather than roll off. Hidden computers were programmed to predict the ball’s fall-off point on the wheel, thus improving the chance of predicting where the ball would land. Pictures could reveal the speed of the ball and from what position it would fall. The industry changed the wheel to eliminate that, creating shallower pockets, so the ball bounces around more, making predictions more difficult.

The change in wheel design and the addition of speed bumps on craps tables show that for every new scam, a new foil evolves from casinos. “It’s a cat-and-mouse game. Show us how you steal and we’ll develop a policy to beat you,” Joseph said.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

$300,000 Slot Machine Cheat Scam at Gulfstream Blamed on Internal "Uncontrol"


Back in the summer of 2007, a group of employees and a supervisor at Gulfstream Park Casino in Hallendale, Florida manipulated computer software to steal $300,000 in slot machine winnings by using cards that allowed them to play for free. The case began in September 2007, when Gulfstream employees caught Sarfranz Janjua of Miami playing slots for free using a card that was only for use by employees to test the machines. Investigators soon linked him to Danny Feliciano, a lead slots technician at Gulfstream, who gave Janjua the test cards to play and who shared in the winnings. Feliciano pleaded guilty to organized fraud and cheating in February and is serving 30 months of probation. Janjua pleaded guilty to petty theft in June 2008 and served a year of probation.

The casino caught another employee, host Steve Dorman, with 17 promotional cards, which are free play cards usually issued as customer appreciation rewards or marketing tools. Investigators also initially suspected the casino's vice president of gaming, Eric Lemerand, of circumventing internal controls to authorize the fraudulent free play cards. Both were suspended from their jobs and Lemerand was banned from the property for a year, but neither were charged.

Unsure of the scope of the employee theft, the state hired a Las Vegas-based consultant, John Goetz of BMM Compliance Field Services, to examine Gulfstream's software to analyze the use of test cards and promotion cards between July 1 and October 1, 2007. He was paid $95,000. (Not bad for a week or two's work!)

He found that many test cards, normally worth about $5 of free play, had been loaded with hundreds of dollars worth of play at a time, and over three months one of them showed transactions totaling $10,000. Promotional cards, which Gulfstream rules say can't be worth more than $500, were loaded with as much as $9,000 over the three month period.

Goetz also found that the casino's accounting functions were so lax they allowed the thefts to continue. He said, "If the property had been reviewing the system data, the issues driving this project could have been stopped and prevented in a matter of days instead of months."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Online Poker and Casino Players Express Cheat and Safety Concerns

According to a survey by the online poker and casino operator Betfair, online gamblers are increasingly worried about online cheating as well as the management and safety of their deposits and winnings. The vast majority of players surveyed say that the recent online cheat scams at Absolute Poker and UltimateBet are the main source of their worries. Less than half of the respondant online poker and casino players expressed concern about the recent US government seizures of online accounts. Not surprisingly, most of them are American players. Many players said that in the face of online poker cheating scandals they would not hesitate changing sites to play on. They don't practice showing loyalty to any particular online casino or poker room.

The most telling result of the survey is that 75% of online poker players were very worried about online poker cheats taking control of online tables. Some players think the US government is to blame for some of the current online cheating problems because it refuses to regulate online gambling. One person pointed out that the US government does its best to scare players into thinking that online poker and casino sites are unsafe places to keep their money and then becomes the reason for that risk by seizing accounts.

Overall, the bottom line is that online poker and casino players are more worried about cheating and safety than ever before, but they continue to play as much as in the past if not more.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Poker and Casino Cheatcatchers Page Now Up!

My new Poker and Casino Cheatcatchers page is now ready for you. It details the histories of the world's best anti-cheating poker, casino and gaming agents who either spent their careers catching poker and casino cheats or made a giant contribution to keeping online poker and casinos as cheat-free as possible. The first four cheatcatchers profiled are: Andy Anderson, Michael Josem, Serge Ravitch and Oscar Gabin. In the coming days these four people will be added: George Joseph, Robert Griffin, Beverly Griffin and Henry Bee. Some of these people have led lives as interesting and colorful as some of the cheats they pursued.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Blackjack Cheating on the Rise


Blackjack Cheats More Active in 2009 than 2008

As blackjack card counting has long been the chosen method to beat the world's casinos legitimately, blackjack tables are becoming more popular with casino cheats, or I should say blackjack cheats. Sources working in casino security and surveillance have informed me that the bulk of the increase in blackjack cheating is occurring in Northern Nevada, mainly Reno and Lake Tahoe, where handheld blackjack games are still found in most casinos. The favorite blackjack cheat scam at these handheld games is players adding to and decreasing the amount of chips in their bets when they tuck their cards underneath the chips to indicate they are good. In blackjack games dealt from a card shoe, this type of cheating is not possible, at least not by using the cards in your hand as camouflage because you can't touch the cards. You can see this particular scam pretty well on YouTube.

Also on the cheating rise at handheld blackjack tables are players switching cards, much the way they do in poker, although it is harder to pull off at a blackjack table. The way it works is when two cheats sitting next to each other exchange a card that will greatly improve one or both of their hands. If one player has an ace with a five and the other has a ten with a six, the idea is to get the ace and ten in one of the cheats' hands. So they just use a diversion tactic and switch the cards.

One form of blackjack cheating occurring in shoe games is marking the cards by way of denting or nicking them with chips that the cheats give to the dealers as tips. It is a flagrant move by which the blackjack cheat jabs the card with the chip and then tosses it to the dealer with an accompanying, "This chip is for you." When the dealers spot this, they usually don't get upset because they are receiving a tip. They normally just inform the player not to touch the cards. you'd be surprised how often this blackjack cheat is successfully pulled off.

Other moves like my classic blackjack pastpost are not seen much anymore, mainly because I'm not out there doing them.