Thursday, October 14, 2010

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Singapore Casino Big Money Wheel Cheat Team Face More Charges

The two casino cheats who got busted last week for an inside scam on the Big Money Wheel at the Marina Bay Sands Casino got hit with 3 more charges yesterday. Keith Yong Kee-Hwei, 24, the pit supervisor and dealer (photo), and Tan Tiong Loon, 32, the player/agent, were charged with cheating at gambling in the amouont of $13,500, which happened on October 7th, and attempted cheating at gambling for a cheat move that didn't get paid.

Yong used his hand to stop the spinning wheel on the Big Money Wheel game on the 45 to 1 bet made by Tan. The casino paid $18,000. Then an hour later the pair made the same move for $13,500 and got paid again.

But then they got greedy and repeated the move just a few minutes later. This time the casino got suspicious and ran back the surveillance video which showed Yong blatantly stopping the wheel with his hand.

Yong is being held on $30,000 bail, but Tan, obviously an unprofessional casino cheat, is being held without bail because he committed these alleged offenses while out on bail for another casino-cheating charge.

My take: I think this casino-cheating team oughta hang up their chips for a long time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Feedback on My Recent Steve Forte Borgata Poker Cheats Article

Whenever I write articles like this, I always get a variety of comments. And like always, the two-dozen that have come in so far are a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly. Here's a few of them:

THE GOOD

Hi Richard,

Thanks for that informative article. The way you accurately broke down the case and pointed out the facts that cannot be argued, I have to agree with you that Steve Forte is guilty of conspiracy and had to be a participant whether or not the scam ever got to its operational stage.

Mr. Marcus,

I have never met Steve Forte or you, but objectively speaking I think you are probably right. After reading your article I went to Forte's website and found the following paragraph written by Forte, which is curious, and certainly makes Jason England's article claiming Forte's innocence appear biased in Forte's favor.

"For those of you who have asked about the Gambling Protection Video Series, I have cut a deal with, and transferred the rights to, my friend: Jason England. Jason is one of many people over the years who have asked me to convert the series to DVD..."

THE BAD:

Mr. Marcus,

A judge dismissed the case against Forte. I don't know what planet you live on, but on Earth that means he is INNOCENT!

Richard,

I get the feeling reading your article that you are one of those know-it-alls who thinks he's always right. In this case, I don't think you are. I am sure that Mr. Forte had some viable reason for being in that hotel room...maybe it was a girlfriend or sex thing, but not setting up a person to be ripped off playing poker.

THE UGLY:

YOU ARE A FUCKING IDIOT AND JEALOUS OF STEVE FORTE!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Final Note on the Steve Forte Borgata Poker Cheat Scam

Ever since ex-casino game protection consultant Steve Forte had felony charges related to a gambling-cheating conspiracy at the Atlantic City Borgata Hotel dismissed, I have been taking a lot of criticism in my treatment of the case, which was centered around the probability of Forte's guilt since he was arrested in June, 2007. Most of this criticism has come from magic groups and magic forums on the Internet. I do not know if Steve is a certified magician, but he is certainly held in high-esteem, almost icon-like, by people in these forums, whether or not they are magicians.

One point I would like to make before getting into the particulars of the Borgata case is that I have never understood how magic and magicians are supposed to be knowledgeable about cheating gambling casinos. A whole slew of magicians and card-tricksters are currently passing themselves off as experts on casino cheating and actually get themselves hired by casinos to teach game protection or their version of anti-cheating practice and theory. As I have stated numerous times, there is NO connection to casino cheating and sleight of hand, or at the least, sleight of hand is not needed to cheat casinos and is only gratuitous when used.

To my knowledge, not one magician who has consulted to a casino in the area of game protection (except Steve if he is indeed a magician) has ever participated in any capacity in actually cheating a casino. This includes George Joseph, Sal Piacente, Darwin Ortiz and Baron Stringfellow, yet they all consider and sell themselves to casinos as casino-cheating experts...Beats me!

Now to Steve's Borgata case:

There have been several people commenting online about it and even a few major interviews about the case given by friends, partners and associates of Steve Forte. Steve himself has said nothing about the case, sticking to "the dismissal speaks for itself." The latest I have read by people supporting Steve's innocence is that a poker game never took place and the entire event was nothing more than a conspiracy to cheat one high-roller called "J.H." out of $75,000 in a Chinese poker game, which besides the use of poker hand-rankings has nothing to do with poker itself. Also in these descriptions is mentioned a conspiracy to commit a baccarat scam against the same individual.

Okay...Whatever did or didn't happen, whoever was or wasn't involved in this so-called conspiracy (we will never see the State of New Jersey's probable-cause writ for arresting Steve and three other co-conspirators, thus we will never know "officially" whether there was or wasn't a game), the following truisms and facts about this and all other crimes and scams are incontrovertible.

1) Any crime committed with a crime scene must have a criminal who committed the crime and a victim of the said crime. The only other human element that could be present at the crime scene is a witness. A witness to a crime committed in a public area could be known or unknown to the criminals and victims. A witness to a crime committed in a private place, such as a hotel room in the Atlantic City Borgata, could only be a known witness, known to at least one of the criminals or victims. It is not plausible that a witness present during a crime in a private place not know someone else in that place.

2) In any conspiracy to commit a crime there must be at least two latent-criminals to conspire and at least one intended victim. If there is only one person planning the commission of the crime, it is not a conspiracy but rather individual intent to commit a crime.

3) Steve Forte was physically present at what was either a crime scene or a place where a conspiracy to commit a crime was ongoing.

4) No one--not Steve, nor his various supporters--has ever said that Steve WAS NOT at the place where the conspiracy or crime took place.

5) Steve has never offered an explanation of what he was doing in the place where the crime or conspiracy took place.

These five facts are indisputable. To encapsulate them all: Steve Forte was present in an Atlantic City hotel room where either a conspiracy or ongoing criminal activity was taking place. This means that Steve could only have been a criminal participant/conspirator or a victim. Since the action took place in the privacy of a hotel room, Steve could not have been a witness.

Okay, let's move on. To give Steve's supporters the benefit of the doubt, and to even hypothetically accept the possibility that what my sources told me went down at the Borgata was inaccurate (I was even told by one highly-respected Las Vegas professional blackjack player and writer/publisher what Steve's motive was for being involved in the scam, but I never mentioned this because it has to be considered speculation), let's say that nothing more than a conspiracy took place. Let's say that a group of people in that Borgata hotel room were going to scam one high-roller out of $75,000 (where this small amount came from I don't know).

Okay, let's go back to the aforementioned possibilities. Since we're speaking hypothethically about a conspiracy in a private hotel room where Steve was present, was he just a witness? I think you'll agree that this would have been impossible by the definition above.

So then was Steve the intended victim? I highly doubt that. After all, who in the world is going to try to scam the most well-known casino scam expert in the world? Besides, none of Steve's supporters have offered up the possibility that he was indeed the intended victim.

So what's left?...Before I state the obvious and the only likely conclusion, let's examine two more possible outs for Steve. Was he working undercover for the feds to set-up the other co-conspirators? Well, if you believe that, you've been watching too much of the "Bourne" movies. Besides, I highly doubt that the feds would go through with sponsoring the actual arrest of Forte and then exonerating him two years later just to make it look good and protect Steve. Let's not forget that this is just a little card-cheating case and not one of international terrorism or the likes.

Second, was Steve somehow there to gather information for a personal agenda such as writing a book or consulting to a film? If so, I think he would have told us, and some publisher or movie company would have made a statement backing it up.

I've outlined all the other possible explanations. Which leaves us with, was Steve one of the co-conspirators if not the total mastermind of the Chinese poker conspiracy or real poker-game crime?

Well, there is only one way I can ever believe he wasn't. That is if Steve TELLS US WHAT HE WAS DOING IN THAT HOTEL ROOM WHERE THE CONSPIRACY/CRIME TOOK PLACE. Until he does that with some sort of plausible explanation (which would be difficult if not impossible), how can we believe that he was totally innocent of all this, no matter that the case against him was dropped. Remember, a case thrown out does not mean the accused was innocent. It only means that the prosecutor didn't have enough evidence to PROVE the accused was guilty. I, of all people, know that firsthand. Do you know how many casino scams I masterminded and executed in my life?..THOUSANDS!

Not one case has ever been made against me.

You know what, if I were Steve, I would have come out immediately after the case against him got tossed and declared, "I was never at the Borgata when this went down. The cops just arrested me becauses they had a hard-on for me and fabricated that I was at the Borgata."

THAT would have some credibility because no one can (or will) prove to us that Steve was actually there.

But Steve never said this.

In a lengthy interview for magictimes.com which highly criticized me, Steve Forte's business partner, fellow magician and friend Jason England was asked by Meir Yedid, "Okay then, here's the question that comes up over and over again: What was Steve doing there?"

England responded, "That's a question you'll have to ask him. I've always felt that Steve should publically respond to this question, but he doesn't see it the same way and doesn't feel the need to apologize or explain his actions to anyone. What I can tell you is that he was prepared to take the stand and answer that question for a jury. Had that come to pass the jury would have listened and believed him, because the facts in the case supported everything he had to say."

Does this response sound evasive, elliptical and well thought out? You tell me.

Finally, I invite all of you to comment on this. I have been emailed by dozens of people, including the crime fiction author James Swain, asking me to clear Steve's name on this website. Until Steve himself tells us what he was doing in that hotel room, instead of saying that he owes no one an explanation, I cannot do so. I feel he owes an explanation because being a non-victim at a crime scene indoors is a crime in itself to a reputation.
 
If you are one of Steve's friends or supporters, maybe you can convince him of this.

Annie Duke's Comments on Blanca Games Acquisition of Cheat-Troubled CEREUS Poker Network

If you didn't know, the CEREUS Poker Network was bought by Blanca Games, now run by Stuart Gordon. Annie Duke was asked by Poker News Daily what she thought about this transaction. She responded, "It´s a very positive thing for the brand. The cheating was purportedly under the auspices of Excapsa in terms of software development and the person developing it was able to get into the group through his involvement with them. I´m happy that the brand is making a clean break from that, and that’s part of being able to move on. I´ve always felt like the full brunt of what happened was really put on the current UB.com management. I have tremendous faith in Paul Leggett (Tokwiro Enterprises COO). My understanding is that there won´t be any change in terms of his role. I think perhaps this will be an opportunity to do some house cleaning, but I don´t really know. Paul´s staying is a good thing because in every aspect of what´s happened. When you look around and see how he´s behaved, he’s been the most forthright and the most forthcoming. He´s had the most integrity and he´s taken a lot of blame. He´s gone above and beyond and I´ve been very impressed with how he´s handled everything that´ happened.

My take: Gimme a break, Annie! How much is Leggett paying you for this?

Inside Blackjack Card-Marking Scam Busted in California Casino!

This one really caught my eye! In a span of less than an hour, three people cheated the Turlock Poker Room and Casino out of more than twenty-five grand by marking the cards, apparently in quite an unprofessional way. Finally, when they got too greedy, surveillance caught on to their cheating scam.

Arrested were a floor supervisor and two players at the table, all charged with 11 felonies including conspiracy, burglary, grand theft, winning by fraudulent means and cheating at gambling. The supervisor was identified as forty-six year-old Robert Younan. The players were Gabriel Rodriguez, seventy-one, and In Cha Say, fifty-eight.

Casino surveillance got wise to Rodriguez and Say making blatant deviations from basic strategy blackjack, which seems like foolish play unless you keep winning, which is what they were doing--in huge amounts. It was then determined that the players had marked the cards with a grease-like substance, marking ten-value cards on the corners and sevens, eights and nines on the middle. The cards were not marked on the game, however. They were marked elsewhere beforehand, and Younan, the supervisor, was able to switch the marked cards into the game when his cohorts hit the table.

My take: Amazing that they got ahead $25,000 grand in such a small casino. This shows two things: One, that the blackjack cheats and supervisor were incredibly greedy and/or stupid; two, the casino floor personnel were incredibly inept not to catch on to them after the first few hands. Even though they could not have seen the marking taking place, the cards should have been removed from the game after a few winning hands for large bets that showed successive deviation from basic strategy.

Singapore Casino Busts Pit Supervisor in Money Wheel Inside Scam!

Seeing how easy it is to cheat Singapore's new casinos, some of their very own employees are getting into the cheat-free-for-all. Loads of dealers and pit personnel have been getting away with it so far, but finally one inside scam has been broken up. It occurred on the Money Wheel game, not a place where high rollers usually lay their wagers, which might have clued the casino into the fact it was being cheated by its very own.

Three Chinese nationals were charged last Thursday with cheating the Marina Bay Sands casino out of more than $18,000 by getting the dealer to control the spinning wheel of the game. The dealer who also served as a pit supervisor has been identified as twenty-four year-old Keith Yong Kee Hwei. One of the cohort players at the table has been identified as thirty-two year-old Tan Tiong Loon. Loon made a bet at 45 to 1 and Yong controlled the spinning wheel to make Loon's bet win, which looked like a huge, lucky longshot in the works. There were other unidentified players involved in the cheat scam.

This is the first incident of a casino employee being charged with involvement in an inside scam. I expect to see more of this as the cheating appears to continue to be extremely ripe in Singapore's two virgin casinos.