Monday, July 16, 2012

Why dr. Edward O. Thorp is Not in the Casino Cheats Hall of Fame

Not a Casino Cheat
You have all heard of the renowned mathematics professor Edward O. Thorp, who back in 1960 wrote the original Card-Counting Bible titled "Beat the Dealer," which for many is still considered the all-out bible for those interested in counting cards at blackjack to beat the casinos. I have been getting some emails asking why Mr. Thorp has not been inducted into the Richard Marcus Books Poker and Casino Cheats Hall of Fame.

Well the reason is quite simple and should be obvious. Despite Mr. Thorp's numerous appearances on many TV shows that relate to casino and poker cheating, the man himself has never had anything to do with cheating in casinos or cheating at poker, at least to my knowledge. Although many casinos over the past few decades have tried to get blackjack card-counting to be considered as casino cheating in their jurisdictions, none, again at least to my knowledge have ever succeeded. Therefore since card-counting at blackjack is not illegal or cheating, Dr. Edward O. Thorp is not, nor has ever been a casino cheat.

More Trouble for Full Tilt Poker--CEO Arrested on Ponzi Scheme Charges!

Big Ponzi Pyramid of Chips!
Source: Huffington Post

Won an online poker game and are expecting your money soon? If the game was on, don't bet on it.

The FBI arrested Raymond Bitar, the CEO of the online gaming site Full Tilt Poker, Monday, on charges he oversaw a $430 million ponzi scheme, according to CNNMoney. Full Tilt owed more than $300 million to online players around the world but only had $60 million in funds to pay off their winnings.

The company allegedly used players' funds to pay off the sites creditors and owners, according to Businessweek.

The site came under greater official scrutiny following a Justice Department crackdown on online gaming sites last spring.

In April of last year, the FBI charged the owners and operators of three online betting sites, including Full Tilt, with illegal gambling and defrauding U.S. banks, MSNBC reported at the time. According to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the defendants “concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S. banks and effectively bribing others to assure the continued flow of billions in illegal profits."

The Justice Department announced in September that Full Tilt was also stealing players' money to pay off creditors and the firm's executive's salaries. According to the press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office:

"When the scheme finally collapsed, Full Tilt Poker was unable to pay players the approximately $350 million it owed them."

My take:

Wow! 430 Mil...that's a big Ponzi say the least!

Poker Card-Switching Cheats Face Felony Criminal Charges in Washington

Source: The Spokesman Review

Small bets at poker games at the Hooters casino in Spokane Valley have led to felony charges against two North Idaho men accused of the rarely prosecuted crime of cheating while gambling.

“Part of our mission is to keep gambling legal and honest so when the public goes in there to play, they know we have done everything in our power to make sure the game is fair on both sides,” said Gary Drumheller, spokesman for the Washington State Gambling Association in Spokane. “That the house is doing their part but also that the players aren’t in there doing things they shouldn’t.”

Travis Ray Smith, 37, of Dalton Gardens, and Todd Richard Jost, 33, of Hayden, were at the Owl Club Casino on Dec. 23 when prosecutors allege they worked together to distract dealers and covertly switch cards. They have pleaded not guilty to third-degree theft and first-degree cheating in Spokane County Superior Court. Trials are scheduled to begin next month but may be delayed.

Jost’s lawyer, Mark Vovos, described his client and Smith as “ordinary working stiffs” with no serious criminal records.

Carl Oreskovich, who is representing Smith, said his client maintains his innocence.

“This is based in large part on someone’s interpretation of a video,” Oreskovich said. Smith is “prepared to go to court and have the jury conclude that he did not engage in any conduct that would be inappropriate.”

In 2003, two gamblers at Northern Quest Casino were charged with cheating and theft for using counterfeit tickets, but Oreskovich and Vovos, who have been lawyers for decades, say they can’t recall other cheating cases in Spokane County.

Drumheller said his office usually is investigating several, but not all lead to charges.

“It’s really hit and miss sometimes,” Drumheller said. “It really depends on if we have witnesses or we have good surveillance footage.”

Drumheller said gambling investigators look to see if the card player misbehaved only once or if it was part of an ongoing pattern.

Casino employees reviewed surveillance video of Smith and Jost after a card dealer noticed Smith with six cards in his hand during a game of four-card poker, according to court documents. Smith then tried to slip an extra $15 on an already placed bet but was rebutted. He and Jost were kicked out the casino shortly after.

Other card dealers described the duo as being belligerent and defiant. One dealer said Jost tried to play a coupon that wasn’t eligible, so she told him so. That dealer said she didn’t realize Smith had used that moment to switch his cards until she reviewed the video. She believes Jost intentionally distracted her.

Smith won $90 on a $15 bet that investigators believe was a result of the switched cards. He later won $140 on a $35 bet and $120 on a $15 bet.

Smith told an investigator with the Washington State Gambling Association that he doesn’t remember much of the night because he was drunk, but that he didn’t intentionally cheat, according to court documents.

My take:: Well this is pretty small-time shit that may lead to some big-time problems for those accused. I guess Washington State's casinos are really looking to nail poker cheats and casino cheats, especially since Washington's casinos played a big part in the infamous Tran Baccarat scam where several dealers and floorpeople, including the mayor of Seattle's son, were charged and convicted of cheating their casinos in cahoots with the Tran Gang.