Richard Marcus

Poker Cheating & Casino Cheating 10 Best Moves

Thousands of poker and casino cheat moves have been done over the years in
poker rooms and casinos, as well as in online poker rooms and online
casinos. These are the best of the best of them

The Savannah The Baccarat Offset
The Roulette Mix-Up The Poker Light
The Roulette Section The Roulette Slide
The Blackjack Ten-Oh-Five The Credit Caper
The Craps Pastpost The Poker Exchange

The Savannah


The Savannah Roulette Scam was carried out by my own professional cheating team from 1995 to 2000 and is considered by many casino surveillance experts to be the best casino scam in the history of legalized casino gambling. Although I am not quite sure I agree with that assessment, she (the Savannah) was a true dandy. Named after my favorite Reno, Nevada stripper at the time, the Savannah move was the number-one weapon in my arsenal for six years, and in more than a thousand attempts she missed getting paid just a single time. Not because the casinos finally figured out the move but rather they finally got sick and tired of paying me and my teammates with the knowledge we were cheating them. They did not figure the move out until I exposed it in my book American Roulette in 2003.


The Savannah was nothing more than a subtle variation of the old 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. 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 (slanting the $5 chips slightly inward toward the dealer to camouflage the bottom chip), we won $10,010 each time these bets won while losing just $10 when they lost. 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. When caught by the dealer, we immediately resorted to a drunk-routine during which we slobbered and claimed we didn’t realize the ball had dropped. We got away with it because the dealer never saw the $5,000 chip to begin with, therefore he was satisfied that the $5 chip set down to replace it was the one originally there.


When the bet won, all we had to do is claim it enthusiastically. Naturally the dealer had no idea what we were cheering about, so we had to verbalize it, “There’s my $5,000 chip on the winning column bet!” we would say. Then the shocked dealer would pick off the red-chip capper and notify the pit boss, who would immediately call surveillance to verify the suspicious bet. Surveillance would run back the video, only to confirm that the bet was legit. Whenever I demonstrate Savannah at my training seminars, casino staffs just cannot believe how something so elementary could work with such devastating efficiency. The old saying “the simpler the better” is quite the truism when it comes to this move.


The move was so good that after doing it a hundred times in Vegas, and being identified by Griffin Agents, Gaming Enforcement and everyone else connected to casino security and surveillance while I stood at the bottom of wheels and collected the big payouts, they still couldn’t figure out what I was doing and were forced to pay me every time. Game Protection experts worldwide have called the Savannah move the best they’ve ever seen. But I still disagree.



You can view video of Savannah on my video page.
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The Roulette Mix-Up

  The Roulette Mix-Up move is the ultimate in psychological weaponry for cheating casinos. Like most of the moves I fashioned during the eighties and nineties, it was a pastpost move, getting the big-denomination chips down after I knew I had a winning bet. The ploy is to pastpost two black chips, $200, straight up on a winning number for a payoff of $7,000, within the maximum limits in many casinos across the world. It was carried out with four members of my roulette pastposting team. The first is the “mechanic” who switches in the $100 chips for low-value roulette chips after the roulette ball has landed on a number in the wheel and the dealer has placed a dolly on top of the chips bet straight-up on that winning number. The second is the “claimer” who sets up the casino for the move and claims the money when it is paid. The third and fourth are the “chip-bettors” who are not involved in the move or claim but make it all possible by making certain sequenced bets that control the dealer’s movements, which gives the mechanic the split-second needed to switch the chips.


The Steps:


A pretty woman claimer approaches the roulette table with five black $100 chips and sits at the top section across from the dealer. She tosses one black chip on the layout and buys in for minimum-value roulette chips, which are $1. The dealer gives her a hundred brown roulette chips, five stacks of twenty each. Once the dealer pushes the five stacks of twenty chips to the claimer, she immediately puts them into a 2-2-1 formation in front of her. This means there are two stacks in the front closest to the dealer, two stacks behind those and one stack closest to her, which is shielded from the dealer by the double row of two stacks in front. But then the claimer surreptitiously slides her remaining four black $100 chips into the bottom of the rear stack closest to her, completely hidden from the dealer. She does this in a one-atop-one sequence, meaning that the bottom chip is a brown roulette chip, the one atop that a black $100 chip, the one atop that another brown roulette chip, then another black and so on. This furtive stack is called the “mix-up” stack and remains hidden from the dealer until the crucial moment, which you will soon see.


Now the claimer begins betting her brown roulette chips on the layout, carefully making sure not to disturb the mix-up stack in the back. If her chip reserve dwindles from losing spins, she buys more brown chips in order to prevent the mix-up stack from being exposed. In her first betting sequence she lays three brown chips on a bottom number in front of the mechanic, who quickly scoops them up unseen while making his own bets. Then she proceeds to bet five brown chips on each of the bottom nine numbers straight up, numbers 28 through 36. Meanwhile, the mechanic already has two black $100 chips in his possession, and he quickly mixes them in with the claimer’s three brown roulette chips that he had removed from the layout. The five chips now palmed in his hand are identical in sequence to the bottom five chips in the claimer’s mix-up stack that is still hidden from the dealer and any other casino personnel who might happen onto the game.


Now number 32 wins and the dealer marks it with the dolly. Because of the positioning of the chip-bettors’ winning bets, the dealer takes his eyes off the layout for a split-second. In a well-practiced two-handed movement, the mechanic lifts the dolly, removes the five brown roulette chips the claimer had bet there and replaces them with the “juiced” stack of five chips he’d had palmed in his hand. When it’s done there are still five chips underneath the dolly, but now they are: a brown roulette chip on the bottom, a black $100 chip atop that, then another brown, another black and another brown. Instead of $5 on the winning number, there is now $203, two black $100 chips and three brown $1 roulette chips.


Once the claimer sees that the mechanic has successfully switched the chips without being caught, she swings into action and the psychology takes over. The first thing she does is lift the mix-up stack from the back of her chip reserve and place it on top of the front stack closest to the dealer, so that the dealer can now clearly see the mixed-up chips. Then she lets out a scream and goes into a false panic. “I’m missing two of my black chips!” she cries, jumping out of her chair to add to the histrionics. “I’m missing two of my black chips! Where are they!” She gets on her hands and knees and begins playacting a search of the floor. The dealer naturally looks at her as though she’s a goner. She stands up and begins going through her pockets like a frenzied tailor, then rifles through her handbag. “Where are my two black chips?” she repeats frantically. While all this is going on, the dealer’s eyes are eventually drawn to her stacks of brown roulette chips and of course he sees the mix-up stack plainly on top. He sees the four black $100 casino chips mixed in with the brown roulette chips. At that moment the claimer, recognizing that the dealer has seen the mix-up stack, changes her tune from agonized panic to sheer joy. “Oh, my God!” she cries. “There they are! On number 32! I bet them! I bet my two black chips accidentally and they won! I just won $7, accident!” Then she lets out an assortment of oohing and aahing sounds, offering her hand to other players at the table who gladly shake it in congratulations.


When the dealer sees her pastposted bet, two black $100 chips sandwiched between three brown $1 roulette chips, he immediately notices that the mix-up sequence is exactly the same as the chips now standing on top of the front stack of her chip reserve. Thus the picture painted in his mind is that she had inadvertently bet those five chips, which he assumes must have been at the top of that front stack before she placed them on number 32. That perception plus her claim to have bet the black chips by accident remove all the pastposting heat that would have come down had those winning black chips just shown up without the rehearsed psychological ploy. When the floorman or pit boss, hearing the celebratory ruckus, comes over to the table, he too is immediately sold by the sham. He sees a pretty woman jumping up and down for joy, her mix-up stack that corresponds to the “mistaken” bet and the distance she is from the actual winning chips, which are at the bottom of the layout. All the jubilation further removes suspicion by creating a happy atmosphere. The last thing on the floorman’s mind is that she pastposted the bet. Even if it did cross his mind, it is evident that the pretty woman could not have tampered with the chips because she is too far away from them. The final coup de grace is when she tosses the dealer a black chip as a toke, outwardly a measure of her joyful generosity, but secretively another psychological ploy to keep the casino personnel on her side. Then she leaves the table with a big smile and in her wake the casino is a “merry” victim.
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The Roulette Section

   To achieve this roulette move we used a process called “chip-betting” that comprised numerous betting schemes where two “chip-bettors” made predetermined bets with predetermined numbers and colors of chips corresponding to what we wanted the dealer to do—how we wanted him to physically move his body, primarily his head. By doing that we created a vulnerability in the dealer's built-in pastpost-protection mechanism that gave our “mechanic,” the person switching the chips, just enough time to perform the move. The casinos also knew that roulette was a pastposters Garden of Eden, so in order to get the money we had to be good—real good.

The move was normally done in the 3rd-section, the bottom third of the roulette layout containing the numbers 25 thru 36, and the rectangular 3rd dozen box that bordered the left side of these numbers. Once in position, the chip-bettors bought in for roulette chips, those redeemable only at the roulette table. These chips had no intrinsic value. Each player assigned the value to his own chips, in abidance with how much he wanted to risk and casino minimums. Our chip-bettors always played with minimum-valued chips, anywhere from a quarter to a dollar, depending on the casino. This cut losses as to increase the overall profit of the move. Each chip-bettor had to play specific chips and make specific bets.


The first chip-bettor had to play chips that were stacked in the rear of the dealer’s chip well, behind the dealer, regardless of their color. The position of those chips in the well controlled the dealer’s body and eye movements by forcing him to turn for them each time he had to pay them out. The second chip-bettor had to play a specific color, the darkest, regardless of where the stacks of those chips were positioned in the well. This was solely to camouflage the black hundred-dollar chip being pastposted underneath his dark roulette chips.

The first chip-bettor playing the chips corresponding to the stacks at the rear of the chip well bet a stack of twenty chips in the outside 2-to-1 3rd dozen box. On a winner, the dealer was forced into the rear of his well to fetch two twenty-chip stacks needed to pay that bet, which required the use of both his hands. Doing this made him turn his body and take his eyes off the layout, at least for a split-second, at which time the mechanic would pop in the move. The second chip-bettor with the dark color simply bet four chips straight up on all the numbers in that 3rd section, 25 thru 36. The pastposted black chip would show up camouflaged within the dark roulette chips on the number that won.

The mechanic needed three of the second chip-bettor’s dark chips to do the move. He obtained them by pinching them off the layout. Since it would be sloppy and unprofessional—and risk detection of the conspiracy—to have the chip-bettor overtly pass the three roulette chips to the mechanic, the transfer was done while the chip-bettor was spreading his chips on the numbers. The chip-bettor would one time only place three of his dark chips on a number in the 2nd section, just above the bottom third of the layout, so that the mechanic could go out and snatch them up as he put his own bet in the 2nd dozen box. With all the outstretched arms and hands placing bets all over a congested layout, nobody ever noticed this organized theft of chips. The mechanic never bought in for roulette chips. He used red $5 casino chips and only bet the 2nd dozen box, ensuring that his bet lost every time a number in the 3rd section won. In that fashion, he could make his 3rd-section move and then be free to leave the table without having to wait for any of his own winning bets to be paid. By operating in this manner, the mechanic avoided all contact with the dealer.

The move itself, pastposting a black hundred-dollar casino chip straight up on any of those 3rd-section numbers covered by the chip-bettor’s dark roulette chips, paid $3,500. When the chip-bettors and the mechanic were in position and had all their chips, the “claimer,” the person who would take the money off the table, then approached the table on the mechanic’s signal and legitimately bet a black chip in full view straight up on a 3rd-section number. This was the set-up. Dealers always announced the presence of black chips on the inside numbers to their floormen, who always came directly to the table and looked over the hundred-dollar-a-spin roulette player. The floorman would stay there, watch the dealer spin the ball, and supervise the big payoff if it won. Win or lose, the claimer then left the table and disappeared from both the dealer’s and floorman’s sight, but stayed close enough to the table where he could see the mechanic and receive the signal to return to the table when it was time to claim. The key was that the dealer and floorman would both remember the claimer had bet that $100 chip, even more so the floorman, because by the time the move actually went down, there might be another dealer on the table who had no prior knowledge of the claimer’s set-up bet. But floormen usually had only one break during a shift, thus we could count on the duration of their presence in the pit.

The set-up completed, we went into the move sequence. Before the claimer’s initial appearance at the table, it was not necessary that the two chip-bettors make their strategic bets. Since no move could yet be done, they could just spread a few chips anywhere on the layout. It was only when entering into the move phase that the chip-bettors began betting four dark chips on the 3rd-section numbers and the stack of twenty in the 3rd dozen box every spin. If there were other players on the table interfering with our bets by betting straight up on 3rd-section numbers, we didn’t move when one of those particular numbers came in. In the past, we had okayed moves involving other people’s chips, but found that with having to steal other players’ chips (to be used in the move) and having these people unwittingly involved in our moves, the dangers outweighed the benefits—mainly increasing the potential for a rat, who might blurt out that his chips had been manipulated by another player.

With the team in position on the table, the move would go down as soon as one of the 3rd-section numbers won. When a winning number came out, the claimer was signalled back to the table, where he would stand behind a chair in the 1st section across from the dealer and far away from the bottom third of the wheel where the move would take place, immediately eliminating the possibility that he could have physically tampered with the chips should the casino become suspicious during the “claim.” Then once the dealer swept the losers and took his eyes off the layout for a split-second, the mechanic would lift up the dolly, remove the four roulette chips the chip-bettor had bet on the winning number and replace them with the three identical-color roulette chips he’d removed from the layout AND a black $100 chip underneath. Thus the winning chips now under the dolly would be: a single $100 chip with three $1 roulette chips on top, giving the impression that the claimer had bet his $100 chip and then the chip-bettor had bet three of his $1 roulette chips on top of it.


Once the move was in cleanly, the claimer would then “claim” excitedly that he just won a $100 bet paying $3,500. Since he had previously set up the dealer and floorman by betting that same $100 chip legitimately, he was instantly accepted by the casino staff as a legitimate high roller and paid the $3,500 without suspicion more than 90% of the time. This move was also done with two black $100 chips in casinos that allowed $7,000 payouts on inside roulette bets.
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The Blackjack Ten-Oh-Five

  In this blackjack chip-switch, for 25 years the bread and butter move of the famous Classon Pastposting Team, one “mechanic/claimer” (MC) walks up to a blackjack table as the dealer is sweeping up the cards after paying and taking bets from the previous round. He places three red $5 chips on the first betting circle to the dealer's right, the position we called 3rd base. As he sits down he places five purple $500 chips and one $5 chip on the layout in front of him, covering them with his right hand in the same motion so that they remain hidden from everyone else in the casino. These are the chips that are going to form the move, which is two $500 chips and one $5 chip on top (thus its name “Ten-Oh-Five,” which correlates to the amount, $1,005), and the three remaining $500 chips that are called “backup chips” and will serve their purpose after the move goes down.

With his left hand, the MC plays the cards, giving the hit and stand signals to the dealer. At 3rd base, he is the last to play his hand, but the first to receive the dealer's attention after the round is finished and all the cards played. This meant that he would be the first paid on winners, the first to have his chips swept on losers. The importance of the 3rd base position was the angle it formed between its betting circle and the dealer's head while the dealer performed the mechanics of paying bets on the layout. The blackjack move could also be done from the other positions, but 3rd base was optimum. Each spot to the right of it made the move slightly tougher.


During the play of the hand, the MC never lifts his right hand off the five purple and one red chip hidden on the layout in front of him. If he loses the hand he simply gets up and goes to another table inside the casino. He cannot make a second bet at the same table because he has been established by the casino as a lowly red-chip player. When he wins the hand, he prepares the move by cutting the top three move chips (two purples and a red) to his finger grip and waits for the dealer’s payoff, which is obviously going to be three red $5 chips. Once the dealer slides the three red chips into the three red chips the MC had bet, the MC's left hand eases out onto the betting circle and scoops up the original three red chips he’d bet, while his right hand lays in the two purple $500 chips with the red-chip capper (chip on top) exactly where the three original chips had been. All in the same motion, the MC’s left hand dumps the three reds removed from the layout in his left jacket pocket, while the right hand chases down the dealer's hand and taps it. As the MC goes into his claim, both his hands are completely empty and exposed palms-up. And now his three purple $500 backup chips are in plain view. The dealer will be shocked by the MC’s touch. No matter how soft, it is reverberating because a player never touches a dealer's hand at the blackjack table. Even a soft touch to the hand is the equvalent of whacking the dealer in the head with a bat!

Then the MC “claims” the move. "Hey!" he says harshly, "you paid me wrong! I bet $1,000 here! You paid me $15. What is this nonsense!" Then with a little flick of his index finger, he kicks the three red chips that the dealer had paid out of the betting circle. This is done to subconsciously urge the dealer to put those chips back in his rack, so when the floorman arrives he'd only see the MC's $1,005 bet and purple backup chips on the layout, and be sold that the MC is a legitimate big player. The dealer follows the cue and puts the three reds back in the rack, then pays the MC two $500 purples and a red, after receiving the floorman’s permission, which is granted as the dealer normally tells him that he simply didn’t see the purple chips underneath the red and therefore took the bet for (what is was) three $5 chips.


The move is very psychologically powerful, as that gentle tap to the dealer’s hand renders the dealer helpless and makes him believe he actually misread the bet, which is physically impossible on a blackjack table.

Then to continue the psychological dominance, a standard “bet-back” procedure is used where the MC changes one of his $500 chips for five black $100 chips, then bets two of those blacks with a red capper on the following hand. This shows more purple action to the floorman and keeps conformity to the odd quirk the MC has of capping large denomination chips with a red $5 chip, moves all subtly laced to prevent the casino staff from becoming suspicious.


This move had a whopping payoff rate of over 95% and was also done with $1,000 chips underneath $25 chips and $5,000 chips underneath $100 chips. And the amazing thing about it was that with each step upward in denomination used, the payoff rate only increased! In fact, 151 moves using two chocolate-colored $5,000 chips under one black $100 chip were paid consecutively without a single “miss!” That is $9,800 profit a pop!


A link to the video of this move on You Tube will be posted shortly.
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The Craps Pastpost

  This switching chips after a winning roll of the dice at a craps table is performed by a two-man “mechanic-claimer” operation. The claimer stands behind the mechanic on either end of a busy craps table. The mechanic bets $15, three red $5 chips, on the pass line where players betting with the shooter place their chips. If the shooter rolls a 7 or an 11 on his first roll he wins. If he rolls a 2, 3 or 12 he loses. Any other number rolled is called a “point” and has to be rolled a second time before a 7 in order for a pass-line bet to win. When the 7 comes out first, pass-line bets lose.

Whenever our pass-line bet lost, the mechanic simply made the same bet for the next roll after the dealer removed his losing chips. Because of the two-man operation, the table did not have to be abandoned after a losing bet. When the bet won, the mechanic reached down to the layout as soon as the dealer paid his bet and made a switch, taking out the three original red $5 chips he’d bet and replacing them with two purple $500 chips and one red $5 chip—“a ten-oh-five” identical to the move done on blackjack tables. This was done by picking up the three reds with one hand while laying down the move-chips (two purples and one red) with the other, all in a split-second.


The move done, the mechanic yields his place to the claimer, who rushes into the game placing a stack of “backup” purple $500 chips in the players' rack along the rail and begins claiming that the dealer had paid his bet wrong, that he had bet purple chips and had only been paid with reds, at the same time reaching out to slap the dealer’s hand, a measure of shock treatment to startle him. The beauty of this procedure is that the dealer, stickman and boxman never see the claimer until he is already claiming. This was important because if the same person betting $15 on the pass line for several losing rolls all of a sudden shows up a winner on a $1,005 bet nobody had seen him make, the pit would become much more suspicious than if it were evident that a new player's $1,005 bet was his first bet. To seal the deal, the claimer’s $500 chips in the table rack further establish his credibility as a legitimate high roller.


It was with that philosophy that a good pastposting team distributed the roles of a craps pastpost among its members. Also, when dividing responsibilities, the pressure on each person was kept at a minimum. The mechanic was responsible only for the mechanics of the move. The claimer's responsibility was limited to claiming the money. The person on the outside, who was not directly involved in the laying or claiming of a move, was in charge of security and observation, the most important role.

A fourth person working the move was a “chip-bettor” who would be strategically positioned next to the claimer, one spot further away from the dealer. His identical $15 bet on the pass line next to the claimer's facilitated the mechanics of the move by maintaining the fluidity of the dealer's motion as he paid the winning bets. Since both the claimer’s and the mechanic’s bets contained only red chips, the dealer would not have to retreat into his chip well for another color as he moved from the claimer’s bet to the mechanic's. When doing a move, you always wanted the dealer moving forward and away from your bet, in essence forgetting about you.

Then after the move is paid, which was more than 90% of the time, the claimer makes a "bet-back," a bet designed to remove any suspicion the casino staff had about the previous move. The procedure was to bet back $205, two black $100 chips with a red on top. This bet used the same “capper” (chip on top) over the black chips as had been used over the purple chips in the move. It satisfied the casino that the claimer just had the quirk of betting $5 chips on top of high-denomination chips.

Win or lose the betback, the claimer left the table to join the mechanic somewhere outside the casino. Only the team member not involved in the move or claim who served as internal security remained near the table to observe the degree of heat taken by the move. This same move was also done with $1,000 chips underneath $25 chips and $5,000 chips underneath $100 chips.


The Craps Pastpost with Odds:


There is a double-decker version of this move. As mentioned before, when the dice shooter didn't hit a 7 or 11 winner or a 2, 3 or 12 loser on the come-out roll of the dice, a point was established. At that juncture each person having bet on the pass line had the option of making an odds bet, which was simply betting an amount equal to your original pass line wager at the true odds governing the probability that the shooter would again roll the point before rolling the fatal 7 that made both the pass line and odds bet losers. In this case, the mechanic would place three red $5 chips directly behind the original three $5 chips he’d placed on the pass line. The $15 bet in the rear was the odds bet. The pass line bet paid even money, but the odds bet paid true value, which meant that the casino made no profit on it; it was strictly offered as a player courtesy and to stimulate action for the casino.


So if the point established was 4, the true odds of rolling a second 4 before a 7 were 2 to 1 against, meaning that the mechanic’s winning odds bet behind would be paid $30 for the $15 bet while the pass line bet would be paid even-money, $15. When the shooter makes the point and wins the bet, the mechanic switches both bets after the dealer pays them. The move takes slightly longer than the single-bet switch but much less than double the time. He prepares for it by cutting the move-chips in his right hand into two layers of three chips, each layer containing two $500 purples and one $5 red. Then he angles the top “ten-oh-five” off the bottom “ten-oh-five” to facilitate laying in the double-decker move, which is actually two bets of $1,005. Sometimes craps dealers pay these odds bets in bridge formations the way a natural blackjack might be paid in that game, where the dealer pays the chips exceeding the even money bet as a “bridge” evenly placed across the top of the mechanic’s set of three red chips and the identical set he had just placed next to it, forming the bottom of the bridge. This created a bit of difficulty, but good craps mechanics are able to accomplish the move in spite of it. The positive factor of the complicated bridge payoff was that when the mechanic did succeed in switching the chips, casino personnel in the craps pit could never conceive it was a move. The move was very powerful and the odds version of it was absolutely mindblowing.

A link to the video of this move on You Tube will be posted shortly

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The Baccarat Offset

   This clever move was the mini-baccarat version of the Blackjack Ten-Oh-Five with a special twist: the casino could actually be set up on the table during the move sequence, much like the Roulette Section move was. As in the blackjack scenario, the move was performed by a “mechanic/claimer” who we will designate as the MC. First, the MC would come to the mini-baccarat table and legitimately bet $1,025—a yellow $1,000 chip with a green $25 chip on top—in the “Player” betting circle. Then two members of our cheating team called “chip-bettors” would each bet $500 on the opposing “Banker” betting circle, effectively offsetting Carla's bet. All told, we were risking $25 and, at the same time, establishing the MC as a thousand-dollar player which was the set up. The floorman would immediately be summoned over to the table by the dealer and greet the MC who he took as a high roller, simply because he had $1,025 bet on the table, a sizeable wager in any casino. As is customary in most casinos, the floorman would ask the MC if he wanted his “action” to be rated, so that he could receive complimentary services from the casino. The MC would say no, that it wasn't necessary, but the floorman would stay and watch a few more hands, during which the MC continued betting $1025 per hand on Player while the chip-bettors’ combined bets on the opposing Banker totalled $1,000.


But once the floorman was gone, the MC would drop his bet down to $125—a black $100 chip and a green $25 chip on top—as the two chip-bettors continued offsetting him. Then he would drop the bet to $75, three $25 chips. If the MC lost that bet, he would just make the same bet again. There was no reason to leave the mini-baccarat table after losing hands because he was already established as a high roller, contrary to how this cheating operation played out at the blackjack table. But when the MC’s $75 bet won and after the dealer paid him three $25 chips, he would switch in $2,025—two yellow $1,000 chips with a green $25 capper (chip on top) and claim that the dealer paid him wrong. The dealer, who’d already seen the MC make several $1,000 bets, would be sold immediately that he’d made a mistake and apologize, and then make the “correct” payoff with the floorman’s expressed approval.

The move was exceedingly powerful because both the dealer and floorman had already seen the MC legitimately bet yellow $1,000 chips, and besides, the MC had three or four yellow chips as back-up that wouldn't be exposed until after he did the move, which could only be done on the mini-baccarat tables because of the offsetting possibility with Player and Banker. The mechanics of the move and its preparation are identical to that of the Blackjack Ten-Oh-Five, where the MC covers the move chips and backup chips with his right hand until the actual switch is made, at which time the mechanic turns into the claimer.
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The Poker Light

   Perhaps the oldest form of cheating at poker is marking the cards. From poker’s earliest days on the Mississippi riverboats and in the saloons of America’s Wild West, cheaters have come up with just about every ingenious and idiotic method of marking cards, practically all of which ended up getting those cheaters barred from games, imprisoned, beaten up or worse. However, in the mid 1990s, a New York optometrist and his hustling girlfriend, Dawn, came up with the best card-marking scheme of all-time.  

Marking cards with a pastelike substance called daub had already been around for years. At the time, “invisible” card-marking luminous solutions for which the cheaters needed special tinted glasses to see were also in use. Then came contact lenses that improved these card-marking operations immensely, even if they had a hazy reddish color that sometimes bred suspicion upon looking the wearer in the eye. But when this optometrist put his mind to discovering the ultimate card marking scam with the ultimate card marking solution and equipment, the result was just that: the ultimate.

His first invention was contact lenses that virtually had no telling tint or shade when inserted in human eyes. The second was a solution that had virtually no feel on the marked cards and the improvement in the readability of the greenish yellow “poker light” marking. But what really revolutionized the concept of marking cards with luminous solutions was the formula for his invisible solution that made all traces disappear from the cards within forty-five minutes after its application. This meant that if the cards were seized from the poker table and put under infrared light more than forty-five minutes after the solution was applied to them, there would be absolutely no traces of the solution left on the cards. In effect, this meant that any evidence against the cheaters would self-destruct as it was not really feasible that the cards would find their way under infrared light in such little time.

His girlfriend Dawn became the main card-marker. Being a woman naturally gave her feminine advantages. She already had the handbag filled with cosmetic cases and other items women routinely store inside it. No reason why she couldn’t be looking into her little pocket mirror while on the poker table, dabbing on some rouge or tying back her hair. While ostensibly performing such innocuous gestures, Dawn transferred the solution to her fingertips from a sponge inside her handbag. Then with her loaded fingertips she marked the cards as she picked them up to peek at their value. Another method they used to carry the solution, especially when the optometrist participated in marking the cards, was to pad the insides of cigarette packs with the solution, then rubbing their fingertips in it as they removed a cigarette to smoke. Neither of them were smokers, but in the furtherance of the scam they at least had to pass themselves off as such.

The card-marking couple made out like bandits, earning several million dollars over the course of five years. Today, it is not known how many professional card-marking teams are out there, although technology, as it does in every other sector of life, continues to improve in the “light shadowy” world of card-marking at poker tables.

Link to card-marking video.

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The Roulette Slide

   The second best roulette move I ever saw was performed by generations of roulette cheaters from Italy. I ran into a third or fourth generation Italian team in Reno in the late 1970s and then several more times over the years in different casinos around the world. I didn’t learn what their roulette move actually was until the early 1990s when I spied them doing it in the Bahamas. In fact, one of the most humorous moments of my quarter-century cheating career was what happened when I first ran into this Italian roulette pastposting team. Unbeknownst to me, they were sitting at the same roulette table as my team, and after the dealer placed the dolly over the chips on the winning number, our mechanic’s hands collided with their mechanic’s hands smack in the middle of the table as both were performing their moves. Lots of chips went flying! Those of you who read my memoir “American Roulette,” may remember that hilarious incident.

 They were a four-man team. Three of their players each bought in at the table for a stack of $1 roulette chips, each playing a different color. The fourth player stood by the table across from the dealer by the wheel. He did not buy in for chips. The three players with chips bet one stack of twenty chips ($20) on two different numbers in different sections. The total configuration of their bets was that Player A had two twenty-chip bets on numbers in the first dozen (numbers 1 thru 12), Player B two twenty-chip bets on numbers in the second dozen (numbers 13 thru 24), and Player C two twenty-chip bets on numbers in the third dozen (numbers 25 thru 36). Thus in total they had six $20 bets covering the length of the entire layout, each bet a stack of twenty roulette chips.

When one of their numbers won—they just left well enough alone. Their winning stack was paid 35 to 1, $700, while their five losing stacks cost them $100, for a net profit of $600 for the spin. But when their numbers all lost, they fabricated a winner. The player whose losing stack of chips was closest to the winning number simply slid that stack onto the winning number BEFORE the dealer could place the dolly on it, provided, of course, no other chips were already on it. If, for example, the winning number was 5 and one of their stacks was on 4, the player would slide that stack of chips onto number 5 with a movement so deft and swift it defied reality. They used a split-second distraction on the dealer that involved their fourth player standing near the wheel asking the dealer for change, advice or some other roulette question at the crucial movement. This move was unbelievable and the real killer was that they could stay on the same table and repeat it several times, as long as they didn't pick up steam. Sometimes their roulette chips were worth $5, depending on the casino limit, which meant that in a casino with a $100 straight-up limit, they were bopping them for $3,500 a shot!
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The Credit Caper




Why is this casino credit/identity theft caper the best scam of all time? Well, when casinos just give you millions of dollars and you don’t have to do anything, I’d say that that could never be beat! Ever dream of walking into a casino, signing a marker for a hundred thousand dollars in credit, getting the chips, cashing them out and never having to worry about paying it back? It’s easy. Just takes a little ingenuity, criminal genius and big balls.


It’s part of today’s biggest scam: Identity theft. The Roselli brothers from Monmouth, New Jersey, pulled off a beauty in Atlantic City, Las Vegas and Puerto Rico that began in the mid ’90s and lasted until January 2000. How’d they do it? They hired a computer hacker to break into the nation’s credit data systems, then pilfered the credit histories of certain Americans (and foreigners) having outstanding credit ratings and several accounts. Then after opening new accounts in these people’s names, the Roselli brothers applied to the credit departments of the major casinos in all three gambling capitals. They were told that stable cash balances had to be maintained in bank accounts for a minimum of six months before casinos would establish credit. No problem. The Roselli brothers, already career gangsters with fat bankrolls, had plenty of cash to work with. They opened accounts in several names and stuck fifty grand in each of them. Six months later virtually all the major casinos gave them fifty-thousand-dollar credit lines in the name of each fraudulent account they had established with the banks.


The Rosellis alternated their scam between Atlantic City, Las Vegas and Puerto Rico every weekend for more than five years. They were completely comped in style for everything: penthouse suites, gourmet meals, Dom Pérignon, you name it. They signed markers, got their chips, then used “offset” betting procedures to make the pit bosses believe they were losing all their chips while cohorts were winning them on the other side of baccarat and craps tables. Then with the same fidelity an honorable person returns his books to the library on time, the Rosellis promptly paid their outstanding markers. This got their credit lines jacked up, since they showed tons of action and paid their markers within a few days of leaving the casinos, a gesture just loved by casino credit departments. The fifty-thousand-dollar casino credit lines soon became a hundred thousand, then two hundred thousand, then half a million, and even a million in some of the classiest casino megaresorts. And the Rosellis kept on signing, playing, signing and playing, all the while giving the impression of losing big. Naturally their operation became complex and employed dozens of loyal associates from New Jersey, but as long as the casino bosses never caught on to the fact that each Roselli was more than one person, they would never know they were being victimized in the biggest casino credit scam in history.


It was ballsy, at times incredibly hairy, but the brothers pulled it off. New Year’s weekend, 2000, they showed up in Vegas for the last time. They planned on beginning the new millennium with a bang. They made the rounds of casinos in which they had big credit lines in fifty names, carefully working each shift (day, swing and graveyard) as to avoid running into pit bosses who might address them with a name different from the one they were using at that moment to sign markers. Then after spreading their false gambling action all over town, with bets as high as $100,000 per hand, they absconded with the chips never to be seen again.


Total take: $37 million. And the real beauty of it was that neither the casinos, the FBI nor the US Secret Service realized a scam had taken place until six months later. First the casinos sent polite reminders to the addresses (real apartments in upscale neighborhoods) the Rosellis had set up for the scam, asking for payment of the markers. Then when those went unanswered they turned to dunning letters demanding payment or else there would be legal action. Next came phone calls from their credit departments, but they fell upon professional answering services unwittingly picking up the phones for fraudulent businesses. And they called again and again—more letters, too, even certified, but no one ever answered the door for the mailmen. All that took six months before the FBI was finally alerted. By that time the Roselli brothers were lying on a beach somewhere very far from American casinos.


And one last detail: The Roselli brothers didn’t exist either. The real Roselli brothers whose ID they thieved died long before their scam was conceived. So in fact, the FBI and Secret Service have no idea who they’re looking for. But I do. They’re looking for shadows.
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The Poker Exchange

  I have seen or participated in some really brazen poker scams, but nothing like this "swapping" gig: there is a liberated married couple loose in the poker rooms swapping not spouses guessed! And they are darn good at it. I first saw them ten years ago from the rail at the L.A. Bicycle Club while watching a $20/$40 hold’em game. In two adjacent seats across from the dealer sat a man in a baseball cap and a woman with medium-length dark hair. The man was to her left. Neither was dressed obtrusively; they blended in perfectly with the other players at their table. To probably everyone’s eyes but mine, their actions warranted no double takes. 


What I noticed first was that the man’s right shoulder and the woman’s left shoulder bobbed simultaneously. It was the slightest movement but somehow it caught my attention. Out of curiosity, not really thinking something was up, I continued watching. After the flop, the man folded and the woman stayed in the hand. From where I stood I couldn’t see the community cards on the table, but I could tell who was playing and who wasn’t. The woman chucked her hand in the muck after someone bet on the turn.

I saw the dealer sweep the pot to the eventual winner, then watched him deal out the next round. As soon as I determined that the couple had received their cards, I put my sights on them closely. At that instant, their shoulders bobbed again. The man put in a pre-flop raise while the woman folded. I watched a pretty decent pot unfold, and when it was over the dealer slid him the chips.

The third time I saw their shoulders bob told me they were cheating. To confirm my suspicions I decided to make a pass of their table. On the next deal I descended the steps and headed directly toward the couple’s rear. As they were receiving their second cards, I slipped right up behind them. I froze for an instant to get a good peek, and my growing curiosity, which was rapidly turning into fascination, was not disappointed. In that split-second, and I mean split, the man and woman exchanged a card. It was one of the deftest movements I had ever seen, and, believe me, I had seen many.

With a bare minimum of shoulder and arm movement, the man using his right hand and the woman her left, each palmed one of their cards and slid it down underneath his wrist along the inside of the arm to the other. The length of their arms also served to hide the action from the dealer and everyone else at the table; it simply blocked their view. And for added protection, they used their crooked free arms to create a barrier against anyone who might have a side view. It took me a few more episodes of this to see how truly gifted they were, but I surely enjoyed the show.

I wanted to see more of it and eventually got in their game. I lucked into a “box seat” directly across from the cheaters. I now noticed that the woman was wearing dark glasses. At first I thought that was foolish, that wearing sunglasses would draw attention to her. However, upon looking around the poker room I saw at least two people at each table wearing shades. In fact, I regretted that I didn’t have similar glasses to conceal my eyes. I didn’t want this couple noticing how interested I was in their game. I didn’t want to spook them.

The first hand I watched them play close-up, they both threw their cards in the muck. I took that to mean that even with all four cards they couldn’t make a single playable hand. The next hand they went into action. I timed my glance at them so it would pick up their move without lingering. I watched the woman receive her second card and the man his an instant later. There was a tiny hesitation before their shoulders bobbed and their hands and arms jerked ever so slightly. By moving their heads a bit while shifting backward, they stole a glance at each other’s cards. Then they made an instantaneous decision as to which cards to switch, and followed through. It was all lightning quick.

I threw my hand in the muck as soon as the action was on me. I just wanted to watch the couple and the outcome of the hand. Instinctively I knew they were a top-notch cheating team, and of course I appreciated their display of talent. In fact, I was truly amazed.

The flop came K-9-8 with flush possibilities. However, when the woman raised the initial bettor, I doubted she was chasing a flush. I secretly put her on at least a pair of kings and maybe even trips. Her partner folded his hand and lightly feigned disgust.

A queen came on the turn, followed by a 4 on the river. There were no possible straights or flushes. The woman bet out, got called and won the pot. What did she reveal at showdown? You guessed it: a black pair of kings to form a set.

I stayed at that table until they left two hours later. They really cleaned up the game, $1,500 profit between them. And I’m sure they exercised some restraint. They simply could not show strong pocket pairs every time they entered a pot; that would draw suspicion.

Over the years I have seen the same couple half a dozen times. Once I saw them plying their scam with another couple, and then months later that second couple working alone, which means there’s probably a small army of “swappers” working today’s cardrooms.

How can you protect yourself from cheaters this skilled? Well, if you don’t have the eyes of a hawk or the instincts of a badger, you better hope that someone like me happens upon the game to point them out to you.
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