Casino Cheaters: Mind-Blowing Stories of Cheaters Who Got Caught
From Richard Marcus to the MIT Team, the number of people who tried to cheat the Casino is truly impressive.
Be it in the exclusive gaming halls of the Monte Carlo Casino or the smokiest rooms in the United Kingdom, all the individuals included on this list have done something remarkable.
They employed amazing methods of cheating and forbidden devices to beat the Casino and win more than they were supposed to.
You never realise how smart gamblers can be until they turn into Casino cheaters who try to outsmart Casinos.
If you thought card counting in Blackjack was hard, listen to this:
How about building a machine that you could bring to the Blackjack tables to do the card counting for you?
One to do with one click the same hard job that took the MIT Blackjack team years of practice?
While it might be possible to elude the Casinos security and hit the Blackjack tables thanks to today's supercomputer, imagine doing it in the Seventies.
People cheat all the time. Be them at the Casino, at work, or at home. Somehow, I am sure the perspective to win millions of dollars pushed some to cheat in Casinos a little more than they should have.
Because everything is fun and exciting when things go well. But as soon as the Casinos security teams pick up what cheaters are doing — well, then it's a whole different story, isn't it?
This article is dedicated to the most famous Casino cheaters in history.
You can learn a thing or two from them. Or not.
They all came up with remarkable Casino strategy cheats that helped them to dominate the Casino floor for some time — but they all got caught.
The ones you see on this list of Casino cheaters are the players who made their mark in the history of land-based real money gambling. Even if this mark is not the prettiest one.
If these stories inspire you, good for you. Then, you might become the next biggest Casino cheater in the world and go on to beat Roulette cheating one spin after the other.
I hope to never see your name here, though. Because the moment you end up on our list of famous Casino cheaters is the one when you need to face one sad truth:
You just got caught, too.
Phil Ivey and the Punto Banco Scandal
Let's start with one of the most recent cases, the controversy that involved none other than the 'Tiger Woods of Poker', one of the most celebrated and respected Poker players of all-time.
Back in 2012, poker pro Phil Ivey and fellow gambler (and cheater) Cheung Yin Sun won big at the Crockfords Club in Mayfair, London.
But that didn't happen because they got lucky or used some kind of surefire way to win at Punto Banco.
No sir. They cheated.
They employed a technique you can find explained also on a reputable Casino guide like CasinoSmash that goes by the name of called edge-sorting.
The duo was clever enough to spot some small differences in the pattern painted on the backside of the cards. This allowed them to identify whether a card was low or high when it landed on the table.
If you think this is a small, nerd-ish way to cheat at a Casino - think again.
Not only did Phil Ivey used it (successfully) in more than one occasion throughout Europe and the United States, but he also won a lot of money with it.
£7,700,000 at the Crockfords Casino in London alone, to be exact.
Unfortunately for Ivey, those winnings never reached his account as the money was immediately withheld by the Casino — since the size and frequency of their wins raised more than one eyebrow.
After a five-year-long legal battle, the London Supreme Court ruled that edge-sorting is not just an advantage play or a basic strategy (as Ivey claimed) but plain and simple cheating.
The London. Ivey vs Genting Casinos Ltd t/a Crockfords is one of the largest legal battles in the history of gambling and it offers some very interesting readings to those who would like to go Perry Mason on Ivey.
Charles Oakley: The Former NBA Star Gone Sneaky
Another of the most recent Casino cheats happened in Las Vegas. Unsurprisingly, I know.
The cheater in the spotlight was Charles Oakley.
A name that used to be on everyone's mouth back in the Nineties when the grass was greener, basketball was great, and we all played with him on NBA Jam.
Back in June 2018, a former basketball player was accused of cheating during a visit at The Cosmopolitan Casino in Las Vegas.
Apparently, the player removed a $100 wager from the roulette table once the outcome of the game was already known and it was clear that he had lost.
While you might be able to fool a dealer if you are smart enough but...
...Security cameras, anyone?
However, this is not entirely new or unexpected from a 'professional gambler' like Oakley.
Even before this episode, he already enjoyed a solid history of bad gambling moments, including picking up a few fights with security officers, throwing dice at Casino employees, and smashing champagne bottles to express disappointment.
What a gentleman, right?
Edward Thorp: When a Cheating Technique Becomes a Bestseller
Edward Thorp might be the nicest Casino cheater on this list.
After he understood the importance of card counting to win at Blackjack, he did not just travel from one Blackjack table to another to build a personal fortune - he published a book about it!
As a former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Thorp used his skills and anIBM computer to analyse the probabilities of Blackjack and crack the game.
His book, Beat the Dealer, became a New York Times bestseller right away. Up to this day, gamblers all over the world use it to study the science (or art?) of card counting.
And with a good reason.
Together with an engineer named Claude Elwood Shannon, Thorp went to Vegas to put his counting system to practice and ended up raking winnings for $50,000 - every weekend.
As if this wasn't enough already, Thorp then decided to take on the game of Roulette and study the chance to crack that game too.
That's when published an university study to explain his discoveries.
As a result of such dedication to beat the house, in a bit more than a decade, Thorp was already a millionaire driving a Porsche.
Nowadays, he barely plays Casino games as he turned tables and uses his knowledge and skills to make it big on the markets in Wall Street.
Keith Taft: Bringing Magic Equipment to Casinos
Keith Taft tried Thorp's way, too.
But after failing and losing one too many times, he decided to find his own way to cheat and beat the dealers.
That's how he ended up with his name written in the history gambling, on the Blackjack Hall of Fame, and on our list of Casino cheaters.
To know what happened, let's travel back in time to 1972.
Since wearables and personal computers did not exist yet, Taft created a wearable belt-like device connected to his glasses and to a series of switches located in one of his shoes.
Initially, everything was hit-and-miss. However, he continued to work hard to perfect the device until it became an entire computer network capable to connect different players and help them to keep track of the decks of cards used in a game of Blackjack and count cards.
Taft, his son, and some other fellow gamblers are believed to have won over $120,000 - and that's only on the first time they used their technological cheating system.
The second time, however, things went South.
The cheaters got caught and fined. And their magic equipment got confiscated.
Monique Laurent and the Subtle Art of Flirting
It's a mystery why the best technology we use now wasn't invented to win at the Casino.
After all, Casino cheaters have always been able to come up with brilliant and creative ideas to beat the house.
If Taft's example was not enough for you, you should hear the story of Monique Laurent.
Only one year after Taft created his system, Monique teamed up with her brother and her husband with one clear goal in mind: to win money on Roulette.
And her determination paid off really well since the trio raked winnings for nearly $1,000,000 in one week!
The best part is: this had nothing to do with luck. All they did was to create a roulette ball that had a small radio receiver inside it.
Monique's brother, who worked as a croupier, would use the ball during the roulette games.
Her husband would be a betting player while Monique, from a table close by, would control the ball with a radio transmitter hidden in a pack of cigarettes.
How did they get caught?
The Casino owner tried to flirt with Monique, but she quickly turned him down.
He was p*ssed off and decided to keep an eye on her.
It wasn't long before the noticed that she was always next to the winning table and always with a pack of cigarettes between her hands. Though she never smoked.
And when he decided to go to her and ask for a cigarette...she refused to share one with him.
This suspicion was enough for the security to check her pack and figure out the whole thing.
Conclusion? If you're trying to scam a Casino, you might as well flirt with its owner.
Tommy Glenn Carmichael on Beating Slot Machines
Here's another famous Casino cheater you should know.
Meet Tommy Glenn Carmichael, a professional scammer who earned his living by cheating at Las Vegas Casinos.
Sounds fun, right?
Maybe it does...unless eventually, that leads you to a long stay in a cold prison cell. But — we'll get to this part later.
What did this Casino cheater do to earn such a punishment?
He cheated on Slot machines.
You might think that's impossible - because it is- but here we are talking about the good old days of gambling. When the technology wasn't as advanced as it is today.
And when there were many great opportunities for cheaters to do their nasty deeds.
Tommy Glenn Carmichael was one of them.
He rigged land-based Slot machines in Las Vegas with a tool called a top-bottom joint.
Over the years, Carmichael won millions of dollars from unsuspecting Casinos. He was so successful that he could win $10,000 in a few days.
However, every fairy tale comes to an end, and the story of Tommy Glenn Carmichael is no exception.
As the years went by, Casino owners became well aware of the cheating methods that people like Tommy used. Slots technology kept on becoming better and better, and the largest Casinos started to use Random Number Generators.
However, the smaller establishments were not rich enough to upgrade all their games and that's where Tommy's unbelievable luck was finally noticed.
He won too much, too often, and in places that were too small for his luck to go unnoticed.
When he was arrested, it turned out that the police had been investigating him for a while. As a punishment for his cheating, Tommy had to serve five years in prison.
Ida Summers and the Power of Beauty
Sometimes, it pays to be a woman in Las Vegas.
Especially when it comes to cheating, of course.
Ida Summers, also known as Vegas Vixen, is one of the most famous Casino cheaters in history.
She made land-based Casinos lose thousands of dollars a day… just because she was really good at flirting.
Her favorite real money game to cheat on was Blackjack. Her favourite technique – hand mucking.
In other words, Ida brought her own cards.
Normally, dealers would notice such scamming. However, it is Vegas Vixen we're talking about.
Her looks and charm were enough to distract the male dealers from her illegal actions and earn them millions of dollars over the years.
Sadly, Vegas Vixen went a little too far and got caught by the FBI. The circumstances of her arrest are still unclear, but many believe she might have been sold by one of her partners.
Now, here's the best part:
While any other person would have had to serve a long time in prison, Vegas Vixen charmed the jury out of a different sentence and got away with just a few years of probation.
Ronald Harris and Reid McNeal: the 'Suprise' Effect
Ronald Harris and Reid McNeal are a famous duo who managed to win thousands of dollars by manipulating Slot machines in Vegas and Atlantic City.
Let's begin with the fact that Ronald Harris worked as a Slot machine analyzer. His extensive knowledge of the Slots mechanics helped him to come up with a way to cheat.
However, he needed the help of his friend Reid McNeal to succeed — as a person who didn't work in the Casino industry was key to make his cheating system work.
He needed a person nobody would suspect.
To achieve his goal, Ronald replaced the real microchips of Slot machines with other 'customized' ones. These were pre-programmed to spew a huge win after a certain sequence of coins:
- Three coins
- Two coins
- Two coins
- One coin
- Three coins
- Five coins
This sequence triggered the machine to instantly payout a lot of money to a 'lucky' player.
Unfortunately, after the duo won $100,000 on a Keno machine in Atlantic City, the Casino security team got so suspicions that went to put an end at their performance.
Do you want to know what triggered the extra checks?
Reid didn't show any surprise after his six-figure win.
What a terrible mistake.
Richard Marcus: from Savannah to Casino Consultancy
Let's end the list with Richard Marcus.
He is often called one of the greatest Casino cheaters of all-time and he proved a simple method can go a long way.
As long as you are brave enough to go with it.
Marcus named his method after his favourite stripper, Savannah.
How did it work?
He used to bet on Roulette, placing a couple of chips on the table. The top chip would be a small one ($5 or less) while the value of the bottom one was a lot higher.
If he won the game, he won legitimately. The dealer only then would see the higher chip, but hey – no harm was done.
However, when he lost, he would angrily fling the chips at the dealer, imitating a drunk gambler.
This would give him the chance to switch the higher denomination chip for a lower one and minimize the losses.
The dealers would rule it out for drunkenness and he'd continue to play.
This way Marcus made almost $112,000 in one weekend.
The best part? He never got caught.
Instead, he made enough money that he stopped cheating at the Casino and wrote a book on it.
Today he runs this website where he explains all the tricks and Casino cheats that helped him throughout the years
Ironically, he also consults Casinos on how not to get cheated on.
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