Skewing the Odds at Casinos

Skewing the Odds at Casinos

Throughout history, infamous gamers have left their marks on casinos around the world. Their intelligent and calculated moves have spurred best sellers, top-rated movies, new casino regulations to catch the tactics and employees that consult casinos and gaming commissions, most of which have been the creative gamers themselves. The notable thinkers have forever changed how casinos operate, and how they monitor games and gamers.

The Slot Dilemmas

The first offender is a man who raked in a huge Keno jackpot for $100,000 at an Atlantic City casino. This guy’s problem was officials were suspicious because he didn’t jump for joy or show the elated emotions of a winning player. He had no identification and simply requested his pot in cash. The law called for the identification of any winner that hit $35,000 or more. Gaming officials called in the assistance of the police, and as they welcomed themselves into the man’s hotel room, they spotted he and another man, who they eventually discovered was computer technician for Nevada Gaming. The technician had a cache of notes and books, and computer equipment to beat the casino’s number generator. He had hacked the keno number generator legally, because it was his job, and then copied the code. He then informed his partner of the winning numbers before the games were actually played.

Another man made simple devices that triggered slot machines into paying out. This guy was a real thinker. He started out when slot machines were simple and designed a piece of metal to trigger the pot. Then, the casinos implemented the random number slot machines, so he visited the old school casinos, and was eventually caught. Serving jail time didn’t deter him one bit. His next cheating instruments were the Slider and the Monkey Paw. These tools tripped the machine’s hopper to payout. As the casinos progressed to computer-generated machines, the all time slot genius visited a manufacturer to study the computer innards. The light wand was his next cheating tool, which he promptly sold for $10,000 a pop to other deceitful players. The light wand was a camera and a light that skewed the computer’s sensor to payout yet again. More jail time was in store for him as he was arrested two more times. He now touts his services to thwart cheaters at casinos. 

The third scandalous player manufactured his own slot coins, using copper, nickel, zinc and laser tools to replicate coins. His operation included a press in Italy that weighed 150 tons. The coins were so good that even the experts couldn’t distinguish between the authentic coins and the fake coins. He may have scammed anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000, but no one will ever know because authorities couldn’t seem to name and shame his escapades. All they knew was he cashed in an unbelievable amount of coins. He was able to reach a plea bargain by explaining his operation in detail to law enforcement.

Scammers at the Blackjack Tables

George, David, Thor and the belly telly are names of computers made by a man, who designed them for the sole purpose of winning at Blackjack. Card counting didn’t work for him, so he focused his attention on computers. George was a little on the bulky side at 15 pounds, so David was developed, and reaped $40,000 to start for its creator. David was so effective that the guy sold many Davids for $10,000 each to other gamers. The sale came with a bonus training session on how to use David. Although David was discovered by authorities, the man wasn’t charged because the law had no idea how David worked. Thor came later. Thor could determine the order of cards if the shuffle was perfect. The belly telly was a video camera, small enough to record from a belt buckle. It recorded the dealer’s hole card and sent the image to an accomplice outside in the parking lot. The accomplice would let the gamer know which card to play next. All electronic aids were outlawed in the mid-1980s, but this scammer kept winning. He eventually became a face of gambling through the Blackjack Hall of Fame. 

The next Blackjack scammer was a beauty. She was petite, and just the right size and shape to draw countless admirers. She had a streak of winning that amounted to tens of thousands of dollars. The beauty had a system, however, it was her beauty that threw everyone off guard. She was responsible for slipping coolers into the deck. Coolers are cards that come from the hand of the cheater for the purpose of beating the house. Because she was a female, no one suspected her. Everybody’s streak comes to an end at some point, and hers was abruptly interrupted by gaming officials and FBI.

The Biggest Blackjack Con of them All

The next feat is a group of players who were profiled for a successful movie. The group, made of up mathematically inclined college students, made over $5 million during their run. While most cheaters may work alone, these students had the meaning of “team” down to a science. Not only did they study card counting long into the night, they took their knowledge to the streets, just to see if their methods worked. They would campaign for the brightest members with flyers advertising their quest, and mathematical tests to screen new members. One encounter with the law convinced the charter members to leave the team, however, their winning method was kept alive until casinos caught on.

The godfather of card counting, who wrote two books on the topic and held a master’s in physics and a doctorate in mathematics, was convinced he could beat the game of Blackjack. He was also a professor and his counting reign led to the use of the school’s computer, which at that time, took up an entire room. After researching his theory of card counting, he discovered that low cards were in the house’s favor and the high cards benefited the players. As a benefit, he was able to calculate a 1 to 5 percent edge over the house. One weekend, he was said to have won $70,000. He began winning so much, officials were skeptical, but couldn’t zero in on their suspicions because the man gave no signs that he was counting. He was finally directed to the exit doors of casinos. His book on card counting, published in the early 1960s is infamous. He was also inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

The Roulette Tilt

Spain can claim a roulette genius. He is the original tester of the roulette wheel bias theory. This man believed wheels were in no way randomly spun because they were titled ever so slightly, making them less than perfect. If a wheel was off center, it meant certain numbers would come up more frequently than others. To test his theory, he studied thousands of spins in Spain’s casinos, and recorded his findings on a computer to analyze the outcomes. He enlisted the help of his children for the experiment. All research was conducted before betting. As it came time to put up cash bets, he knew his edge was 10 percent over the house edge. This guy was intuitive, and would leave casinos if he sensed he was close to being busted. He eventually retired with $1.5 million after his face was recognizable by casinos around the globe. A Spanish casino tried to sue, but the court found in his favour, ruling he didn’t do anything wrong.