Breaking House Rules – Surprising Stories of Casino Cheats

casino cheats

For centuries, finding ways to cheat the casino has fascinated not only players who dream of winning big, but also those who simply love the joy of getting away with something illegal. Casino cheats come up with all kind of ideas, and when paired with the latest technology, these scams reach the height of the imagination. As with bank robberies or stolen artwork, stories of casino cheats create an enduring source of inspiration in pop culture. Just look at the popularity of the ultimate casino heist movie, Ocean’s Eleven.

oceans eleven

Ocean's Eleven

The truth is that the vast majority of players casino cheating will get caught sooner or later and face the legal consequences of their actions. Nevertheless, all kinds of urban legends circulate about casino cheats, and players come up with plenty of creative ways to win. Why? Psychologists say that all players have at least considered ways to cheat. Apparently, it’s human nature to try and beat the system. Not to mention, the idea of winning all that money makes people go to great lengths. Now let’s take a look at some of the most interesting attempts to cheat the casinos in recent years and security measures casinos use to protect against fraud.

Read more about True Tales of Casino Robberies.

Crooks of Yesterday and Today

There are no stories of any casino caught cheating because casinos do not need to cheat players. Instead, they enjoy the House Edge, which is the margin charged for providing the game. Wins are random – however, someone will always try to cheat the casino or get an edge against other players. There are many ways, from swapping chips, marking cards, and previewing the cards with the use of radio transmitters, micro-cameras, and special lenses.

If you think that 21st century crooks only use modern technology, think again. Several years ago, three Koreans scammed Foxwoods Casino Resort in Connecticut for over $900,000. Over the course of two weeks, they visited the casino 14 cheating during baccarat with technology straight from the 19thcentury.

casino cheat

The Hold-Out Device (Popular Mechanix Magazine, 1933)

The group of gambling cheats used a device known as the Hold-Out, which allows someone to hide objects inside the sleeve and replace it with another object at the right time. Magicians often use the Hold-Out to hide something inside their sleeve and make a new object appear. At Foxwoods, Su Young Guy replaced cards while his partner Wookyung Who hid them from the eyes of the dealer. Casino security cameras detected the crime, and identified the men based on their Korean passports they used to identify themselves at the casino. Later, customs apprehended two of the culprits during their next visit to the United States, and went to trial. The other two casino cheats got away with the crime and probably continue to live in Korea.

casino cheats

Hold Out Device (Popular Mechanix Magazine, 1933)

Casino Cheats - More Than What Meets the Eye

Some casino con artists use the most advanced technology. Take, for example, the Italian crooks that cheated the Casino Barriere Les Princes in Cannes for 62,000 Euros. They used a special contact lens that allowed them to see invisible ink with the naked eye. They could win games like poker by marking cards based on their values, probably with the help of employees at the casino. However, even the best laid plans fail. The police soon caught onto the scheme and arrested Stefano Ampollini, the man who led the group of con artists. Ampollini purchased the lenses from a Chinese manufacturer at 2,000 Euros per pair.

Interestingly enough, two years later Bruce Koloshi from the United States tried the same trick at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. Koloshi claimed he needed money for bail for an arrest cheating another the L’Auberge Casino in Lousiana. Guess there won’t be any bail outs for this casino crook.

tim giadina

Vice Admiral Tim Giardina

However, the next casino scam takes on a whole new level and involves a High Commander of US Nuclear Forces . US Vice Admiral, Tim Giardina, used marked chips to try and cheat at playing poker. The Vice Admiral faced arrest, embarrassment, and legal consequences for getting caught casino cheating. Looks like the ship has sailed for this casino cheat.

A casino con straight out of the movies took place in Australia’s Crown Casino when a group scammed a casino for $33 million playing high stakes poker at one of the casino’s most elegant rooms reserved exclusively for VIP Players.

While VIP Rooms provide guests with exceptional comfort and privacy, on the other hand, the rooms reserved for high rollers utilize the highest level of security and are filled with cameras. During the scam, a team hacked into the casino’s security surveillance system and monitored the players’ cards. They then relayed the cards to one of the players via an earpiece. The crooks got away with it at first, but when the casino cheat won $32 million playing poker, the Crown Casino had its suspicions. Staff quickly realized that an unauthorized person had gained access to the cameras in the VIP room and were cheating the casino.

crown casino

Crown Casino VIP Poker Room in Australia

A much more primitive way for cheating at casino happened during the 2014 Borgata Winter Poker Open at the most luxurious casino in Atlantic City. One of the participants, Christian Lusardi, used 160 counterfeit chips worth $800,000. When the other players began to suspect cheating, he threw the remaining chips into the toilet at his hotel room. The casino noticed after the chips clogged the toilet, and Lusardi was arrested.

royal flush

A man got caught after clogging the toilet while trying to dispose of counterfeit chips. Talk about a Royal Flush!

Meanwhile in Poland, three Russian nationals tried to cheat the casino, but this wasn’t on a game of Russian roulette. The men not only used their skills while playing poker at a casino in Warsaw, but cheated at the game with the help of a radio transmitter, headphone, and micro-webcam. While the two played, a third reported the other players’ cards remotely. Soon enough, the casino caught on to the scheme and the casino cheaters caught a hand of bad luck.

Casino Cheating Devices - The Leading Edge of Technology

You might find it surprising how many casino cheating devices have been invented over time to give players an unfair edge at the casino. In addition to those already mentioned, countless gadgets exist to help fix the outcome of gaming machines. Others use carefully hidden devices that fit right inside their pockets.

Though counting cards is technically legal, many casinos forbid the practice. There’s even a mobile app used to count cards in blackjack. Another method for counting cards employs a vibrating device that resembles a car alarm and fits into your pocket. During the game, players keep track of the low and high cards with the device. Then, long and short vibrations signal the player whether it’s better to take another card or stand.

blackjack cheat

Phone App for Counting Cards

Casino cheating with a loaded dice is a strategy as old as the games themselves. Loaded or weighted dice are hollow with an additional weight inside that makes the dice land on whichever number the player wants.

loaded dice

Weighted or Loaded Dice

Google Glass functions as a wearable computer to help us with our daily lives. Although still in testing phase, casinos already suspect that cheaters will utilize this device. Casinos in Nevada already banned their customers from having these glasses during a visit to the casino. How would Google Glasses help someone cheat at the casino? By using the live recording and video streaming, players can, for example, exchange information about the cards during a game.

Is the use of technology guaranteed to work? The answer is no. The stories already mentioned show that even the most advanced methods of cheating backfire sooner or later. Honest players can rest assured that they can safely play at the casino.

Fighting Back Against Fraud

Casinos themselves also use advanced technology to protect themselves against cheaters. One of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas, the Bellagio, has over 2,000 cameras connected to dozens of monitors. Recording the game floor allows the surveillance team to observe the activities at the casino, frame by frame. Casinos also use advanced security systems to help protect themselves against cyber attacks like when hackers shut down the Las Vegas Sands Casino website.

casino security

The "Eye in the Sky"

Learn more about Casino Surveillance Officers and other types of jobs at the casino.

Exception to the Rule

In December 2013, 55-year-old John Kane and 42-year old Andre Nester from the United States discovered a glitch in a popular video poker machine by IGT software called Game King. It turned out that pressing a few buttons simultaneously activated the hand from several turns before. The men took advantage of this discovery, winning over $500,000 at different casinos. They were eventually arrested for hacking and cheating.

IGT Game King

Game King, a Poker Machine by IGT Software

After a long process, the Las Vegas court system acquitted both players. The court found that the use of the existing error in the software machine was not fraud, and a problem with the gaming software. After the final hearing, the lawyer of one of the acquitted stated that men behaved unfairly by keeping the secret to themselves.

It’s hard to believe some of these stories of casino cheats, but they did happen and are still happening today. Casinos will always have to watch out for greedy cheaters and luckily as technology gets more advanced; it’s easier for them to do so.

About The Author

I made my entrance to online gambling in 2004 in an attempt to understand the psyche of the casino goer. I've spent prolonged periods delving into the industry and its inner functions and continue to do so at VegasMaster every day. My research and experience has given me insights into gambling that I hope you'll benefit from.

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