Ingenious Ways People Cheat Casinos
Published: June 15, 2012
Ingenious Ways People Cheat Casinos, Using age-old and high-tech methods, crooks scam millions a year, an expert says.Thereâ€™s no doubt about it, gambling means big business. Casinos in the U.S. raked in $62.8 billion in 2011, according to Spectrum Gaming Group, a research and professional services firm.
But with the good comes the bad for the gaming industry â€” cheating is also a big money maker for those who find ways to deceive the house. Thanks to technology, itâ€™s getting harder to pull off. Casinos have cameras trained on every table and are always on the lookout for anything suspicious. But some people still manage to do it. Casino cheating expert George Joseph of Worldwide Casino Consulting estimates the industry loses tens of millions of dollars a year in scams.
The scams can be pulled off with age-old sleight-of-hand tricks or with the aid of high-tech devices. Either way, they are illegal and could mean time behind bars for those who are caught. However, penalties vary from state to state. In Nevada, for example, someone convicted of cheating faces one to six years in prison, or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
So what are some of the ways people cheat in casinos? CNBC.com spoke with Joseph, who is author of â€śThe 101 Most Asked Questions About Texas Holdâ€™em and Poker Cheating,â€ť to compile a list. Some are common cheating methods; others are employed less frequently but can result in a big payday.
This casino cheat needs the participation of the casinoâ€™s card dealer to work. The dealer employs a false shuffle, which is meant to look like a regular shuffle but secretly leaves some cards in place. That allows the players involved in the conspiracy, who have been tracking the cards, to know when the unshuffled cards are dealt.
It was a scam used to great effect by the Tran Organization. The gang hit casinos all over the U.S., pocketing up to $7 million in false shuffle mini-baccarat and blackjack games. The organization was ultimately brought down, and more than 40 people pleaded guilty to charges relating to the cheating scheme, including its founders, Phuong Quoc Trong and Van Thu Tran.
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