Since the very first casino, there have been players searching for ways to eliminate the house advantage and take home big winnings. While some of these clever individuals search for guaranteed wins without breaking the rules, the majority of these approaches can be described as major scams. With advances in technology and security procedures in recent years, today’s casino scammers need to be more diligent than ever before in order to secure the edge. Let’s take a look three of the most famous casino scams in history.
Phil Ivey, Jr.’s Edge Sorting Technique
This scam features two important aspects that make it interesting for gambling historians. First, it involves championship poker player Phil Ivey, Jr. If the name seems familiar, it’s probably because Ivey is one of the most recognizable poker players in history, winning ten World Series of Poker Bracelets as well as a World Poker Tour title. The second, is the alleged method of gaining an edge: edge sorting. Using this system, players observe cards for defects or abnormalities in order to identify them in future play. If the legend is correct, Ivey won over $9.5 million at a baccarat table in 2014 using this system.
The Phuong Quoc Truong Gang
In this scam, a clever Blackjack player, along with a team of illegal card counters, traveled the United States convincing dealers to cheat in exchange for a cut of the winnings. With as many as 30 accomplices, the gang enjoyed the benefits of false shuffling and computer programs to accurately predict the order of upcoming cards. In total, the group made over $7 million from 25 different casinos before being busted by the FBI in 2006. So, what got them busted? Apparently Phuong Truong, the leader of the band, began shortchanging the dealers, which created powerful enemies in the form of government informants.
The Hollywood Heist
If you’re familiar with the plot of Ocean’s Eleven, this next scam may sound a bit familiar. In 2013, an unidentified man was able to lift $30 million from an Australian casino after successfully hacking into its surveillance system.
According to casino consultants, the scam was likely accomplished through the use of an earpiece, a seat at the VIP tables and an accomplice watching the surveillance feed. With access to the security system, the scammer was able to identify what bets and plays were the most profitable with each game. Though the casino remains optimistic about recovering the losses, it appears that this scammer may have pulled off the perfect heist.
As you can see, casino scams come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and there’s no limit to the amount of details that clever players can use to gain an advantage. Whether through strictly illegal means, such as the hacking of a surveillance system, or through less drastic measures, such as the observation of defects in playing cards, the perseverance and success of these scammers despite constantly improving security measures is worthy of note. Moving forward, you can bet that more clever scams are in the works.