Thinking of cheating at poker? Looking for a way to beat the system and make a killing at live poker? Think again because the casinos will catch up to you – and so will the law. Just look to a recent case in the UK for proof.
Mihai Lacatos of Romania has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for cheating at poker at a live casino. His strategy was long and methodical – and effective. Lacatos would sit for hours at a single table, playing cash games. He wasn’t so focused on playing hands as he was on trying to cheat the system. Whenever an Ace came his way, he would crease it ever so slightly. It was small enough that others wouldn’t notice, but large enough that if the Ace fell into the hands of another opponent, he would be able to notice it from across the table.
In the short term, his cheating paid off. Big time. He swindled Mayfair casino out of an impressive £43,400 in January 2014. And that was in just one week. And when he was kicked out of one casino, he used fake IDs to get into new casinos where he could swindle more casinos and players out of more money without getting notice.
The law obviously caught up to him and we’re happy to see the gavel slam down in the casino’s favor.
While this case of cheating is alarming, it isn’t all that surprising. Lots of people try to use land-based casinos for nefarious activities. In fact, live casinos are often targets for money laundering because it’s easy to move large sums of money around without having the authorities notice. This isn’t the case at online casinos like Prism because all transactions are tracked online.
But that could quickly come to an end with MGM’s new rule. The casino conglomerate will no longer allow cash at the cash poker tables beginning April 1st. When you go to play table games, you need to swap your bills for chips. But poker remains one of the only games where you can play with real bills at the table and avoid using chips.
MGM is changing that at ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, Monte Carlo, The Mirage, Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Miss., and MGM Grand Detroit.
While MGM hasn’t argued a reason for doing so, we suspect it has to do with enforcing anti-money laundering initiatives. So if you really like playing with real cash instead of chips, you’ve got two weeks to take that trip.