Casinos are a magical place. If you’re like most people, you head there for entertainment, hoping to make some money. The means when you walk through the casino doors for the first time, you imagine what it would be like to hit that big jackpot and win some life changing money.
That’s what most people do, the keyword here being “most”. You see, there are a handful of people who think differently. When they see those dazzling casino lights flashing, they dream of taking down the casino in nefarious ways, not by busting the house through mere luck. Not by card counting (which is completely legal). No, these people have concocted the most absurd plans to win big money by scamming the system.
Today, we present you with the three zaniest casino cheating stories you’ll ever hear.
Remote controlled roulette ball
You’ve heard of remote controlled cards. Heck, today we’ve got remote controlled drones that fly through the air. But back in the 1970s, it was all about the remote controlled roulette wheel. We’re kidding, that wasn’t a thing. Roulette is supposed to be completely random, right? And it is. But that doesn’t stop a casino cheater from trying to rig the system.
A trio of cheaters came up with a plan to rig a ball and a roulette wheel using ham radio technology. The trio involved a croupier who worked at a casino, a roulette player, and another woman who sat at a different table.
The woman turned on the radio controlled ball from the other table, using technology hidden in a cigarette package (seriously, this is some legit James Bond stuff). When activated, the croupier would substitute the regular ball with the magically controlled ball, and the cheater would bet accordingly.
The ball would ultimately land within a 6-number package 90% of the time. And it was so successful that the trio walked away with 5 million francs.
The shoe card counter
Did you know that it’s perfectly legal to count cards in Nevada while you play games like Blackjack , as well as in many other casinos around the world? Sure, casinos will kick you out of they suspect you of cheating. But there are no laws on the books that can actually lead to charges or jail time for using your brain to count cards.
But you can’t use a computer to count cards and you have one man to thank for that rule. His name was Keith Taft and he built a supercomputer hidden in his shoes and on his belt designed to count cards. We use the term supercomputer loosely. Back in 1972, it was a powerful piece of machinery. But by today’s standard, it was far less impressive than a calculator circa 1984.
Nevertheless, it worked. Taft was able to count cards by tapping his shoes to communicate with his supercomputer and keep track of the card count. The card count would be transmitted back through his glasses via special lights. We say that’s way more genius than the Apple Watch.
The big chip scam
There’s a lot going on at a Roulette table, particularly if there are lots of players trying to win big. Richard Marcus took advantage of the chaos at the casino by inventing a chip cheating move called the “Savannah”, named after his favorite Las Vegas stripper.
In a nutshell, the move involved angling a big value chip at the bottom of a bet in a certain way so that the dealer wouldn’t notice it. For example, Richard would put down two chips, including a $5 chip on top and a $1,000 chip on the bottom. But he angled it so that it looked like two $5 chips to the dealer.
If the bet lost, Richard would quickly grab the chips off the table, and if he got caught he would play drunk and put back his bet. Only he would swap the $1,000 chip for a $5 chip, essentially putting back $10 instead of the $1,005 that was initially on the table. But if he won the bet? That’s where the fun begins. The dealer would attempt to pay out $10 on an even money bet. But Richard would say, “No, no, there’s a $1,000 chip on the bottom”. The croupier would usually have to go to the eye in the sky and confirm that there was no funny business. And because he hadn’t touched the chip in that scenario, he would get paid. You can watch Richard perform the routine on The Today Show.
Win without cheating
Want to try and cheat a casino? It’s a dumb move. Don’t do it. The only thing you could get away with trying is card counting, but even then most casinos would be on to you pretty quickly if you’re too obvious about it. One place that lets it slide is Prism Casino. So go ahead. Sign up for an account, hit the Blackjack tables, and see what you’ve got.