Just a quick read about some of the world’s greatest gambling cheats is like jumping into the pages of an Ian Fleming novel, these people are real-life crooks, and the only difference here is that they always win!
However, many of these cheats are caught eventually.. at least that’s what we think - of course there is no way of knowing because the very best will never be caught and never raise any suspicion, we don’t know who these people are, so in this article we will just be sticking to those famous casino cheats who were eventually exposed, but whose methods go down in history for their genius, stealth and aptitude.
Many people who are caught cheating are sent to jail and become blacklisted for life from any casino that knows who they are. However, many are subsequently employed by casinos on their release from jail because they are the most informed in the art of cheating; they become spokespeople, or consultants, to the gambling industry, advising casinos of the best techniques that they can employ in order to make sure no one is able to cheat on their premises.
If you want to get a job in the gambling industry then, a great way in is to become a master-cheat.
Anyway without further ado, here is our list of the greatest casino cheats of all time.
1. Firstly we introduce Dennis Sean McAndrew who, along with his sidekicks, managed to confuddle state of the art CCTV security surveillance and beat the casinos at their own game. His game of choice? The slot machine. He was able to open up the machines using specialised gadgets which were so far ahead of their time, we’re not sure they’ve even been invented yet.
It is alleged that he managed to fiddle the casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City out of $16 million before he was eventually caught by the FBI in late 1998. He managed to get a reduced sentence in return for cooperation with police, namely giving away insider secrets on the best way to cheat slot machines. Some of his devices would no doubt give 007's Q a run for his money.
2. Next we have Tommy Glenn Carmichael or ‘Tommy Gun’ as we like to call him. A truly conniving, but gifted, conman- a very irritating combination to be sure. He actually managed to invent a generic slot machine cheat gadget, and one that became very popular in its day. Of course now casinos are up to date with this particular scamming gadget and steps now exist to prevent its operation, but back when the old slot tokens were a common feature of land-based casinos, Tommy invented the ‘Slider’.
The Slider consisted of a guitar wire that was used to trip the payout switch located on the chute, which triggered the release of coins from the hopper. Once the computerised slot machines were invented he managed to devise what has come to be known as the ‘Light Wand’ which interfered with the workings of the sensors on the slot machines, which, again, forced the hopper to payout. He was also arrested in 1998 on charges of racketeering.
3. Then, of course, there is Ron Harris; he was a computer programmer with the Nevada Gaming Control Board where he worked in the area of monitoring and protecting gaming technologies from programming cheats, a perfect cover up, no?
The casinos came to realise in time that they had a rogue employee, and a $100,000 loss later, they traced the profit leakage down to Harris who had managed to create a computer programme which he used within keno machines to generate a jackpot when certain combinations of buttons were pressed.
4. Next we have the only woman of the group (possibly because women are more subtle and don’t get caught, ha-ha), Monique Laurent. Monique was the head honcho of what came to be called the “French Cigarette Pack Scam”. This scam took place in 1973 in the French casino, Casino Deauville. Her group of accomplices consisted of, a rogue roulette dealer, an embedded radio receiver strategically placed within the roulette ball which, controlled remotely from a cigarette packet, sent information to the ball signalling it to drop into the required hole.
In total, they are estimated to have won around $1 million, a phenomenal amount in that day and age. The scam even inspired a film “Les Tricheurs”, which means ‘The Cheaters’ in English.
5. One person that many aspiring cheats wish to emulate is Steve Forte, he is known as one of the greatest sleight-of-hand artists the world has ever known. His games of choice are poker and blackjack. Not only can he manipulate with his hands, he is also adept at changing his appearance and has reinvented himself many times. Plasticity in dexterity but also in mind, he is definitely our favourite cheat for the natural talent that he clearly has- he might be a cheat, and we don’t agree with that, but watching true-talent in motion is breathtaking.
In the early 1990’s, Forte and an accomplice were convicted of cheating the Trump Castle Hotel and Casino out of $225,000 at blackjack. Having given up his cheating ways, he is now an author and security consultant, a well known face in gambling conferences world-wide. However, he hit headlines in 2008 after allegations that he played a key role in the Borgata Poker Scam. His group of associates had hooked up secret cameras, laptops and other equipment in order to give them a massive advantage playing a high-stakes poker game.
6. And there’s no way that we can neglect to mention Mumbles, he would have found it hard himself as he had an operation on his throat which subsequently left him with a mechanised replacement voice box, that he chose to use only rarely, otherwise he would just mumble. Not much is known of his identity, his real name for example, but he was born in 1897 in New York. He is credited with the invention of ‘past-posting’.
He noticed an anomaly in the way that casinos returned money to their punters. He found that if he quickly substituted the chips he had bet on a game for other chips of higher denominations, then the casinos would not notice, but that he could convince the croupier of his error, this was the olden days so they didn’t have much by way of proofing, thus the act of past-posting was born. He started with craps and moved on to roulette, finding ways to scam all the casino games that he came across. Other punters choose to emulate this method, updating and sophisticating it, for example, by working in teams.
7. Finally we have George Devol. He was born in Ohio in 1829 and is possibly the greatest poker cheat in the early history of the game, and the fact the poker is known as ‘the cheating game’ has been credited to his exploits. In his younger years, after running into the usual trouble, he fell into the underworld of gambling, he learned how to stack decks, palm cards, recover a cut and bring in a cold deck, all by the age of 14.
He spent his time ducking and diving, stealing and skiving, and by the age of 17 he was rich for the day with $3000. So through sleight-of-hand, stealth and other well-honed skills, he tricked his way into thousands of dollars, and left a lot of people worse-off in the mean time, he had no conscience for his cheating, he felt he was ‘beating them at their own games’. What a legend.
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