Iowa Dealer Arrested for Cheating

June 28th, 2019 3.00pm

An epidemic of corruption seems to be consuming casino croupiers all over the world, as another dealer has fallen victim of his own greed. This time, however, altruism was one of the driving forces for an Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo former employee, who consciously manipulated cards to improve the odds for the players at his table.

Team Effort

In his defence, Jordan Michael Makinster was not the only one who benefited from cheating the system. Quite the contrary – compared to the players’ turnover, his share was, in fact, modest.

In an attempt to score bigger tips, Makinster shuffled the cards improperly, securing the positive outcome for his players. In return, the patrons were much more generous with the tips, which ultimately led to a win-win situation for all involved parties, except, of course, the house.
Makinster was arrested on June 19 and charged for “altering the outcome” of a game, which is considered a felony in Iowa.

A Long Winning Streak

Makinster’s transgressions were first spotted back in March when he was dealing Match ‘Em Hi-Lo game. According to court records, he would arrange the cards in groups of pairs and then carefully shuffle the decks, making sure not to break the clusters. As a result, the casino patrons were, unknowingly, a part of a cheating scheme, which could ultimately cost the overzealous dealer 5 years in prison.

The entire affair was investigated by the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation, who examined the surveillance videos and apprehended Makinster shortly after.

Crime Wave

Despite the strict regulations and possible lifetime bans from gambling facilities, players and employees seem far from deterred to manipulate the odds.
Even though Encore Boston Casino sent a clear message to shady players asking them to stay clear of the venue, the police officers made several arrests on the day of the grand casino opening. Two of the detainees were suspected of cheating, and the roulette table seemed to have been the main target.

A Supervisor, a Dealer, and a Parton…

What seems like the beginning of a bad cliché joke was an actual cheating scandal that shook the core of Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs.

The incident involved three individuals – a pit boss, a dealer, and a casino visitor, who were all charged for conspiracy. The trio concocted a simple yet effective scheme to shift the chips across the table, placing them onto the winning numbers. The set up had earned them thousands of dollars, which the team would later split.

Before they were caught, Johnathan Rumery (floor supervisor), Cody Schroeder (casino patron), and Johnathan Waugh (the dealer) managed to “win” more than $20,000. Rumery and Schroeder were charged with four felony counts of “ongoing criminal conduct, first-degree theft, conspiracy to commit a non-forcible felony, and cheating or altering the outcome of a game”. Waugh, 24 at the time, was charged with one felony count of cheating or altering the outcome of a game.

Earlier this year, a Clearwater Resort blackjack dealer was accused of colluding with the players, after a fellow employee had reported him to the casino supervisors. As oppose to Makinster, Steven Darnell Singer (19), was less sophisticated in his actions and the surveillance tape caught him in an act of guiding the players’ moves by giving them clear signals. If convicted, Singer could spend up to 5 years in jail and pay $10,000 fine.

A failure to report violations (even if one is not taking an active part in the offence) is punishable as well. In November 2019, the Missouri Gaming Commission recommended $50,000 fine for numerous breaches of regulations and “lack of care regarding maintaining the integrity of the gaming industry”.



To Shuffle or Not to Shuffle?