Jan 31

The best casino game for beginners (Hint: It’s not slot machines!)

The Best Casino Game for Beginners

Preparing for your very first foray into a casino can be very intimidating. Casinos are often massive properties, lined with opulent décor, glimmering chandeliers, fancy carpets and elaborately dressed employees. For so many of today’s first-timers, walking into a resort-style casino can feel like entering a fine dining establishment in a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops.

Of course, the casinos don’t really care what you’re wearing, so long as you’ve got cash in your pocket, and a willingness to spend it. But the anxiety for a newcomer is real. Even playing your first casino game at an online gambling destination can set your hairs on end. If you aren’t familiar with the rules of any games, all of these fears become magnified tenfold.

The logical answer might be not to go to the casino. Common sense might tell you to hold off, learn some games first, better prepare yourself for the experience. But what if that’s not an option? I remember my first visit to a casino all too well. It was an impromptu choice, spurred by a group of friends who all decided we should go. Two of them had been before. Three of us had not. As a newbie myself, it was overwhelming, to say the least!

I did what so many first-time casino goers do. I stared in horror at the massive gaming floor, then went straight to the slot machines, where I stayed until almost all my money was gone. It was fun, yes, but I had no idea what I was doing. Within 20 minutes, I’d blown through $80. I spent the next half hour walking around, pinching my last $20 as I watched other people play games I had no clue about. So, if you want to avoid mimicking this tale of majority boredom, might I recommend…

The Best Casino Game for Beginners

Baccarat is the Best Bet for First-Time Casino Goers

If you ask most people the easiest game to play in the casino, they will say it’s a slot machine. Yes, push a button and cross your fingers does seem easy, but there’s so much more to those games. Did you ever try reading a video slot’s pay table? Page after page of symbols, line info, features, payouts, etc. They really aren’t so simple. The easiest game of all – one that features a far better return to player (RTP) than slots – is baccarat.

Baccarat is a card game that you don’t really have to play. All you have to do is choose where to place your bet – kind of like roulette, but again, with a higher RTP. The dealer will take care of everything else. Let’s take a quick look at how the dealer plays out hands.

The Rules of Baccarat

The object of baccarat is for one hand – the Player hand or Banker hand – to be closer to a total of 9. The closest to 9 wins. Each hand starts with two cars. If the total value of those two cards exceeds 9, 10 is subtracted.

For example, a hand of 3+8=11. You can’t exceed 9, so you subtract; 11-10=1. The new hand total is 1. If the cards are 4+5, the total is a perfect 9. Or, if the cards are 10+8, we subtract 10 for a total of 8.

There are certain situations where the dealer is required to give the Player and/or Banker hand a third card, depending on the totals of the first two cards. These are known as “house rules”, and give the Banker hand a slight advantage (51%) over the Player hand. But don’t worry, you can bet on the Banker Hand, too. Or, you can bet on the two hands resulting in a Tie.

Baccarat Odds, Payout and House Edge

Knowing the odds of winning each bet, the payout for winning it, and the house edge involved, will help you choose where to place your bets. The “odds” are the probability of winning each bet. The payout is the amount you’ll get back for winning, compared to what you’ve wagered on it. The house edge is a combination of odds and payouts that determines how likely the casino is to beat you on that bet. Hence, the lower the edge, the better the bet.

Note: You’ll notice that a winning Banker bet pays 1:1, -5%. The casino collects a 5% commission on all winning banker bets to offset the fact that the Banker hand will win more often. If it weren’t for the 5% commission, the casino would lose money on these bets in the long term.

Baccarat Bet Odds Pays Edge
Banker Hand 45.85% 1:1, -5% 1.06%
Player Hand 44.62% 1:1 1.24%
Tie 9.53% 8:1 14.36%

The low edge of 1.06% on Banker and 1.24% on Player bets makes this not just the easiest casino game, but the best casino game for beginners. It offers a communal table game experience, is easy to understand, and can sustain a modest bankroll far longer than slot machines.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

Jan 29

Three easy ways to watch live blackjack online (and two good reasons why you might want to).

Three Ways To Watch Live Blackjack Online & Why You’d Want To

There is a very famous saying that goes, “Those who can, do; those who cannot, teach.” I don’t know if there’s any truth to that statement, but I do know that, since the dawn of Youtube, there’s a new phrase worth coining. “Those who can, stream; those who can’t, watch and learn.

If you’ve ever watched the live broadcast of a Twitch streamer playing a game – any game, whether it be casinos games like slot machines or blackjack, or PC and console video games like League of Legends, or Call of Duty – you know exactly what that phrase means. It is the new wave of modern gaming, wherein the best and bravest gamers exhibit their skills in live stream for all the web-world to see.

If blackjack happens to be your game of choice, sit back and take a moment to absorb the following information, as I’ll be tutoring a brief lesson in…

3 Ways to Watch Live Blackjack Online

There are exactly three ways to accomplish this. If you’re wondering why you would even want to, hold your horses. We’ll cover that in the next section.

#1 Youtube / Twitch Casino Channels

Twitch casino channels are extremely popular right now. They are hosted by regular online casino gamers who have large bankrolls and nothing better to do with their time or money than place big bets and stream the action live. Most people who like to watch blackjack do so on Twitch or Youtube, so this is where I’d suggest starting, unless you want to get in on that action yourself.

#2 Live Dealer Casinos

Live dealer casinos present a unique opportunity. They are essentially the online version of land-based casino games. They take place in a live studio, with professional dealers chucking physical cards. Players are able to watch it all happen and take part in the games, via any modestly equipped desktop computer, smartphone or tablet. Thus, live dealer casinos allow the viewer to watch and play the games at the same time.

#3 Live Tournament Feed

There isn’t a very substantial market for this anymore, but they do still exist. When a major blackjack tournament is taking place, you can usually find a live feed of it available – again, either on Youtube, Twitch, or some other live streaming website. If it is being hosted by a major live/online casino operator, you may be able to access the feed directly from the gambling site.

What’s So Great About Watching Blackjack Online?

I can think of two very distinct reasons why you might want to watch live blackjack online. The first and most obvious reason is for entertainment purposes. Think about it. If you love the game, but have a modest bankroll, wouldn’t it be fun to watch a high roller with thousands in their pocket place massive bets on a single hand? Sure, it’s not as exciting as if you were the one in the hot seat, but who doesn’t enjoy living vicariously through others now and again?

The second reason is to learn. Blackjack is the most strategically challenging game in the casino. Basic strategy decides how to handle each decision-making situation, but the best players have skills that go far beyond this. They are able to keep counts of all the cards; not just high and low counts, but deck sequencing, ace tracking, and other special techniques that – when the stars align – can give them a genuine advantage over the house.

There are plenty of books to read on the subject of blackjack strategy, but if you’ve ever used a video to help you do a task that was previously out of your scope of knowledge – something like fixing an electronic device or changing your own car parts – you know that video tutorials have changed the way we look at life. The impossible becomes possible, if only we can understand it, both verbally and visually.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Jan 23

Uncommon Sense: An illogical guide to beat online casinos.

Uncommon Sense: An Illogical Guide to Beat Online Casinos

Common sense would tell you that, to beat an online casino, you have to win more money than you lose. But as we all know, there is no such thing as a game with an RTP of 100% or greater. At 100%, theoretical results would dictate a break-even gambling experience. Every dollar you wager would be won back. No win – no loss – just breaking even. You can play any blackjack game on the internet – the one with the absolute best, most player-friendly rules – and you’re still not going to achieve an RTP of 100% or more. So there’s no way to beat them… right?

Uncommon sense would tell us otherwise. But most of us don’t have uncommon sense. We’re raised to be logical. We’re taught to use common sense to make smart decisions. Thus, an educated player who uses common sense must come to the undeniable conclusion that online casinos cannot be beat. But the player who thinks outside the box – with uncommon sense – knows there are ways around every barrier.

How to Beat Online Casinos

It’s not just about how much you win, but your overall return on investment, or ROI. What are you getting out of the experience, compared to what you’re putting into it? So long as the output exceeds the input, you win.

Let’s explore this theory for a moment, because there is more than one way to go about it. You could beast-mode the promotions of an online casino to turn low-edge losses into advantage-player profits. Or, you could ensure the entertainment value is greater than the cost of play.

Be a Promotional Beast

Online casinos present their players with all sorts of promotions. One of the most overlooked rewards is the loyalty program. Securing VIP status can get you a lot of perks. To become a VIP, you can either wager a whole lot of money at the online casino, or you can make substantial deposits.

The fastest way to become a high-level VIP is to register an account, then – before depositing – open a support chat. Tell them you just signed up and that you want to make a deposit, but that you aren’t satisfied with the usual welcome bonus. Maybe it’s only 100% up to $200. Tell them you plan to deposit much more than this, and think you deserve to receive an analogous bonus for it. Tell them you are a regular player and high roller, and that you want to start with a high level VIP status and dedicated VIP account manager.

If this doesn’t get their attention, nothing will. Of course, you’ll also need to be ready to back up your high deposit promises. If it works, and you’re granted the VIP level and better bonus, take full advantage. That higher level VIP status will generate faster comp points (up to 25% higher) with every wager. Plus, the 100% match bonus on your deposit will get you 2x the comps, for having 2x the wagering power.

Find the right casinos, engage the best promotions, and all those extra VIP bonuses and comps could turn the ROI tides to your favor.

Get Your Money’s Worth in Entertainment

Value doesn’t have to be a monetary thing. If you spend $25 to go see a movie – tickets, popcorn, drink, candy, the works – and that movie bombs, you’ll feel like you wasted $25. If, however, that movie blows you away, you will leave the theater feeling like it was worth every dollar, and then some.

Can we not look at the entertainment value of gambling in the same way? Considering the high RTPs of most online slots and table games, it wouldn’t take much to turn a losing experience into positive entertainment value.

Unlike land-based casinos, internet slot machine pay out an average of 96-97%. European roulette comes in at 97.3%. Baccarat banker and player bets pay 98.76% and 98.94% respectively. Blackjack and video poker can pay 99.35% to 99.92% when you pick your rules and your work strategies wisely. Manage your bankroll well, take your time, thoroughly enjoying the experience, and that minimal house edge, combined with the amount of fun you have playing the games, can be your key golden to beating online casinos.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

Jan 03

Going South: The Best Blackjack Odds in Vegas

Going South: The Best Blackjack Odds in Vegas (99.86% RTP)

If you’re planning your first trip to Vegas, don’t bother reading this. You’ll want to spend your time on taking in the glorious sites along The Strip and Downtown’s Freemont Street. On your first visit, it’s not about the games, but the experience. If you’ve already had that experience, and are looking for something a bit more, then by all means, continue reading.

I’m going to tell you about the best blackjack games in the city. You won’t find them on The Strip or in Downtown, despite the rampant finger-pointing towards El Cortez. That casino does have some nice games, clocking a 99.82% RTP with the cheapest table limits of $5 and up. If you’re willing to spend $25 per hand, you can do better.

Best Blackjack Odds in Vegas

Head south along Las Vegas Boulevard approximately 10 miles from the central Strip area (Bellagio / Caesars Palace); past McCarran International Airport; beyond South Point and The Grandview. Just as you cross the St Rose Parkway, you’ll come to the luxurious M Resort Spa & Casino, sticking up from the vast stretch of desert floor like a hitchhiker’s thumb.

Beating Vegas with M Resort Blackjack Odds

Its opulence may seem a bit out of place this far south of The Strip. Technically, you’re not even in Las Vegas anymore. You’re in the city of Henderson, but once you enter the property, you’ll never know the difference.

I suggest taking advantage of valet parking, unless you don’t mind long walks. Once you get to the doors, head inside and take the nearest elevator to the upper level. Follow the signs to the casino, and once you’re there, stop the first employee you see and ask them to point you to the blackjack tables. The pit boss should be easy to find, standing at his/her central kiosk with a birds-eye view of the dealers.

Tell this person that you heard the M Resort blackjack odds are the best in the city, and ask for directions to one of those tables. There should be three of them It wouldn’t hurt to do this with a tip sticking up between your fingers, ensuring you get preferential seating if there’s a line. Once you’re seated…

M Resort Blackjack Odds and Rules

At the right tables, you’ll find rules that dish up a delicious 99.86% RTP. That’s a mere 0.14% house edge. It isn’t some odd-ball game with wacky rules and side bets. It’s a standard game of classic blackjack, with just enough player-friendly rules to deliver the best blackjack game in Vegas.

These games are played with a double-deck shoe, requiring the dealer to stand on all 17s. Players can double after a split and are allowed to re-split Aces. By these rules, a basic strategy will deliver that beautiful 99.86% return. Making these tables even more appealing, the games have a 0.8 cut card with 60% deck penetration. Deeper would be great, but in a 2-deck shoe, that’s a nice mark for precision card counters.

To recap…

  • Shoe: Double-Deck
  • Soft 17: Stand
  • Double: Any 2
  • Double After Split: Yes
  • Re-Split Aces: Yes
  • Blackjack Pays: 3 to 2
  • Cut Card: 0.8
  • Deck Penetration: 60%
  • Min / Max: $25 / $5,000
  • House Edge: 0.14%
  • RTP: 99.86%

If you’re interested in testing your skills against the best blackjack odds in Vegas, set your destination for the M Resort Spa Casino, located at 12300 S Las Vegas Blvd South, Henderson, NV 89044.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Jan 01

Top 10 best gambling tips for recreational bettors in 2020.

Top 10 Best Gambling Tips for Recreational Bettors in 2020

Not every gambler is looking to strategize every game, spending big bucks to turn a major profit. Sure, we’ve all heard about big pro gambling gurus that took Vegas for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but to think we could ever become the next hot topic is laughable, at best. You’re more likely to win a multi-million dollar progressive.

The majority of today’s gamblers aren’t high rollers. They are casual gamblers with a modest bankroll and a desire to win some cash, or at least have a good time trying. If you fit into that category, today’s write up is for you.

10 Best Gambling tips for Recreational Bettors

A recreational gambler is one who plays casino games for fun. They don’t consider themselves strategists. As such, the following tips can help them make the most of their experience without going broke. I’ve put them in order of what I consider to be a need-to-know basis, based on experience levels of beginner and up.

#1 Take Your Time

If Aesop’s Fables have taught us anything, it’s that slow and steady wins the race. There’s no rush. The casino is not going to close up. Most of them never close at all! And as we all know, the casino always has the advantage. The faster you play, the faster you lose.

#2 Lower Your Expectations

Let’s face facts. You’re probably going to lose. The sooner you accept that fact, the easier it will be to relax and have a good time. It’s not impossible to win. People do get lucky. But casinos aren’t in the business of making winners.

#3 Enjoy the Experience

I’m going to elaborate once more on that previous notion, because it really is super important. Casinos are entertainment venues, just like psychic hotlines. Their terms of service both state “for entertainment purposes only”. The odds of getting a real psychic on the phone are about as good as your odds of turning the casino’s house edge to your favor. In the long run, the casinos always win more than the players. If you don’t enjoy the experience, it will only feel like a rip-off.

#4 Don’t Go Back for Seconds

Never hit the ATM for more money. Know what you are willing to spend, bring that with you in cash, and if you run out, be done. Besides, casino ATMs charge insane fees to withdrawal!

#5 Practice Before You Play

If you’re new to casino gaming, get some practice in first. Online casinos are a perfect medium for this. You can play for free as long as you want, trying out new games and learning the rules.

#6 Don’t Play Keno

Keno is by far the worst game in the casino. It’s like playing the lottery. Your odds of winning anything decent can be astronomical. You’re better off playing progressive slot machines. Which reminds me…

#7 Slots Aren’t as Cheap as You Think

Slot machines aren’t the cheap games they used to be. When you see penny slots or nickel slots, they are often loaded up with paylines. You have to pay at least the base price per payline to activate them. A nickel slot with 20 paylines doesn’t cost $0.05. With all lines active, it will cost you $1.00 per spin. A casual gamblers $25 bankroll can run dry real fast at that rate!

Not only that, sometimes what looks like a win is really a loss. If you’re betting $1.00, but only win $0.20 on a spin, the bells and whistles go off like you’ve won. In reality, you’ve lost $0.80. Pay attention to what each spin is costing you, and watch your bankroll close.

#8 Online Slots Pay Better

Having read #7, the next thing you need to know is that online slots have way better payouts than land-based casinos slots. Las Vegas slot machines are only required to pay back 75% of what they take in. Canadian laws require slots to keep a minimum of 85% to 88%, depending on the province. Online casinos aren’t under such regulatory restrictions, nor do they pay outrageous utilities and payrolls. Online, the average payout on a slot is between 96% and 97%. So if you really enjoy those lsots, like so many people do, online casinos are the best place to play them.

#9 Don’t Pretend to Be a Pro

If you’re not a blackjack pro, don’t fool yourself into thinking you can play like one. You’re welcome to practice strategies and card counting, but if you sit down at a Vegas blackjack table and try to count cards without the mental proficiency and training required to do it right, you’ll be laughed out of the casino like our foolish friend Ben Affleck.

#10 Video Poker is the Best Strategy Game in the Casino

Of all the best gambling tips on this page, this is the most important for anyone looking to improve their status in the casino. Forget the all-too-common assumption that blackjack is the best casino game for strategizing. It’s not. That title belongs to video poker, especially if you’re a nascent, casual gambler looking to up your game. With the right rules and pay table, you can achieve a return of 99.92% or better. No blackjack game can offer a recreational gambler those kind of odds. To top it off, with video poker, there’s no pressure from other players to hurry up your choices. You can take your time, and even look up the perfect strategy, hand by hand, as you play.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , ,

Nov 11

Evaluating the best video poker strategy books of the millennium.

Evaluating the Best Video Poker Strategy Books of the Millennium

Gambling strategy books used to be all the rage. Anyone hopping on a flight to Vegas would pick up the latest edition of a pro-authored tutorial to read along the way. In those days, the world’s most renowned gamblers – people like Edward Thorpe, Stanford Wong, and Doyle Brunson – were the best selling authors in the business.

Times have changed so much since then, as have the games they wrote about. Thorpe’s blackjack theories have been expounded upon. Stanford’s card counting seems almost primitive today. Brunson’s poker strategy could be picked apart by a college student going on three days of Monster energy drinks in place of sleep.

But there’s one game that hasn’t changed; one game that’s been strategically documented throughout the decades. And it just so happens to be the highest paying game on the casino floor – if you visit the right casino, that it. I’m talking about video poker machines. And while it’s true that the strategies in the older video poker books remain valid today, the way the machines are built has changed. And for that reason, today’s evaluation will only include guides written in the current millennium.

Best Video Poker Strategy Books of 2000+

In order to remain entirely fair and unbiased, I’m basing the following evaluations on the opinions of actual readers of these books – readers who bought them with the sole intent of improving their skills at the casinos.

Please note that, while I have provided links where you can purchase each book, I am not receiving any kickbacks for doing so, and cannot guarantee the price or availability of the books via those links past the publication date of this article.

The Video Poker Edge, Linda Boyd (2005)

The Video Poker Edge: How to Play Smart and Bet Right by Kinda Boyd

Linda Boyd published her second edition of The Video Poker Edge: How to Play Smart and Bet Right, in 2005. I’ve picked this book for two very important reasons. First of all, it’s written specifically for beginners. It starts by teaching you everything about the game, its history, proper etiquette, etc., then moves into the strategy department, detailing how to identify the highest paying games and how to play the most commonly profitable hands. Secondly, she is 100% honest about the nature of the games. She does not pretend that you can beat them – not without finding that one-in-a-million machine with an above 100% RTP. (Yes, they do exist). Ms. Boyd teaches players to be realistic, conveying that probabilities dictate you will lose in the long term, but that you can make your bankroll last a lot longer playing the “right” way.

Video Poker for the Intelligent Beginner, Bob Dancer (2009)

Video Poker for the Intelligent Beginner by Bob Dancer

Bob Dancer is the world’s leading authority on winning video poker strategies. His success stories are known far and wide. His authoring of Video Poker for the Intelligent Beginner is aimed at players who want to learn the ABCs of the game, as well as the XYZs of becoming a video poker master. What impresses readers most is how easy Dancer makes it to identify games with a positive expectation. Most casinos don’t have them, of course, but when you find one, following his advice can net consistent profits. Strategy charts are provided for all the most common games and pay tables.

As for becoming a video poker master, this book comes highly recommended. If you want to learn more about Bob Dancer himself, check out his previous best-seller, Million Dollar Video Poker (2003). Any true enthusiast will enjoy the read.

“A Winner’s Guide to…” Series, Bob Dancer (Varies)

6 Volume Video Poker Winner's Guide Series by Bob Dancer

Starting in the early 2000’s, Bob Dancer wrote and published a 6-volume series on video poker games that’s since become known as his “Winner’s Guide Series”. Each book covers the precise game play strategy and charts for a single game, covering all known pay tables for each.

If you’ve already read a beginner’s guide and are looking to expand your knowledge about a particular game – maybe one that’s specifically available at your local casino – these volumes are lauded as the best video poker strategy books in the literary realm.

The complete series includes:

  • Vol. 1 – A Winner’s Guide to Jacks or Better
  • Vol. 2 – A Winner’s Guide to Double Bonus Poker
  • Vol. 3 – A Winner’s Guide to Full Pay Deuces Wild
  • Vol. 4 – A Winner’s Guide to NSU Deuces Wild
  • Vol. 5 – A Winner’s Guide to Pick’em Poker
  • Vol. 6 – A Winner’s Guide to Double Double Bonus Poker

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , ,

Jul 23

Dealing with obnoxious blackjack players and dealers.

Blackjack is widely regarded as the most entertaining game in a land-based casino. Socialites who enjoy the communal atmosphere of a multi-player game gather at the tables, alongside those who prefer blackjack for its supremely high, strategy-driven RTP. It’s a win-win for all but the most casual, solitary-minded casino goers.

Casino Casualties: Dealing with Obnoxious Blackjack Players and Dealers

But sometimes, the experience at a blackjack table isn’t quite up to par. Every once in a while, you may run across an obnoxious player who doesn’t know how to keep his opinion to himself. Sometimes, the dealer may forget his place, treating customers like second-class citizens instead of the bread and butter they are for their employers, the casino.

What do you do when this happens without losing your cool? Here’s some pro tips to help you out…

Dealing with Obnoxious Blackjack Players

The last thing we want to put up with at the blackjack table is another player who thinks he’s smarter than we are. If you’ve ever had your game play criticized by another, you know what I’m talking about.

Some do it because they’ve had a few too many drinks. Others do it because they’re under the impression that your decisions are effecting their game, and they’ve decided to take out their bad luck on you. Either way, it’s not appropriate.

You could just get up and leave, but you shouldn’t have to feel bullied in such a way. You could explain to him why you made the move you did, and that mathematical probabilities do not change based on the decisions of others. But I promise you that won’t go over well. And there’s always the chance that his argument is correct – not yours – and you come off looking like a total idiot.

The best thing you can do here is completely ignore him. Don’t leave. Don’t argue. Just remain calm, play your game to the best of your ability, and don’t show any emotion whatsoever towards this player. So long as you don’t appear perturbed by him, odds are he’ll become so frustrated he gets up and leaves first.

How to Handle a Rude Blackjack Dealer

The job description for any professional blackjack dealer will include supporting the players in their endeavor to beat the house. No dealer is ever told to root for his employer. They are trained to be polite, helpful, and give the best advice whenever a player asks for it. His boss doesn’t care, because he already knows the rules of the game give the house an edge.

If you happen across a dealer who’s blatantly hoping you lose, something is terribly wrong. This dealer is obviously in a very bad mood. Maybe he’s running a double shift and/or has had too many run-ins with obnoxious players of his own. Maybe he’s a disgruntled employee hoping to get himself canned so he can collect unemployment. Whatever the case, he’s out of line, and you’re left to deal with it.

There are three ways you can deal with this blackjack dealer, depending on the severity of their attitude. If they’re just being annoying, don’t tip them. If they’re beyond annoying, you may want to get up switch to another table. As an absolute last resort, you can report them to the floor manager, but only in extreme situations. Again, it could just be they’re having a really bad day, and we’ve all had those before.

The best advice I can give you is to think before you act. Consider all angles – all reasons why a fellow blackjack player or dealer might be acting the way they are. Then approach the situation with a cool, calm and collected demeanor. The high road is always the best road!

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Jul 05

Caribbean Stud Poker tips & logical lines of defense.

Fundamental Gambling: Caribbean Stud Poker Tips & Logical Lines of Defense

The fundamentals of gambling teach us that the rules of a game are imperative knowledge. Not knowing how to play will require far more luck than skill to win. Thus, the rules are the first thing any smart gambler will learn before attempting to place a wager on any new game. But those who are familiar with the stochastic nature of casino games will strive to attain a greater understanding of the logistics behind them.

If you count yourself among that group, you’ll enjoy today’s lesson in Caribbean Stud Poker statistics and probabilities. We’ll delve much deeper than the ordinary theoretical RTP to see just how likely you are to hit specific payouts when implementing a perfect strategy.

Caribbean Stud Poker Tips & Logistics

I’m going to assume that you already know the basics of how to play Caribbean Stud Poker. It’s a standard Ante/Play betting game with streets (revealing of cards) rather than a draw phase (no in-depth decision making). The only decisions to be made are how much to Ante, and whether to Play the hand with a continuation bet (Raise).

As for strategy, these five rules are all you really need to know.

Easy Perfect Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy

  • When you have any pair or better, Raise.
  • When your hand ranks below dealer’s qualifying hand (Ace+King high), Fold.
  • If you have exactly Ace+King High…
    • Raise if the dealer’s upcard is 2-Queen, and matches one of your cards.
    • Raise if the dealer’s upcard is King or Ace, and you have a Queen or Jack.
    • Raise if the dealer’s upcard is lower than your four highest cards, and you have a Queen.

Caribbean Stud Poker Probabilities

Why do the above tactics work so well? Because the mathematical probabilities of the game state that following these rules will, in theory, diminish the casino’s house edge to the lowest possible risk factor.

By hypothetical standards, Caribbean Stud Poker has a 5.224% house edge (or 94.776% RTP). However, the edge is traditionally calculated as the expected loss on the original wager.

When following the above strategy, player’s will raise 52.23% of all hands, which comes to an average wager of 2.045 bet units per hand. And when raising, the player has a slightly higher probability of winning, or achieving a hand worth a high enough payout to be worth the calculated risk (hence the recommendation to raise in the first place). Therefore the element of risk falls to 2.555%.

With that said, let’s take a quick look at the…

Probabilities of All Possible Outcomes

Result of Hand Ante Pays Raise Pays Probability %
Player wins w/ Royal Flush 1 unit 100 to 1 0.0001%
Player wins w/ Straight Flush 1 unit 50 to 1 0.0008%
Player wins w/ 4 of a Kind 1 unit 20 to 1 0.0142%
Player wins w/ Full House 1 unit 7 to 1 0.0834%
Player wins w/ Flush 1 unit 5 to 1 0.1097%
Player wins w/ Straight 1 unit 4 to 1 0.2198%
Player wins w/ 3 of a Kind 1 unit 3 to 1 1.1751%
Player wins w/ 2 Pair 1 unit 2 to 1 2.4482%
Player wins w/ Pair or Less 1 unit 1 to 1 11.7555%
Dealer doesn’t Qualify 1 unit 0 22.7385%
Push 0 0 0.0016%
Player Folds -1 unit 0 47.7745
Dealer wins -1 unit -2 units 13.6786%

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Jun 29

Terrible beginner blackjack strategies could will cost you everything.

Terrible Beginner Blackjack Strategies that will Cost You Everything

I’ve spent plenty of time writing everything from tips to detailed strategies for the game of blackjack. I’ve described at length many of the pros most famous and effective card counting techniques. Today, I thought we’d try something a bit different – a reversal, if you will. Today we’ll be discussing the three worst blackjack game strategies that only beginners are known to erroneously invoke.

The problem is that, to a brand new blackjack player with no experience or foreknowledge of how effective tactics work, these concepts can actually sound like the perfect way to win the game. That’s absolutely not the case. So if you are new to the game, be careful you don’t fall for these all-too-common fallacies.

Three Terrible Beginner Blackjack Strategies to Avoid

I was passing through Edmonton a few weeks ago with a friend and we stopped in the River Cree Casino. While dining at the Kitchen Buffet (pricey, but ask for a 2-for-1 coupon when you join the players club, it’s excellent!) I overheard a conversation that made my gut wrench. This was obviously a kid who had never been to a casino before, and probably had one too many drinks before he got to the blackjack table… his “perfect blackjack strategy”, as he called, was this…

Follow the Dealer’s Rules

This poor kid thought that if he followed the same rules that the dealer is forced to abide by, he would have to have an above 50% win rate. It works for the dealer, why not the player? He was so excited by this idea of his that I felt guilty for correcting him, but I couldn’t let him go on believing that horrible distortion.

At first, he seemed to prepared to argue his point to the death, until he finally stopped long enough to ask me why mimicking the dealer’s moves doesn’t work. My response was simple – because you can bust before the dealer ever plays.

Think about it, I explained to him. If you have 16 and always hit it, you’re going to bust a lot (62% of the time, to be exact). The dealer must also hit 16, but only if the player has already completed their hand. The average player using basic strategy will bust about 16% of the time, thereby losing some of those hands before the dealer ever has to take that scary hit on 16.

Because the player goes first, and can bust before the dealer ever plays, following the dealer’s rules is a terrible way to play blackjack! It results in a house edge of about 6%; far worse than the ~1% edge in most games.

The kid finally caught on and realized the error of his ways. He then proceeded to question my knowledge, asking if this strategy would work instead…

Never Let Your Hand Bust

Oh, no, I told him, that won’t do either. Sure, it will save you from facing immediate disaster when the dealer drops a face card on your 12+, but it’s not going to increase your odds of winning – quite the opposite, in fact.

A more prosperous strategy requires hitting some hand values of 12 or more. When basic strategy instructs players to do so, it’s because your odds of busting are lower than your odds of losing against the dealer’s up card.

For example, if you’re dealt 12, and the dealer is showing a 10, odds are higher that you will lose with the 12 than the odds of busting if you hit it. There are 9 cards that won’t hurt you, and only 4 that will. That’s a 69.2% chance you’ll survive the hit. Thus it is the right move to hit.

Like our error-ridden ‘mimic the dealer’ concept above, never busting also proposes about a 6% house edge.

At this point, I told our young friend that he should take some time to study basic blackjack strategy, and warned him to stay away from this third and final bad tactic that’s cost some beginner blackjack players far more than they could ever afford to lose. I’m talking about the potentially expensive error of using a…

Blackjack Betting System

These systems are advertises as sure-fire ways to win at all sorts of casino games that pay even money. Blackjack doesn’t really qualify, since you can split and double down, but a lot of players make the mistake of using betting systems here anyway.

The idea behind a betting system is to bet progressively in such a way so that even if you lose many hands in a row, once you do win, you’ll make it all back, plus a small profit. These systems do not work. It doesn’t matter if it’s a straight double-or-nothing, a positive progression, or a negative progression system. They don’t work for one simple reason. Casinos have table limits.

You can only place wagers so high before you hit the limit, and all that takes is 8 consecutive losses. The odds of losing 8 hands in a row aren’t great, but if it happens, you won’t be able to continue. You’ll have lost hundreds upon hundreds of dollars, with no way to win it back. Learn more about the inherent flaws of betting systems here.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Jun 18

Cheaters never win! Unless you happen to be one of these guys who won a fortune by cheating at different casino games.

Cheaters Never Win? These Guys Won a Fortune Cheating at Different Casino Games

Cheating the casino isn’t exactly the best way to make your fortune. It’s not so easy, either, especially considering the last few decades or so worth of advancements in technology. Security surveillance is far superior to what was available half a century ago. But it does still happen.

We don’t hear about casino cheats too much these days for two simple reasons; mostly because there aren’t many willing to try it anymore, but also because those who succeed aren’t blasting the news across social media.

Cheating at Different Casino Games

Although not intentional, some casino games are designed in such a way as to be more vulnerable than others. An entirely computer based game can be hacked and its software re-engineered to perform differently. A deck of cards offers no such mechanized manipulation.

Similar rules apply to the number of people involved in the deception. Any single-player game – a slot machine for instance – is going to be easier to manipulate with special tools or hacking software. The fewer eyes upon you, the better. In the same token, a multi-player game like blackjack is easier to exploit via distraction, wherein the deceiver gives prying eyes something else – something less suspicious – to train their scrutiny upon.

Famous Casino Cheats of Past and Present

I certainly don’t recommend cheating casinos – or trying to, as the case so often turns out to be. I for one would never have the gumption to attempt it, and I hope you would make the same smart decision to keep your gaming on the up-and-up. But there are a lot of people out there who did and do take the renegade plunge. Most of them failed miserably, paying a high price for their crimes. But not everyone…

The following is a list of famous fraudsters who pulled off some of the biggest gaming heists in casino history. Between the most successful tricksters of old and the biggest failures of all time, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so for now, you can consider this an ever-growing compilation of casino game cheats.

Richard Marcus – The Drunken Master

I’m starting here because his story is my personal favorite. Richard Marcus, a former card dealer, was a supremely cunning individual who used the commonality of social vices against the very casinos that promoted them. In this case, slovenly drunken behavior.

Marcus’s skulduggery relied upon excellent acting skills, and a great deal of courage, of which he had both. He was so adept at this method, he gave it a name – “Savannah”. It’s awfully similar to the comparably lame technique of past-posting, in which a player uses slight of hand to inconspicuously add chips to a winning bet. But Richard’s method was so much more convincing, if not a bit backwards.

In one of his more vividly detailed exploits, Marcus would play roulette with all the vigor of a drunken master. Upon entering the game, he would place two chips on a bet. The top chip would be small; maybe $5. The chip beneath would be of much greater value.

If he lost the bet, he would irately grab his chips from the table – going against every casino rule in the book – and fling them straight at the croupier! In the process, of course, he would cleverly replace the higher value chip with a second $5 chip, which is exactly what the croupier would expect to find.

If Marcus won the bet, however, he would make a valiant show of the fact that the chip beneath the $5 was of greater value, ensuring he got paid for his acceptable, albeit unorthodox manner of chip stacking. If security were to go back and observe the surveillance video, nothing out of place would be seen. Such was the wisdom of Richard Marcus, who managed to dupe the casinos out of an untold fortune by doing the exact opposite of what was expected – cheating on a loss, rather than a win.

“Savannah” was Marcus’s lucky lady, and she walked him across the fiery coals of many gambling adventures without ever getting caught. We only know of his insurmountable success because he wrote of his duplicitous exploits in his best-selling books. Of course, by the time he told the world what he’d done, he was already beyond wealthy and retired from that swindling lifestyle.

Unfortunately, I’ve lost all respect for the man in recent years. Now, he makes all of his money by bragging and pitting his own kind against the enemy. He runs a blog that supposedly teaches others how to cheat at poker and casino games, and at the same time, offers services to the very casinos he once cheated, teaching them how to catch the people he is supposedly training to bilk them. Not cool, Richard!

Dennis Nikrasch – 2-Step Teaming & Scheming

Dennis Nikrasch World's Best Slot Machine Cheat

Dennis Nikrasch (aka Dennis McAndrews) was a very talented man, particularly skilled in lock smithing mechanics. He used those talents to his lucrative advantage, taking the casinos for an estimated $15 million before the FBI got hold of him.

Nikrasch’s story begins as a teenager, when learned the trade of a locksmith. His unscrupulous ways began there, stealing cars and burglarizing luxury homes in his community. His reputation grew quickly, earning him a respected position with the Genesse Crime Family. The police caught up with him in 1961, and by the time he was released, he began eyeing new locks – the ones on casino slot machines.

By simply observing the keyhole on a slot, he found he was able to fashion a key that would open it. Once in, he used a series of strong magnets to manipulate the machines into releasing their jackpots. His actions went unnoticed for eight long and lavish years before one casino’s security time finally caught on. He was arrested shortly after.

Following a 5 year prison sentence, Dennis eventually returned to Vegas in 1991, thinking he’d get right back to his old ways. Slot machines had changed a lot since then, and Dennis had to come up with a new way to cheat them. So he did. Nikrasch teamed up with tech wizard Eugene Bulgarino, a former associate from the Genesse Crime Family.

Together, the two got their hands on some of the newer slot machine models and dissected them from the inside out. It didn’t take long to discover that the computerized machines ran on a microchip, as opposed to the old mechanical reels, and that the microchip was responsible for triggering jackpot payouts. After months of hard work, he was able to replicate the chip, except that his version would command the game to pay out its top prize the very next time the reels were spun.

Nikrasch’s biggest problem now was finding a way to switch out the microchips in a busy casinos without drawing suspicion or setting off a machine’s tamper alarm. The solution was easy enough – recruit a large team of helpers to disguise his actions.

While Dennis was sitting at a slot machine, appearing to play the game, an entire crew of helpers were moving about the casino, ensuring that his view was blocked from the casino’s security cameras at all times. Once he had finished replacing the chip, he would leave the machine and one of the team members would come along to play instead. One spin later, that inconspicuous member struck the jackpot.

There’s nothing uncommon about one player walking away and the next one striking paydirt, thus the casinos didn’t catch on to what Nikrasch’s team was doing for several years. Odds are they never would have figured it out if Dennis hadn’t been betrayed by one of his own partners.

Exactly who turned on him and why is a matter of speculation, but it’s believed it was a woman from the team who wanted more than Dennis was willing to give. When she tried to turn him in to the police, the FBI was eager to get involved, but try as they might, they could not find a single scrap of evidence that he had tampered with any slot machine. The security cameras showed nothing, and he left no trace of manipulation on any machine. Even IGT, the company that manufactured some of the games he cheated, could find no hint of tampering.

Slot Machine Cheat Dennis Nikrasch Arrested

The FBI resorted to tapping his phone, but of course Nikrasch and his colleagues were too smart for that. What they didn’t prepare for was the bugging of Dennis’s home. The FBI overhead a conversation in which Nikrasch invited Bulgarino to his home. Just hours before, agents snuck in and planted listening devices throughout the house. During the meeting, the two discussed every aspect of their previous crimes in an effort to find areas of improvement. They spoke of upcoming hits, and ways to spend their ill-gotten gains.

That was more than the FBI needed to storm the home and arrest them both. Dennis Nikrasch plead guilty to all charges and agreed to reveal all of his slot machine cheating secrets to help casinos catch other people like himself. For his cooperation, his sentence was reduced to 8 years.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael – Monkey Paw, Monkey Do

Tommy Glenn Carmichael was a product of the mid 1950s, a time when technology was all the rage. Electronic wonders were coming out of the woodwork, and they fascinated Tommy. He was that kid that ignored his friends pleading to visit the soda shop, and instead stayed in his room, dismantling a ham radio just to see how it worked.

Infamous slot machine cheater Tommy Glenn Carmichael

When he grew up, Tommy’s love of small machinery led him to open Ace TV Sales & Services in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The business was going great, but then everything began to fall apart. Prior drug convictions had him on probation and doing community service. He was in the midst of divorce proceedings from his third wife. Similar shops were opening all over town, driving his revenue into the basement.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael was in shambles.

That’s when Ray Ming, an old high school buddy, walked back into his life and change everything. Ray led Tommy outside to his car and told him that the object inside his trunk would change his life forever. He was right.

Within the confines of Ming’s trunk was a small-scale slot machine and a cheater’s tool known as a “top-bottom joint”. Neither Ray or Tommy knew how the gadget worked, but they were determined to find out. Carmichael took the slot machine home and disassembled it, learning the inner workings of the game and how to exploit it with the mechanism. Finally, after fiddling with the tool for many hours, he felt he was ready to use it in a real casino.

His first trip to Vegas started with a nickel machine, which he was to strike a $35 win on. He then moved up to quarter slots, and by the time the weekend was over, he had taken the casino for nearly $10,000.

His cheating ways continued with great success for the next few years before casinos updated their machines to RNG technology, forcing him to rethink his strategy. Unable to use the top-bottom joint on the newer models, Tommy limited his gaming habits to smaller casino joints beyond the strip, where the older machines were still in use.

Smaller crowds made for easier detection though, and it didn’t take long for police to catch up to him. They followed him for a week gathering evidence before he was arrested, charged and convicted of running an illegal gambling enterprise. Since he was already on probation, he was sentenced to five years in prison.

Years later, in an interview with USA Today, Carmichael said about this time in his life:

You think about what you did, and the mistakes, and how to correct them. You either get straight or get better.”

Carmichael got better.

In the years he was away, machines continued to evolve, so Tommy decided to go back to school, so to speak. He worked multiple minimum wage jobs until he’d saved enough money to purchase one of the newer machines. Not a slot machine this time, but a video poker machine. He spent more than a year learning the how the RNG and micro-processing units worked before he was ready to head back out into the casinos with his new invention – The Monkey Paw.

It’s engineering was genius, yet its operation simple. Built with guitar string and steel springs, it did resemble a monkey’s paw. And when it was inserted up the payout chute of a gambling machine, it triggered a mirco-switch that released a payout.

Tommy was “winning” thousands of dollars every outing, but just as before, times were changing, technology was evolving, and casinos were updating to newer machines. Carmichael decided to save some time and play it cool, disguising himself as an affluent with interest in purchasing one of the new slot machines.

Under this presumption, he convinced a casino employee to open up one of their new machines and explain how everything worked. In that limited space of time, he conceived his next big invention – The Light Wand.

The Light Wand Slot Machine Cheating Device devised by Tommy Glenn Carmichael

As is turned out, the new games were just as easy to cheat as the old ones, but instead of making contact with the trigger, he needed only light to pass over it. Like before, the light wand was inserted into the payout chute. When the light shown on the sensor, coins were released.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael became extremely wealthy at this point, not only because his new slot cheating device worked so well, but because he was making loads of money on the side selling them to fellow casino cheats. He was so rich at this point, he took a 6 month vacation from Las Vegas, pilfering the machines on casino cruises in the Caribbean.

Upon his return, Carmichael decided to set up a team. He partnered with Ramon David Pereira and his old prison buddy, Michael Balsamo, among others. Each member had an important role, scoping out the machines, keeping a watch for security, blocking the line of vision from security cameras at just the right moments.

If the stories are true, these guys were so successful that at their peak, they were raking in upwards of $5 million a day, virtually raiding the vaults of every casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Then one day in 1996, it all came crashing down.

The group was running their scheme at the Circus Circus Casino when authorities closed it. Tommy had no idea the casino had updated its security cameras. His blockers were no longer effective. Security saw everything. The moment Carmichael inserted his light wand into a machine, a team of guards pounced.

He was charged with cheating, manufacturing of a cheating device, and possession of a cheating device. However, authorities didn’t have enough evidence to make all the charges stick. They had to release him the next day.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael was arrested again in 1998, to no avail, and one last time in 1999. That time it stuck. He was sentenced to 1 year in prison and 3 years probation. After his release, he turned his life around, sort of. Carmichael began working with the casinos instead of against them, and made his new fortune developing tools to help stop cheaters. Might as well, since he’s engraved in Nevada’s Black Book of life-time banned players.

Ronald Harris & Reid McNeal – The Ruinous Nature of Greed

In the mid 1990s, a pair of seemingly unlikely comrades were getting rich quick off Nevada casinos. One was Ronald Dale Harris, a respected engineer with a strong background in computer programming and a convenient source of employment. The other was Reid Errol McNeal, an old school yard friend of Ron’s who just happened to be in the wrong situation at the right time.

Ronald Harris and Reid McNeal arrested in 1995 for cheating slot machines in Las Vegas and Atlantic City

The story begins in the early 1990s, when Ron Harris applied for a job with the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). He had all the right skills and his record was squeaky clean, thus he was a perfect candidate for computer programmer. His responsibilities included analyzing the state’s slot machine software for glitches and flaws.

In Ron’s defense, he had no intention of going rogue when he was hired. However, his job granted him access to very sensitive information, and it wasn’t long before he realized how easy it would be the manipulate the system from his position. All he had to do was alter the erasable programmable read only memory (EPROM) within a slot machine to govern its payout release. And so he did…

Harris knew the inherent dangers of his actions. He knew that if he went to the casino and won a jackpot himself, it would look awfully suspicious. That’s when he decided to contact his old childhood friend, Reid McNeal. The two had stayed in touch over the years, enough that Ron knew Reid had recently lost his job and was hard up for cash. Needles to say, it didn’t take much convincing to bring McNeal aboard.

Ron would program the EPROM chips of certain slot machines to line up a big win when a certain sequence of coins was entered. Then Reid would play the slot machines his friend told him to play, in the exact manner he was told to play them. For instance, one of Ronald’s favorite sequences – one no other player was likely to insert by accident – was 3 coins, 2 coins, 2 coins, 1 coin, 3 coins, then 5 coins. If that precise number of coins was inserted per play for six plays in a row, the sixth spin would result in the big win.

At first, they were the perfect duo, splitting the profits down the middle. They won relatively lucrative amounts of money, but never more than a few thousand per strike. It kept the prying eyes of the NGCB off their backs, and put far more in Harris’s pocket than his day job allotted. But then, as criminals so often do, the two got greedy.

In 1995, Ron wanted to try his illicit programming skills on keno machines, but he didn’t feel comfortable doing it in his home state. They left Nevada for the east coast, bringing with them all the equipment required to manipulate a gambling machine on site. They booked a room at an Atlantic City hotel and set their sites on a keno machine at Bally’s Park Place Casino.

In the beginning, everything worked just as planned. Harris gave instructions to Reid, who inserted $100 into the appropriate machine and – as expected – won the $100,000 jackpot. It was the largest keno prize ever paid by the casino. But instead of uncorking the champagne bottles and taking pictures with oversized cardboard checks, casino staff became instantly suspicious of Reid McNEal.

His first mistake was his lack of reaction. He did not seem surprised or even excited by the 6-figure win. He remained perfectly calm and asked for his winnings to be paid in cash. No payout would be forthcoming however; not just because the casino suspected something was up, but because any win of $35,000 or more required an investigation to confirm the win.

As protocol called for, security protected their latest big-money winner back to his hotel room, where they just so happened to find Ron, along with all of the equipment the two brought with them to manipulate the machines and cheat the casino. That was all police needed to place the two under arrest.

Ronald Harris plead guilty to more than twenty counts, including abusing his position with the NGCB, using confidential information for personal gain, and rigging gambling machines from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, but was released on good behavior after serving just two. Reid McNeal cut a deal with authorities, testifying against his friend in exchange for exclusion. Subsequently, all charges against him were dropped.

Ida Summers – The Vegas Vixen

Ida Summers Vegas Vixen

People often jump to conclusions when it comes to the roles women play in large-scale casino cheating scandals. It is assumed that any woman is merely a distraction – a decoy – directed by a man or group of men to swing their hips and bat their lashes while the real geniuses get the job done. That stereotype had nothing to do with the success of the fraudulent femme fatale, Ida Summers.

Ms. Summers was, for the most part, a one-woman show, and one of the most successful Vegas fraudsters of all time. And while she most certainly distracted the dealers and pit bosses from what was really going on at the table, it was for her own benefit.

Aside from her deviant charms, Ida’s claim to notorious fame was her indubitable skill at sleight of hand. From the late 1960s to the early 1970s, she pocketed thousands of dollars a day at Las Vegas casinos, mostly by adding or removing cards – sometimes entire decks or shoes of card! She was so adept at it, she eventually earned the nickname Vegas Vixen.

We must attribute a great deal of her success to her beauty, and ability to flaunt it. With a petite frame and slender physique, 5’2” and under one hundred pounds, every head in the room turned when she walked in. As competent as she was at sleight of hand, her flirtations were her most dexterous skill, allowing her to easily move cards around without notice.

Ida was especially fond of technique known as hand-mucking. It involves exchanging one or two cards in your hand with outside cards. In order for this to work, of course, you need the additional cards to flawlessly match the current cards. She had no trouble solving that potential problem, either.

Ms. Summers would either steal a deck cards right off the table when the dealer was distracted, or she would use her charms to convince a dealer to give it to her, even though it is thoroughly illegal to do so. The Vegas Vixen was known to draw a dealer so deep into her flirtations that when she asked for a deck of cards, just so she could “practice at home”, they were more than willing to risk their job just to make her smile and flash those beautiful eyes once more before she left.

Having an entire casino deck to work with, Ida would slide cards up her sleeve and discreetly pull them out as needed. She used them most often at the blackjack table to give herself a hand of 21. She was also known to cheat at Texas Hold’em poker and Caribbean Stud.

In her most daring adventures, she would stack an entire shoe with “cold decks”, prearranged to guarantee beating the house. Of course, replacing an entire shoe was much more difficult, and far riskier, than replacing a few cards. This was one area in which Ida Summers required help, recruiting a number of people to assist her in the job. She would remove one shoe from the table and slip the stacked shoe back in its place, then rest the original shoe in her lap, just out of sight under the table, until an accomplice could discreetly take it from her.

It’s crazy how successful she was in these duplicitous endeavors, despite the seeming blatancy of her crimes. One could say it goes to show how gullible men can be when it comes to the charms of a beautiful woman. However, once the casino managers became suspicious and brought the FBI in to investigate, it still took them several months to gather sufficient evidence to prove she was, in fact, cheating the casinos. This attests to her immense skill at sleight of hand.

Eventually, she and several of her accomplices were caught. The charges against her so well stacked that she should have spent several years behind bars. But her days of charming weren’t over yet. We can only assume that she was able to flirt her way out of the courtroom, handed nothing more than probation, even though several accomplices served time in jail.

Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio – The Counterfeit Con

Louis The Coin Colavecchio The Counterfeit Con

Louis Colavecchio was not a casino cheater in the traditional sense. He did not manipulate the games to increase his advantage over the house. There were no Aces or mechanical devices up his sleeves. Mr. Colavecchio’s crime was more subtle, and far less detectable by casino security. He was a superbly skilled counterfeiter of slot machine coins.

For many years – no one knows for certain how long – Louis was using special equipment to mint counterfeit coins that perfectly mimicked the tokens accepted and emitted by casino slot machines. His coins were so on point, it wasn’t just the cashiers that were fooled by them. He is believed to be the first counterfeiter that was able to successfully recreate coins even a slot machine’s sophisticated software was unable to identify as being fake.

Louis wasn’t always a con artist though. He was the son of a poor immigrant-turned-businessman who rose up to open his own machine manufacturing company. In hopes of following in his father’s footsteps, Louis, who was very intelligent, went to college and opened a business of his own – a jewelry store in his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island. It was years later, after a brutal burglary destroyed his business and almost took his life, that Louis got involved in counterfeiting.

Using the insurance money from the robbery, he opened a new jewelry store and began taking “business trips” to Atlantic City. Those trips were actually a front for a new addiction – playing slot machines. The store, in turn, became a front for counterfeiting coins. He started out minting fake chips for the blackjack and poker tables. This was far easier than slot machine coins, but yielded a minimal profit. Eventually, he decided the reward outweighed the risk associated with counterfeiting slots tokens.

Louis would make his way to Atlantic City, bringing a stash of coins he’d minted on a machine originally built to engrave jewelry. He would then use these coins to play the slot machines, appeasing his addiction with no risk to his financial welfare. A bad run lost him nothing, but when he had a good day, he was able to cash out for pure profit.

Mr. Colavecchio is said to have made over one million dollars counterfeiting slot machine coins before the law finally caught onto his deceptive ways. It started with a phone call to the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement from Caesars Palace after the staff discovered a massive surplus of $10 slots tokens during an annual inventory check. All other casinos in the area were informed, and when they ran their own counts, they found equally sophisticated counterfeit coins in their network.

The casinos were put on high alert, and when Louis Colavecchio and his then-girlfriend, Donna Ulrich, entered Caesars Palace the following weekend, it didn’t take long for security to catch on to their suspicious habits. They spent hours watching the two, making note of their game choices. When they left, security opened those machines to find counterfeit coins in the hoppers of each and every game they had played.

In 1998, Louis and Donna were arrested. Authorities found them in possession of 750 pounds worth of counterfeit coins from various casinos in New Jersey and Connecticut. In exchange for a reduced sentence, Colavecchio agreed to tell the casinos how he had counterfeited the coins so perfectly. He spent the next 7 years behind bars.

Upon his release in 2006, he went right back to his old ways. Within a few months, Louis was arrested for the exact same activity. Years later, after statute of limitations had been exceeded, it was revealed that rumors of Louis Colavecchio’s involvement with the mafia were true. He admitted that the brutal robbery of his first jewelry store was really a premeditated scam to claim insurance money. He is also said to have been involved in other mafia-related robberies, arson fires and shootings. Louis was arrested again in 2013 for drug trafficking.

Phil Ivey & Cheung Yin “Kelly” Sun

Baccarat Cheats Phil Ivey and Cheung Yin Kelly Sun

The name Cheung Yin Sun may not ring a bell, but surely you’ve heard of the highly decorated, world-class poker pro, Phil Ivey. He’s got 10 WSOP bracelets under a multi-million dollar belt. But poker isn’t the only game he excels at. Paired with Cheung Yin Sun – better known as “Kelly” Sun – this duplicitous duo was caught cheating more than one casino out of massive amounts of cash.

Ivey and Sun seemed to be the world’s most successful baccarat players, right up until the casinos figured out how they were getting so lucky. The two were using a special technique known as edge sorting. This system only works if 1) the players are extremely observant, and 2) the deck of cards in use has some sort of discernible flaw in the pattern printed on the back of each card.

Some say these two actually manipulated the cards in some way to achieve their edge-sorting advantage. Whether that’s true or not, we don’t know. What we do know is that Ivey’s immense bankroll and intelligence, combined with Sun’s expert edge-sorting capabilities, made one heck of a time – for a while.

Ivey and Sun famously cheated the Crockfords Club casino in Mayfair, London in 2012. While playing Punto Banco for high stakes, they utilized an erroneously printed pattern on the cards that helped them predict whether the next card would be high or low. In this way, the two were able to wrangle up a massive £7.7 million in winnings at Crockfords alone.

Unfortunately for them, that kind of cash isn’t handled directly. When Ivey requested the winnings be transferred to his bank, the casino instead froze his account and launched an investigation. Soon enough, they filed charges against the two for outright cheating.

Ivey of course claimed that they had merely found a fair edge and used it to strategically win. After a 5-year court battle, the London Supreme Court sided with Crockfords, declaring Phil Ivey and his accomplice were “undoubtedly cheating”. Thus, the casino did not have to pay Ivey or Sun the millions of pounds they had illegitimately won.

Crockfords wasn’t their only high-rolling haunt. When the pair weren’t edge-sorting the Punto Banco tables in London, they were doing the exact same thing at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. It wasnt’t until the Borgata caught wind of what was happening across the ocean that they took greater notice of Ivey’s baccarat play at their own establishment. Low and behold, Ivey always played alongside Kelly Sun, and together they had taken the Borgata for more than US $12 million in April 2012.

The Borgata, having already paid out their winnings, filed charges against the duo – more severe charges than they faced in the UK. Ivey and Sun were accused of cheating, and were also brought up on charges of fraud and racketeering (via the RICO Act). If convicted on all counts, they would have faced at least $30 million in fines, not to mention jail time. As it was, the extra charges were dropped, leaving Ivey and Sun to pay back the more than $10 million.

While Phil Ivey was attempting to file an appeal against that judgment, he was also learning that the UK courts had ruled against him. He would not be receiving any money from Crockfords Club. Without that cash, he told the courts he could not afford to repay the Borgata – that the “enormity of that amount would clearly be of devastating impact”, resulting in “irreparable harm” to both Phil Ivey and Cheung Yin Sun.

Borgata wasn’t falling for it, and neither were the courts. Ivey did not have enough liquid assets in New Jersey to cover the cost, but he had no trouble spending money in Nevada – including the $10k buy-in for the 2018 World Series of Poker Championship. The NJ courts ruled that the Borgata could pursue Ivey’s assets in Nevada, including any futures winnings from poker, until the casino had been paid in full.

Phil has yet to give up on the court battle. In March 2019, he filed an 800-page appeal in hopes of practically rearguing the entire original case. He maintains to this day that neither he nor Sun interfered with the deck of cards in any way. However, it was proven that the two requested the same deck be used for an extended period of time. During that time, they were placing $150,000 bets, and won $12.6 million. When a pit boss intervened and demanded that a new deck be introduced, Ivey and Sun immediately cashed out and left.

Phil Ivey finished in the money in several events at the 2019 WSOP, where he won a combined $133,395. He never saw a penny of it, though. WSOP host Caesars Entertainment instead sent the money to The Borgata, which had obtained a court order to seize his poker winning in Nevada. To date, still owes millions of dollars to The Borgata.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , ,