Video Poker Cheats & Cheaters

Monday, 04th September 2017

Video poker cheats try to get an unfair advantage over the casino by breaking the rules. Any responsible writer describing cheating at video poker will define “cheating” early in their essay, because definitions vary. For our purposes, we’ll look at what the state of Nevada considers cheating in a legal sense.

Nevada Gambling Laws Related to Cheating

The state of Nevada takes gambling seriously, and they take a hard line against cheaters. If you’re caught cheating in Nevada, then you’ll face felony charges. That’s right—it’s not a misdemeanor. It’s a felony.

That should be enough to discourage most wannabe cheaters right there.

But what constitutes cheating versus just smart play? After all, you can get a mathematical edge over the casino in some games just by using smart decision making. For example, in some versions of Deuces Wild, if you play well, you have an edge over the casino of up to 0.76%.

That’s not cheating, because you’re not physically manipulating the game. You’re abiding by all the rules of the game. You’re just making good decisions. That’s called “advantage play”. Casinos might dislike advantage players, and, in fact, some casino employees feel like advantage players are cheaters, but that’s not a legal distinction. It’s just a business opinion.

Examples of Cheating

Any of the following behaviors would be considered cheating. Some of them apply to video poker, but not all of them:

  • Rigging a video poker machine by hacking into its random number generator or changing its payout schedule. (I don’t know how you’d pull this off, but if you did, it would definitely count as cheating.)
  • Using any kind of device to aid you in playing the game. For example, if you used a computer to tell you how to play each hand in Jacks or Better, you’d be cheating. (On the other hand, using a strategy card isn’t cheating—that’s not considered a “device”.)
  • Tricking the machine into thinking you’ve inserted money when you haven’t. This isn’t nearly as easy as it once was—in fact, it’s practically impossible. But never say never.

Examples of Legitimate Advantage Play Techniques

These are examples of how you can get an edge over the casino (or minimize the casino’s edge). None of these activities are cheating, but casinos retain the option of banning players who use them. Most casinos limit this to card counters. I’ve never heard of anyone being told that they were too skilled at video poker in a casino, but it’s theoretically possible.

  • Being able to recognize a video poker machine with excellent payouts.
  • Being able to make the right decision about how to play almost every hand at a video poker games.
  • Counting cards in blackjack. This is cheating if you use a computer, but if you just think while you’re playing, then how is that cheating? Casinos have effective countermeasures to prevent this now, but they don’t always use all of them.
  • Dice control in craps. I have my doubts about the effectiveness of this technique, but if it’s possible, it’s legal as long as you’re not using loaded dice.

Why Cheat at Video Poker?

I’m not sure I understand why someone would want to cheat at video poker. I guess the idea of money for nothing is attractive for people, but the reality is that if you’re clever enough to cheat at video poker, you’re clever enough to find the best machines and play them really well.

Even if you couldn’t find advantage play opportunities at video poker, you’d still have other legal options for making real-money while gambling. Counting cards in blackjack is an effective way to gamble with an edge over the casino. Learning how to play real poker with real opponents at an expert level is another way to gamble with a positive expectation.

And don’t forget the most profitable means of getting an edge while gambling—sports betting like an expert. The best sports bettors make far more money than any other kind of professional gambler, including card counters and pro poker players. If you’re interested in getting started in that activity, try reading Sharp Sports Betting by Stanford Wong. That will give you a good start on learning how to profit while betting on sports.

The risk reward ratio for cheating at gambling makes it a poor gamble, even if you have no moral qualms about the activity. You risk going to prison for years if you get caught, and casinos spend a fortune on surveillance in order to catch cheaters. That’s a horrible downside.

The upside includes the potential profits, but as I pointed out, you can make profits without cheating. The only other upside is the pleasure that you receive by getting away with something. I’d argue that you could take that same pleasure from legal advantage play techniques, but if you’re just someone who wants to break the law for the thrill of it, you probably won’t listen to good sense anyway.

Popular Roulette Cheating Techniques

Tuesday, 22nd August 2017

Albert Einstein famously studied the game of roulette in an effort to find a way to beat the casino. It didn’t take him long to realize that it couldn’t be done. He eventually said that the only way to beat the casino at roulette was to steal chips when the dealer isn’t looking.

That’s one of the most common roulette cheats you’ll find, although you’ll see variations of it.

Casinos Cheating at Roulette

One of the first things you must understand about cheating at a casino is that it’s illegal, especially in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it’s a state felony. Smart gamblers, even those with no moral compunctions about cheating, examine the risk/reward ratio in various situations.

When you’re dealing with a potential felony, the risk is very high. In fact, I’d say it’s higher than almost anyone would want to deal with. I don’t want to spend ANY time in prison. Do you?

Also, the amount of money that you could potentially win by cheating at roulette is minor. You’d probably be better off trying to rob a bank.

If You Were Going to Cheat at Roulette, How Would You Do It?

Various methods of cheating at roulette exist, but none of them are especially exciting. Past posting is one potential way to cheat at roulette.

Past posting is when you change the amount that you bet after the outcome is known. This is hard to pull off, because roulette dealers follow very specific rules in order to prevent this.

For example, you wager $20 on a single number, using four $5 chips. When you see that you’re going to win, you quickly use sleight-of-hand to replace one of those $5 chips with a $20 chip, increasing the amount you’re going to win by a dramatic amount.

But think about this. Even if the croupier doesn’t see you when you’re doing this, the casino has cameras (the “eye in the sky”) which monitor all the action going on at the casino tables below.

Stealing other players’ chips when they’re not looking is another way of cheating, but at most roulette tables, players get chips of a color unique to them. You’ll look pretty silly (and lame) when you try to cash in some other players’ color of chips.

Devices Used by Cheaters

I’ve read about people who think that a device with a laser could estimate the speed of the ball, the speed of the wheel, and predict with a microcomputer where the ball might land. I’m skeptical that this kind of thing would work, but here’s something else to consider.

Using any kind of device to change your outcomes when gambling is a felony. Getting caught with a microcomputer and a laser would guarantee that you’d face expulsion from the casino and probably prosecution, too.

Collusion Between Players / Dealer

Theoretically, you could become buddies with a roulette croupier and convince him to help you cheat. That might work temporarily, but casino security measures are far more advanced than you might think. Not only would you probably get caught and prosecuted, but your buddy the croupier would probably also get into the same kind of trouble.

How would you collude? The dealer might let you place a better later than you should normally be allowed to, enabling you to place a bet when you have a better idea of the outcome. Or he could “mistakenly” pay out occasional bets that weren’t even winners.

Betting Systems

Betting systems like the Martingale system don’t qualify as cheating because they don’t work. You can use the Martingale system to your heart’s content as the casino, because it just consists of raising and lowering your bets based on what happened on the previous spins. The casino doesn’t mind, because they understand that over time the system will lose.

Identifying a biased wheel might seem like cheating, too, but most casinos aren’t concerned about it. It’s not cheating unless you made some change to the wheel yourself, and consider how hard that would be to pull off. You’d only be able to identify a biased wheel by clocking it over a large number of spins.

For you to have any kind of mathematical surety about your results, you’d have to clock a couple thousand spins of the wheel. Most casinos see about 40 spins per hour at a casino roulette wheel, which means you’d have to put in 50 hours of observation before you could even be somewhat sure that the wheel has a bias.

Even then, you might spend 50 hours clocking a wheel only to learn that it’s not biased at all. Or if it biased, it’s not biased enough to get you an edge.

Advantage Play

A better approach to beating the casino is to find a legitimate advantage play strategy to use. Which game and which strategy you use will depend on your temperament and talents, but you can get an edge over the casino on at least four games without cheating. These games are:

  1. Blackjack
  2. Video poker
  3. Poker
  4. Sports betting

Getting an edge at blackjack probably means learning how to count cards. Winning at video poker means memorizing the appropriate strategies and finding machines with the right odds. Poker is a lifetime pursuit, but it’s so worth it.

But the biggest money in advantage gambling is in sports betting. If you can find the right situations, you can get a huge edge and put lots of money into action in those situations. Like poker, being a profitable sports bettor is a lifetime endeavor.

Craps Cheats & Cheaters

Cheating at craps is a bad idea for multiple reasons. We don’t encourage anyone to cheat. But some people might have legitimate reasons for wanting to learn how others cheat at craps, so we’ve included this page about various cheating methods and techniques. You can also see our cheating pages for video poker or slots here.

Why You Shouldn’t Cheat at Craps

The first reason for not cheating at craps is simple enough. You should find a way to earn an honest living. Selling your integrity for casino winnings is a losing proposition, so just don’t do it.

Another, more practical, reason not to cheat at craps is that it’s illegal. We’re assuming that you’re playing casino craps when we say this. If you’re playing street craps or in a bar somewhere, just playing is illegal, but if you get caught cheating in that kind of game, you’d probably be better off getting busted for cheating in a casino. Spending some time in jail and paying restitution to a casino are both better than getting shot in the kneecaps by one of your “gambling buddies”.

If You Were Going to Cheat, How Would You Do It?

The most obvious way of cheating at craps would be to introduce some kind of loaded dice into the game. Casinos are pretty hip to this trick, though, and they require that the dice be in view the entire time you’re holding them.

Some sleight-of-hand experts might be able to switch a loaded pair of dice with the casino’s dice and affect the game’s outcome, but he’d have to pretty talented and skilled at sleight-of-hand. There’s not much margin of error here, either, because if you screw up and get caught, the casino will prosecute.

Other Ways to Cheat

Past posting is one way some players try to get an edge over casinos. The phrase means placing a bet after knowing the outcome of the game. (It’s also called “late betting.”)

It’s obvious how this would benefit you. Suppose you bet $10 on the pass line, but you’re watching closely, and you add another $10 chip after you know you’ve won. Clearly, you’ll win more money with a 100% chance of winning.

The problem is that a craps table has lots of people working, and many of them are there specifically to watch you and make sure that you don’t try any kind of past posting tricks. If you get caught trying this, you’re going to face a stern warning and a lot of embarrassment at the least, but you’re more likely to face expulsion from the casino and prosecution.

Casinos have no patience for cheaters.

Cheating without Cheating – Dice Setting

What if you could throw the dice with such skill that you could affect the outcome of the roll? Would that constitute cheating?

Strictly speaking, it would not constitute cheating, because you haven’t modified any betting amounts or equipment. You’re just playing with a lot of skill.

We’ve seen people describe this type of skilled dice throwing as making craps into a game of skill similar to darts. We’re skeptical about some of the claims that we’ve seen, but we’re also intrigued by the possibility that someone could affect a roll’s outcome.

If you’re interested in learning more about dice control and dice setting, you can buy any number of books and videos with instructions about how to hold and throw the dice.

Michael Shackleford, a gambling math expert, has expressed some interest in dice setting because his friend Stanford Wong went to a seminar on the technique and gave it credence. Wong is one of the better-known advantage gamblers and card counters in the business. On Shackleford’s page on the subject, he mentions Frank Scoblete as well, and we’ve read one of Scoblete’s books on the subject. (We have not tried his techniques or even practiced.)

If You’re Not Convinced

If you’re still not convinced that cheating is a bad idea, we’ll relate one story about a well-known alleged craps cheat. Quinton Carter, who played safety for the Denver Broncos, was charged with three felonies. Apparently he was trying to increase his winnings by past posting.

The court dropped its charges against Carter, but part of the agreement included his forfeiture of his $1000 bond.

Guess how much money Carter was allegedly adding to his bets?

$5 at a time.

Vegas casinos, even small ones like the Texas Station, take cheating seriously. So should you.

Famous Blackjack Cheats & Cheaters

Monday, 21st August 2017

Cheating in blackjack is very uncommon and ill-advised nowadays. Players are protected from cheating in modern casinos by the high levels of regulation and surveillance in place. The amount of scrutiny around the blackjack tables also makes it virtually impossible for players to successfully cheat the house.

Regardless of how cheating has diminished it stills pays you to be aware of what could happen. In order to provide you with this knowledge I have listed the common cheats dealers have previously used to influence the game. Following that is a collection of common cheats players have used.

Cheating Tricks Used by Blackjack Dealers

The majority of cheats dealers can use come from sleight of hand techniques. These methods involve manipulating the deck to deal out chosen cards to players, rather than having a random distribution. For the most part these techniques have been made redundant by casinos operating with shuffling machines and dealer shoes.

Dealing from the Bottom – The dealers deals the bottom card of the deck to players or themselves. Usually the dealer has been able to place a certain card on the bottom of the deck during the deal, or can glance at which card is on the base of the deck.

Second Dealing – Similar to dealing from the bottom, this technique involves dealing the second card off the top of the deck.

High–Low Pickup – This involves a stacked deck that has already been set up with alternative rounds of high and low cards. A cheating dealer can use shuffle techniques which look real, while leaving cards in the prearranged order. When cards are dealt, the order in which they come make it likely for players to bust.

Marked cards – Simply by placing a mark on various high cards, dealers can identify these. The term pegging is also used when cards are dimpled subtly to mark them. Decks are swapped often to prevent this as players can also use to as an advantage.

Manipulating Chips – Player could find themselves short-changed if dealers fail to pay off winning bets correctly.  While this can be done intentionally, it can also easily be a mistake by the dealer. Either way it can be avoided by observing and checking the amount of chips you are left with to ensure dealer is paying out correctly.

Cheating Tricks Used by Blackjack Players

The ways players can cheat at the game of blackjack have diminished greatly with the introduction of rule prohibiting players from touching the cards. Casinos have some of the most sophisticated surveillance equipment available and frequently employ security experts, often previous cheaters, to observe the games. Even the most sophisticated cheater now runs a very high risk of being detected and facing possible criminal consequences.  As a result, while the tricks listed below make for interesting reading as part of blackjack’s colourful history, it is not recommended they are attempted.

Palm and Switch –Cheaters can palm cards they have been dealt, replacing them with another card they have on their person or even claiming they never received it. This could involve cheaters bringing their own cards in to swap or just using the cards in play.

Late Betting and Removing Bets – As a dealer is attending to other players, cheaters can add or remove chips from their own bet in order to improve a win or reduce a loss.

Marking Cards – This is simply marking the highest cards to identify them. Players can do this in several ways from simply making an indent on the card with their fingernails to using hi-tech markers only special contact lenses or glasses can see.

Team Play – There are various forms of team play, made famous by the blackjack movie 21. These teams can assist the player by causing distractions or providing information making card counting and cheating easier.  A basic form of team play is Spooking where the cheater works with someone sat behind the dealer who indicates what the dealer has. Apart from being obvious to observers this has the disadvantage that in most casinos dealer’s backs are facing the backs of other tables.

Blackjack Cheats – A Difficult Task

Cheating on a large scale is no longer a real option for anyone operating in a modern casino. The majority of dealer cheats come from skilful sleight of hand techniques which they no longer have chance to perform with modern technology. Meanwhile cheats used by players are often crude and obvious to trained casino staff.

Apart from risking being blacklisted by casinos, cheating is illegal and could result in arrest and even prison time. It would be dangerous to cheat, so instead it is best to use the knowledge of what cheating looks like to protect yourself from it.