Australian poker player allegedly used old-fashioned ‘capping’ technique to swindle casino

  • Cairns resident allegedly caught on camera at the Reef Hotel Casino
  • Offence carries a maximum two-year prison sentence

An Australian casino player has been charged with cheating after allegedly being caught employing an illegal technique known as ‘capping’ at a local casino.

Ace up your sleeve to get one over on the house? Think again if you want to stay there. Picture: Thinkstock.
Casino surveillance is always sophisticated, has has allegedly unearthed another case of sleight of hand cheating. Picture: Thinkstock.

The 63-year-old gambler had been playing a poker variant called Reef Routine while at the Reef Hotel Casino on November 18. The game involves players competing with the dealer to get the best hand, but does not involve a flop or bluffing.

According to reporting in the Australian media, casino security staff spotted the alleged scam when they reviewed video footage. When the man returned to the venue, he was excluded from the premises, and casino staff then informed the police.

Capping a bet

‘Capping’ is short for ‘capping a bet’, a form of cheating in which a player adds more chips to their original bet after the outcome of the game is known. It requires considerable sleight of hand, and usually involves adding a high value chip to the bet after the cards are shown. Often this chip is hidden in the player’s hand or beneath their cards, and then slipped onto the pile of chips without the dealer noticing. Unsurprisingly, capping is illegal, and in Australia, comes under the provisions of the Casino Control Act.

The gambler, who is alleged to have won an additional A$100 ($76.33) as a result of the scam, has been charged with cheating by fraudulent trick. He is due to appear before Cairns Magistrates Court on December 12.

Police officers initially responded to a call from the casino and reviewed the camera footage before arresting the man concerned on Saturday night. The footage has also been seized.

If convicted, he could face a maximum prison sentence of two years. According to Sen-Constable Carl Erhardt of the Cairns Criminal Investigation Branch, this type of case was relatively rare, but he warned that casinos have surveillance policies that enable them to identify cheating and added that the charging of this individual should be a warning to others.

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