Three Of The Most Audacious Casino ‘Scams’ Ever Perpetrated

  • You won’t believe the lengths these criminals went to
  • Infrared contact lenses, perfect symmetry and radio controlled roulette wheels

“If you cheat you’re only cheating yourself,” or a variation of those words, are part of the rhetoric included in every parent’s arsenal of crucial life lessons, fired at our childhood selves to create a sense of shame and fear.

When it comes to casinos, most of us grow up to be honest players – respecting the rules of the casino. However, what if you’re shameless and have no fear, acquiring a disrespect for casino that drives you to dastardly deeds?

That is exactly what these audacious swindlers thought they were doing when they were hustling that eye in the sky out of thousands.

These snake oil salesman of the gambling arena created ingenious methods of deception that parallel the genius of Sherlock Holmes’ greatest adversary, Professor Moriarty.

These tricks, which sound like works of fiction, actually worked…right up until the moment they were discovered and the culprits apprehended.

Super sight

This first scam proves this universal fact: geeks who ditch their glasses for contacts can sometimes reap the rewards. These contacts weren’t your average off the shelf variety however – they were infrared contacts.

The scam took place at Casino Barriere Les Princes in Cannes
The scam took place at Casino Barriere Les Princes in Cannes. Picture: casinobarriere.com

In 2011 four men wearing these special contact lenses managed to con the Les Princes Casino in Cannes out of $75,000 at the poker tables.

One of the fine upstanding gentleman, who was an employee of the casino, had marked the cards with invisible ink before the others entered.

The symbols that indicated different cards could be seen using the lenses and helped ensure these con artists received winning hands.

The casino eventually grew suspicious when the foursome returned a week later and the marked cards and contact lenses were uncovered.

Perfect symmetry

Phil Ivey Jr demonstrated that having a touch of OCD regarding perfect symmetry can come in handy. This legendary professional poker player was accused by Crockfords Casino in London of scamming them out of £7.3 million ($9.5 million) by using a method of trickery called ‘edge sorting’.

phil ivey legal case edge sorting
Phil Ivey can spot a weakness in any opponent, even the casino itself: Wikimedia Commons/Flipchip

By paying attention to the minor imperfections and differences of the deck, the lack of symmetry meant that cards could be tracked.

Ivey, playing baccarat had the dealer go through multiple packs until he found a ‘lucky’ deck and then went on to up the stakes at the table.

However, Mr Ivey might take issue with his case being lumped in with a post on ‘scams’. His argument was that this was just a form of advantage play , but the casino said that Ivey’s request for the dealer to rotate the cards constituted a form of interference with the game.

Jacques Bond

A French trio of crooks managed to scam a casino of out of 5 million francs, using a device straight out of Q’s laboratory.

The dealer that worked in the Casino Deauville in 1973 built a radio transmitter he concealed inside a packet of cigarettes. This was accompanied with a roulette ball that hid a receiver.

The Devil's game? Roulette wheel numbers add up to 666. Picture: Thinkstock
A remote controlled roulette ball? Picture: Thinkstock

The dealer’s sister was in charge of pushing a button on the cigarette packet, controlling the ball and allowing it to land on a designated section of the roulette wheel.

Their success rate was upwards of 90%. These double-crossers were only discovered because the owner was in love with the dealer’s sister.

He grew suspicious because she would always spurn his advances and instead sit with her brother. Knowing that no woman could resist his amorous overtures he decided that something must be wrong and contacted the authorities. A very French conclusion to a very clever crime.

A few lessons can be learnt from antics of these hustlers and their lack of morals. Cheating may be fun, but a few years behind bars is not, so if you can’t play honestly be careful who you friendzone.

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