Since the day the very first casino opened, players have been looking for ways to cheat.
Most players entirely accept the fact that the casino has a proprietary house edge.
However, a small group of players is determined to beat the casino.
Not in a proper way, but by scamming the casino.
There are many ways to scam the casino, of which we have listed the ten best known. But before we tell you ten ways in which players cheat in the casino, first a warning.
Why you never should cheat at the casino
Although cheating in the casino is often romanticized in books and Hollywood movies, it’s never a smart idea.
It can result in a (nationwide) casino ban and is often also punishable by law. A plan to defraud the casino can lead to a criminal record and even imprisonment.
Accounts of bonus abusers at an online casino are immediately closed and, winnings are forfeited. Some casinos may refund the first deposit(s), but this is certainly not always the case.
No matter how attractive it may sound: cheating in a casino always ends with deception.
Right, now that we’ve established that cheating at the casino is never a good idea, we can move on to what this article is about:
10 ways to cheat at the casino
Many people think it’s easy to cheat in a casino, but studies show that only 0.1% of all amounts won disappear into the pockets of casino scammers.
These are the ten most common ways to cheat in a casino.
1. Late betting
A common way to cheat in the casino is to bet after the outcome is known. The player plays on the roulette table, betting $€ 10 on number 6, black. Then the player sees that the outcome of the spin is number 7 and quickly places a $€ 25 chip on red. Often, these casino cheats work in pairs or threesomes, where the other participants distract the dealer, while the accomplice places the chip on the winning colour.
Using this cheat, the roulette player always manages to gain an advantage over the casino, even if his original bet wasn’t winning.
While there is no such thing as a roulette strategy that always wins, this particular casino scam is a sure way to beat the casino. As long as you don’t get caught, of course.
What can the casino do about it?
Players who bet late move with lightning speed and are masters at disguising their actions. They distract people with one hand and trick them with the other. Croupiers, floor managers and “The Eye In The Sky” need to be extremely sharp to detect this behaviour and intervene.
2. Using fake chips
Players replicate casino chips, play with them in the casino and exchange their winnings at the cashier for real money.
How does the casino prevent the use of fake chips?
This type of cheating is becoming more and more difficult to hide due to ever-improving techniques. Modern casino chips have built-in chips, which allows casinos to find out very quickly whether a chip is real or counterfeit.
Besides, counterfeiting casino chips is difficult and expensive: these are high-quality chips.
3. Placing or removing chips from good/bad hands at card games
The unseen placement of extra chips with good cards is called “Capping”. Suppose the Blackjack player has a 10 against a 6 from the dealer, then chances are he’s going to win the hand. The player will quickly place additional chips on top of his wager at a time when the dealer takes his eyes off the players’ box.
Conversely, this practice can also be applied: this is called “Pinching”. Here the player quickly takes away part of his bet when he is dealt an unfavourable card.
How does the casino prevent the “capping” and “pinching” of chips?
The dealers, floor managers, and those who watch the camera footage live are trained to pay attention to this. Most difficult for the casino to intervene is when the player and the dealer collude against the casino.
4. Collaborating with the dealer
Cooperating with the dealer is a relatively simple way to cheat at the casino.
The player agrees with a befriended dealer to pay him out with losing cards, to pay out more what he’s entitled to, or to reveal what his hole card (face down) is, in case the dealer hit Blackjack. At the end of the day, the loot is split. Sooner or later, this form of cheating always is discovered, and that has everything to do with the human condition to always want more.
Often, conspiring with the dealer goes well for a very long time, because the amounts won are quite small and still under the radar. Until the cheaters consider themselves untouchable and driven by greed, they embezzle more and more money.
How do casinos respond to it?
The revenue for table games is continuously monitored. If it appears that a particular dealer has more loss-inducing sessions than usual, he will be monitored more closely. And if it turns out one specific player is winning big all the time, it’s often a matter of time before the cheating dealer and player are exposed.
5. Stealing chips or tickets
Stealing chips or tickets from a slot machine is the way for some quick-fingered scammers to make a quick buck at the casino. Many players come to the casino to have fun, have a drink and enjoy the game. They may not always be fully alert and may not pay close attention to their chips or machine.
A common technique is to approach the player through a team of con artists. One distracts him, for example, by tapping it on the shoulders and saying that he has dropped something. The moment the player stares at the ground, the other scammer strikes and steals his chips or ticket from the machine.
So what do casinos do against stealing chips or tickets?
Casinos have security guards, staff, and camera footage that play a primarily defensive role in avoiding the stealing of chips and tickets. The frequent and visible presence of guards and staff on the casino floor deter many thieves. As a player, you need to be alert at all times to avoid becoming a victim.
6. Counting cards
Counting cards with Blackjack and increasing bets based on the expected odds of winning can change Blackjack’s EV (expected value) from negative to positive.
While card counting is not prohibited in Blackjack, the casino can take measures to prevent it. Besides, the casino may also take steps against any player suspected of card counting.
How does the casino respond to card counters?
Shuffling machines are used at the table, making card counting impossible. After all, played cards are returned to the shuffling machine, continuously shuffling all the cards.
Casinos that do not use shuffling machines at the Blackjack table and find that a card counter is active can take two measures:
- Remove the player from the casino
- Force the player to play with fixed bets. He may not lower or raise his bets
7. Marking cards
Marking cards was a very popular form of cheating in the casino and is mainly used in Blackjack and poker. By manipulating certain cards (e.g. the aces) with ink, a pen, or nail marking, the player can gain an advantage over the casino or other players.
Recognizing marked cards often takes a lot of practice but is relatively the easiest part of this way of cheating in the casino. The player must also be able to mark the cards and get them into the game. Therefore, this kind of cheaters often works together with the dealer.
How does the casino avoid card marking?
The dealer performs a manual check, called the “Riffle Test. In this process, the tops of the cards are slightly bent and released, as if they were an animation booklet with a running figure.
If the cards have not been manipulated, no abnormalities can be observed. If the dealer does see an animation on the cards, then they have been manipulated.
8. Sharing information with other players
Again, this type of cheating in the casino is mainly used in card games, where the player has to make decisions based on his cards and those of the dealer or other players.
Think of a Texas Hold Em poker game where a player’s accomplice tells the player what the opponent’s cards are. Passing on the information can be done in several ways: cheaters prove to be very inventive in coming up with techniques. From transmitters and receivers in cigarette packets to ingenious click systems hidden in shoes.
What does the casino do against it?
Casinos can intercept most illegal transmitters and receivers and take immediate action against them. Also, the casino continually checks to make sure that players exhibit no abnormal behaviour or distinctive wagering patterns.
9. Edge Sorting: detecting existing inconsistencies in cards
The world-famous poker player Phil Ivey made millions in the casino (which he was summoned to pay back by the judge just as quickly): Edge sorting.
In this Edge Sorting method, the player searches for anomalies and the deck of cards that can give him an advantage. These can be bent cards, damaged cards, or cards that are not entirely cut straight.
This way, he can recognize these cards in the future and take advantage of them.
What does the casino do to avoid Edge sorting?
The easiest way is to use new cards as much as possible. It gets trickier for the casino when a high roller Baccarat player demands that every game be played with the same deck of cards. Is this just a superstitious player or an Edge sorter?
10. Cheating in online casinos: abusing casino bonuses
A popular way to gain an additional advantage over the online casino was by abusing casino bonuses.
For example, players were almost guaranteed to earn money by betting bonus money on a particular type of online slot: those with a so-called savings bonus. Slots like Super Monopoly Money or Devil’s Delight have a big bonus feature that you save up for while playing the base game.
The player plays the slot with the bonus money until he unlocks the bonus. After that, he immediately closes the game and makes sure that the rest of his bonus money is used up. Then he deposits some money, reopens the bonus slot and voila: the bonus round is waiting for him, ready to be played.
However, the profits from the bonus round are now in real money, without bonus wagering conditions, that can be paid out immediately.
What do online casinos do against bonus abusers?
This well-known trick to abuse casino bonuses is being dealt with by online casinos in the bonus terms. It is no longer allowed to play these types of slots with bonus money.