The Most Common Tricks of Casino Cheaters

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Man with ace up his sleeve, cheating at poker
BetMGM Dec 04, 2023, 1:49 PM

A frequently asked question on the internet is whether cheating at online casino games is possible. The short answer is no, it isn’t. Online slots and casino table games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat are powered by random number generator (RNG) software, which makes them completely cheat-proof, so to speak. That’s good news for everyone who endorses fair play.

Where cheating has been known to occur on the casino floor — card marking, sleight of hand, false coins, electronic devices, you name it, casino cheaters will try anything to make an illicit buck. Too bad they always get caught in the end. To make sure you don’t fall prey to their tricks, keep on reading.

The Inside Job

By far, the most common method of cheating in a casino is to collude with someone on the inside, typically a dealer, to form a criminal conspiracy. The crooked dealer will use one of many tricks to assist conspirators in their casino cheating. 

One such trick is the false shuffle. A blackjack or baccarat dealer will use sleight of hand to shuffle so that the deck is loaded, with certain cards at the top. Players involved in the conspiracy will track the cards to know when the unshuffled cards are about to be dealt and bet accordingly.

Another way dealers and players collaborate in scams is through card marking. Numerous techniques can be used — from infrared markers to bending corners, denting cards with chips, or scraping ink off with a razor. The cards can be marked before the game for the dealer to slip them in or during the game through sleight of hand. Either way, cheaters can use marked cards to their advantage.

It’s challenging to identify these cons, unless the conspirators make it obvious, which is one reason why casinos rotate their dealers frequently and swap out the decks in play. If you think someone is cheating at poker or blackjack through false shuffling or card marking, don’t hesitate to demand a fresh deck of cards.

Of course, the number of potential forms of dealer-player collusion is limited only by the criminal imagination. Back in 1973, for instance, Monique Laurent, one of the greatest casino cheaters of all time, scammed a French casino out of more than $1 million in a most ingenious way. She colluded with a roulette dealer to use a roulette ball with a remote-controlled device that could make the ball drop into a specific slot. The scam was the inspiration for a film called “Les Tricheurs” (“The Cheaters”). 

Cunning Casino Cheating Contraptions

Technological innovation is behind many of the scams perpetrated by casino cheaters. Hole card reading is an example. There’s an obvious advantage to seeing a blackjack dealer’s hole card or poker opponent’s hole cards, and some crooked players will use small hand-held or hidden cameras to do this. 

Hidden cameras are also sometimes used in baccarat scams. When a player is invited to cut the deck, they drag the cut card over the top of the deck. This separates the cards from each other slightly, allowing the camera to record the information and feed it to the player’s accomplice, who relays it back to the player via an earpiece.

Cheaters also use technology to count cards in blackjack. Natural card counting is exceptionally difficult, but there are smartphone apps that anyone can use. Of course, casinos have been watching like hawks for card counters since the days of the infamous MIT Blackjack Team, a syndicate of card-counting students who took millions from casinos in the 1970s before they were busted. As a result, casinos have become very good at catching cheaters who try to count cards on their Android or iOS devices. Considering that the penalty for cheating is six years in prison or a $10,000 fine, it hardly seems worth it.

One type of casino cheating technology that has fallen into disuse is the old remote jackpotter, a specialized device that looked like a car fob. Cheaters would aim the device at jackpot slots and simply press the button to empty the slots. Today’s RNG slots are immune to this sort of tampering.

Cheating With Chips

A significant number of chips pass back and forth between the players and the dealer in roulette, and it’s no wonder that roulette scammers found a way to leverage this.

A common way of cheating with roulette chips is called past posting. Said to be one of the oldest tricks in the book, past posting simply involves placing chips on the winning number immediately after the ball drops in the wheel. Typically, one player will distract the dealer while a second perpetrates the con.

Then there’s the “color up” con. Player One buys a bunch of $1 chips of a certain color, pockets some of them, and passes the rest on to Player Two. Player Two pockets them in turn, goes to the same table, and buys $25 chips of the same color. After playing with them for a while, he cashes out, mixing the $1 chips in with the $25 chips and hoping the cashier doesn’t notice.

The Best Online Casino Games

The best place to enjoy recreational gambling is a safe, secure environment free of any cheating. That’s precisely what you get when you register at BetMGM. Explore a broad range of mobile-optimized online slots, casino table games, variety games, and live dealers games. In addition, you can play on BetMGM’s top-rated online poker and sports betting apps. Play the game your way at BetMGM. 

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.