Since the beginning of gambling, players have attempted to cheat in order to win. These attempts continue today in the domain of online gambling, as players search for ways to circumvent the cutting-edge digital security measures deployed by online casinos. While the internet cheating tactics may be new and the dangers and rewards may be different, these players are part of a centuries-old history of dishonest attempts to gain an advantage in gambling.
The Untamed West
Wild Bill Hickok was slain while holding a pair of black aces and a pair of black eights during a poker game. The name for this hand is now “Dead Man’s Hand.”
Western films depict a world where card game-related conflicts occurred with startling frequency. Back then, there was no arbitration, and shootouts were the typical means of resolving any conflicts that may have developed. Perhaps it is not a completely accurate portrayal of how things worked. Even in its earliest days, the American West was not so wild, and stories did not spontaneously appear. There were instances in which disagreements over a hand of poker led to gunfights and the deaths of several individuals.
A notable instance occurred on Christmas Day in 1869. John Wesley Hardin, one of the most prolific gunslingers of the Old West, opted to participate in a card game in Towash, Texas, on that day. Even while the game began in a festive mood (it was, after all, Christmas), things rapidly got nasty. James Bradley and Hardin would finally engage in a heated debate over a single hand. The two resolved to settle their dispute in a street brawl in Towash. Despite Wesley’s proficiency with a handgun, Bradley fired first, but missed; Hardin was far more accurate, and Bradley was slain.
Throughout the nineteenth century, countless such incidents occurred. Famous figures like as Wild Bill Hickok and Doc Holliday sometimes found themselves in circumstances where a pistol was more effective than a dealer in settling a gambling disagreement.
The Development of Secure Playgrounds
When the Mafia controlled numerous Las Vegas casinos, cheats could anticipate harsh punishment.
It became clear over time that poker and other gambling games could not thrive without a safer atmosphere in which to play. When casinos began to be constructed in Las Vegas in the 1930s, they soon became a shelter for everyday gamblers to try their luck, rather than risking their lives in the illegal underground games that thrived in many towns. The gaming community gradually lost interest in the typical Western saloons that had been so prevalent in the previous century.
Obviously, this did not imply that these casinos were completely secure for everyone. In the 1950s, organized crime controlled the majority of the large casinos along the Las Vegas Strip. Despite what this may imply, the games were most likely fair for the majority of participants the most of the time. In reality, many of the entities behind the hotel-casinos built during this era viewed them as a legal source of income, even though the funds utilized to establish these properties may have originated from shadier sources. Due in large part to the respectability of Las Vegas in comparison to areas like Galveston and Hot Springs, most significant illicit gambling hubs were rapidly eradicated from Las Vegas.
During the days when organized crime ran Las Vegas, not everyone was treated well, and cheats suffered a particularly difficult time when detected. According to several insiders from the day, a number of techniques were employed to “dissuade” cheats from ever doing it again. Some casinos were willing to threaten or intimidate cheats into surrendering their ill-gotten gains and ensuring they would never return. Even at casinos that took a firm stance against cheaters, this was the favored method for dealing with “penny-ante” cheaters who had not lost the casino a significant amount of money.
On the other hand, some large cheats truly did get the treatment that’s now been made famous in movies and television shows. Broken bones and wounded faces were frequently used to warn cheats that they were not welcome to return, with the clear suggestion that far worse awaited them if they attempted to cheat again. Typically, this was sufficient to get the word across to the con artists.
Meanwhile, other players continued to find games wherever they could, notably in the realm of poker. Since the enormous popularity of casino poker games is a relatively recent phenomena, players generally searched for games wherever they might be found. Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim, and other early poker heroes traversed the United States in search of lucrative games where they could make a quick profit.
But although these games were lucrative, they were also deadly; Brunson recounts being robbed, assaulted, and threatened with firearms during games. While such games still exist, the contemporary professional poker player may play a variety of safe poker games at casinos throughout the world, or they can play poker online from the comfort of their own home.
Modern Casino Protection
High-tech security systems have been implemented in casinos to swiftly detect any cheating tactics.
While contemporary casinos are not immune to cheaters and their methods, a number of strategies are utilized to reduce their influence and nearly guarantee that a cheater will be detected after the fact, even if they originally succeed in carrying out their scheme.
The casino’s first line of defense is the dealers themselves. Today’s dealers are extremely well-trained to conduct their duties in the same manner every day. This reduces the likelihood that careless or sloppy dealers would overlook an ongoing fraud. If you’ve ever played in a live casino, you’ve likely seen dealers stop the action and call a supervisor when even the most minor issue arises, or if anything out of the ordinary occurs; this is done to ensure that there is no chance of an unfair game taking place, whether it be due to a cheating player or an error that would alter the odds of the game.
The largest weapon in the casino’s armory, however, is unquestionably the enormous network of security cameras located in virtually every live casino in the globe. Every action made by every individual in the casino is documented, allowing for an audit trail to be kept for future reference. Employees at the casino are also continually monitoring the video feeds, keeping an eye out for unusual conduct that they may be able to detect on the spot.
In recent years, increasingly sophisticated technological aids have been utilized to help casinos determine who may be cheating, as well as to capture advantage players – players who aren’t breaking the laws but have found a means to get an advantage over the casino. Perhaps the finest illustration is facial recognition software. This program enables cameras to detect when a known cheat has entered a casino, even before a human casino employee recognizes them, making it simpler than ever to get undesirable guests off the casino floor before they begin playing. Other systems can monitor the wagering histories of individuals and groups of players in an attempt to identify abnormal betting trends that may suggest advantage plays or cheating.
A Con that Worked – Temporarily
A Fraud that Was Successful
Prior to their arrest, the Tran Organization’s casino swindle yielded almost $7 million.
However, no of how hard casinos strive to keep cheaters out, certain organizations will continue to breach their defenses and successfully defraud casinos for significant sums of money, at least until they are detected. A recent example is the Tran Organization, who devised a scheme that enabled them to defraud casinos of roughly $7 million.
Over 40 members of the Tran Organization subsequently pled guilty to various crimes relating to their participation in the scheme, demonstrating the complexity of the scheme. However, the actual tactics employed were rather straightforward. Van Thu Tran and her husband, the group’s founders, essentially devised ways to pay dealers at baccarat, Pai Gow poker, and blackjack tables in roughly 30 casinos spanning the United States and Canada. Tran would attempt to entice and pay male drug dealers into doing precisely what the gang need for their operation to succeed.
The fraud was predicated on a very basic concept: a bogus shuffle. After observing the initial distribution of cards in a specific game, the participants would wait for the dealers to retain a predetermined group of cards. These cards, known as a “slug,” would then reappear in the subsequent shoe, allowing the conspirators to put enormous winning wagers with full knowledge of the next cards.
Over time, the Tran Organization was able to install card trackers using disguised devices to record the sequence of the cards in each slug as their group size grew. This information was subsequently communicated to computer operators, who instructed designated bettors on when to wager and when to abstain. The company also employed scouts to determine which casinos offered the best opportunities for cheating.
The Tran Organization was finally detected, despite the fact that their scheme was as well-conceived as could be. Casinos and law enforcement organizations, like as the FBI, began monitoring for proof of the scheme and caught the cheats red-handed. In May 2007, 19 members of the organization were captured, and the remaining members were subsequently apprehended as well.
Card Counting: Cheating or Valid Strategy?
Doyle Brunson experienced several cheats throughout his early poker career.
Although largely misunderstood, card counting is likely the most well-known method of casino “cheating” among the general public. The majority of people believe that card counting relies on the capacity to keep track of every card in the deck, allowing card counters to predict exactly which cards will be dealt and when, so enabling them to win easily. Even the depiction of casino staff in the film supports this point of view, with one employee stating that it is impossible to count through an eight-deck shoe.
In actuality, card counting is not quite this tough, nor does it make people millions overnight. There are several card counting strategies, but they all rely on keeping track of which cards have been removed from the shoe in order to determine which cards remain. A card counter can modify their bets based on the composition of the shoe, aiming to gamble more when the shoe advantages them (usually when there are more aces and high cards remaining) and less, or possibly not at all, when the shoe is overloaded with unfavorable low cards. In sophisticated systems, card counters use this advantage by modifying fundamental strategy when the shoe’s math shows it is accurate, such as by taking insurance when the chances warrant it. By employing this strategy, the card counter will get a slight advantage over the casino, but not significantly more than what the casino ordinarily has over the average blackjack player.
Obviously, casinos dislike it when a player has an advantage over them. Therefore, casinos have implemented several methods to discourage or prevent card counting. The majority of casinos, however, concur with players that, technically speaking, card counting is not cheating. Players are not utilizing illicit devices, attempting to influence the cards that are dealt, or influencing the outcomes of each hand; rather, they are placing smart wagers based on the information provided.
However, just because you are not cheating does not imply the casino must allow you to play with an edge. In most countries, it is absolutely legal for a casino to refuse you service; they may prohibit you from the casino outright, or (more commonly these days) just request that you play one of their many other excellent games. They may also attempt to distract a suspected card counter in order to throw them off their game.
Several casinos have implemented structural modifications to their games to thwart card counting. This successfully eliminates card counting, as the makeup of the shoe varies little from hand to hand. Other casinos have opted not to do so; in many instances, allowing “card counting” results in a small number of effective counters defeating the casino while a large number of pretenders lose due to a lack of understanding of how card counting works.
Online CheatingCollusion is frequently the most prevalent kind of online cheating, with participants working together to win.
Online gambling has made it possible for gamers to enjoy their favorite casino games from the comfort of their own homes. It has also created a new sector in which casino operators must be vigilant against the possibility of cheating. And while internet casinos are in some respects considerably more safe than their land-based counterparts, there have been instances of cheating in online gambling as well.
Obviously, classic cheating tactics will not work in the digital era. You cannot mark the cards, conceal anything in your sleeves, or change your bets at the last minute. In most online casino games, the only way a player may cheat is via exploiting a software defect or, if feasible, by gaining access to the random number generator (RNG) that determines the outcome of each hand or spin. Modern internet casinos frequently circumvent this by ensuring that the RNG functions only after the players have placed their wagers or made their judgments.
Online casinos and poker rooms have demonstrated cheating vulnerabilities in two areas. First, there is cheating from the casino’s side. Frequently, people accuse big casino sites of cheating them simply because they lose; in most cases, these accusations are completely baseless, as can be quantitatively demonstrated by analyzing vast numbers of wagers. There are, however, certain shady online casinos that have been known to scam gamers. Typically, these casinos immediately vanish from the online gambling market, with their names appearing on internet-wide blacklists. This is one of the primary reasons why players are often encouraged to play only at reputable online casinos; while the vast majority of online casinos are on the up-and-up, it is conceivable for a new site employing unknown software to be perpetrating a scam.
Online poker is also notoriously plagued by cheating concerns. In the early days of online poker, enterprising players discovered that the RNG at one poker site did not generate a truly random set of “decks”; rather, it picked from over 200,000 distinct deck combinations. This allowed players to predict the flip provided they knew the hands held by three other players, demonstrating that early internet gambling was not nearly as secure as it is today.
In more recent times, the “Superuser” controversy at Absolute Poker demonstrated how a player with access to an administrator account that enabled them to know the hands held by all other players could win at will. This specific cheating incident may be the most infamous in the history of online gambling, as it was widely reported in the mainstream media after players discovered that the cheater was achieving an unbelievable degree of success at the tables.
Players have also sought alternative means of cheating, despite the fact that large poker rooms are continuously combating these techniques. Some gamers have constructed “bots,” for instance. These are computerized gamblers that assume their positions at the tables and play according to preprogrammed methods 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Others have attempted to work together in collusion rings, sharing their hands and collaborating to win pots. However, poker rooms have taken precautions to fight these strategies, and players who are detected using these or other unlawful methods are blacklisted, with some sites going so far as to reimburse any money lost to cheating opponents.
Is Cheating Worth the Risk?
Casino cheating is ultimately a high-risk, high-reward business. There is a great deal of money in the casino sector, which makes it a highly enticing target for individuals who are inclined to cheat or swindle their way to wealth.
However, it is difficult to view cheating as a profitable operation in gaming. At both live and online casinos, security measures have increased to the point that even imagining pulling off a fraud needs thorough planning and organization. Even if you never make a mistake, casino security, law enforcement, other players, or any combination of the three will ultimately notice you. At that point, the repercussions may be severe, including large fines and perhaps imprisonment. That should be more than enough for the majority of players to maintain parity.