The team that beat the Casinos

Where it began

This all began many years ago, back home in Wales when I was living in Swansea. Most UK cities have at least two Casinos and I and some friends used to go to one of them. They are easy places to socialize and you don’t have to be a big gambler to be accepted.

Cleaning up at Blackjack
Cleaning up at Blackjack

George and Raspuitin

One day there appeared on the scene a very unusual and interesting fellow. He was rough and scruffy looking, with a long scraggly beard. We called him Rasputin. I never knew his real name. he was always accompanied by a large man who never spoke. He just stood there, next to Rasputin with his hands in his pockets, never moving, just watching. We figured he was the bodyguard, because Rasputin only played blackjack and Rasputin always won. This guy was incredible. He would draw to 18 and get a three. It was like he knew what card was next. The manager asked me and a couple others of the regulars to watch. Try and see if he was cheating somehow. We never saw anything wrong.

He joined both casinos in our town, cleaned up at both until management finally found ways to ask him to leave. Apparently, he and his buddy went all over the country, joining casinos and playing and scoring big until they got kicked out. Obviously the beard and overall scruffiness was a basic disguise, but how did they do it? It wasn’t until many years later I found out the secret. Remember though, this was many years ago. We weren’t so computer savvy back in the day and it never occurred to anyone what was really going on.

There was another member of the team. Actually two others if you want to count George. “George” was a computer. George was in a hotel room with an operator. In the Casino, the “Bodyguard” was standing with his hands in his pockets and in his pocket was a transmitter. It was similar to today’s cell-phones. Numbered 1 to 0 an ace was 1 and so on, every 10 value card was the 0. As the cards were being dealt the bodyguard would press the appropriate number, the information would be transmitted to the computer, “George” George would then calculate best play and send the message to a little device that Rasputin had in his shoe. This device would tap or vibrate and, according to the transmission, Rasputin knew whether to hit, stand, and split etc.

It was a great idea until they decided to try it out in Las Vegas. Las Vegas is a totally different nut to crack as they found out.

 

Las Vegas

By now they had the financing and the expertise to try Roulette. They had obtained the program used by NASA to put a rocket on the moon and modified it for the Roulette table. So George and his handler were in the hotel room while Rasputin and his buddy are at the Roulette table. When the dealer spun the wheel the buddy would keep an eye on a particular spot, a notch or whatever. The first time it passed the mark he would click his transmitter. Then click again the second time it passed the same mark. Now George new the speed of the ball relative to the speed of the wheel and could calculate the rate of slowing. A message would be sent to the receiver in Rasputin’s foot telling him where to place his bet. Once again they were cleaning up but they attracted the attention of Casino security all over Vegas. They had done all the mathematical and technical research but they hadn’t figured on Nevada law or what Casinos could do in America.

Their room was raided and George was discovered. They had to get out of town never to return. They hadn’t broken any laws at that time but since then there is a law on the Nevada statutes that expressly forbids the taking of any predictive device into a Casino.

It was a good run but every good thing must end.

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Comments 2 comments

alqx profile image

alqx 5 years ago from Singapore

The method used to 'cheat' in blackjack you mentioned, if I'm not wrong is called 'card counting'. I first heard of it in the movie '21'.

Today's casinos render 'card counting' useless with the installation of auto-shuffling machines.


iantoPF profile image

iantoPF 5 years ago from Sunny California Author

Hello alqx; Thank you for reading and commenting. Also thank you for reminding me of this Hub. This was the first Hub I wrote and I have learned a lot since then. I will make some changes to the format that should improve it.

Card counting is still alive and well. Casinos only use automatic shufflers for single deck games. Most Blackjack games use four or six decks. Card counting as such is not illegal but the use of a predictive device inside a casino is. These guys just pushed their luck.

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