The Slot Machine Hacker – Carmichael, Tommy Glenn
Hacking is a well-known threat today, and online casinos invest much in protecting their systems. It is quite improbable that you would cheat when playing slots online with a hefty welcome bonus. In our exceptionally devoted casino bonus review, you can learn more about the finest deals for first-time players and how gaming sites are safeguarded. However, in the 1980s, hacking a casino slot machine was a highly personal affair that needed some gear. Tommy Glenn Carmichael was a down-and-out TV repairman until one of his pals showed him the insides of a real slot machine. He immediately left for Las Vegas, equipped with a gadget known as a ‘top-bottom joint,’ constructed of guitar wire and a piece of spring steel. Carmichael would utilize the top-bottom joint to ‘convince’ casino slot machines that the jackpot had won.
Tommy was eventually apprehended and sentenced to prison. By the time he came out, technology had advanced, and his old techniques were no longer effective – but here is where he established his legacy. Carmichael would been the one to come out with new tools to hack casino slots for more than a decade. When more advanced sensors got produced, he invented ‘The Monkey Paw,’ which was quickly followed by ‘The Light Wand.’ The devious fraudster would even pretend to be a client looking to purchase a slot machine to obtain information. The makers would explain everything about the security systems they utilized!
Carmichael was so successful that he could sell his inventions on the illicit market and even recruit his gang to cause havoc in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. He and his crew had made almost $5 million each day — until they got caught in 1996. Since then, the infamous slot hacker has (allegedly) repented and chose to earn honest money as a casino security expert. He was even working on a new gadget called ‘The Protector,’ which would stop slot busting once and for all — or so he claims.
The Inebriated Gambler – Marcus, Richard
A drunk guy enters a casino. He bets $15 on roulette, wins, and performs a crazy jig since he will pocket more than $1000. Anyone who is even somewhat acquainted with roulette odds would be perplexed — as would the croupier. Richard Marcus, a well-known figure in the casino business, is a drunk gambler (mostly because he self-advertises). He is one of the few on our list that got away with it since he relied on basic sleight-of-hand for his hustles and left no proof behind. Richard’s hallmark maneuver was nicknamed “The Savvanah,” and he used it to target casinos all around the globe, reputedly collecting more than $5 million in the process.
His strategy was simple: he would place three red $5 chips on a roulette table while concealing a $500 brown chip underneath them. The method included positioning the chips so the dealer couldn’t see the brown one at the bottom. Marcus would win the game and pocket more than $1000 if he won. However, if he lost, he would replace the brown chip and pay just $15. To make the entire ruse work, he had to seem to be inebriated, which provided him some wiggle room with the befuddled dealers.
The genius of the whole operation lay in the fact that Marcus was cheating when he lost, not when he won. There were already surveillance cameras in existence at the time. Still, casino police would only analyze video following his winnings — not to add that his method was complicated to detect. He was finally apprehended and convicted, at which point he chose to change careers and retired in 2000. He now publishes books on frauds and gives casino security training.
The Cigarette Pack Scam – French Cigarette Pack Scam
Moving on to France, authorities at Casino Deauville were taken aback in 1973 when a fortunate gambler made 5 million francs (approximately $1 million at the time) on the roulette table over a week. As you are aware, this is a known game of chance, and even the most powerful roulette technique would not have yielded such results. Officials at the casino were suspicious of an inside operation and kept a careful eye on the fortunate winner and the table croupier — but to no effect. They even engaged an independent team of specialists to disassemble the roulette wheel and inspect it piece by piece for any signs of tampering, but they discovered nothing.
While all of this was happening, the casino owner was dealing with personal issues. He had fallen head over heels for one of his clients, a stunning brunette who had begun to frequent the casino every evening. His attempts were turned down, but the owner made an incredible discovery: the enigmatic lady would always sit one table away from the fortunate roulette player, and she rarely ever gambled. But, most oddly, she always carried a pack of cigarettes with her, although she never appeared to smoke! The casino owner eventually approached the lady of his dreams for a cigarette — with the security chief in tow.
The cigarette pack turned out to be a brilliantly concealed radio transmitter to influence the roulette ball. The casino staff’s original suspicions had been confirmed — the croupier had been in on the scam the whole time. Every time his colleague sat at his table, he would change the ball with a specially constructed copy that included a receiver. The trio of hustlers had been able to control the ball’s spin and forecast where it would fall by using the ‘cigarette pack.’ Monique Laurent was revealed to be the raven-haired beauty; the croupier was her brother, and the player was her spouse. This tight-knit gang (nearly) defeated the impossible game.
The Edge Master – Ivey, Phil
One of the more recent gambling scandals included the renowned Phil Ivey, the proud owner of 10 World Series of Poker bracelets — although he was discovered cheating at baccarat rather than poker. Ivey was engaged in two different cases against well-known casinos for millions of dollars. In 2012, he won $9.6 million at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City and £7.8 million at Crockfords in London. The figures may seem startling, yet they are not uncommon in VIP gaming. Most casinos welcome Phil Ivey, but both operators accused him of using a tactic known as ‘edge-sorting.’
Edge sorting used to be irrelevant in cheating since it was not well recognized. Ivey had learned how to use it from a colleague, a Chinese lady called Cheung Yin Sun. The method focuses on detecting minor printing flaws on the backs of playing cards. If the design on the back of the card is defective, the pattern does not match when the card is flipped over. You could carefully sort the cards into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ throughout a game if you have enough patience – and if you are a VIP who can demand to play with the same deck. It would easily give you a significant edge over the house at baccarat.
Edge sorting isn’t something new, but Ivey brought it to light. Crockford, who lives in London, caught on to what he was doing and refused to give him his winnings, but Borgata let him walk away with the money. It resulted in a lengthy legal fight that stretched on for years. To make matters worse, Ivey was also involved in separate litigation as an accuser against Crockford. He stated that edge-sorting required expertise and was entitled to his gains. Finally, the official authorities unanimously rejected his (brave) claim. Because of Ivey, edge sorting is now officially deemed cheating.
The Cutters Gang
Another Asian group saw baccarat tables in Las Vegas just before Ivey and Sun earned over $20 million in London and Atlantic. The game’s simplicity attracts (overconfident) crooks since those unassuming men made a mint, shaking casinos for over $1 million. They planned to take advantage of the provision in baccarat that allows one of the players to cut the deck before the game begins. Unless you have anything remarkable up your sleeve, this is nothing ordinary. Something in the cutters’ case turned out to be a tiny spy camera.
The appointed cutter would always photograph the cards. He would then excuse himself from the table, double-check the photographs, and alert his colleagues. The group earned a tidy profit despite having perfect knowledge. The authorities ultimately caught on, but ‘the cutters’ were never formally apprehended in Las Vegas. Since the cameras were too small to be seen, casino cops had no legal grounds to undertake a thorough body check. However, the Asian gentlemen decided to change the environment and were ultimately apprehended in New Zealand.
The Walking Computer
It is now unlawful to use computers in casinos. Casino regulators are becoming more aware of the many technological devices that might provide an advantage in certain games. However, security was not on the watch for such techniques in the 1970s because a computer was the size of a room! When Keith Taft became addicted to blackjack in 1969, he resolved to follow in the footsteps of Edward Thorp (coming soon! ), who had recently transformed the area of card gambling by battling casinos with arithmetic.
Taft was a poor gambler who struggled with card counting despite his enthusiasm. Instead of giving up, he decided to use technology to change the odds in his favor. At the time, technology took the form of George, a 15-pound self-built computer. Using this gadget at the casino wasn’t legally forbidden; nonetheless, Taft would indeed be ejected if detected. He improvised by dividing the computer into parts that he fastened around his body — and hiding the controllers in his shoes. As he played, the (crazy) inventor would enter data with his toes and get indications about the deck’s condition.
Taft’s brilliant strategy backfired spectacularly. Even with George’s assistance, he was just inefficient. Taft needed more than three years to recover from his disappointment and develop his technique. David, like in David vs. Goliath, was his next invention. This card counter was significantly more successful than George and won the creator some fantastic victories. The FBI eventually apprehended him. He would be imprisoned now, but recall, using a computer was not deemed criminal back then, and the casino officials had no clue what all the electronics concealed in Taft’s shoes meant to accomplish! Taft got off scot-free, which boosted his confidence even more. To his wife’s displeasure, he permitted several boys to join the scam.
Throughout the years, the Tafts equipped themselves with a variety of homemade devices: ‘Thor’ and ‘Narnia’ enabled them to determine the placements of cards after a perfect shuffle. At the same time, the ‘belly telly’ was a tiny spy camera hidden in the belt. Taft was even using his spectacles to receive signals through LED lights at one point – google glasses, anyone? – but they were way too obvious. Another experiment was the first computer network built with cables connecting the fraudsters’ shoes. Taft was eventually fired during the 1980s due to the developing methods of dealers and the ultimate legislative restriction on the use of electronic gadgets in casinos. However, he was inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame for his unrivaled creativity.