Biggest Casino Cheaters of All Time
Forget the epic casino robberies you’ve seen in the movies. The following masterminds pulled off remarkable thefts in real life and became known as the most infamous cheaters in casino history. Using simple math, insiders at the casinos, and special gadgets, these people were able to steal millions of dollars.
However, regardless of how glamorous casino cheating appears in movies, the aftermath wasn’t so fun once the police caught them. Being banned from casinos for life and having to face other consequences as well is not a pleasure. However, on the bright side, many are now working with casinos to enhance security, expose possible cheats, and make casinos safer.
Tommy Glenn Carmichael
Tommy Glenn Carmichael is one of the most successful slot machine cheaters in history, even though he paid the price by spending time in jail. He started cheating slot machines in 1980 when he discovered that inserting a metal into the coin slot triggered a payout. As the casinos started tightening their security with new machine updates, Carmichael soon found his device was no longer working. He therefore moved to smaller, old-fashioned casinos that still used older slot machines. However, he was eventually caught and sentenced to five years in prison.
But that wasn’t enough to stop him. While in prison, Carmichael developed a new tool, known as the Monkey Paw. The device hacked and altered slot machines. With the evolution of slot machine technology, Carmichael also improved his tricks. In 1991, he invented a light wand, compatible with newer slot machines, and sold it to other casino cheaters, making $10,000 a day. He was arrested in 1996, 1998, and 1999.
Many people believe the notorious MIT Blackjack Team was able to invent card counting thanks to the movie 21. In reality, they only perfected methods invented by mathematics professor Edward Thorp in the 1960s. Many consider Thorp as the “father of card counting”, though had no interest in gambling until a friend happened to introduce him and his wife to Blackjack. After playing it a couple of times, Thorp was hooked and started searching for any loopholes and ways to beat the house.
He was finally able to apply card counting to correctly predict the results of each hand. With this technique, Thorp and his friend were able to pocket thousands of dollars at each casino visit. At this point, casinos were oblivious to Thorp’s techniques and only found out about it when he published his famous book, “How to Beat the Dealer”.
After a failed move to Las Vegas and a period of homelessness, Richard Marcus started working at a casino as a dealer of blackjack and baccarat. It allowed him to understand how casinos operate. With that information, he found a way to steal millions of dollars from casinos.
He did it by placing a basic bet, of $5 chips on a $500 brown chip. It would be placed in a way that, to the dealer, it appeared to only be a $15 bet comprising only 3 red chips. If he won the bet, he would tell the dealer about the size of the bet and take over $1,000. However, if he lost it, he would wait until the dealer was distracted and replace the $510 in chips with $15 in chips. Although the scam was simple, it continued to work for years until Marcus was caught by police. Thought he stole over $5 million (USD), according to CNET, he never faced conviction. These days, he writes books about casino gaming and works as consultant for casinos.