Top-5 casinos cheats in history

Hankey pankey

Richard Marcusto discovered a pretty simple way to scam casinos out of money using basic sleight of hand, and in his case, that money became millions over his career.

He place a simple bet, two red $5 chips on top of one $500 brown chip. However, Marcus placed the bet so that through the eyes of the dealer, it appeared to be only a $15 bet with three red chips.

If the bet won, Marcus would inform the dealer of the size of the bet and pocket over $1,000. If the bet lost, he's wait until the dealer looked away and replace the $510 in chips with $15 in chips.

The simple scam worked for years, that is until Marcus was caught, prosecuted and banned from casinos. That didn't really stop Marcus though as to this day he continues to serve as a mentor to other cheats. Operating a website, blog and as the author of two books, Marcus, the self-proclaimed "World's #1 Casino and Poker Cheating Expert" continues to help others through "education."

Portable computer of 1972

Keith Taft was a real-life Inspector Gadget. With his son Marty he began his tinkering in the 70s and is considered one of the first to create a computer to capture digital video and a microcomputer.

He first completed a 15-pound computer named George to help with card counting which he controlled with his toes and wore under his clothes.

Being too bulky, he created a more lightweight device which he named David and was shockingly advanced for its time. With it he made $40,000 the first week he used it. He was eventually detained at a casino and his computer was found, but because the casino and the FBI had not the slightest inkling of how to use it, and therefore couldn’t prove it was used for cheating, Taft was let go with no consequences.

A remote control roulette ball

The scam took three people: There was an inside man who was the roulette croupier, his brother-in-law (who would pose as the player) and that guy's sister, Monique Laurent, who would always go to the next table over. The key was that the inside man, in addition to knowing how to run a roulette table, also happened to be a ham radio hobbyist. And he was the one who came up with the idea of constructing a tiny radio receiver that was placed inside a custom-made roulette ball. Considering that this was 1973, we're practically talking about NASA-level technology here.

The croupier would run his roulette table as usual, with his brother-in-law placing bets at his table. The croupier would sneak his robot ball into play, and from a table away Monique activated it with her transmitter (which was hidden in a pack of cigarettes), which allowed the ball to enter a controlled dive where it would always land within a grouping of six numbers with 90 percent accuracy. In one week, the team raked in 5 million francs.

They were caught because of... Monique's beauty. Casino owner could not take his eyes off her and pretty soon he noticed a few things that were unusual, like how she was always alone and only played at a losing table. And how that table was within a short distance from the roulette table where this one incredibly lucky dude kept winning. Finally, she always had her hands on a cigarette case.

The manager put two and two together...the rest is obvious.

Slot hacking

Dennis Nikrasch actually hacked slot machines. So how the hell do you "hack" a machine that isn't connected to any kind of network?

First, he bought himself his own slot machine to practice on at home, and also for fun. Then he bought the computer chips that regulated the slots from the machine manufacturer, because apparently that's something that's totally available to anyone. He figured out how to modify his chips so that he could trigger a payoff any time he wanted, but of course that only let him beat the slot machine he owned, and we assume he quickly got tired of winning his own quarters back. What he needed to do was get his hacked chips inside the casino's machines.

What he didn't have was the key to physically open one up, but he found one on the black market. Then Nikrasch put together his team. They would position themselves so that surveillance cameras couldn't watch, then Nikrasch would open the slot machine, replace the computer chip and close it back up in under a minute. Another accomplice would play the machine, triggering the jackpot, and everybody won. Except the casinos. And except Nikrasch, eventually, when his own jerk team set him up for a bust.

Golden hands

What sets Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio apart from other counterfeiters is that he was able to duplicate just about anything made out of precious metals or stones. The slot coins found weren’t just counterfeits, they were precisely the same as the real things in every way; they essentially WERE the same thing.

In order to pull this off, “The Coin” needed some seriously specialized equipment. These hard-to-obtain things included: precious metals such as copper, nickel, and zinc, laser-cutting tools to cut, shape, and create dies to stamp out the coins, and a 150-ton press from Italy.

He was so good, that when coins were brought by officials to one of the casinos Colavecchio had hit, security experts there did not even believe they were counterfeit.

It took weeks to sort out just how much “The Coin” stole from the dozens of casinos he had made coins for. It was impossible to ascertain a definite amount since those in Las Vegas refused to even acknowledge that they had been cheated. Estimates range from $100,000 to $500,000, and it was clear he had no intentions to slow down. The government had to rent two storage facilities just to store all of the loot they found in Colavecchio’s possession.

A plea deal was reached when he promised to show law enforcement exactly how his operation had worked in order to help in the prevention of future, similar assaults on casinos.

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