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Hi-tech scam artists target casinos around the world in a never-ending game of cat and mouse
Michael Kaplan
From the Print Edition:
George Lopez, January/February 2010

(continued from page 3)

According to Max Rubin, gaming consultant and author of Comp City, "It reads chips through sensors inside the table. But, in the same way that it reads chips placed in the betting circle, it also picks up signals from chips pressed beneath it. Play for $100 per hand and between hands press a $1,000 chip up against the bottom of the table. Suddenly you significantly increase your average bet, which results in your getting credit [and comps] for being a much bigger player than you truthfully are." However, he offers a caveat: "I know that this used to work. It may or may not still."

Elsewhere, nefarious folks have used lasers, timers and microprocessors to calculate the speed of a roulette wheel, the ball spinning around it and the so-called "decaying orbit." Armed with that information, supposedly they can then predict an area on the wheel where the ball is likely to drop. According to the BBC, an Eastern European team utilized this method to snake £1.3 million from the Ritz Casino in London.

Though their approach is far from perfect, the reality is that cheaters don't need to come up with scams that are completely foolproof. After all, in order to make games appealing to gamblers, the house advantage is fairly thin. In fact, when it comes to roulette, the casino's overlay is just slightly more than five-percent. As Zuniga wearily puts it, "Bad guys only need a little bit of success and a small edge to make a lot of money. If they're not too greedy, they can keep it going for years before the casinos find out."

Michael Kaplan is a Cigar Aficionado contributing editor.

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