Casino Cheating vs Advantage Play

Some people misconstrue blackjack card counting as cheating, thinking that this is why casinos throw out card counters. However, card counting is actually a legal advantage play method and isn’t considered illegal by any means. So how far does one have to go to cross the line before they become a cheater? Find out as […]

blackjack-proSome people misconstrue blackjack card counting as cheating, thinking that this is why casinos throw out card counters. However, card counting is actually a legal advantage play method and isn’t considered illegal by any means.

So how far does one have to go to cross the line before they become a cheater? Find out as we discuss advantage play vs casino cheating.

Advantage Play is all Skill-Based

Many advantage players see gaming as a competition between them and casinos. They train for hours in a certain game, learning different methods that will give them a small long-term edge over casinos. Pros typically use other means to throw casinos and/or dealers off to so that they aren’t detected.

For example, high-stakes blackjack player Don Johnson prearranged a number of rules with Atlantic City casinos, whereby he got perks such as free bets every time a dealer messed up. He then proceeded to take advantage of this by bringing beautiful women with him and throwing the dealer off. Bloomberg did an entire special on Johnson if you’d like to see all the tricks that won him $15 million.

Phil Ivey court casePoker pro Phil Ivey blurred the edge between advantage play and cheating when he won $9.6 million off the Borgata and another $12 million off London’s Crockfords Casino. Ivey used a baccarat technique called edge sorting, which involves looking for flawed card backs so that you can tell which cards are coming next.

This probably would have been fine, but he went even further by requesting that the dealer rotate cards out of superstition; this was really so that he could see the card backs better. He’s now locked in lawsuits over the $21.6 million combined, although no judge has accused him of cheating at any point.

Casino Cheating is pretty obvious

Some players make no qualms about what they’re trying to do – win money from casinos at any cost. And they’re willing to completely breaks rules and laws to do so.

Tommy Carmichael is one of the best-known examples because the slots thief robbed numerous Vegas slot machines with the “monkey’s paw” and other inventions. Considering that Carmichael had no intention of using skill, beyond the cheating devices he created, he did multiple jail stints.

Another famed cheating example involves Leo Fernandez and Veronica Dabul, who were arrested and sued by the Wynn in 2011. The South American poker pros were cheating in craps by sliding dice across the craps table. Sliding by itself might not have been so bad, but one player would distract the dealer while the other slid the dice. They won $700,000 through this technique, but didn’t get to keep any of it after the lawsuit.

As you can see, in most cases it’s easy to distinguish cheating from advantage play. However, as Ivey’s story shows, it can also be hard to separate the two.

 

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