5 Gamblers who Beat the Casino
We’ve all heard the expression, “the house always wins”. Yet that does nothing to quash the excitement and anticipation of potentially winning big at the casino. Sure, there are some casino games with strategies and systems, but ultimately, whether you win or not simply comes down to luck. If you want to try your luck at beating the casino, then you should pick one of the offers from casinoreviews.co.uk. Of course, there are always stories about people who did actually beat the system. Here, you will find a rundown of 5 gamblers, who either through ingenuity and intelligence or outright cheating, took on the casino and walked away minted.
In the early 90’s, this Spaniard successfully exploited wheel bias to make a killing in roulette. The theory goes that not all roulette wheels are perfect. Factors such as flaws in the gears, slightly different pocket sizes or the wheel not being entirely level can cause some numbers to come up more often than others. Garcia-Pelayo, along with his family members watched thousands of spins, recording and then analysing the results through a computer program he devised. When he found a wheel that appeared to not be entirely random, he would bet only on the hot numbers that appeared more frequently, enabling him to reap the rewards. After having worked the scheme to clear out countless casinos throughout Spain, he took his practice over to the casinos of Las Vegas. By the time Garcia-Pelayo retired, he had earned an estimated $1.5 million.
In 1995, Reid Errol McNeal aroused the suspicion of executives at Bally’s Park Place Casino in Atlantic City, when he defied odds of around 1 million to 1 to scoop the massive $100,000 keno jackpot. He displayed little emotion, could not provide ID and also requested his payout in cash. State gaming officials were alerted, who took McNeal away from his friend Ron Harris for questioning. Alarm bells started ringing when McNeal declared that his buddy worked for the Nevada Gaming Control Board as a computer technician. In fact, his official job had been to test and analyse slot machines throughout Nevada to ensure they met official standards.
Needless to say, Harris had made a quick exit, yet officials found books and computer programs showing how to exploit the technology to determine which numbers would win the keno jackpot. It also turned out that this was not a one off. In fact, Harris had reaped the rewards over the previous few years by using his computing and mathematical skills to manipulate slot machines. The law eventually caught up with Harris, who was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Of course, he also lost his job as a result of his attempt to beat the casino.
Tommy Glenn Carmichael
A notorious slot machine rigger, Tommy Glenn Carmichael spent nearly 4 decades cheating Las Vegas casinos out of their money. As a television repair man by profession, Carmichael had a keen interest and understanding of mechanical and electrical devices. In 1980, his friend introduced him to the “top-bottom joint”, used to produce payouts from slot machines. He hot footed it over to Vegas and set to work emptying various slots. However, shortly after, he was arrested after being caught with the cheating device.
Yet a stint in prison did nothing to rehabilitate him. He went on to develop further tools and devices, such as the Slider and Monkey Paw, to defraud slot machines. As slot machines evolved to computer based models, he invented the Light Wand; a device using a mini light and a camera battery. This not only enabled him to trigger payouts from slot machines, but also to make as much as $10,000 a day selling his invention to other cheats. After another prison sentence, Carmichael turned over a new leaf, creating anti-cheating devices for casino security teams to use.
MIT Blackjack Team
No doubt you have heard of these guys. Not only have books been written about them, there was even a hit movie, 21, starring Kevin Spacey, based on their story. The team was made up of a group of students and ex-students, predominantly from Harvard University who used sophisticated blackjack card counting techniques and strategies to beat casinos worldwide. Their reign started in the late 70’s and continued for at least 20 years. The team recruited new members using flyers and posters across college campuses. Potential new players underwent rigorous testing and training to ensure they could use the team’s advanced tactics in real casino environments.
The team acquired financial support from various anonymous investors and took on the casinos of Las Vegas, as well as many others throughout the world. As the profits rolled in, so did the heat from the casinos. Many players were recognised and barred from playing blackjack and this effectively ended the team’s reign. Overall, it is estimated that the MIT team made a profit of over $5 million within the space of just a few years, making them one of the biggest successes in beating the casino.
Known as the father of card counting, Edward Oakley Thorpe invented the original system. He was a highly intelligent mathematician and physicist. After playing blackjack with friends, he began to investigate whether players could gain an advantage against the casino. He used sophisticated computer programming to simulate thousands of hands of blackjack and closely analysed and interpreted the results to devise the card counting system.
Thorp used his system to play blackjack at casinos, with great success. Casino executives could not fathom how his winning streak was so consistent, and he pocketed tens of thousands of dollars. In 1962, he released his guide to card counting in his book “Beat the Dealer”. It was hugely successful and led to the boom of card counting, as players tried out the systems for themselves. Thorp’s methods have been the basis of every subsequent card counting system, and earned him a place in the Blackjack Hall of Fame.