Cheaters ruin everyone’s day. They make it impossible for responsible players to win, while making it harder on casinos to keep games running fairly. Every casino in Vegas has their own recipe for protecting themselves and their guests from unscrupulous cheaters.
While we obviously can’t go into specifics on our own anti-cheating measures, you might be interested to learn more about some of the tools we generally use to fight cheating. Ultimately, our tactics are designed to keep the playing field level so that everyone who walks into our 100,000-square foot casino game space can have a good time without worrying that someone’s going to take advantage of them.
Eagle Eyes In The Sky
You probably already know that most casinos use surveillance cameras on the game floor. They supplement plainclothes security personnel who wander around and sometimes even join games. With all the action, it’s just not always possible for dealers and security staff to keep track of everything, and cameras can catch what people miss.
Have you ever seen a street magician at work? It’s amazing what visual tricks people can pull off. Our own ILLUSIONS master Jan Rouven can perform downright astonishing visual tricks on a grand scale; but many people have similarly mastered smaller, subtler sleights of hand. And unfortunately, some of them put their tricks to illicit use, like switching cards in and out of a game (called hand mucking).
To catch such tricksters, we have to be equally adept at spotting the cheat. Between cameras and security staff, we pay attention to the details. If we notice unusual behavior, like players repeatedly touching the same spot on their clothes, a security person will quietly take a closer look.
Gaming the Games
Sometimes it’s not about what the cheater can take but about what they can illegally add. Here are a couple of examples:
Roulette: A pair of cheaters work together. One distracts the croupier (dealer), while their partner-in-crime makes a late bet, that is, lays a bet on the table after “last bets” have been called. A late bet is more likely to win because it’s easier to predict where the ball will land as the wheel slows. Dealers are specifically trained to watch for this tactic, and plainclothes security personnel frequent these tables, but you can also be sure that multiple video cameras are monitoring the roulette tables.
Craps: Here, a cheater might throw in crooked dice (weighted dice). This is harder to pull off, but we still keep our eyes alert to it. This kind of cheat is also part of the reason why casinos switch out dice so frequently and permanently retire dice after little more than a partial day’s worth of play.
Like any detective work, often it’s just a matter of connecting the right dots to figure out what’s going on. We don’t have access to endless information about the people who play in our casinos, but we notice if there are unusual patterns in the financial transactions that take place. Frequently, it comes to nothing. But sometimes, it pays off when it alerts our people to shenanigans.
Which brings up an important point…
The Best People
We will happily use security technology where it helps us catch cheaters before they can ruin everyone’s game; but the best security means more than just dumb tech. It means smart, observant and experienced people, both dealers and security staff.
Casino employees who are in on the cheat are rare; casinos go to great lengths to ensure they hire the right people for the job. That said, it happens. That’s why casinos employ a sort of “checks and balances” system to keep everyone honest. Dealers may not – and in fact, rarely do – know all of the plainclothes security personnel who are mingling, wandering, and even playing. Even the watchers are watched!
Altogether, we employ every tool and technique we can to ensure everyone has a great gaming experience. Learn more about our Las Vegas Casino games and policies. Our dealers and staff are always happy to answer questions and introduce you to the games.
Image credits: poker hand by amab7 and dice by ollycb, via sxc.hu