The House always wins- or so they say. It’s true- all table games are skewed in favor of the house. Players have long looked for the slightest advantage to gain over the “house” in casino play. Most have chosen the path of studying odds and refining their skills, while others have chosen a more nefarious route, cheating the casino. Popularized by the movie Ocean’s Eleven, and its follow-up Ocean’s Twelve, beating the house has become a full-on obsession for some. Here are a few of the more infamous schemes that innovated the way technology has evolved to respond to the ever-changing methods of cheating.
Roulette is a straight-forward game. The wheel spins, the ball is dropped by the dealer, and the ball randomly lands on a number between 00 and 36. Seems simple enough, right? Well, one Spaniard thought differently. After spending hours upon hours studying the results of a particular roulette wheel, Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo used the data he collected to determine ball-landing probabilities. He developed an algorithm, and used this in Madrid to take the casinos for more than 600,000 euros in a single evening. Confident in his results, he made his way to Las Vegas in the 1990’s and was able to successfully win more than $2,000,000. After being barred from the casinos, Garcia-Pelayo appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled in his favor. He is the reason casinos test their wheels so frequently- and is known as a pioneer in roulette cheat technology.
Blackjack is fairly simple to learn- get as close to 21 as possible without going over. Obtain a higher number than the dealer, and the player wins. The odds favor the house by as little as .43% to as much as 1.80%, depending upon the house rules on splitting, number of decks used, and blackjack payouts. Enter Edward Thorp, the father of card counting. Mr. Thorp developed a method of card counting, the Thorp Count, which he later went on to publish in the book, “Beat the Dealer”. The book explains his analysis of the probabilities of the game and was published in 1996. Mr. Thorp is a member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame, and his science is what paved the way for other cheats- including the infamous MIT students that would follow many of his concepts.
Craps. It’s the loud, crowded table in the middle of the action in any casino. Usually it is manned by no less than 4 dealers- making it impossible to cheat. Or does it? Just ask Dominic “The Dominator” LoRiggio. Perhaps the most prolific dice setter in history, Mr. LoRiggio developed a method of “setting the dice”. This involves starting the dice in a very specific manner, and then tossing them perfectly. The dice remain together in the air and very gently land off of the diamond wall on the craps table. If the arc of the dice, the toss, and of course, the starting position remain constant, then Mr. LoRiggio could accurately predict the numbers the dice would land on. The Dominator practiced this principle for hours upon hours over the course of years to perfect his method. It’s a craft he now passes on to others in his “Golden Touch” DVDs and classes.
We encourage all avid gamers to learn the odds of every game. If you’d like to perfect your theory before trying it out in a genuine situation, consider attending a casino party. This is a mock casino trial featuring real dealers and players without real stakes. Elite Casino Events is a Texas-based casino entertainment service that offers parties with blackjack, roulette, craps, poker and many more options. We welcome you, and your strategies any time.