These are the Biggest Casino Cheats of All-Time

Cheating, whether it's counting cards, or more elaborate schemes to cheat are a concern for players, dealers, and casinos themselves — and these are the biggest cheats of them all.


To cheat or not to cheat: that’s the question.

While some people head to a casino to have a good time and engage in some entertainment, others view the casino as a path to making money. That can be tough to do if you play by the rules, which is why some people cheat.

As our readers aren’t looking to cheat at casinos, you can find some great places to play in our online casino reviews where you know that the real money games will be fair and your information will be safe.

Throughout history, there have been many casino cheats with all sorts of schemes. Some have gotten busted, while some skated away with their winnings. With that in mind, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back at some of the biggest casino cheats ever.

Richard Marcus – Chips Cheat

Richard Marcus tried gambling the correct way at first, but it just didn’t work out. After some time, he became homeless in Las Vegas, and he needed a job. He managed to pick up some work as a baccarat and blackjack dealer, which is where he started to study how the casinos worked. Soon after, he found a way to cheat the system.

Marcus’ plan was all about the use of sleight of hand. He would place a $500 brown chip on the bottom of two red $5 chips when placing a table game bet. With the way he stacked the chips, it looked like a simple $15 bet from the dealer’s perspective. If he ever wound up winning the hand, he would inform the dealer of the brown chip and cash out his larger payday. If he lost, he would pull away the brown chip and replace it with a red one when the dealer wasn’t looking to make it a small $15 bet.

Marcus wasn’t able to pull this trick off forever as sharp eyes eventually busted him. He did manage to get away with the scam for years. In the end, he received a lifetime ban from all casinos. In many ways, it could have been worse.

He is now using his knowledge to push others to follow in his footsteps. Marcus currently runs a blog and a website and wrote a book called “World’s #1 Casino and Poker Cheating Expert”, where he helps others succeed in this area.

Ida Summers – Looks Can Cheat

They say that looks can kill, but can they cheat too?

Ida Summers was able to use her charm and beauty to distract dealers and make her scam successful. Summers, who eventually earned the nickname Vegas Vixen, was able to cheat for years before getting caught. Her cheating strategy was based on sleight of hand maneuvers. The Vegas Vixen stuck to blackjack tables and would add or remove cards to make herself win. Not only that, but when she started to get really good at the scam, she would utilize entire decks with prearranged cards.

Summers did get caught, and she was arrested. The reason she was caught was because Las Vegas gaming officials were getting suspicious about her consistently winning. They contacted the FBI, and an investigation was launched. It quickly became evident that Summers was cheating. In the end, she got hit with probation instead of a prison sentence.

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Tommy Glenn Carmichael – Successful At Slots

Tommy Glenn Carmichael was one of the worst and most successful slot machine cheaters in history. He first started in 1980 by using a metal cheating device that paved his way to riches. He would place this device into the coin slot on the machine and trigger a payout. As the years passed, casinos continued to update their systems and improve their machines. Carmichael traveled around to the smaller casinos that had not updated their machines to keep on beating the system. However, he did wind up getting caught and was sentenced to five years in jail.

When released from jail, Carmichael continued to scamming casinos with an enhanced version of the previous device. This device he created has now been coined the term “monkey paw”. Casinos would continue to improve their security systems, and so would Carmichael’s cheating methods. Sophisticated electronic slot machines were developed, and right behind them was Carmichael and his light wand. It worked in the same principle as the metal device but used light to trigger the wins.

Carmichael was caught and arrested for cheating in 1996, 1998, and again in 1999. This time he was given a much longer prison sentence and banned from casinos for life. Nowadays, he works with casinos to create anti-cheating devices.

Edward Thorp – Card Counting King

person holding hand of cards

Counting cards is a big casino no-no.

Edward Thorp is a well-known figure in the world of cards. Some believe that he was the founding father of card counting, a trick that is commonly used today.

Thorpe started off by working on a computer to learn everything there is about blackjack. Eventually, he discovered that if you knew what cards are possibly coming next (or narrowed down what they could be), then the player would have an advantage over the casino.

Thorpe then traveled to Vegas to test out his theory, and in one weekend, he earned $11,000. Thorpe didn’t just keep on hitting the casinos until he was a millionaire. Instead, he wrote a book titled “Beat the Dealer” that described his method and sold over 700,000 copies. It was a much smarter way of going about his business and a lot less risky too. The book even landed on the New York Times best sellers list.

Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo – Rolling To Roulette Winnings

Garcia-Pelayo believed that if he figured out everything regarding a roulette’s spinning wheel and the distribution of outcomes, then he could beat the casino. After spending time examining roulette wheels, he found that some had a pattern. He realized that there were imperfections on the roulette wheel, and some numbers hit more often than others did. He took tons of time to research all of this and then picked up nearly 600,000 euros in one night while testing this new theory. He traveled down to Vegas to collect another $2 million there.

Casinos couldn’t figure out how he knew what he knew, so they just banned him without much justification. Garcia-Pelayo fought his lifetime casino bans all the way up to the Supreme Court, but he wasn’t able to overturn their ruling. He lost his case and has not been able to return to many casinos.

James Guill

James Guill is a former professional poker player who writes fro about poker, sports, casinos, gaming legislation and the online gambling industry in general. His past experience includes working with IveyPoker, PokerNews, PokerJunkie, Bwin, and the Ongame Network. From 2006-2009 he participated in multiple tournaments including the 37th and 38th World Series of Poker (WSOP). James lives in Virgina and he has a side business where he picks and sells vintage and antique items.

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