Cheating At The Hustler
When I was running the banking group at the Hustler, I knew I was probably being cheated because it wasn’t cheat proof. Your own employees, the casino employees, and the players may be looking for an opportunity to cheat or steal. If you’re losing on the square, winning and losing is part of the business. The problem is that cheating and/or stealing is not easy to overcome since it reduces your odds of winning to zero. When you quit a poker game, the action is over. In the banking business, it’s stressful going to sleep not sure of how much you may be down when you wake up and then you don’t even know if it was legitimate. When our best, popular, and extremely attractive high limit pai gow dealer was caught trying to steal a $5k chip, I wondered how many she had gotten away with.
When I took over as the general manager, I now had access to our surveillance manager named Steve Greene that was exceptionally good. In the 1st incident, he called me up to watch a heads-up blackjack game. The player won $150k in one shoe, cashed out and left. He now showed me an earlier video, where he points out that as the floorman is returning with the shoe as he is setting up the game, in the dark hallway he exchanges shoes with another man walking by him. Of course we fired the floorman but labor laws prohibit us from putting the reason in his files. My job is to protect the interests of the casino so I can’t inform the banking group what occurred to protect us from any liability.
Another time Steve called me to the surveillance room and he showed me a pai gow game at a stand-up table. After the cards are dealt out into 7 equal stacks of 7 cards, there are 3 left for the muck. A cup with 3 dice is shaken and the total determines which seat gets the 1st stack and the subsequent stacks are passed out in a clockwork direction. The button signifies the dealer and it is passed clockwise after a seat has held it for 2 hands. In this game, the button is buying the corporation. In other words, the button is paying the corporation to cover its bet. The button receives the stack (hand) with the joker 7 hands in a row. The joker gives the hand a tremendous advantage. Steve said the odds of the button getting the joker 7 hands in a row was longer than hitting the California lottery. He explained that the total of the dice which could not be read by the camera didn’t matter because the casino dealer, the corporation banker, and the players were all colluding. They knew which stack had the joker and placed that hand in the button position. Another group to be banned.
One time the jackpot was $15,000. It was hit, and procedure was for surveillance to review the tapes until the jackpot was paid out. I got called up to the surveillance room. Steve showed me on tape how the dealer goes to his locker and pulls out a set-up (two decks). He takes it to the poker room and hands it to a new young female chip runner and points to the table for her to take the set-up. When he pushes that table, the girl brings him the new set-up. He spreads the 1st deck and puts the other one in the slot on the tray. After he deals a few hands, the hand comes up with his accomplices in the right position to win the jackpot. He looks at a card like something is wrong with it and breaks it. He then exchanges decks. He takes the new deck and he spreads it but doesn’t scramble it. In fact as he is picking up the deck, he fumbles it and has to straighten it back to its original order. He then acts like he’s shuffling the cards but they never even interlace. He then squares the deck and cuts it. Now he turns and when he turns back, he puts the top of the deck back on the top of the other half. He’s taken the deck, hasn’t scrambled, haven’t shuffled it and hasn’t cut it. Now the jackpot is hit and his to accomplices are screaming for joy. I told him to have the head of security take the tapes to the D.A. and have them press charges. I followed up on it a couple of weeks later, and I was told the D.A. declined to press charges. “Why?” I was asking shaking my head in puzzlement. She said that he hadn’t actually stolen anything and it would be difficult to show intent. In Nevada, he would be charged, convicted and blackballed. We couldn’t even put it in his file. A few months later he was dealing at the Bellagio and I told the cardroom manager Doug Dalton who immediately fired him.
Skeletons with flesh.