Blackjack Cheating : Casino Dealers

When I go to the casino the last thing I expect to happen is to be cheated out of my money by the casino and/or its staff. They make millions of dollars per year. Why would they try to steal from me, when they make money from every game I play?

Believe it or not, it happens more than we think. Really.

However, it’s not usually the casino that is trying to cheat you out of your money, though, unless it’s a smaller, private operating.

It’s the dealers.

That’s right. There are bad dealers out there that are trying to cheat you out of your money. Read on to learn how dealers cheat you and their bosses out of millions of dollars each year.

Casino Dealers…. Cheating?

Yeah. It’s shocking, I know. There are plenty of examples to choose from, though. Here are two.

The most famous is Dustin Marks. He worked in Las Vegas as a dealer over the 1970s and 1980s. During that time he managed to cheat his own bosses out of millions of dollars using a number of cheating techniques. He was mostly known for false shuffling, a method that makes it look like the dealer is shuffling the cards, but isn’t actually doing so. That way the dealer (and his accomplices) know exactly where the aces and 10-point cards are. Dustin also had a method for looking at the top card and determining if it was a high value card. If it was he’d deal it to his accomplice.

Dustin Marks later wrote a tell-all-book where he explained how he cheated the casinos and how he got away with it.

Another example of a cheating blackjack dealer is Mr. Hon-Kee ‘Honky’ Man. Hon-Kee was a famous blackjack dealer known for winning the Blackjack Croupier of the Year award 3 years in a row.

Hon-Kee was using a sleight of hand technique to pay his accomplices more than he was supposed to. Although the casino was losing money, they never suspected him because of his status. He was later caught by a dealer-in-training that looked up to and watched Hon-Kee whenever he worked.

Those are just two examples of well known blackjack dealers that were cheaters. All you have to do is Google "blackjack dealer cheaters" or "famous blackjack dealers" and you’ll find several pages of news stories, crimes and bios.

Types of Dealer Cheating

There are so many ways for a blackjack dealer to cheat. Lets look at each one.

False Shuffling – It looks like the dealer is shuffling the deck, but is in fact leaving all the cards in the same place. This gives players an advantage since they’ll know where the cards are. It also gives the dealer an advantage since he’ll know where they are too, and can deal them to his friends accordingly.

Second Deal – The dealer deals the second card from the top instead of the top card. The dealer is leaving the top card for his friend.

Card Stacking / Hi-Low Pick-Up – When the dealers pick up the cards they will stack them so that they know where the 10-point cards and aces are, or so that the first half of the deck consists of high cards and the second half low cards.

Peeking – The dealer will peek at the next card to come. They will usually relay this information to the players so that they make the most profitable move, even if it defies basic strategy or common sense.

I’ve read stories about how dealers will tell people to play their hands face up so that he can help them win money. Then the dealer tells them to lock in a win (to avoid suspicion) by quitting after they’ve won their money back.

Switching Cards – If the dealer is working with a partner he can swap decks and deal from a marked deck. His accomplices would either be at the table (sometimes with glasses on) and/or there would be a player at the table and one at a secure location watching from a camera looking for the marked cards, then relying the info to the player at the table.

Shaved Cards – Dealers will shave the decks on the sides, but leave the 10-point cards alone. These are also known as stripper decks.

How the Casinos Detect Dealer Cheating

It can be difficult for the casinos to detect whether or not a dealer is cheating. Especially if the dealer is trained, is good at sleight of hand and/or working with partners.

The security camera is going to be a big help, especially in seeing if the dealer is stacking cards or dealing from the 2nd card or bottom of the deck.

The players at the table are instrumental in catching cheating blackjack dealers. If the dealer is having a hard time dealer cards or looks like he’s trying to organize them, then you can assume they’re cheating. You also want to listen for a snappy sound as the cards are being dealt. If dealer is dealing seconds the sound will be different. It will be a flat, duller sound.