Tag Team

Blackjack Cheating : Tag Teams

If you really want to beat the casinos at blackjack for hundreds, and possibly millions of dollars, then you’re going to want to consider building and operating as a blackjack team. Operating as a team will reduce suspicion (for any one individual), spread the risk, create distraction opportunities and give you a larger bankroll to work with, ultimately scaling your profits faster.

Examples like the movie 21 and the MIT blackjack team epitomized this. You can make money at blackjack on your own. You can make a lot of money as apart of a blackjack team.

That’s a fact.

Popular Blackjack Tag Teams

To understand why blackjack teams are the way to go, all you need to do is look into the past. There are many examples of blackjack teams that have absolutely crushed the casinos for millions of dollars.

Lets look at some of the most famous teams.

Classon Past Posting Team

The Classon Past Posting Team consisted of well-known cheaters like Joe Classon, Duke Swenson and Jerry Palmer. Their cheating methods revolved around past posting. The team started off with past posting in games like roulette and craps, but they eventually made their way to the blackjack tables. This team cheated for well over 20 years, and made lots of money in the process. In fact, Jerry Palmer was so good that he had a payout rate of 95%.

Richard Marcus Past Posting Team

This team consisted of Richard Marcus, Sherri Skoons, Pat Mallery, Mark Abramovitz and Salvatore Gillette. This was the first team to past post $5,000. They were also known for developing what is considered to be the best cheating method in history — the Savannah.

The Savannah works like this.

The player would make a bet. The bet would have a stack of $5 chips on top of a $5,000 chip. When the bet won, the $5k chip would stay. However, when the bet lost the player would remove the $5k chip and swap it for two $5 chips.

This scam worked so well because no one thought twice when the bet lost, since it was only for a handful of $5 chips. And when the bet won, no one knew any better because the $5k chip was placed from the very beginning.

Apparently, the casinos knew they were being cheated. But since they couldn’t figure out how, they had to pay the team anyway.

Tran Organization

The Tran Organization began with Van Thu Tran and her husband, both dealers at an Indian Casino in San Diego. They came up with a false shuffling scheme that tracked cards in Pai Gow Poker. Once the plan looked like it was going to work, they enlisted the help of their family to expand to other games like blackjack and baccarat. They took (or won, however you look at it) the casinos for over $7 million.

The Tran Organization was eventually caught, charged and sentenced. So compared to the other teams listed here they didn’t fare as well. However, had they stopped at some point (yeah right), they could’ve made off with millions of dollars.

MIT Team

The MIT team is the only blackjack team that’s legit. They didn’t blatantly cheat the casinos with past posting moves or electronics — they counted cards. And they were good at it, having won over $5 million dollars over the course of 10 years. The team eventually split up in 1997, after finding it to be increasingly difficult to enter a casino, even with a disguise.

One of the most well-known players was Mike Aponte. He was the inspiration for the character Jason Fisher in the blackjack book Bringing Down the House, which inspired the movie 21 (the movie was based on fact, with a bit of Hollywood glam). He also won the World Series of Blackjack.

Ken Uston was also apart of the MIT blackjack team. He eventually left, though, to go form his own team which ran successfully for several years.

How to Form a Tag Team

I think the best way to form a blackjack team is to model your team after other successful teams. Taking the MIT Team, for example, you would have players in dedicated positions. Each position would a job to do. The MIT Team’s positions included:

Spotters (MIT) – The scout. The Spotter stuck to the minimum wagering limit and counted the cards. He would then signal when the cards were in the team’s favor.

Gorillas (MIT) – The Gorilla only played. He would come into a game with a large amount of money when the count was good. He was dressed like a high roller and acted drunk. The Gorilla would quit when the count favored the house.

Big Players (MIT) – The Big Players would count cards and wager big amounts of money. They mastered advanced wagering techniques that the casinos couldn’t pick up on because they figured it was too hard for a player to wager, count cards and stick to basic strategy.

This is only one example of a blackjack team. If you were cheating you might have a player that distracts the dealer, handles out cashing the chips and makes the past posting move.

However you decide to set your team up, you’ll want to be sure to practice. Your team will need to perform flawlessly so that you don’t arouse suspicion or get caught. You might also want to have special code words or actions for signaling.

A successful blackjack team will have an adequate bankroll and management strategies, too.

How Casino Detect or Find Tag Teams

It’s a little harder to detect a blackjack team, because it’s not just one player that’s winning all the money. It’s several of them. Not only that, but many teams cycle through players to decrease the chances of being made.

How casinos find team players nowadays is facial recognition software. The casinos that made the MIT Team created their own sort of yearbook. Whenever they found a player they added that player’s picture to their book. The casinos also had help from Griffin Investigations, a private investigation firm.