A LAS VEGAS casino scammer who has stolen £27m from venues around the world is now using his inside knowledge to help them catch criminals.
Richard Marcus, 65, originally from France but raised in New York, invented numerous scams to fool traders, but one gambit in particular earned him millions.
After first falling in love with gambling at the races, he took a job at the world famous Four Queens Casino.
It was there that he was first approached by a player asking him to be part of his plan.
Joe Classon asked Richard to meet up with him one night after his shift and the pair devised a cunning plan to win thousands of pounds.
When he dreamed up this first scam, Richard shuffled the cards in a specific way so players knew exactly what was going to happen when the relief dealer picked them up.
The scheme netted the group £18,000 ($21,000) but Richard’s most successful scam came when he participated in late betting.
He would change the bet after the result was announced or it was obvious how it was going to be.
This “Savannah strategy” involved having other teammates distract the dealer so Marcus could throw in low-value chips if the bet lost.
The move was illegal and even punishable in casinos and in 1982 Marcus was threatened with jail.
He pleaded ignorance and walked away with no conviction and was never convicted of cheating in the casinos.
He eventually decided to leave Classon’s team after 12 years, hoping to start his own team of casino cheats.
After meeting two old school friends, the trio set out to keep the casinos dry.
One of the ways the team used the Savannah strategy method was to hide a £4,400 ($5,000) chip under a £4.47 ($5) chip.
If the bet won, they would reveal what was underneath – and win $10,010.
If they lost the bet, they would quickly swap chips to lose a smaller amount.
If the dealer were really paying attention and pulled the switch, Marcus and his teammates would appear drunk while stuttering and stumbling around.
It would make the switch seem like an honest mistake and he would pretend they didn’t realize the result had come in.
The method brought them millions around the world, from London to Monte Carlo and from France to Aruba, before casinos finally caught on.
After being banned from most casinos, Richard gave up casino cheating and is now employed by them to look for weaknesses that scammers could use to their advantage.
He exclusively told The Sun: “No one has ever heard of a truly professional and successful casino executive at these conferences before.
“For 25 years I had just traveled the world, London, Monte Carlo everywhere and casinos cheated professionally.”
TO BE LUCKY
After winning $20,000 on a horse racing bet, Richard had headed to Vegas and initially managed to turn his jackpot into $100,000.
He was treated like royalty in Las Vegas casinos, wine and dinner and stayed in suites for $800 a night.
However, his luck quickly changed when he lost everything at baccarat and was kicked out of his luxury suite and forced to sleep on the street.
He said, “I took my $20,000 and wagered it on legitimate gambling. I knew nothing about cheating in casinos at the time.
“So I legitimately won $100,000 and I was absolutely blown away by it. You know, I thought it would go on forever.
“And then of course it was my 18th birthday. I lost everything.”
He stole some clothes and got a place at a trade school before getting his first job at the Four Queens Casino.
In June 1977 he met Joe Classon at the baccarat table, who introduced himself as a professional casino cheat.
His offer was irresistible – come up with a scam to rip off the casino and join my team and make thousands of dollars.
Richard’s method meant he could shuffle the cards in a way that allowed his teammates to win the next seven hands in a row.
Richard loved the camaraderie of being part of the team and using a combination of methods, the money started to flow.
He started working for Classon and gave up his dealership job, and eventually the team traveled all over the world.
Richard said, “I joined Joe’s team and for the next 25 years all I did was travel the world cheating casinos professionally.”
After 12 years with Joe’s team, Richard sent out alone and recruited his school friends Andy, known as Balls, and Pat.
Pat had a tremendous presence, says Richard, and was often a charming distraction at the roulette table.
Speaking of his Savannah strategy, he said, “People in the industry say it’s the best casino scam ever.
“Why? Because it was so stupid and easy.
“… There was a lot of psychology involved, but it gave us a rough idea.
He explained how the move worked best at a roulette table, adding, “Because a roulette table is much longer, the distance between the dealer and the bottom of the table, where the last players are, is about five feet.
“The dealer could see that there were two chips there, but unless the dealer came all the way around and looked underneath, which they never did or did, the dealer would just assume it was $10.
“You would think the deal would catch me taking it back and we thought so.
“But it turns out that most of the time the dealer didn’t even notice.”
When asked if anyone around him noticed the switch, Richard says they set up systems to distract the dealer and those around him.
Richard rolled over his “drunk gambler” offense and pretended he hadn’t noticed the bet had come by putting two low-value chips back on the table.
No one suspected anything because they believed it was such a low bet that was being placed on the table.
Richard estimates he’s made £27million ($30million) over his 25-year career as a casino cheat with his teammates.
He said, “And in all the times I’ve done this thousands of times around the world, the dealer never saw the bet.”
Now a reformed character, Richard attends conferences warning casinos whose venues are under threat from scammers.
After learning all the tricks of the trade, he shows casino bosses how he scammed them and advises them on how best to protect their winnings.
He has also written several books about his life and methods including The Great Casino Heist and American Roulette.
He said: “When I was writing my book I was contacted by people in the casino industry, surveillance and security industry who invited me to speak at these conferences.
“Then casinos started hiring me and asking if I would come over to train their staff.
“Now I’m doing this all over the world.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6506398/worlds-biggest-casino-cheater-30million-catch-scammers/ I’m the biggest casino cheater in the world – I swindled £30m at the tables but now I’m catching cheaters like me