Do Casinos Cheat ?

Caroline O'Hagan By Caroline O'Hagan, 17th Dec 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Gambling>Casino Games>Casino Help

How do casinos make their money? Do systems work ? This article written by a former dealer explains in a simple manner why casinos don't have to cheat and why "systems" don't work.


As a former casino croupier people often ask me if I had to cheat for the house, or if the casinos cheated. I would explain that the casinos didn't have to cheat because the house rules are set up so that the posted odds are in their favor and that as a minimum wage, tipped employee, I needed them to win to make a decent living. I always had the sense that people didn't quite believe me despite my explanations. Finally I hit upon a way of explaining that anyone could understand. If we both had $10 and played heads or tails for even money, either one of us could win, but...
If I had $10,000 and you only had $10 and I only agreed to play if I paid you .90 cents when you bet a dollar and won, but you would have to pay me $1 for $1, the odds would be in my favor. Of course anything could happen in the short run, and you might win $90 quickly, count yourself as lucky and walk away, but if we kept playing every day, eventually i would grind you down, even if you were luckier than I. The odds can do marvelous and fabulously strange things in particular instances over short periods of time, but in the long run they average out and casinos have hundreds of thousands of gambling instances every day. That is why they are in such a hurry, when the odds are in your favor the more bets that are made the more money you will make. If some people walk away winning that is great for business, but they know the law of averages will give them their profit in time — if everybody plays by the rules. If you go on holiday and play in the casino you can have fun, win or lose, great, but if you think that you can beat the casinos over time, you will need more than good luck and a system — you would need to break the law.
There are many people who sell gambling systems and some of them take advantage of the doubling up strategy which can appear to work, but eventually you will lose because you will hit the maximum allowable bet very quickly . As humans we have the perception that if you flip a coin and it comes up heads 100 times in a row, the odds that it will come up heads again on the next flip will be heavily in favor of tails, however the true odds on the next flip are still exactly 50/50. Casinos are quite happy to allow you to double your bets till you hit a bad run and you hit the max allowable bet and can't recoup . This is why casinos have maximum and minimum bets on all table games. If there was no minimum or maximum and if you had a very large bankroll, you could defy the stacked odds by starting out with a small bet and doubling it with every loss and starting over with the initial small amount with every win . The Casino minimums and maximums prohibit this way of getting around things.

For example with roulette there are 36 numbers, plus the 0 and 00 - or 38 possible outcomes when the ball is spun. If you lay one chip down on one number, your actual odds of winning are 38 - to - one, however they only pay you 35 - to - one when you win, and take your whole bet when you lose. People think that if you put your money down on red or black and use the doubling strategy they can win, but the zero's mean that the house should pay more than even money for a win and the minimum and maximum will stop you from being able to continue doubling when you need to.

In the short run you can win money but if you continue to play, over time you will lose all your money. This is also because the house has a much larger bank than you do so they can afford to ride out the vagaries of luck and continue to play .When I worked as a croupier we always viewed people who had systems with a mixture of sympathy and aversion. They think they have invested money in something that is going to make them money so when they lose all their money they are even more angry at having not only lost their gambling money, but also what ever they spent on their system. Often they don't want to admit that they were so gullible, so they insist that the casino or the dealer cheated them. In the US and most countries the dealers only make minimum wage. In 11 years of working in 4 different countries I never received a penny from the casino based on either the profit they made or the amount of money that came across the table .The majority of my salary comes from tips. People who lose their money don't tip well. The dealers have no incentive to steal from their customers, but they have plenty of incentive to steal from the casinos which is why they have to have extensive criminal background checks and why they are watched so closely by the casino personal who don't deal the games but are only watching out for the casinos interest — they are paid on salary of course. Anyone who tells you that they are a professional gambler is either a liar or a criminal- Making money by selling a system to beat the casinos doesn't qualify-if it actually worked it would be a closely guarded secret because the casinos would just change their rules to circumvent any legal strategy that would turn the odds against them. Many people will swear to you that their system works or that they make money at the casino and working in regional casinos in the UK , I often heard this kind of talk from customers and it was never true. They might have been deluding themselves because of their addiction or it may have been a matter of pride but the casino personnel knew the truth.

There are systems out there that teach you how to count cards but with the 6-8 deck shoes, with the cut card two decks in, it is a slight advantage that is easily recognized by your betting patterns. I used to deal single deck from my hand in Vegas and if someone suddenly upped their bet I would be instructed to shuffle before dealing the next hand no matter where the cut card was. If you have associates on hand ready to respond to signals and they suddenly walk dump a large sum on a table the casinos recognize that behavior too — you are not the only one who knows when the count is good.

I used to gently remind people when they were having an uncanny winning streak and then starting to put it back in, at the risk of getting in trouble with the pit boss — "If you don't walk away at some point when you are winning, then you will walk away a loser." Only a few ever took my advice. I have watched really nice, intelligent people win and then lose a fortune because after winning $40,000 they couldn't accept walking away with only $20,000 , when the day before they would have been happy to win $1000. It is against our nature, and that is also what the casinos count on, along with getting you drunk and creating a timeless fantasy atmosphere to lower your inhibitions and disorientate you so you will be more likely to make rash decisions. Gambling can be fun as long as you understand how it works so you don't get taken advantage of. The casinos deserve to make a profit for providing a service, but they don't deserve your life's savings. Educate yourself as to how to increase the odds in your favor by playing intelligently and there's good information out there. Once you understand the casinos rules of a game and what the true odds of different betting situations are you can read about different strategies and look at where a casinos rules will circumvent the strategy. You can use some of these strategies in your own play if you understand their limits and understand you can still lose. Don't pay for a system — if it worked the author would be out there using it, not sharing it with you. Remember to walk away at some point while you are winning and don't chase a loss.


Casino Advantage, Casino Help, Gambling, Gambling Addiction, Gambling Systems, Odds

Meet the author

author avatar Caroline O'Hagan
I love to read and share information. I love to learn new things about the world and myself. I am an American living in Ireland.

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author avatar Denise O
28th Dec 2010 (#)

Very interesting explanation and so true. Good read.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Caroline O'Hagan
28th Dec 2010 (#)

thanks for the encouragement- my first ever published piece wow - I am so proud !

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author avatar Matt Harrison
29th Dec 2010 (#)

Hi Caroline, long time no see. I was just thinking of you and I googled you and found this great article. I remember your words of wisdom after I lost all my stake in black jack thinking that if I could card count one deck I'd be okay against the house. How wrong I was. ;)

All the best. Not sure how to get back in touch but if you're on facebook feel free to add me if you want. M@

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author avatar Retired
14th Jan 2011 (#)

Thanks for sharing

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author avatar Shalaka
6th May 2011 (#)

Great piece of information put in a nice way. Thanks

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author avatar MUHEENUL IMTIAZ
7th Jul 2011 (#)

the word circumvent makes it a little easier to identify you.

don't bluff a bullshitter.

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author avatar Thomas Smith
26th Oct 2011 (#)

Not true. In some countries, the casinos do cheat or rig the games to make huge profits.
Ask yourself if you trust some governments or not ? I dont

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author avatar Tony
2nd Apr 2012 (#)

Casinos do cheat. They can do it with the equipment in Blackjack. The automatic card shuffling machines bunch the 10 value cards. This raises the house edge above what is advertised. There is zero risk of being detected or inspected. If they ever are questioned they just can say they had a malfunction.

How come the card machine can read every card in a 6 deck shoe to see one is missing, but not shuffle the deck randomly so the 10 value cards are not bunched?

Think about that genius.

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author avatar Tony
2nd Apr 2012 (#)

You are perpetuating a Myth my dear.

Criminals steal to get more money. They have to make it appear as if you can win to entice you to come in, then the equipment rigs the games to raise their edge. No risk of being caught... ever. Nobody inspect the equipment.

All the games can be fixed and not noticed other than the players losing more frequently than the advertised edge.

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author avatar Anthony
25th Aug 2012 (#)

Casinos not only have the ability to illegally raise the house edge at any time with the equipment, but they will never get caught.

In Blackjack the random shuffle is an advantage to the player. This is a mathematical fact. The Casinos can alter the shuffle and bunch the 10 value cards to turn a winning table into a losing table at any time. This is a fact.
Casinos will never get caught because nobody will ever challenge them. Even if they inspected the equipment it is easily dismissed and they have plenty of notice.

In Blackjack they remove 10 value cards from play by bunching them. That means they do not come out randomly. This raises the house edge and is hardly noticed.

In dice the house purchases serialized dice which are controlled by only a few knowledgeable people. The dice are manufactured imperfectly so that they will roll certain sides more than others. Specifically, the house will weight the 2 and 5 sides and the 6 and 1 sides. This will increase the chances of rolling a 7 which the house clears the table after the point is out. The other sides are 3 and 12 which are proposition bets, but will wipe a pass line bet on the come out. The other combinations are 10 and 4, which are 3 way numbers which most people will lay money against the shooter, betting that a 7 will show up first.

If you happen to see this in action it appears funny that the 4 and 10 roll more than the 6 or 8. Also, a seven will come nearly every 4 or 5 rolls instead of the normal 6 roll average.

By doing this the house guarantees a losing table for players who bet the pass line or place the 6 and 8 which is how most people will bet. On the wrong side, players who lay against the 4 or 10 thinking "it won't roll" will see them roll and lose their money.
It's a pretty sneaky thing the casinos do to pad their pockets.

The roulette wheels are all fixed. With roulett they use tiny electronmagnets or vibrators to pull the ball in and/or push it away from a slot.

The best bet is not to go to a casino becuase they definitely, absolutely, and without a doubt will cheat you by raising the edge at will.

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