Stories about gambling, casinos and betting can be so crazy that they are beyond fiction. From gamblers who have made a killing from scratch, to those who have risked their lives, to those who have extorted millions from the casinos, the movies have had generations of unbelievable stories to draw on.
As you've come to expect, Lucky7Bonus' mascot, Matoupris, loves to tell you these stories, especially those of the big names in gambling. Today, Matoupris tells us the story of Richard Marcus. This gambling fanatic sought revenge on the casinos in a sequence of events reminiscent of the creation and life of a superhero movie villain. We'll see how Richard Marcus managed to cheat at numerous casinos to win millions of dollars in an era when security was not as sophisticated.
The early years of Richard Marcus
First of all, it is important to know that Richard had a passion for betting and gambling in general from a very young age. It is difficult to find the reason for the birth of this passion, but one thing is certain, it existed in him since he was a child.
Betting from childhood
His parents tell us that their son was already having fun taking bets when he could barely speak. During family car trips, Richard would often ask his father and mother to bet on the color of the next car they would pass on the road. A very unusual game for a child under 4 years old!
The first disappointment
At a time when collecting and trading baseball cards was becoming more and more popular in the United States, young Richard found it a way to try his luck at collecting more cards in games, and thus a new passion. His friends quickly became jealous of the boy's good luck until they decided they weren't going to let it continue. A small group of Richard's friends formed to devise a strategy to beat the lucky boy every time while sharing the winnings. By cheating a few times and outnumbering each other, the young group managed to get Richard's entire baseball card collection before the poor loser even realized the scam.
Adolescence and gambling
When he got to high school, despite his bad luck, Richard still had no intention of stopping gambling. Richard discovered Craps, a very American game with very specific rules, which we won't explain here. After learning about the game, Richard once again turned it into a passion. At first he played it during lunch breaks with his classmates and gradually became a compulsive player, never missing an opportunity to play.
Richard offers games to everyone, all the time. Whenever he has a minute to spare, he spends it playing with anyone who accepts the bet.
As you can see, school was not his priority, so he quickly left school and spent his time betting. Richard discovered other forms of gambling and became interested in them, spending his days playing. His interest was in racing, whether it was horse racing, car racing, motorcycle racing or any other type of racing. The young gambler has the feeling that his talent can have a consequence on the outcome of his bets.
A bitter taste in the mouth
Events seemed to prove him right at first, as Richard Marcus had a wild afternoon soon after his debut. He won over $20,000 that day and decided he was finally ready to get rich betting. He went to Las Vegas for the first time in his life to make his winnings go further.
Reality catches up with him extremely quickly and his entire balance disappears after a crazy climb to $100,000, leaving him with nothing at the end of his first night in the vice capital.
The following months are not all rosy for the former lucky man. The one who already saw himself razing the casinos is now without a roof over his head and sleeps under a bridge around Las Vegas for several months.
It was during this period that Richard, with a bitter taste in his mouth, increased his resentment towards gambling establishments. Convinced that the casino cheated to take his money, the lucky gambler turned homeless man is desperate to get his revenge on Las Vegas.
The Rise of the Cheater
Richard Marcus shows up at the Four Queens Hotel and Casino and offers himself as a blackjack and baccarat dealer. He quickly learned the ropes and was eager to learn more about what went on behind the scenes and how his new job would affect the outcome of the game.
Some of his fellow dealers show him their techniques for getting money out of drunken or slower-than-average players, and Richard records these methods and uses them to his advantage in the casino.
An encounter that changes everything
Now a young dealer, Richard is a perfect target for players looking to cheat or manipulate less experienced dealers. That's what Joe Classon was hoping for when he went to Richard's table. The cheater soon realizes that the young newcomer is actually very good at the table and rather than trying to fool him, he decides to take advantage of his skills.
Classon offered Richard a simple deal: in exchange for a successful plan to win a few thousand dollars at the Four Queens casino, the young dealer could join Classon's team of professional cheaters.
Richard Marcus' idea was simple, but effective. By shuffling the cards in a certain way, the dealer who replaced him would lose the next 7 hands. Allowing players to bet against the dealer with the assurance of winning at least 7 hands in a row.
A few tens of thousands of dollars in winnings later, Richard quit his job and joined the cheating team full-time.
The beginning of a destined career
The first method that Joe teaches Richard is actually one of the methods he will use the most throughout his cheating career. The idea is to replace one of the chips in a stack to change the winnings or losses in a hand. By hiding a high-value chip in a stack of small chips, the cheater can make a subtle switch in the event of a loss to minimize the loss. He would then simply show the strong chip to the dealer if he won.
The team members each had a role to play, while the dealer, pit boss, and all members of the surveillance team must be distracted while handling the chips.
Richard described in his book a sense of camaraderie that gave him even more joy than the financial gains. He knew right away that cheating at the casino was his calling.
The details of an effective technique
Richard specialized in the technique of replacing chips in a stack, perfecting it to be effective even without an ally. His method is to sit in the last seat dealt and first seat paid by the dealer. By placing small chips such as 3 $5 chips he makes sure to minimize his losses and in the event of a win, when the dealer pays him, he approaches his hand as if to retrieve his chips, but exchanges the bottom two chips for 2 $10 chips. This move is made very quickly and fluidly, and is undetectable because it is logical. Indeed, the player is logically approaching his hand to retrieve the chips.
He explains that in order to claim the dealer's "mistake", he slaps her hand in a very confident manner. This small blow of violence would serve to effect a mini psychological shock that would make her forget everything she had seen previously.
The second method is the opposite. By hiding a $100 chip in a pile of $5 chips, the cheater leaves the chips untouched in case of a win and must exchange the $100 chip with a $5 chip before the dealer retrieves the pile in case of a loss. This method is more risky, but also more effective on many occasions, and requires a certain amount of skill in acting on a failure.
If the cheater is caught red-handed, all he has to do is apologize and return the big chip most of the time. If the situation is too critical, then he plays the role of a gambler who has overdone it, sometimes even pretending to pass out. This technique was named after his ex-girlfriend, Savannah, so you can imagine why.
The end of Vegas and an incredible world tour
Like all good cheaters, Richard was eventually banned from all Las Vegas casinos. His team was in the same situation, so they all decided to go on a 20-year world tour of the casinos.
20 years of robbing casinos all over the world, making a mockery of security and the progressive advance of surveillance technology.
The end of an incredible career
Richard's cheating career came to an end on December 31, 1999, when he decided to extort his last casino before starting over in the New Year.
He wrote a book entitled American Roulette: How I Turned the Odds Upside Down which was published in 2004.
His story has been featured in several works and he has been involved in many of them. Among other things, Richard offered his experience for the creation of the book Identity Theft Inc, published in 2006. The man who stole dozens of identities to sneak into casinos from which he was banned was able to teach readers how to avoid getting on the wrong side of identity theft. An interesting way to redeem yourself!
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