BY SUZANNE YEAGLEY for McSweeney’s
Q: Do you see a lot of people cheating?
A: It goes in waves. There are periods of calm and then the shit hits the fan and lots of things start to happen.
There are organized cheat teams from overseas. Like Hungarian or Ukranian. They’ll play Caribbean Stud, where there is a $100,000 payoff if you get a royal flush.
Q: How do they cheat?
A: They’ll put little thumbtacks under their thumbnail to mark the cards. Or they’ll do card-switching.
A: Yeah. Imagine you’re sitting to my left. Then I put a card in my right hand and tuck it under my left arm. You do the same—tuck a card in your left hand and pass it to me under your right arm. It happens so fast it can be hard to catch. These guys do it for a living—they’re polished.
Q: How do you confirm that they cheated?
A: Before we pay out there is a process. We’ll watch the past six hands and the dealer will fan the cards out to make sure they’re all there. And we take facial photos of all the patrons at the table. Then they’ll send the cards to the surveillance room for us to look at.
Organized cheat teams are falling by the wayside though.
I’ve caught people on a small scale too. Just the other day someone showed me a guy who had a winning hand and capped his bet.
Q: Capped his bet?
A: Yeah, he put extra chips on top of his stack. We reviewed the footage and he’d done it three or four other times. The police arrested him and charged him with cheating at play.
Q: What’s the penalty for that?
A: I think it’s a fine.