Every so often I like to report on news of people being caught cheating at blackjack. I do it for a reason: There isn’t a lot of blackjack news and it gives me something to write…No, not that. I do it because for some people, cheating at blackjack can be pretty tempting. With card counting, you can gain an advantage over the dealer, but if you play in such a way that you actually know which cards are coming, that tilts the odds even more in your favor.
I know there are reasons people cheat and I have even written about the psychology of cheating. There are two reasons you should not cheat at blackjack, though: First, cheating is wrong, no matter how you feel about the casino. Second, if you cheat you will most likely be caught. The penalty for cheating in a casino is pretty stiff.
That brings me to the news of three people arrested for allegedly cheating at blackjack in a California casino. According to authorities, they were caught marking cards and using those cards to win $24,000 after only playing for 30 minutes.
On July 12 at the Turlock Poker Room near San Francisco, Gabriel Urbieta Rodriguez started off the day by losing thousands at the blackjack table. Then his luck suddenly changed. He began playing three hands at a time and won almost every hand he played during a half-hour span. As you can imagine, the dealer became suspicious, so he switched to a new deck. Shortly thereafter, Rodriguez then got up from the table and left with his winnings.
A check of the security footage revealed that the cards in the original deck had been marked with “grease spots.” All cards worth 10 points had a grease mark on the outer edge of the cards and all other cards had a mark in the middle. Security footage also revealed that an individual named Cha Say also helped him, as did Robert Younan, the card room supervisor.
According to the casino, Younan made sure the marked deck was used at Rodriguez’s blackjack table. The casino has since confiscated the money won at the table and the three cheaters face felony charges and up to three months in prison. That sentence is actually pretty light, as cheating in a casino often carries a sentence of several years in prison.
So what is the moral of the story? Again, don’t cheat.