Welcome to Las Vegas!
I was in Vietnam's night observation system 1973-1975 to support Project MASSTER-Mobile Army Sensor Systems Test, Evaluation, and Review. This is just job and it wasn't easy.
Watching Over ...
I'm retired in Surveillance and happy to be alive! Now, I ended up in Las Vegas as Casino Surveillance Officer on the strip and a local all around player for over 32 years. I started playing Blackjack and Texas Holdem at Barbary Coast way back in the 80's. I won several 1st place trophies at some time including the 1990 Gold Coast Tournament of Champions with over 1000 entries with unlimited re-buy for 2 hours. I played all kinds of games for my own amusement. Las Vegas is all fun and games until it hurts financially. Gambling is just flipping a coin. But, the odds alternate dramatically between high and low values if you have a true knowledge of the game. I used to drag myself to work, come in 15 minutes early to check recorders, monitor status, sequencers, pass on assignment, report logs and repeatedly over a long period of time monitors activity inside and out of the casino while performing mundane tasks such as slew of incident reports, phone calls, computer processing and verifying thousands of camera inputs. Surveillance room is mandatory under gaming regulations and is considered a non revenue generating department in the casino. Although, Our job saves the company a lot of money depends on apprehending anyone cheating or stealing.
It was cold and snowing outside, hell is frozen in Vegas but oddly enough, everyone seems enjoying themselves when I was assigned at Paris Casino high limit area to protect their assets. Monitored several High Rollers betting chocolate chips ($5,000) all over the betting circles. Rich people, when they hit the baccarat table on which bets are laid, counting in millions of dollars. I observed in quick succession of dealer taking and paying markers at the same time.One that is in such a condition where hundred of thousands of cheques are exchanging hands. I observed even the best and experienced Baccarat dealers make mistakes or easily get confused and sometimes forget to mark or put the corresponding lammers owed by a player. During my observations at this time frame, there were too many hands around the table and very insistent, generalized demand to take or pay their markers and in a blink of an eye, caught one of our best dealer fail to put 2 buttons worth $200,000. The floorperson fail to verify the button placement of the dealer. I immediately notified the ACM and the player concurs to replace the buttons owed next to commissions. Monitored suspicious activity between this dealer and floorperson which may occur all through my shift for conspiracy to no avail. Report log under investigation until proven otherwise. I have saved the company $1 million that day and it's just a feeling of pride but barely noticed by management. Plain mistakes happens everyday. So, if we are not really watching the game.Casinos will lose a lot of money. But, Management or stockholders just doesn't comprehend the savings generated by Surveillance.
Anyway, There are considerable number of people who had sheer force of attractions to gamble and contribute mostly their hard earned money to the casino industry. If you are just trying to win because of luck. Sure, you can win on a given day but when your luck runs out.You should know when to quit because the Odds maker will get to you. It's an intrument to separate the fools from their money. Winning in the casinos is like a loan that you give it back sooner or later. Paris Casino had so many celebrities like some owner of NFL teams or the prince of Brunei who had all the luxury guest room on top and bottom floors were paid for security purposes. High Rollers had bankroll in millions of dollars in the main cage and gambles for high stakes. Surveillance rooms had some pretty complete idiot supervisors who are employed because they were trained killers in the military.You can't argue with them, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
What happen in Vegas stays in Vegas except if you don't have a healthy lifestyles and prevention. You might go back home sick or broke. I played baccarat in my spare time. This is one of the most popular games in the Philippines before Macau. A $20 winning bets on the bank side pays $19 to $20 due to a 5% commission and winning bets on the player side pays 1 to 1, winning bets on a tie usually pays 8 to 1. In the event of a tie, banker and player bets will push. So, If you lost $100,000.on a player side, the casino usually refund 10% of your losses under customer relations for $10,000 and if you are a wise guy playing with a partner winning $100,000. on the banker side, minus the $5% commissions for $5,000. scammers automatically win $5,000. After reporting this incident when players are offsetting bets, they are still allowed to play by wagering only on one side of the betting circle. Team play photos are saved to allow Floorpersons call Surveillance in case cheaters are on a prowl again. There are times when new dealer make mistakes by example, not drawing a card when the banks total is 6 and the player third card was a 6 or 7. Shot takers usually jump in on the next deal by betting what they got and sometimes hold the game just to barrow some money from their neighbors or run to ATM's to bet the table limit. I have frequently encountered this kind of problem specially with small time gamblers. It's easy to notice when the bets are going up the roof. I know when something is wrong and immediately call the pit supervisor assigned to that table before the cards are dealt to review any mistakes. The reason behind this is when the bet is a winner. Everyone is happy and the game continues. But when the bet is a loser. Players starts to complain about the dealer mistakes resulting in an out of sequence deal. All money lost will be refunded without question. Gaming control board doesn't tolerate mistakes in the gaming area. The worst case scenario is when all the players are taking a shot at the full rack. Intentional shot takers photos are recorded. There are times when players are allowed to handle and look at the cards on Mini Bacc. Cheaters usually advertise their cards and hold one card on the right hand and palming the other card with the left hand before switching next to player on the right hand side. Bold magician with a sophisticated sleight of hands to con wary dealers may introduce a natural cards to make 8 or 9 on the first two cards and no further cards are drawn. They use a drop down green scooper opening and accept the 2 card at the bottom and the fake cards will slide down to the right hand side showing a natural cards. It's a one time magic before the disappearing act. This is one reason player secretly steal cards of a losing hands and destroy the fake cards in pieces. If the floorperson can no longer read the cards. It's a jigsaw puzzle for us. Beware, I can put it back in one piece. Surveillance doesn't have to examine the cards unless requested to do so. Baccarat used cards are thrown away or cancelled for disposal.
In Roulette, there are two kinds of layout. The Single-zero wheel with 37 numbers and Double-zero wheel with 38 numbers. It means, If you bet $1, you will win 35 times the bet and lose 37 or 38 times of your bet. You should know all the bet name like a straight bet which pays 35 to 1, street bet pays 11 to 1, basket bet (0-00-1-2-3) pays 6 to 1. etc. Straight bet win payout are computed by units. Straight bet win is 35 to 1. That is the number of units divided by 2 multiplied by 7 then add 0 will be the payout. Example $16 divided by 2 = 8 x 7 = 56 add 0 = $560. Street or line bet pays 11 to 1. Any number from 1 to 45 just add the two digits and insert in the middle and should be the payout. Example $45 add both numbers = 9 insert 9 between 45 = $495 payout. Kinda confusing sometimes. In the past, paper money was generally accepted as a bet. But, most casinos now doesn't allow money plays because some cheaters will put a bet on even or odd and insert $5,000 valued chip kept hidden under the bill. When the bet is a loser, the scam artist will grab the bet and return the top portion palming the high denomination chip and apologise before a hasty retreat off the property. If I was aware or notified of this incident. I'll follow this subject through pan and tilt cameras all the way to the next casino and report the fraudulent betting scheme with photos and informations to other casino properties.
There are times when employee gets in trouble with gamblers who wagers large amounts of money. I reviewed the footage of this incident when a high roller bets $180K inaction on roulette betting $10K to a number from one side of the table #19 to #36. Player was still betting and taking too much time when the supervisor authorize the dealer to spin the ball resulting a big loss to the player. If the player win the bet then there's no problem. Since the bet is a loser, The high roller player will contend with the supervisor for control of the layout. The supervisor timing was in conjunction with a 'closer' to count all the chips at this time frame to move the table count to the next business day. The closer must be done at 5 am which is the exact time of this incident when the supervisor allowed the dealer to spin the ball. After the investigations, the casino manager concurs with the player to have control of announcing a 'spin" to the dealer due to the considerable size of the bet. The casino manager returned the losing bet for customer relations. Player continued playing and lost over $1 million. Unfortunately, the floorperson lost his job. Management consider employees disposable without respect.
Sometimes, during a table count, floorperson may request to verify if there was high limit play on a blackjack table. I was suspicious because nobody in my shift was aware of someone betting $5k. I reviewed that table and found out a dealer paying $5k on a $25 bet. The dealer was invited to the holding room for questioning. I observed him calling someone on his cell phone and by reasonable assumption telling someone to return the chip. A little while after the incident, surveillance was notified by security informations regarding a blond lady just walked in to return a $5k chip claiming a huge mistake on the blackjack payout and left the area. The casino didn't even bother to press charges because the chip was returned. But, the dealer who was making a least $90,000 a year received a pink slips. If only the management provided us with all the digital technology to run back my reviews. I can easily count every single chips this dealer stole all through these years enough to prosecute him and perhaps return in millions. If only the casino owners would invest 1% to upgrade or furnish surveillance with top of the line equipment. It's easy to catch undesirables and saves the casino a lot of money.
Roulette cheques are handled with different colors for betting purposes. All colors are $1 non valued cheques except valued chips example $5 red, $25 green, $100 black. If you want to buy in for $500 betting $25 per unit but did not specify a valued green $25 chips. You will be given a non valued cheques (20 units) and the dealer will mark your cheques $25 on the wheel rim. So, at the end of your play. You must surrender the non valued cheques before leaving the table because your $25 mark on the cup will be removed, the moment you abandoned your seat. So when you come back later to turn it in, your $25 cheques will be valued at $1. On the contrary, small time cheaters, rat hole non valued cheques into their pockets. These $1 cheques will be played by a partner marked with $5 etc. on the chip rack. The timing to cashout those stolen cheques are always on the new dealer or when floorperson are too busy to spend time with players. The dealer must be tracking their cheques at all times and notify supervisors if their bank is short versus the cheques in play. Dealers are no longer allowed to sell those stacks with missing colors except as $1 denominations cheques. If you are in for the money there's no way you can beat this game in the long run .You can have paper and pencil to track down the wheel and the placement of different numbers but at the end of your session, you will go home with just paper and pencil.