The Great Caribbean Stud Poker Sting
A few years ago I heard from a friend of mine about a team of players on Caribbean Stud Poker who made an estimated £50,000 ($75,000) before they got caught. But even the gaming industry was unaware of their real winnings. The problem with casino security is that it basically stems in the main from their very own staff. Now this can be in the form of croupiers and Inspectors and these people represent the first line of defence closely followed by the Pit Boss and any CCTV that may happen to be in operation.
The fact that these games are supervised by humans makes potential weak spots a problem. Staff get tired, lethargic and bored and many are disgruntled with their profession and pay. So this is a clear problem for any casino management as if there is a problem with their first line of defence then they have a problem full stop.
Caribbean Stud Poker presents such a problem because of the high potential pay-offs which stretch to 50-1 for a straight flush. In the instance that I am just about to describe, several casinos in England were hit for sizeable sums over about six months in 2005 with a three man team. They were situated on Caribbean Stud Poker with the first two team members sitting on the first two boxes and the third team member sitting on the third base box.
The first and last team members played minimums and the second player was the big bettor. Now the house advantage on CSP (depending on rules and pay offs) is in the region of 5% which is far higher than blackjack or roulette. But that can be offset massively in this instance where the two small betting team players can assist the big player. Firstly both of these players communicate to the big player if they are holding a card that matches the dealers up card.
If this is the case then the big player will know if the dealer has a less than average chance of making their hand or not! But this is only part of the scam, the third base players also acts as a decoy so that the player on first base has the option to place his superior hand down onto the box of the big player and not his own while the big player discards their hand. If you think that this move sounds too fantastic for words then I can sympathise.
But I have seen this in practice and when done with the process of misdirection and disguise is actually very difficult to spot. The key as always is not to alert suspicion so if the big player has a big hand like a flush and the dealer does not get a qualifying ace king hand then the big player simply keeps quiet so as not to bring attention to himself. When you see this move in action then it is not hard to see how several hundred pounds a night can be obtained by this cheating move without any undue suspicion falling.