Gaffed Shoes And Marked Cards

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A casino can adopt or.ly one precaution to prevent Hashing the top card and that is to deal the game from a shoe. You will recall that shoes are the dealing boxes used when blackjack is played with several decks shuffled together. However, where there is a will, there is a way. In 197x an elaborately gaffed shoe was discovered in use in a Nevada casino. Dealing shoes are always constructed with :he inside bottom of the shoe slanting downward toward the front so that the cards will keep sliding toward the opening, t his creates a gap between the slanting inside bottom of ti c shoe and tiat outside bottom. It was in this gap that the gaff was housed. The base of the shoe contained an intricate network of prissms, lenses, mirrors, and tiny light bulbs. When the light bu'.bs were lit, the effect was to reflect the. index corner of-lie top card in the shoe through a tiny window at the bottom rear corner of the shoe. This window was visible only from the first base seat. When the light bulbs were off, the shoe looked completely ordinary

J2S / Gambling Sown and ihe base appeared to be solid black plastic. The bulbs could be activated by ail electronic transmitter hidden on the player. By positioning himself at first base and activating the transmitter at the right time, the cheat would know what card he would receivc it he took a hit every bit as certainly as if the dealer had Hashed the top carc. in a single dec.< game.

Although no arrests were ever made in the ease, it is obvious that the scam must have involved a conspiracy between one or more casino personnel on the management level, who smuggled the shoe into play, and one or more agents who acted as players. The only reason why the gaffed slice was ever discovered was that a pit boss happened to pick up two shoes at the same time, one in each hand, and noticcd that one shoe seemed heavier than the other. With recent technological improvements, lighter versions of this gaff can now Ix: manufactured.

Instead of smuggling in a gaffed shoe, a casino executive night miuggle in gaffed cards. If lie can get marked cards mixed in with the casino's supply of dccks his agent will be able to read the dealer's hole card. If the game is dealt from a shoe-, he markings will be placed so as to be visible through the opening at die front of the shoe. The agent will then also know the top card before deciding whether to hit. As an example of how lucrative this can be: When a casino host at a large northern Nevada casino was caught in such a scam a couple of years ago. it was estimated that he had succeeded in taking off the house for over one hundred thousand dollars before being delected. When he went to trial, the resulting publicity caused a drop in the casino's stock, which again indicates why so many casinos chouse not to prosecute in cases like this.

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