Gambling is a lucrative industry for cheaters, but unfortunately many who attempt to take advantage of its opportunities wind up in jail for their crimes. Thankfully, most of those caught cheating end up facing legal repercussions for their crimes.
But not all casino cheats are malicious; some have even revolutionized the industry. These scandals offer us insight into human nature that goes far beyond mere entertainment value.
The MIT Blackjack Team
The MIT Blackjack Team was a group of students who took advantage of card counting to cheat casinos at blackjack. Through this scheme, they made millions of dollars through card counting alone.
The team began in the 1980s and eventually had over 80 players. Bill Kaplan, a Harvard business school graduate with connections in the casino industry, led them as captain.
He collaborated with JP Massar and John Chang in managing the team. Additionally, he served as a director for Strategic Investments, the company that launched the operation.
As the team expanded and became more profitable, they were able to afford a luxurious lifestyle at casinos. The hosts treated them like VIPs, offering them complimentary food, drinks and tickets for shows or hotels.
The Stones Gambling Hall Scandal
In September 2019, when poker broadcasts featuring Mike Postle from Stones Gambling Hall in Citrus Heights became available on YouTube, allegations that he was cheating in live-streamed cash games began to mount. The recordings revealed an incredible knack for success – winning every time he played!
Social media was abuzz with speculation about Postle’s methods and whether he had been cheating with other Stones employees’ help. Polk expressed his conviction that something “brazen” had taken place inside the poker room at Stones.
Last week, allegations of cheating led to a $30 million lawsuit against the casino and Postle. Surprisingly, nearly 60 out of the 88 plaintiffs accepted a settlement from both entities: the casino and its live poker manager Justin Kuraitis.
The Craps Scam
A group of men defrauded the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas by placing false bets on dice games with seemingly impossible odds. They used fake VIP suites, security guards, and other stooges to defraud players over two years.
Prosecutors noted that they achieved this through the practice of “hop bets,” in which players shout out numbers they believe will appear during the game. When the dice was thrown, winners would be paid as if they had placed legitimate bets, according to prosecutors.
After their technique was discovered by Bellagio’s surveillance team, Branco and Cooper were immediately fired and banned from casinos for life.
The Colbert-Brennen Scandal
The Colbert-Brennen Scandal was one of the biggest casino scandals in history, occurring thirty years ago and still being a mystery until its resolution thirty years later in the early 1990s.
Even with cameras installed throughout the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas, sportsbook cashier William John Brennan managed to swindle $500,000 worth of chips and cash without being noticed. Afterward, he vanished without a trace.
This case is a classic tale of luck and ingenuity, an unlikely combination in the world of criminals. As such, the mystery remains unsolved to this day.
The Kane-Brennen Scandal
Kane campaigned for attorney general with promises of shaking up Harrisburg’s “good ol’ boys club.” Additionally, she wanted to transform a close network of political operatives that had helped shape her career.
In 2013, when Kane won her seat, she named Adrian King to serve as her first deputy attorney general. Their friendship had begun at Temple Law School back then, and has remained close throughout their professional lives and even into marriage.
But that all changed in April 2014, when Kane ordered her top aides to leak secret grand jury documents to a newspaper. The release of these emails created a storm within the state and forced two Supreme Court justices to resign.