Every sport or activity has their best of the best. For example their will never be another Babe Ruth. There will never be another baseball player who not only hits home runs in a World Series, but comes within a whisper of pitching a no hitter. The thought of somebody reproducing the feats of Michael Jordan on the basketball court is almost beyond the imagination. Those people who professionally cheat casinos also have their own hall of fame cheater. Richard Marcus, was, without much argument, the top cheater in the history of the gaming industry.
He started humbly enough, for a while he supported himself exclusively by gambling. In those days he played things straight, but eventually went bust and found himself living under a bridge with the rest of the homeless folk. Not willing to simply give up, he cleaned himself up and got a job as baccarat and blackjack dealer. For a man like Marcus, knowledge of both sides of the table was a dangerous thing. Ideas started to form in his head; ideas that would eventually launch the most devastating attack on casinos that the industry has ever seen.
What made Richard such a world class cheat? It was one particular move. What Marcus would do is bet three $5 red chips. This is a bet that aroused no interest from the dealer. If the hand wins, the cheater starts yelling, screaming, dancing and throwing small children in the air like he just won the lotto. The dealer usually flashes a confused look at the cheater, curious why a payoff of $30 elicits such a response. The cheater then says, "Yes, sir! That's my brown chip under those reds!" The confused dealer does not see any brown chip. The dealer lifts off the three reds and, bingo, a brown chip was bet, underneath the reds the whole time. That brown chip is worth $500. This chip, plus the three $5 red chips equals a $515 bet, which pays $1,030.
Why didnt the dealer spot this brown chip? Easy, the three reds were placed on top of the brown, but pushed slightly forward, making the brown chip invisible from the dealer's vantage point. This is a brilliant optical illusion.
It is the heart of the scam is the dealer not seeing the brown chip. If the bet loses, the stack is switched with a true stack of three red chips only. The switch is done in the split second when the dealer is turned toward the roulette wheel, looking to see what the winning number is. So, when the bet loses, the switch is made and the cheater is only out $15. If the bet wins, the cheater's move is simple: Do nothing.
Marcus named his move Savannah, after the stripper who was grinding in his lap when he thought of the idea.
Richard Marcus was eventually caught and prosecuted, but that didnt stop his activities. He currently lists himself as retired, and is the author of a few books about his exploits, but on his own web site he taunts law enforcement by saying he is still involved in cheating, but in ways they cant catch. Once a cheater, always a cheater.