The Craziest Excuses Gamblers Used to Cover Up Cheating

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The world of gambling is filled with temptations and, while many dreams to become rich off the spin of a roulette wheel or winning the World Series of Poker (WSOP), other individuals tend to be a little less upstanding in their intentions. 

Today, we will talk about the craziest excuses that gamblers used to cover up cheating or, in the very least, try to soften the blow of realising they have been caught red handed. 

Jean-Paul Pasqualini and Cedric Rossi: Wait for My Mark 

When think about cheats, it’s hard not to evoke the names of Jean-Paul Pasqualini and Cedric Rossi. The duo is an example of how bold and ludicrous your desire to win the pot can become. Their cheating strategy was borrowed from one of the best depictions of poker films, Rounders, and was so daring that nobody thought it would be attempted in real life.

Well, fast forward to 2009 when Rossi and Pasqualini had an idea. An idea to rip off Rounders and win close to $2 million using some pretty sophisticated, albeit subtle techniques. It took some figuring but, in the end, Rossi and Pasqualini were just signalling each other with hand gestures to the dismay of onlookers who took some time to catch on.

It was a brazen act but nevertheless fascinatingly daring and a great example of how players can come up with new ways to secure themselves an advantage. When they were caught, the pair said they had involuntary muscle reactions, or simply ticks. Well, nobody bought the whole “my ticks tell me when to fold and when to play” story and they later admitted guilt.

Ron Harris, A Man of Science and Technology

Ron Harris is the fascinating story of an industry insider. He was employed as an evaluation specialist by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) for 12 years and during his stint with the regulator he figured out a way to cheat the same slot machines he was entrusted with elaborately vetting.

The way it worked with him was simple enough to fool his employers for a long while. Now, while analysing the source code for most of the slot machine he inspected, he discovered multiple weaknesses. But, having gained access to the core of the machines, he was able to program all sorts of backdoors.

One specific one allowed him to force the machine into paying big cashouts if he entered specific coins in a specific order. It worked, and it worked well for a good while. Yet, Harris felt compelled to share his success with a friend of his.

He later developed a Keno cheating program and that would be his downfall. Harris shared the solution with his friend who used it to win $100,000 from Keno with a snap of the fingers without showing any emotion.

That led to the arrest of both the man and Harris who said that his friend wasn’t supposed to give him up. It’s not as ludicrous, but people do say all sorts of things when the time of reckoning comes. 

Christian Lusardi: The Man with the Chips 

Now, if we are going to talk about bold attempts of cheating, the name of Christian Lusardi should definitely come up close to the top. The man was a genius. He figured out that marking chips would perhaps be one of the best ways to cheat the casino, but how could he do it when everything was so closely scrutinised?

After all, he couldn’t just stop and start marking chips in the open room for anyone to see. No, Lusardi did his homework, bringing in his own. He participated in the Borgata Winter Poker Open and was doing well. But it was definitely a downside when 2.7 million chips were discovered into play, not only questioning his honesty, but also proving him as an outright cheat.

Even more funnily, though, police busted into his hotel room and saw him flushing chips down the toilet, after he had understood that the remaining 27 players were beginning to suspect foul play. Of course, as with other brazen instances of cheating, nobody would actually say “Hold, up, this guy must be using additional chips he smuggled into the casino.”

When police entered his room, he was in the toilet, asking them not to enter and that he was going to be a while due to a dodgy burger he had just eaten.

It was just too ludicrous to imagine and that is why, Lusardi’s stunt is one of the most ludicrous we have seen. 

Tommy Glenn Carmichael: He Knows His Slot Machines

If Tommy Carmichael ever wrote a guide on how to beat the slot machines, he would probably tell you to get an engineering degree and just rig the “damn thing.” Well, that’s at least what he did, and it was going really well. Carmichael managed to amass one of the most elaborate cheating solutions to defeat any slot machines out there. 

His success though was not independent from collaboration, which eventually led to his arrests. Yes, arrests – as in the plural, because Carmichael was arrested on multiple occasions, sometimes simply for being on the premises of a casino where suspected cheating took place.

Now, in the police’s defence and casinos’ caginess, Carmichael was known for his frequent collaborations with other cheaters, which was partly why he got caught in the end. When he was arrested, he argued that slots were too much like televisions, he was a TV set repairman at the time, and that he was just tempted to try.

In his defence, though, Carmichael did reform his ways in the end. He said he had got tired of cheating and put himself to finding out how to counterweight cheating. He actually succeeded in developing an anti-cheat software that offered slots an additional layer of security. 

Now, you might think that it’s difficult for a repairman to go from a cheat to someone who comes up with the software to prevent cheating, but it actually makes sense. Carmichael had to constantly learn how to cheat the more innovative video slots, as it wasn’t all purely mechanical work anymore.


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