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by Vinny DeCarlo

Vinny DeCarlo is the author of How to Beat Casino Surveillance – Insider’s Secrets for Card Counters. He is a retired veteran casino man with over 20 years of upper management experience. His expertise covers the pit, security, and surveillance, and he even served as a General Manager for two different casinos. Currently, Vinny travels the states as a freelance reporter and a personal consultant to many Indian casinos. He also recently appeared on the Getting the Edge radio show from Las Vegas ( According to Vinny, there are two types of casino employees - those that know him, and those that claim to know him; therefore, never believe what you hear.

Note: The true story you are to read occurred in the late 1970s. Vinny DeCarlo was a dual rate dealer-pit supervisor at the casino where this cheating occurred.

Recently, I was at a party when someone recognized me and asked, "Hey, Vinny, when you gonna come out wit dat book on da best cheatin youse ever seen?" I told him I was too busy with other things, such as a kid in college and another graduating this year. He replied, "Forgetabotit, youse need to tell dem stories. Youse ain’t getting any younger…capice?"

Later that night, he stopped by my little corner of the party and gave me the traditional Italian parting kiss as he whispered, "I was serious about that book…peoples gotta know." I promised him I would at least run the idea by my friend Henry. He replied, "Hey, this Henry give you problems, you tell him to see me…capice!" I replied, "Capice," and with that I got a pleasant "Ciao," to what I returned a pleasant Ciao.

Now it’s not like me to take advice from anyone because, well, I’m an ass; however, a few weeks later, I sent the idea to Henry and he said, "Sure, let’s do one and see what people think. Besides, I don’t want that friend of yours looking me up. He doesn’t know where I live, does he? You didn’t tell him anything, did you…huh, anything"?

This will be the first of a few never-released stories that are, well…true. They might have happened a few years ago but they are completely true. Here’s the first one.

In the 1970’s and 80’s, casinos used to import sand from Florida. No, not cocaine; just regular beach sand. No, not to sift through it to search for cocaine, but to use it in their standing ashtrays. The tall black ashtrays looked acceptable; however, when you added the imported Florida beach-white sand, the ashtray magically became prestigious and a compliment to any high limit room.

Please don’t forget, we’re still talking about sand here. Special sand. White sand. From Florida. It has a texture of salt and rice, hard as rocks, and it was off white, if not almost invisible when held to the light. I later learned that this same type of sand is used for sand blasting and for making glass.’s true.

While I was working in one of the biggest joints during the time, I used to take my 30-minute breaks in the coffee shop, where I’d have a smoke and a sissy cup of espresso as I watched the masses walk by. One day, I see this rather well- dressed Asian male stop at the ashtray. He had my attention for about a second then my eyes roved on. After a few minutes, I noticed he was still there. Not just standing there but he now had his hand in the sand of the ashtray. Now. I thought "there’s a fuc*ed up tradition if I ever saw one. Maybe he was washing his hands or something; in the ashtray??? Who knows…it take all kinds."

After a bit, I went back upstairs, took a tour of the casino, and noticed the same guy now playing 21. Hmm, I thought, "Must be some kind of Asian superstition or something." No big deal. A couple hours later, somebody yells out, "Anyone know anything about the Chinaman on BJ 9?" Remember this took place back in the 70’s and it was ok to be ignorant. I asked, "What’s the matter with him?" He replied, "He winning a butt load of fu*kin green is what’s wrong with him." I asked if anyone did a paper on him yet and from out of the back I hear, "Yeah, ain’t doin shit. Probably the worst player I ever seen. He be making some of the stupidest plays I ever seen."

The next day, when the hoopla was over, I pulled the tape and watched. Indeed, it was the worst hit/play/stand moves I’d ever seen too, unless…unless he could see the next card out and the dealer’s hole card. Then it would make sense; however, he was showing no signs of altering the cards and you really couldn’t see daub back then since all the cameras were black and white. However, after watching his play, I was sure we was not loading and reloading daub since his hands never left the table nor did they go to his body. After a couple of hours, I decided to sleep on it.

After work, it was always customary to walk through other casinos on my way home to the apartment. Not to stop and visit, but to check the slots trays for missed coins by the previous players (which is against the law now).

The next day, as I entered the room, I hear...

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