THE CHINESE NEW YEAR OF THE "SHAVED TOKEN"
by Vinny DeCarlo
Vinny DeCarlo is the author ofHow 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, surveillance, and he even served as a General Manager. Currently, Vinny travels the states as a freelance reporter and a personal consultant to many Indian casinos. He also appeared on TV and radio shows. 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.
You probably have heard something about the Chinese people and their New Year. The latter is celebratedvia the lunisolar calendar (the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar also known as the Lunar Calendar), and it is symbolized by a deep rooted, highly revered, symbolic animal such as The Year of the Dragon, Snake, Rabbit, etc. (If my memory doesn’t fail me, this year’s Chinese New Year was celebrated on January 31 and it was the "The Year of the Horse.")
Most casinos cater to this 15-day celebration with really cool theatrics, such as a ten man Dragon puppet running around the pit (during The Year of the Dragon). Like the photos of one of my previous naked girlfriends, it’s an event that most people will see within their lifetime.
Now that you know the humor behind the play on words for the name of this article, let’s dive in!
The Slot Scam
Unless you’ve lived in a cave for the past 15 or so years, you may have heard of the casino slot scam of the century (thus far anyway). Here’s how it went down. (Please note, some of the names and/or dates have been changed to protect, well… to protect my butt. Nevertheless, it is a true story. Read and you’ll understand. )
We’re from The Government and we’re here to Help
It was a hot day in early June when I stumbled into work (in a Las Vegas Strip casino surveillance department). I remember this because I had celebrated my birthday the night before and I had a lot of fun (or so I was told … wink, wink). Anyway, after my friends paid my bail, I went straight to my office in surveillance and noticed right away that my phone’s ‘voice mail’ red light was flashing. (This, by the way, only added to the headache I had from my hangover.) Suddenly, out of nowhere, the phone rang and I answered, "This is Vin, can I help you?" What the person on the other end of the line was saying to me almost made me pee in my pants. In fact, at first I thought it was a joke so I peeked at the phone’s caller I.D. display before I said something that could have gotten me in deep trouble. At the same time, one of my coworkers ran into my office and asked me if the call they transferred to my office was for real. I put my finger up to my lips and whispered, "Shhh, I’m finding out right now."
I listened to the caller as he explained something that should have never have been discussed over the phone. I replied, "Sir, with all due respect, would you believe me if I called you with the same questions and claims you’re asking of me?" He started to laugh, gave me a phone number, and told me he was impressed with my security mentality and added, "We’ve heard about you and believe that you could be trusted and you just proved that to me." I thanked him for his confidence in me and wrote the number down. Before I called, I started collecting my thoughts about what just transpired because the way this was supposed to go down, I had no idea if I would be violating any of the surveillance codes that we must follow before discussing anything that would involve our department (such as who, what, where, when, why and how much).
Dry Heaves … It’s not just for breakfast anymore
I took a few breaths and finally picked up the phone and dialed the number I was given. "Federal Bureau of Investigation, this is Vicky, can I help you?" I asked her if she was for real and she snapped at me saying, "Do you need something?" I explained that ‘Special Agent Steve A’ just called me and wasn’t sure if it was a joke or what. Vicky replied, "I’ll transfer you." Here’s how my conversation with him went down as best as I can recollect...
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