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by Dustin Marks

Back in the 1980's, I "took off" several Las Vegas casinos, and other casinos throughout the state of Nevada, at their blackjack tables. After retiring from cheating, I wrote two books: Cheating at Blackjack and Cheating at Blackjack Squared. I also created the DVD: Cheating at Blackjack - The Real Work ( I was never caught. This is Part 5 in this series.

A cooler was one of the most devastating cheating methods ever invented. What is a cooler? It's a prearrange slug or deck(s) of cards that allow the cheaters to win every hand at the blackjack table. Even scarier, coolers can be used to cheat at any card game.

Coolers were first used in single-deck games. When the casinos introduced multi-deck games, cheaters realized coolers were much more lucrative because they would win more hands before the cards were shuffled. These games were primarily dealt out of a dealing shoe.

How did a cooler go down? First, the cheaters had to obtain a legitimate deck of casino cards. This was normally done by having a casino boss down with the play that could get the cheaters the cards. The cheaters prearranged the cards at home. In a single-deck cooler, they won every hand. The cheater received lots of double downs and blackjacks. In multi-deck coolers, smart cheaters would lose a few hands to make the play look better.

In a single-deck cooler, the mechanic had the cooler hidden on him. He sat down at the table and played heads up against a dealer, who was normally down with the play. When casinos allowed players to cut the deck by hand, it was possible to do a cooler without the dealer being down with the play, but it was a very dangerous move. Someone had to distract the dealer while the mechanic switched the deck right under the dealer's nose, which wasn't an easy thing to do.

When the dealer who was down with the play offered the cut, the mechanic brought in the cooler while he took the legitimate deck off the table. The dealer completed the cut following casino procedure. The mechanic handed off the deck (just taken off the game) to an accomplice who left the casino. The mechanic then proceeded to play the cooler. As the money hit the table, the mechanic was clean. When the bosses burned the game, there was nothing to see. It was too late. A skilled dealer and mechanic can make the switch almost invisible.

In games where the multi-deck of cards are dealt out of a shoe, coolers are much more complicated, but also much more lucrative...

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