RIPPING AND TEARING UP NORTH
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 (www.dustinmarks.com). I was never caught. This is Part 6, the final article in this series.
I remember Machine Gun Carlos talking about the casinos in Reno. He told me they were candy stores, just waiting to be taken. It was the eighties and there were hundreds of single-deck blackjack games in Reno. Kaiser and I made our plans. We had worked together extensively in Vegas and figured we could expand our "work" to Reno. Our motto back then was: danger is our business.
It was my first trip to Reno. I didn't realize how long and boring the drive was from Vegas. Luckily, I had a nice convertible, (I had bought it. Well, more correctly, the casinos bought it!) and Kaiser loved driving. With the wind in our hair, we headed north to rip and tear in Reno.
There were small towns along that two-lane road and even smaller casinos. We couldn't resist. We walked into a casino in the middle of nowhere and sat down at the blackjack table. An older woman was dealing. Of course, anybody over 40 was "old" when you are in your twenties. She had a scowl on her face and didn't say a word. You know the kind. I noticed how she was picking up the cards and I started watching closely. As she started shuffling, I saw her clump-shuffling (i.e., keeping a group of cards in order). In this case it was the high cards. When she offered me the cut, I inserted the cut card (kind of amazing a little casino used a cut card back in the eighties) in order to cut the high cards into play; however, she pulled the deck back and only allowed me to cut the high cards out of play. Wow! This was outright cheating being done by a casino dealer. I looked around and noticed we were surrounded by unfriendly faces. The odds were stacked against us. Knowing that we were not going to win, I got up, didn't say a word, and headed for the door. Kaiser couldn't resist. He got up, threw a nickel ($5 chip) on the table and said: Take some lessons. How could you not love a guy like that!
We learned a lesson from that experience: We were not the only cheaters in the middle of nowhere in Nevada. That was the first time I witnessed a casino cheating. I never saw casinos cheat in Vegas, but in the middle of Nevada, I saw a few different cheating moves implemented by casinos.
When we arrived in Reno, we stayed at a small motel instead of a room in a casino, which was a smart move. Our strategy was to pretend we didn't know each other when we were in the casinos. We went looking for "frontloaders" and "basers" but were disappointed at what we found. Reno casinos taught their dealers well on how to protect their games against this play. No problem. We had other plays that were much stronger.
One of the plays we implemented was the two-card drop. This was an ingenious move to...
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