I’m the world’s biggest casino cheater – I swindled £30million at the tables but now I catch swindlers like me

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A LAS VEGAS casino cheat who swindled £27million from venues around the world is now helping them catch criminals with his insider knowledge.

Richard Marcus, 65, originally from France but raised in New York, invented numerous scams to fool dealers but one move in particular would earn him millions.


Richard Marcus became famous after scamming casinos around the world out of millions of pounds[/caption]


He claims that over his 25 year career he made around $30,000 with his teammates[/caption]

After first falling in love with gambling at the races he took a job at the world-famous Four Queens Casino.

It was there that he was first approached by a player who asked him to be part of his scheme. 

Joe Classon asked Richard to meet with him after his shift one night and the pair devised a cunning plan to win thousands of pounds. 

Coming up with this first-ever scam, Richard would shuffle the cards in a certain way so that when the relief dealer picked them up, those playing would know exactly what was to come. 



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The scheme bagged the group £18,000 ($21,000) but Richard most successful scam came when he took part in late betting. 

He would change the bet after the outcome was revealed or it was obvious what it would be. 

This ‘Savannah Strategy’ involved other teammates distracting the dealer so Marcus could slip in low-value chips if the bet was lost.

The move was illegal in casinos and even punishable by law and in 1982 Marcus was threatened with imprisonment. 

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He pleaded ignorance and was able to walk away without any convictions and was never convicted for scamming the casinos.  

He eventually decided to leave Classon’s team after 12 years and hoped to create his own team of casino cheats. 

After running into two old school friends, the trio set about running the casinos dry. 

The team used the Savannah Strategy method, among others, by hiding a £4,400($5,000) chip under a £4.47($5) chip. 

If the bet was won they’d reveal what was underneath – winning $10,010. 

If they lost the bet, they would quickly swap the chips to lose a lower amount.

If the dealer was really paying attention and picked up on the switch, Marcus and his teammates would appear drunk while stuttering and stumbling around. 

It would make the switch seem like an honest mistake and he would make out that they hadn’t realised the result had come in. 

The method earned them millions around the world from London to Montecarlo and France to Aruba before the casinos finally caught on. 

After being banned from most casinos, Richard gave up on casino scams and is now employed by them to look for weaknesses that scammers could use to their advantage. 

He exclusively told the Sun: “Nobody ever heard from a real professional successful casino chief before at these conferences.

“For 25 years, all I did was travel around the world, London, Monte Carlo everywhere and cheating casinos professionally.”


Having won $20,000 on a horse racing bet, Richard had set off for Vegas and initially managed to turn his jackpot into $100,000.

He was treated like royalty at the Las Vegas casinos, wine and dined and staying in $800-a-night suites.

However, his luck quickly changed when he lost it all playing baccarat and was kicked out of his luxury suite and forced to sleep on the streets. 

He said: “I took my $20,000 and I ran it up gambling legitimately, I knew nothing about cheating in casinos at the time.

“So I won $100,000 legitimately and I was completely enthralled by it. You know, I thought it would go on forever.

“And then of course on my actually was on my 18th birthday. I lost all of it.”

He shoplifted some clothes and was able to get a spot in a dealing school before getting his first job at the Four Queens Casino. 

In June 1977, he met Joe Classon at the baccarat table who introduced himself as a professional casino cheat. 

His offer was irresistible – come up with a scam to rip off the casino and become part of my team making thousands of dollars. 

Richard’s method meant that he could shuffle the cards in such a way that his teammates could win the next seven hands in a row. 

Richard loved the camaraderie of being part of the team and with a combination of methods, the money started rolling in. 

He began working for Classon and gave up his dealer job and eventually, the team travelled worldwide. 

Richard said: “I joined Joe’s team and for the next 25 years, all I did was travel around the world cheating casinos professionally.”

After 12 years with Joe’s team, Richard sent up on his own and recruited his school friends Andy, known as Balls, and Pat.

Pat had tremendous presence, says Richard and was often a charming distraction around the roulette table.

Talking about his Savannah Strategy, he said: “People in the business say it was the best casino cheating move in all history.

“Why? Because it was so stupid and easy.

“…There was a lot of psychology involved in it but it gave us a raw basic idea.

Explaining how the move worked best on a roulette table, he added: “Because a roulette table is a lot longer, the distance between the dealer and the bottom of the table where the last players are is like a metre and a half.

“The dealer could see that there were two chips there but unless the dealer came all the way around and look underneath, which they never do or did, the dealer would just assume it was $10.

“you would think that the deal would catch me taking it back and that’s what we thought.

“But it turned out that most of the time the dealer never even noticed it.”

When asked if anyone around him noticed the switch, Richard says they had systems in place to distract the dealer and those around them.

Richard would turn on his ‘drunk player’ act and pretend he’d not noticed the bet come in placing two low-value chips back on the table.

No one suspected a thing because they believed it was such a low bet being put down on the table.

Richard estimates that over his 25 year career as a casino cheat he made £27million ($30million) with his teammates.

He said: “And in all those times, the thousands of times across the world I did this, the dealer never saw the bet.”

Richard is now a reformed character and attends conferences warning casinos whose venues are at risk from scammers.

Having learnt all the tricks of the trade, he shows casino bosses how he scammed them and consultants them on how best to protect their profits.

He has also written several books on his life and his methods titles The Great Casino Heist and American Roulette.

He said: “When I wrote my book, I was contacted by people in the casino industry, surveillance and the security industry, inviting me to speak at these conferences.

“Then casinos started to hire me and asked if I’d come in train their staff.

“Now I do it all over the world.”

Former scammer Richard Marcus is now helping casinos catch criminals in their venues

The casino cheat found his way to Vegas as a teen and picked up a job as a dealer[/caption]