LAS VEGAS - Baccarat is a popular card game that high-rollers love to play. The game has a prestigious reputation, and the stakes are high. But, not everyone plays fairly.
Security consultant Bill Zender teaches casinos how to spot gambling cheats. His latest lesson comes from a gang of Asian baccarat players known as "The Cutters."
"Possibly as many as seven or eight cheaters came to town. They attacked a couple of the casinos," Zender said. "It's been rumored to be around a million dollars or more."
Casinos want them stopped before they do more damage in Las Vegas.
Zender says a cheat will conceal a camera up his or her sleeve before playing high-limit baccarat. The player cuts the deck in a way so the camera record the cards' values, enabling the player to view the sequence.
"The player who cuts the cards gets off the table, goes into the restroom, looks at the PDA, whatever he's recording it on, and says, ‘Okay, I've got enough material here.' They take the PDA off the property. They go through it. They write down the sequence," Zender said.
The player returns a few minutes later to the table with a cheat sheet. The Nevada Gaming Control Board believes the ring also uses "sophisticated software applications."
Jeff Voyles is a UNLV gaming professor and industry consultant. "If there's a way to beat the game, they'll find it," he said. "Most games can't be beat unless you cheat them. So, under these circumstances, this is a powerful team. They've done their homework, and they practiced. They've got their systems down, and sometimes, it's very difficult to identify."
These casino swindlers and their high-tech tricks have gained the attention of authorities. Gaming Control Board agents questioned suspected members of the cheating ring, but ultimately released them. Zender says the surveillance department at one of the Strip casinos could not find a camera on the suspects.