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

A LAS VEGAS casino rogue who stole £27 million from locations around the world is now helping them catch criminals with their inside knowledge.

Richard Marcus, 65, originally from France but raised in New York, concocted several scams to trick drug dealers, but one move in particular would net him millions.

Richard Marcus became famous after scamming casinos around the world with millions of pounds


Richard Marcus became famous after scamming casinos around the world with millions of poundscredit: AFP
He claims that over the course of his 25-year career, he has earned around $30,000 from his teammates.


He claims that over the course of his 25-year career, he has earned around $30,000 from his teammates.Credit: richardmarcusbooks.com

After falling in love with racing gambling, he got 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 a part of his scheme.

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

Creating this first move, Richard shuffled the cards in a certain way so that when the dealer picked them up, the players would know exactly what was coming.

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The scheme netted the group £18,000 ($21,000) but Richard’s most successful scam came when he participated in late betting.

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

This ‘Savannah Strategy’ involved other teammates distracting the dealer so that Marcus could put 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 arrest.

He claimed ignorance and was able to walk away without any convictions and was never convicted of defrauding the casinos.

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

After meeting up with two old school friends, the trio began to sell out the casinos.

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

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

If they lost the bet, they quickly swapped chips to lose a smaller amount.

If the dealer was really paying attention and took the button, Marcus and his teammates would look drunk as they stuttered and stumbled.

It would make the switch look like an honest mistake and he’d realize they didn’t realize the result had come.

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

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

He exclusively told the Sun: “No one has ever heard of a real successful professional casino boss before these conferences.

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


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

He was treated like royalty in Las Vegas casinos, drank wine and dinner and stayed in suites for $800 a night.

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

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He said: “I took my $20,000 and played it legitimately, I didn’t know anything about casino cheating at the time.

“So I won $100,000 legitimately and I was completely blown away by it. You know, I thought it would last forever.

“And then, of course, on my 18th birthday. I lost everything.”

He stole some clothes and got a place at a trading school before getting his first job at Four Queens Casino.

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

Your offer was irresistible – devise a scam to rob the casino and become part of my team earning thousands of dollars.

Richard’s method meant that he could shuffle the cards so that his teammates could win the next seven consecutive hands.

Richard loved the camaraderie of being part of the team, and with a combination of methods, the money began to pour in.

He started working for Classon and quit his dealer job and eventually the team traveled the world.

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

After 12 years with Joe’s team, Richard went it alone and recruited his high school friends Andy, known as Balls, and Pat.

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

Speaking about his Savannah strategy, he said: “People in the business say it was the best casino cheating play in all of 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.

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Explaining how the move worked better on a roulette table, he added: “As a roulette table is much longer, the distance between the dealer and the back of the table, where the last players are, is five feet.

“The dealer could see that there were two chips there, but unless the dealer looked around and looked down, which they never do or ever did, the dealer would just assume it was $10.

“You would think the deal would get me back and so we thought.

“But most of the time the dealer didn’t even notice.”

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

Richard turned on his ‘drunk gambler’ act and pretended not to notice that the bet came from putting two low-value chips back on the table.

Nobody suspected anything because they believed it was such a low bet being placed on the table.

Richard estimates that over the course of his 25-year career as a casino cheater, he has earned £27 million ($30 million) from his teammates.

He said, “And all those times, the thousands of times around the world that I’ve done this, the dealer never saw the bet.”

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

Having learned all the tricks of the trade, he shows casino bosses how he tricked them and advises them on how best to protect their profits.

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

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

“Then the casinos started hiring me and asked if I would train their staff.

“Now I do it all over the world.”

Former scammer Richard Marcus is now helping casinos catch criminals at their locations


Former scammer Richard Marcus is now helping casinos catch criminals at their locations
Casino cheater arrived in Vegas as a teenager and got a job as a dealer


Casino cheater arrived in Vegas as a teenager and got a job as a dealercredit: alamy


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