American Roulette: Interview with International Casino Cheat Richard Marcus

The true story of a 25-year run ripping-off the world's casinos

Posted by Chuckmonster

VT: In the book we follow you - a young hustler with a penchant for hot cars and fast living - from the streets of North Jersey on to Vegas where you blew your bankroll and ended up and sleeping under an overpass. Eventually you got a job as a casino dealer then graduated to being a high stakes casino cheater chased by gaming investigators on a globetrotting tour of the earths finest gaming establishments - quite a story. Much like you, I was introduced to gambling at a young age, family card games at first then to the 'ever-more-serious' act of flipping baseball cards for keeps, then on to racetracks (Yonkers Raceway baby!) and eventually to casino level playing. I had never realized that flipping baseball cards was gambling until you mentioned it in your book. Could flipping baseball cards be classified as a 'gateway drug' to compulsive gambling that overbearing parents and law makers should take notice of and enact legislation against?

RM: You're absolutely right in calling flipping baseball cards a "gateway drug" to compulsive gambling, certainly worked that way for me, but today I think the poker phenomenon has knocked baseball cards right out of their packages and bubble gum sticks. Kids who were of the baseball-card-flipping age when I was a kid are already playing poker for real money today. I've seen segments about this on the national news and it certainly will create many future compulsive adult gamblers. We need to be careful and perhaps some legislation against televising gambling events should be enacted, though this would be very, very tough, given the popularity of casino drama and reality shows now on the air.

VT: You met cheating scam guru Joe Classon while working as a Baccarat dealer downtown. He keenly noticed something in you that would excel at 'advanced advantage team play' at the casino. What does it take to be a successful casino cheater.

RM: A very delicate balance of brains and balls and lack of greed. Knowing how to do it, when to do it, when not to overdo it, all the while having the courage to act upon these crazy thoughts. Almost everyone I ever spoke with about becoming a member of my teams had either the brains all the balls to do it. It was the rare bird who had both.

VT: While reading the book, I was truly amazed about the size of the team's BALLS... these stories were incredibly vivid, but the chances you were taking seemed so insurmountable that there was no way that these stories could be real. So, I have to ask you the BIG QUESTION: what percentage of the book actually happened?

RM: One hundred percent. In order to get the book published I had to go through some intense credibility checks, many from long-established casino surveillance personnel. And when you read stories such as mine, ask yourself, "Could anyone create such good stuff?" Remember, non-fiction is always better and more entertaining than fiction, simply because the fact that it actually happened bleeds through.

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Comments & Discussion

Breaking Vegas w/ Richard Marcus was amazing - great true story and ingenuity!

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