Steve Forte : CASINO GAME PROTECTION A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE
There are very few people in this business who have moved me, inspired me, or have made any type of lasting impression on me. Steve Forte is one such person. When I first emailed Steve to ask if he would consider doing an interview with us, he responded favorably and professionally. When I told him that we could structure a format where he could pick and choose what questions to respond to, he told me that he was more than happy to answer all questions.
I would later get to meet Steve in person and found him to be a gracious and forthright host. I was treated to a private exhibition of gambling technique from one of the best experts alive, and a tour of his amazing private collection of antique gambling artifacts. I asked him about his video tapes (which I used in casino training classes), articles he had written, and a variety of other gambling topics, including some of the rumors I had heard from a few of his critics about his days as a professional player. He told me;
“There will always be critics, and critics of the critics. I’m almost 50 years old and way past that point in my life where I have any interest to chop up stories that are decades old, nor do I see the benefit. The book doesn’t pull any punches and says everything I wanted to say, but let me assure you, to any critics of the research in my book, I welcome their comments and I’m open to their views, good or bad. I’m in the process of posting an errata and chapter update on my website, so I truly look forward to all feedback. And, I will be the first to publicly post errors, omissions or any opinions that prove to be way off base.”
Steve Forte is one of the few people who have truly lived in all elements of the casino spectrum, and I think we are fortunate that he decided to publish his research, as many feel Casino Game Protection – A Comprehensive Guide is destined to serve as the single most important reference guide about game protection in their possession.
Lets start with a number of seed questions from peers and a few insiders which I gathered from email after promoting this project. These seem to be some of the common questions asked mixed with a few tough ones sent in. Please read the interview in it’s entirety.
Steve, thank you so much for allowing us to interview you about your new book: Casino Game Protection – A Comprehensive Guide. We bring to you a worldwide audience of casino dealers and floor supervisors.
Thanks Scott. I appreciate your interest in the book, and I welcome the opportunity to participate in this interview.
When described by others, you seem to hold the titles of “casino expert” and “game protection specialist.” Who is Steve Forte and what makes you uniquely qualified to be an expert in game protection?
I would say that Steve Forte is dedicated student of the game protection field and one who has spent the greater part of my life actively researching the topic from every conceivable angle. If I have any unique qualifications to offer, it might be that I have experienced the business from so many different perspectives … most notable would include many years working in the business, many years beating the games as a high-stakes professional player, and many years traveling around the world as a consultant specializing in game protection.
It seems that the duties of a game supervisor are leaning more toward customer service and away from game protection. Any lack of game protection will certainly cause loss of revenue. By having the floor cultivate new players as priority #1, do you feel casinos will overcome the loss?
Before I answer your question, please allow me to make a few important points.
Many gamers see the industry changing in this way, with more focus on customer service, but I’m not sure that much has really changed in this regard. If you talk with any respected operator, taking care of the customer and cultivating new players has always been the number one priority. Even if you go back fifty years the customer was always king. Talk with the older players and they’ll tell you about the unconditional service they received back then, and how the “Mob always knew how to treat the player.”
Today there is clearly a quest to quantify every player’s complimentary worth with rating systems and hi-tech accountability systems, so there is more of a visible or vocal industry position on customer service. Although our rating systems sometimes get in the way of rewarding the deserving player, and there will always be those clubs where the player has to blow $10,000 and then go through five bosses to get a line pass for the buffet, customer service continues to get all of the attention, especially when compared to issues dealing with game protection, and rightly so!
I’m reminded of the following debate between a number of executives. One states, “Given a choice of staffing the pit with customer service oriented people, or game protection experts, I would take the customer service people every time. At least I’ll have some business, and the reasonable expectation of making enough money from the masses of weak players to overcome leakage, theft, and losses from cheaters and skilled players.” On the surface it sounds like a compelling argument, but you obviously need customers before game protection ever becomes a factor, so it has never made any sense to me to make direct comparisons, or create this illusionary competition between the two practices.
As to the duties of the supervisor having less to do with game protection, it’s undeniable. As the games get safer and more difficult to cheat and beat, game protection plays less of a role in terms of actually protecting the bankroll. Most conclude that as the incidence of scamming decreases, so should the importance of game protection. They see game protection as synonymous with catching cheaters and quickly point to the scarcity of scams as a platform to question the value of game protection, and ask, “If scams are so rare, why educate our staff about the methods of cheaters?”
You educate your staff about these methods because game protection encompasses so much more than catching cheaters. From a study of these people we can learn and see the extremes that some will venture to beat our games; we see the psychology that’s used to manipulate our staff and controls; we see the impact and dangers of inside collusion; we see the reasoning behind certain procedures and countermeasures, which helps us better choose and implement the best options; we see the many similarities of cheaters to card counters and advantage players regarding their training, organization, hierarchy, and differences between the pro and amateur; we see what areas of the industry the cheaters perceive to be our most vulnerable; and we see the evolution of scamming to the extent that it may help us predict what to expect in the future. The list goes on and on.
Don’t get hung up on the rareness of scamming, cheaters have always been statistical outliers. Sure the games are safer today, but they were almost as safe 20 years ago, relatively speaking! It’s like comparing a 50,000 to 1 shot with a 55,000 to 1 shot, they’re both long shots. Scarcity of scams has never been a reason to ignore them. Outside scams like ‘hand mucking,’ internal theft, and advantage strategies such as ‘playing holecard’ may be rare, but I just returned from an overseas trip where I testified in court over a multimillion dollar mucking scam in big-table baccarat; not long ago a young female dealer was found to have stolen $700,000 from the inside over a three year period; and it’s still costing casinos serious money in settlements and legal fees due to their misunderstanding of what playing holecard’ is all about, as recent cases indicate.
Even more importantly, there’s another huge peripheral benefit to any property that educates their people in this field even in the modern casino environment. If I have learned anything at all from my work as a consultant, it’s that there is a huge percentage of floor supervisors with a genuine desire to learn more. They are not content as administrators and hand shakers (not meant to undermine these skills) and some want to excel in their profession, not just exist. As a recent email expressed to me, some are frustrated every time they observe suspect play and wished that they knew more. So why not help them be more rounded supervisors with knowledge of all facets of the industry? When you educate the floor person in game protection, you build confidence, make them more aware, revitalize their interest in their day to day duties, and help them make better decisions with less doubt, sweating and paranoia (which only comes from the uninformed). What’s wrong with that?
So, although it makes perfect sense to prioritize customer service, and I acknowledge the tighter, safer, more security minded environment, I believe that game protection should remain an integral part of our business, and game protection knowledge should be a worthy goal. You cannot get around the fact that the topics like cheating, skilled players, inside collusion and internal theft are all inextricably connected to this business … always have and figure to be around for some time.
Finally, let me respond to the original question, for which the short answer is yes, casinos will overcome the loss. In fact, whether it be poor management or marketing, counterproductive procedures and controls, weak operational philosophies, or an indifference to the importance of game protection, they overcome everything. Some clubs win the money over and over again, and still end up on top. There are not too many things stronger, in terms of making money, than casino games, and it’s easy for poor decisions to go unnoticed and completely absorbed by inevitable profit margins.
Dealing is the first line of defense. You write about this throughout the book, but on page 509 – 510 you discuss the lost art of dealing and the reasons. Can you highlight your thoughts here?
If I may, let me just provide some excerpts from that segment of the book. It’s the consensus of many veteran gamers that the art of dealing has become a dying art. There was a time when the professional ‘clerk’ (top notch dealer) was respected; sought after; and was always guaranteed a job. Not anymore. Most clubs shy away from experienced help. It’s a sad truth, but today, when it comes to the dealer, mediocrity is the norm and there are many reasons for this decline.
When the gaming business exploded throughout the country, the demand for dealers was huge, and inevitably, dealers were mass-produced creating a weak and inexperienced work force. Conditions worsened when inexperienced dealers were quickly promoted to the floor, as the demand for floor supervisors was huge, too. This series of events resulted in one ‘soft spot’ after another for the skilled cheater or player, as they often targeted the weaker help. Las Vegas may have had an advantage in this regard because, with its break-in houses, dealers had places to learn their craft before dealing in the better clubs with bigger limits. Some jurisdictions are not set up this way.
Once dealers haves been in the business for a few years, they reach a point where they think that they have mastered their trade, and as they say, “It can be tough to teach an old dog new tricks.” Dealers are not subject to technical reviews once they advance past the break-in period, and just because a dealer has been dealing for ten years doesn’t mean that he’s immune from improvement. I’ve personally talked with many seasoned floor supervisors who have, at times, made a genuine effort to step in and critique a dealer’s skills, only to have the dealer respond with “I’ve been doing this a long time,” implying that he didn’t need the help. More than one dealer has interpreted constructive criticism akin to harassment. And, it’s well known that in some clubs, bosses are patently instructed to leave the dealers alone.
Incentive is another issue contributing to weaker help. If a blackjack dealer makes the same money whether he learns to deal roulette or not, where’s the incentive? In many clubs, mediocrity is tolerated, and outside of self-pride and self-respect, there are no incentives for dealers to excel. The irony is that, today, the dealer’s job is more secure than ever, and it’s hard to get fired, due in large part to Human Resources. If you want your dealers to stand out, they must have a clear understanding of what is expected from them. The only way to accomplish these goals is with some form of an ongoing evaluation or review program. When the dealers are periodically reviewed for how they shuffle; how they present the deck(s) for the cut; how they pitch; how they protect the holecard; how they protect the top card; the basic goals of game pace; their understanding of all in-house procedures; their attitudes; and for their professionalism in regard to treating all kinds of players in all kinds of situations, competence levels can only improve. Significantly!
Some in the field say Steve Forte’s approach sows fear and panic. After digesting the information in the book, will staff see ghosts? Will the book create paranoia?
First, there is no such thing as the “Steve Forte approach,” nor was any such craziness outlined in the book. I think it’s important to understand what the book is, and what the book is not. The book was written with the complete understanding that everyone prioritizes game protection differently, and never written to make a statement or create controversy. Nor was the book written as a response to any contemporary scam or winning strategy. I made no assumptions regarding the reader’s workplace (premier casino, reservation, cruise ship, etc.), the level of security in his workplace, or the importance of game protection in his workplace. The book’s purpose, plain and simple, was to chronicle the many different areas of game protection and overview the topic with some scope, accuracy, objectivity and historical perspective.
Second, numerous books and videos have been written that expose cheating, card counting and advantage play, so you can add my book to the group, but there’s no reason to single it out.
Third, for any dealer, boss, or surveillance person with a genuine interest in game protection, you can bet that if they buy my book, it’s not the first they own that deals with the subject. Dedicated gamers have a way of finding quality information in an effort to educate themselves.
Fourth, if you have issue with the fear and/or panic factor perceived to be caused by exposing staff to this kind of information, you can’t just knock books and videos, you’ll have to knock most casinos around the world, too! Almost all of them have conducted some form of game protection training, either in-house or with the help of outside consultants, and they continue to do so. There is only one reason for this. There is value to exposing staff and surveillance to such information. But the ‘fear and panic’ contention is a short sighted view for many other reasons. When was it concluded that the exposure to the methods of cheaters, card counters and advantage players instills fear. Perhaps this information instills confidence, fulfillment and awareness. Perhaps it educates the gamer making him/her less afraid of what they don’t know.
The only fear ever expressed to me from readers of the book occurred in the first few minutes they browsed through their copy. They were intimidated by the size and scope of the research. But once they started to digest the material, they see the book as a genuine effort to present the research in an informal, yet constructive, comprehensive format. They were smart enough to know the difference between what was relevant to their job duties and responsibilities, and what was provided as historical perspective. They appreciated the effort to make the research available and most believe that Casino Game Protection – A Comprehensive Guide fills a void in the industry literature. We have wonderful books on management, dealing the games, surveillance, casino math, customer service, accounting, and marketing, but none, until now, has ever been devoted to casino game protection.
Nothing in the book was presented to instill fear, and nothing in the book was presented to instill paranoia. Just the opposite is true, and I went to great lengths to make this point, not once, but many times.
Why would someone have to write a 600-page, $200 book to impart the nutshell game protection message of … “Pay attention to your duties, follow procedures and encourage those under you to do likewise – OR ELSE?”
Actually, this book was edited down from almost 1000 pages, and I could have written much,much more with almost every chapter expanded significantly, but that’s another story. As to the core message in this statement/question, it suggests that game protection is all about paying attention, following procedures, and getting everyone on the same page. Unfortunately, if it were that easy, there would never be any cheaters, card counters or advantage players.
You can pay attention all you want, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, your efforts mean little.
If you believe that game protection is all about following procedures, I’m afraid you have missed the true purpose and value of procedures, and that is of control, uniformity, openness, and predictability. Don’t get me wrong, every effective procedure will help the pit run more smoothly and efficiently, but even the best procedures do little to stop the best cheaters and players. In fact, the very best scams and ploys have circumvented our procedures for decades.
Paying attention doesn’t protect the games, following procedures doesn’t protect the games, and running the pit with an iron fist doesn’t protect the games. It’s the combined, all-around knowledge of your manager, pit, floor and box supervisors, and the surveillance staff that protects the games.
Finally, as to the $200 price tag, my apologies … I wish I could have kept the retail price more reasonable for many. I understand that $200 is a lot to expect from anyone working for a living. Unfortunately, the project was expensive, and although there is a back story and motive for writing the book, and it has nothing to do with money, my hope was that there would be enough game protection enthusiasts out there who would consider making the $200 investment, and that over time, the project would pay for itself. Had I known how many copies would sell in the first 24 hours (enough to pay for all costs), I would have considered a change in pricing. But with almost half the inventory sold in the first few weeks, it’s too late to make changes now since so many have already paid the asking price.
How many crossroaders do you really think are out there and what kind of damage do you think they do? What is the likelihood of one being on our game?
The ‘crossroader’ is a dying breed of cheater who once specialized in many of the older scams, notoriously known for being gutsy, bold and direct. For these reasons their methods don’t fare well in today’s environment. So the likelihood of one being on your game is very small, as is the damage you can expect from these types of cheaters. This said, we can still learn a lot from their methods and thinking, as many of the modern scams are just variants on moves and scams that have existed for decades. This is especially true in regard to the psychological aspects of how these cheaters once operated. The modern cheater,advantageplayer and card counter all use similar ploys to some degree.
How often are gaffed dice and marked cards being discovered on a game?
It’s no secret that scams involving gaffed dice are exceedingly rare; I can only document five cases over an approximately thirty year period. I can, however, document numerous scams where the gaffed dice were not discovered, although I’m referring to scams that occurred many years back. Nonetheless, just because certain scams aren’t ‘discovered,’ doesn’t make them extinct.
Marked cards are an entirely different animal, especially when we talk about the resurgence of hand-held games where techniques such as ‘playing the bend’ are not as uncommon as many believe.
But more importantly, with all questions along these lines there is an inference to a much broader question. How important is it for gamers to have knowledge about gaffed dice and marked cards?
Let me answer this question with a number of questions. Where is the downside with expecting our supervisors to have a little knowledge about the tools of our trade: dice and cards? For example, why shouldn’t all dice supervisors and box persons have a basic working knowledge of gaffed dice? How many have ever seen ‘light percentage weight’ on a polished, flush spot casino cube? How many have ever seen what a light bevel looks like? How many recognize just how easy it is to duplicate serial numbers, or introduce gaffed dice where no duplication of the serial number or logo is necessary? How many have a handle on what is deemed to be an acceptable variance in the manufacturing process, and what is not?
I submit to you that only a small percentage of dice supervisors and box persons can accurately and confidently respond to many of the most elementary questions about the piece of equipment at the heart of their profession and at the core of every decision? The same goes for marked cards! Knowledge in these particular areas is not important because of any pressing threat, it’s important because it simply makes good common sense, it makes good business sense.
Is there any way a shooter, that hits the alligator with both dice, can throw a controlled shot? Are all these people writing books and conducting seminars just ripping people off?
I don’t believe it’s possible to hit the back wall with both dice and control them to the extent of generating a winning edge. This a perfect example of an alleged skill, like many we often hear about, where it’s easy to quickly voice an opinion for, or against, without qualification. But a scientific opinion requires much more. In the book I document a test consisting of 12,000 rolls. Actually, I dropped two dice from 10″ above the table, same configuration, straight down, and with no obstacles. The results did not indicate a statistically significant presence of control. Even the slightest bounce appears to be an adequate randomizer.
An interesting development in this area is a new book by Stanford Wong, but since I haven’t looked at the book yet, I don’t know if his work looks at hitting the back wall with both dice’ most dice setters are looking to throw the dice short of the back wall). Even with Stanford Wong stepping into the controversy, and considering his impeccable reputation and his remarkable body of work, I’m not ready to change my mind. I have trouble seeing past the results of my own test, which is why I state in my book “Until I see evidence to the contrary, I remain a non believer.”
How proficient do you think a floor supervisor should be at counting cards and in your opinion which system should we use? Do you agree that it’s the floor’s responsibility to count cards, or is this more of the function of surveillance?
I believe that all floor people watching 21 games should be well versed in the science of counting cards. After all, day to day, they’ll be exposed to more suspect card counters than all other cheaters and advantage players combined. The best and most practical card counting system for the floor supervisor is the Hi-Low, where the 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are counted as (+1); 7,8, and 9 are neutral (0); and the 10, J, Q, K and Ace are counted as (-1).
To be truly proficient, however, requires a deeper understanding of the game that goes way past the basic fundamentals of basic strategy, counting cards, playing deviations, etc. But when this proficiency is acquired, the floor person will feel less of a burden participating in the evaluation process, despite being responsible for watching many games and being overloaded with administrative duties.
Here are a few examples of proficiency past the ‘fundamentals’ stage. Every floor person should know what actually constitutes a beatable game in their property. This is a function of bet size, bet spread, and game conditions (cut card placement, speed of game, number of players, etc). When the bet size, bet spread, and conditions don’t meet this criteria, the player can safely be ignored, which is likely to be most suspect players. Remember, the industry is loaded with ‘card watchers’ and ‘imitators,’ so it’s important to have a plan for weeding out all of the non-threats quickly, to have the time to occasionally focus on a real player.
Another example pertains to working with win rates in dollars. If I ask how you feel about a card counter playing with a 1.0% advantage, no club wants their business. But what if I tell you that the same player only has a theoretical win rate of about $2 an hour, now how do you feel? Since the player never attains the theoretical win rates published in the books, the player poses no threat. It’s amazing how much time we spend watching red and green check players on games where there is no theoretical win for the player.
One last example, although this is more a decision made by management, the floor supervisor should understand the problems associated with evaluating the suspect counter too quickly. We routinely overestimate the earning power of these players and rarely appreciate the difficulties and obstacles they face. We also failed to see how much it costs when we back off the wrong player (one with no chance to win long run!). The financial ramifications, along with many other concepts are discussed in the book.
As to who should be responsible for running down card counters, I’d expect the best results when both departments contribute to the evaluation process. One advantage from the floor is that it can provide a much more intimate evaluation (watch the eyes, see emotion, hear comments, etc.) while the sky has its obvious advantages: it never blinks, it can review; it’s a dedicated observer, and it may be utilizing sophisticated evaluation software.
One disadvantage from the floor is the difficulty of supervising many games while attending to many administrative duties. But there are also disadvantages to watching from the sky. For example, against a real tough player who will throw you one curve ball after another, surveillance may see an intentionally bad play and not realize that it was a reactionary play to a boss. Surveillance sees the play, not the boss, and may put too much emphasis on what appears to the’ incorrect play.’ Even in clubs where the responsibility lies heavily with surveillance, for real time evaluations, surveillance isn’t always there to watch every suspect card counter, as they have plenty of other responsibilities, too. In these situations, knowledgeable floor supervisors are invaluable.
When decisions were made to market your book, why do so many websites that cater primarily to the gambler offer it for sale? Who exactly is the intended market?
The best place for any gamer to buy quality casino books, magazines, videos and software has always been those retail outlets and websites catering primarily to the gambler. The Gambler’s Book Shop and the Gambler General Store, two Las Vegas landmarks, both carry more titles for players than for the industry, but they also offer the best selection of products for gamers, too! Even respected retailers like Pi Yee Press and RGE, who focus primarily on selling to the player, still derive a ton of business from the industry.
If you could peek at the library of the most knowledgeable casino managers and surveillance directors in the world, I’ll bet you that you find more books specifically written for the player than those specifically written for the gaming business. The best books written for the player, have also proved to be our best source of knowledge, and the sharpest gamers know it!
In regard to the intended market for Casino Game Protection – A Comprehensive Guide, I believe the market is any gamer with a desire to explore the casino game protection topic.
Surveillance is a secondary internal control that encourages compliance with primary internal controls and procedures. Surveillance exists to encourage employee’s to comply NOT to catch cheats. A floor employee’s duty is to comply with the law, internal controls and procedures, NOT catch cheats. If a casino/jurisdiction could devise a set of laws, internal controls and procedures, surely aren’t they expert enough to enforce those laws and procedures without outside help?
For the record, the first cat walks and surveillance rooms were conceived specifically for the purpose of catching cheaters and internal theft; their invention had nothing to do with a means for encouraging employees to comply with procedures and controls. I recognize that things have changed significantly over time, but I’m still puzzled by the rigid, inclusiveness of these statements leading to the question. They seem to suggest that the floor and surveillance are only responsible for following the rules. Who then is responsible for evaluating suspect play?
As to the point of this question, I’m not sure. As to my answer to this question: Sure casinos are expert enough to enforce their own laws and procedures without outside help! Where has it ever been suggested otherwise?
The effective pit boss not only has the ability to oversee staff, but also has the ability to watch players switch from one table to the next and has a better overall perspective than floor supervisors who may be monitoring five or six games. Recently, many large high volume casinos have eliminated the pit manager position and box in dice. This has many of us perplexed. Was this action in the best interest of giving quality customer service, or are yet more services denied to the customers? And how on earth can game protection fit into such decisions?
These are interesting decisions–to say the least–that have many traditionalists scratching their heads. As we all know, it’s clearly a decision motivated by money (payroll, insurance and benefits). I don’t see how these decisions can be in the best interest of customer service. With less employees around to accommodate the customer, and to help run smoother more efficient games, you would expect customer service to falter at some level.
As for how game protection fits into such decisions, it obviously wasn’t a factor. Someone is betting that the money saved from eliminating these positions will overcome any leakage attributed to the reduced supervision. And the irony is, due to the rareness of scams and the fact that when they do occur, most are for ‘short money,’ they’re probably right. It will be interesting to see what happens when the first major scam surfaces that targets this new format, and it will. It’s just a question of time.
Are you ready to answer some questions from the dealers and floor supervisors?
I will do the best I can.
Rich, Floor Supervisor, from A.C. New Jersey
In the game of Roulette some people say that a dealer can hit a section of numbers on the wheel. Do you believe this to be true and if so, what can the manufacture do to raise the integrity of the Roulette wheel so a Casino operator would not have any real concerns over any dealer manipulation of the ball or wheel.
The alleged skilled is called ‘section shooting,’ and I don’t believe that it’s is possible, nor do I believe that it’s even a close call. It’s, however, one of the most heatedly debated topics in game protection.
Here are some of the basic reasons why many gamers believe the skill exists (a lengthy segment appears in the book).
There are those who believe that section shooting is an acquired skill, a manipulative skill that can be learned through arduous practice, and no different than typing, golfing, juggling, etc. But there are limits to human capability, which is why no one types 500 words a minute, hits nothing but hole-in-ones, or can juggle 100 objects. Although there’s no reason to doubt that muscle-memory may result in dealers releasing the ball with similar velocities, that’s not enough precision to accurately control the speed of the ball. On the first revolution the error may only be a ½ pocket; after the second revolution, experience has shown the error can jump to 1 pocket, then 2, then 4 and so on. As you increase revolutions, a significant margin of error compounds exponentially. With only 10-12 revolutions–considered very slow–it’s not just 10-12 times harder, it quickly becomes impossible.
Another factor regarding the alleged skill, and curiously, one that many seem to overlook, is that section shooting is an act comprised of three questionably attainable skills, not just one, and they must all occur simultaneously. The dealer must push the rotor to a pre-determined speed, spin the ball with a pre-determined force, and then factor in the ball’s bounce to have any chance of controlling the outcome. Compare these actions to those of the baseball pitcher, for example. He aims only once, and can take as much time as he wants to warm up, evaluate, and calculate their actions. He may be able to throw a variety of pitches, all at different speeds, and all with incredible accuracy, but he doesn’t have to throw three strikes at the same time!
Also, after you work in gaming over a period of time, and perform the same actions day in and day out, many convince themselves that they “should have” and therefore “must have” control over these actions. I believe that every wheel dealer has attempted to section shoot at one time or another. When players start to win, many dealers will alter ball speed, rotor speed, and change the starting point of the spin. Since very few players walk away from the roulette table a winner, dealers falls into the trap of believing that their intervention affected the outcome (bosses are just as guilty). They take the credit and seem to completely forget about the 5.26% house advantage.
It becomes easy to see how this kind of thinking can perpetuate myths.
One last observation looks at the wheel’s capricious nature and how the characteristics of individual wheels change from day to day. Even the same dealer, same wheel, same ball and same spin, practiced or habit formed, will get different results from day to day. This begs the question: How can section shooting develop in the first place?
In short, there are too many factors that transcend section shooting past the point of a learnable, manipulative skill. It’s for these reasons that I don’t believe we need the manufacturers to come up with anything special to address this myth; we need the casino mangers to better understand the physical process. And for all who still have doubts, check out ‘The 17 Rule’ in the book for a simple way to test the premise (first documented in Ed Thorp’s The Mathematics of Gambling). Convince yourself.
If I may pull from one of my favorite quotes regarding this subject, the following comes from Monte Carlo, Facts and Fallacies (Sir Hiram S. Maxim, 1904).
“… the path through which the ball travels, from the time it leaves the croupiers hand until it finds a lodging-place in the roulette wheel, is so infinitely complicated and depends upon so many unknown and unknowable factors that no amount of skill on the part of the croupier can have the least particle of influence in guiding the ball into any particular pocket or group of pockets; it is simply and purely a matter of chance.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
David Dual-Rate, Las Vegas, NV
As per table games protection goes, do you have an opinion on the hiring of dealers who speak little or no English? The reason I ask is that we have Asian dealers who converse in native tongue on live games when the opportunity presents itself. This drives me nuts. My shifty tells me not to worry about it. In other words, it’s a customer service thing. I smell trouble.
David, I know of cases where dealers were fired, or not hired in the first place due to problems with their English. I don’t see anything wrong with the requirement that all dealers speak conversational English.
Many years back the 21 dealers were tested by asking them the following question. “You’re dealing the game, you have an ace, you offer insurance, and a player asks you to explain how the insurance bet works?” Naturally they all knew how the bet worked, but communicating the details was not easy for many.
I also remember an Asian gentlemen, a superb roulette dealer, but his English was weak. His personality was magnetic, however, and every time he marked the winning number he would give the players this big smile, and they loved it. His skills were exceptional and his game was always jam packed, so there’s a case where a dealer was able to overcome his handicap.
In Las Vegas we are ’employment liberal’ with a work force that comes from all over the world – not to mention an equally diverse customer base – so being exposed to many different languages is to be expected. Dealers talking in their native tongue with players on a live game is a little discomforting, from a security standpoint, but it really depends on the property, management, game, dealer, the action, and the circumstances. I would defer to your shifty!
T. J. Dealer, Las Vegas, NV
I told my boss to look up the site and see the ad for this interview. He did. He said the book should have been published 10-15 years ago.
T. J., your boss is right!
G. G. Dealer, Atlantic City, NJ
What benefit is there to me in knowing the methodologies, debunks, myths and misinformation as described in a review of your book if I have no intention of getting into management? To me it is all very simple. Go to work, deal by procedure, smile and go home.
G. G., you’re not alone. I have many friends who deal for a living and they, too, don’t have any interest to ever work in management. But as a dealer, you still play an important role in the business, a crucial role in the pit, and you can always benefit every time you expand your knowledge. In fact, many of the myths and misinformation discussed in the book, pertain to the dealer.
Bill B., Surveillance, Macau
What do you see as the main challenges facing Casino Table Operations on the Game Protection front (and) what steps can be taken to meet these challenges?
This is the best question asked thus far, and it addresses the essence of what game protection is all about. Unfortunately, the breath of this question makes it difficult to answer in an interview format. It’s the kind of question more deserving of a response in the form of a research paper. With this in mind, let me make a couple of observations.
The pit faces many challenges on the game protection front. They range from issues dealing with security/protection, operations, even philosophical, and they differ based on what part of the world you work in, what casino you work for, and what level of security/surveillance exists in your property. One of the biggest challenges in today’s environment is to avoid being complacent and just assuming that the 24/7 surveillance coverage, shuffling machines, peeking devices, and similar tools will take care of everything.
Another challenge is to keep game protection an integral part of the business and not overlook the importance of game protection training and all of its peripheral benefits as discussed in a previous response.
And yet another challenge surrounds the question, “How much knowledge should we demand from our pit supervisors?” I know a talented supervisor who specializes in roulette. He was a wizard when he was a dealer and he can hold his own in any discussion about keys for payoffs, pushing checks, procedures, blind spots, and even game protection to the extent of common industry knowledge. But have one of his dealers hit a couple of straight up numbers, and this same boss will whisper to the dealer “pick up your wheel and ball speed.” Now, all of a sudden, the dealer is spinning the rotor and ball at ridiculous speeds. The boss doesn’t realize that he’s doing anything wrong, on the contrary, his intentions are all you could ask for, yet his beliefs about protecting the wheel are completely unfounded. It never occurs to him that his intervention sends an obvious message to the typical player: “In this club, we do everything we can to beat the player?”
He never considers that his actions might offend the player and risk losing his business, forever. He overlooks the fact that the excessive ball and rotor speed do nothing but lengthen the decision time and slow down the game. If this boss was well versed in the fundamentals of roulette prediction, and the myths associated with roulette prediction, he would move from competent supervisor to exceptional supervisor. A bonafide working knowledge of roulette and all of its nuances should be the goal of every supervisor or surveillance operator who watches this game, but we rarely demand such a comprehensive knowledge from our people.
And for one last example, consider the continuing challenge to find the perfect balance between security and productivity, and to implement procedures and controls that are truly consistent with risk. Some game protection minded executives are far too cautious, implementing too many counter-measures. This can often be a huge mistake. When these decisions prove to be counter-productive and slow down the game (not to mention creating a false sense of security), you can be looking at a decision that costs money on every table, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The potential loss of handle can be staggering. Look at it this way, “Are there any scams that can ‘steal’ money from every table game, every hour, around the clock?
The only steps we can take to meet these challenges, and many more, is to strive for a deeper understanding of games, the procedures, the threat from cheaters and skilled players, the pro and cons of our responses to cheaters and skilled players, etc. We have to continue our research and encourage others to do the same. Then we have to pass along this knowledge, with perspective. Whoever coined the phrase “Knowledge is your best protection” was right on the money.
B.H. TGSM, Reno, NV
Staff here participated in a recent game protection presentation. Not to take anything away from the consultant, but I felt that the staff remembered it more as entertainment than education and awareness. Have you addressed this issue in your book?
Yes, I did briefly address some of the issues associated with game protection lectures. If I may, again, let me just pull the excerpt.
Lectures and training programs can help fill many voids that often hinder the progress of supervisors, surveillance, and upper management. Most work their entire careers hearing terms like ‘playing the bend,’ ‘dumping the game,’ ‘playing the turn,’ or ‘slug scams,’ but never get the opportunity to see these techniques, strategies, or devices demonstrated and explained.
With these training programs comes a few caveats, as the lecture format can be restrictive in many ways. First, time is an issue. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to discuss any topic in any depth over a short period of two to six hours. This can result in vagueness as topics are presented quickly without substance. Second, audience size is another consideration. Presenting an intimate subject matter to a large group can be frustrating, at least for me. If at all possible, class size should be as small as practical to help maximize the learning process and insure a hands-on experience. Third, questions tend to be few and far between when upper management and the floor personnel are all in the same group. Most would rather say nothing than risk asking what may be perceived as a foolish question. And, finally, not everyone cares to attend mandatory lectures, especially after working eight hours; this can make for a restless, less than captive audience.
I believe that lectures can be helpful, provided the content is relevant and covers many bases, including scams, advantage play, technology, procedures, weighing the pros and cons of security versus productivity, and even some of the more controversial areas such as inside collusion, manipulating the floor person, and targeting surveillance. Rareness of all scams should be stressed and the material should be presented without instilling paranoia.
Jia, Dealer, Las Vegas, NV
Your book talks about dealers and the supply and demand factor here in Las Vegas. When the MGM and Bellagio opened for business, to the astonishment of many they hired a number of break-in dealers. I know many old DI dealers who claim they only wanted young faces, not experience. Do you agree? Is it better to mix the experienced with the new when opening such a big resort? My guess is that both casinos think if you train them your way ….. To me this was a slap in the face to experienced professional dealers.
I can’t speak to the hiring practices of individual properties but, for what it’s worth, I can tell you that I have always been a big fan of experienced help, especially when it comes to dealers.
If you put two bosses together, one who is exceptionally knowledgeable and one with little or no experience, and the inexperienced boss is careful to stay out of the way and not get into too much trouble, it can be difficult to distinguish the two supervisors in term of experience and knowledge.
Take two dealers, however, one with experience and one without, and the differences are dramatic and instant. You can’t fake the talents of experienced dealers. As a break-in dealer I used to travel around town and watch the best dealers for hours; they were always the old-timers. Outside of a few properties, most notably the old Binion’s Horseshoe always had jobs for experienced help), the mentality of not hiring experienced dealers still prevails in many clubs. The veteran dealer sometimes get knocked due to his lack of enthusiasm, and I have often heard that they’re too stoic, hardcore, and jaded.
There are also those in management who believe that most players would rather play against younger help. If this is true, it may be because most players are novices and most novices are intimidated by our table games (the pressure of making decisions, the speed of the games, etc.).
Perhaps, many novices would rather play against younger help because they associate the younger dealer with less experience, and more on par with themselves.
The argument has been around for some time, and is best illustrated by the following question. When compared side by side, at the end of a year, who will make more money for the house: a serious, experienced pro, or a bubbly, outgoing break-in dealer? Assumptions are that the experienced dealer will get more hands out per hour and make fewer mistakes, but may have trouble attracting and holding the typical players. It should also be factored in that many premium players prefer the experienced dealer.
For the younger, less experienced dealer, it’s assumed that he/she will deal a slower game, make more mistakes, but tend to get more of a response jump starting dead games and holding the typical player longer. For a cold-blooded comparison, the test could also look at the higher costs associated with older employees.
This would be a fascinating experiment for someone like Professor Kilby or Professor Eadington. Create the model, plug in some reasonable variables and conditions, and see what happens.
Andy, TGS, Las Vegas, NV
Mr Forte, About the book Bringing Down the House and the MIT Blackjack Team hitting Vegas casinos, what is your take on this story?
I tip my hat off to the MIT Team, especially the original group of people who started it all. Although there are more than a few blackjack teams who could tell a similar story, you can’t deny their success or historical impact in the game protection field.
I enjoyed the book and I believe the story to be generally true, with the occasional literary license taken by most authors trying to tell a story … and hoping to turn that story into a movie.
M, CSM, Laughlin, NV
Mr Forte, are you allowed in casinos? Can you gamble? Just curious.
Yes, I’m allowed in casinos, and I could gamble if I’d any desire to do so.
Quang, dealer, Las Vegas, NV
From a business standpoint, there is nothing wrong with casinos banning players who are taking large amounts of money from them; it is their right. But to attach the stigma of being a “cheater” to a person because they count cards; is that right?
I agree with you, we have the right to address any threat, but it’s unfair to attach the negative stigma. It remains an industry decision to offer blackjack to the public, even long after it was discovered to be a game of skill and potentially vulnerable. We also write the laws that govern these games, and they make it perfectly legal for the player to utilize all information made available to him to the best of his ability–exactly what the card counter attempts to do. In Nevada we even have legal precedent, as seen in the case: Sheriff of Washoe County v. Martin (1983) where a player was arrested for bending cards. In that case the court stated:
“By way of contrast, a card counter does not alter any of the basic features of the game. He merely uses his mental skills to take advantage of the same information that is available to all players.”
The popularity of blackjack is based primarily on the public perceiving it to be a game of skill, and that perception is one of the most significant factors contributing to the spread of legalized gambling throughout the world. If we really want to tell it like it is, the only stigma we should be attaching to these players is “the best thing to ever happen to a casino table game.”
Mark, Dealer, Las Vegas NV
Steve, With the implementation of the Mindplay system and RFID chip tracking systems, do you think that casinos will become too reliant on technology ? And try to cope (more so) without experienced staff ? ( I note from reading a previous reply of yours that you favor experience , but not all will share your view ) I am sure these devices/systems are not flawless and could be open to ‘attack’ on a large scale, if/when the system glitches/breakdown albeit with or without the help of a third party.
In the ongoing technological debate between the futurists who always claim that better and more exciting things are to come, and the traditionalists who claim that the pit is beginning to look like one giant slot machine, this is an important question. My response is that I don’t believe that with the implementation of the systems you refer to makes the casinos too reliant on technology.
Full fledged accountability systems that (a) identify the player and (b) track each bet and playing decision for computer analysis have been in development for some time. The same is true for chip in chip technologies. Moreover, the industry has advanced to a point in its history where technological innovation is expected, and no longer scorned. I remember when the first peeking devices surfaced and the traditionalists objected; then it was the shuffling machine that ran into some initial resistance; and then many questioned the effectiveness and accuracy of card counter detection software. Look at the industry now and it should be patently obvious that technology rules!
When it comes to technology, if it aids the identification of players, the evaluation process, or the accountability, and/or automation of these processes, you can expect the industry to continue to push the technological envelope. The implementation of the RFID chip tracking system in the new Wynn property is a perfect example. On the other hand, I wouldn’t expect to see any progress with technologies that make playing a live casino game more like playing an electronic casino game, as most table game players still need the social interaction for the gambling experience to be fun.
Finally, although the modern casino system/device can achieve almost bullet proof status, over time, I agree with you that no system is flawless or immune from attack. It will be interesting to see how these systems hold up against operator error, operator/player abuse, internal failures, bugs, and sophisticated high-tech cheaters and players.
Rob, Gaming Manager. Africa
On various forums and other resources on the web some surveillance experts express very little regard for those who like yourself have gained your knowledge by being on both sides of the table. They question the integrity of those who have done this and would have all believe that the information obtained from such sources must be tainted. How would you respond to these views?
I don’t respond … I value my time too much! But given my promise to answer all questions to the best of my ability, and as a courtesy to you and CasinoDealers.Net, let me just say that it’s impossible to respond to the mentality of anyone who questions the integrity of someone they don’t know on a personal basis, based on a playing career that is almost two decades old, while ignoring a substantial pro-industry career. Apparently, people don’t change in their world.
As to the absurd contention made by these same experts that the information in the book is tainted in some way, I would consider the source(s). Better yet, have them submit something with a bit more substance and specificity … I welcome the opportunity to debate any topic with them and I’m prepared to let the information in the book speak for itself.
William, Floor Supervisor, Las Vegas, NV
I have read parts of your book. We have it in the office. I will purchase a copy. I’ll need to meet with my banker first 🙂 – My question is this; What was the most fascinating casino scam you ever heard about.
I guess that all depends on what you mean by “fascinating.”
One of the most amazing manipulative feats I have ever seen was ‘The Shot,’ as described in the craps chapter. To see a die thrown 2-3″ off the layout with the illusion of tumbling (in reality, it just hops and skips maintaining its lateral control) is truly a sight to see.
One of the most diabolical scams I’ve ever run into was the ‘Percentage Sorts,’ as described in the Universal Scams chapter. To combine such a simple idea, and one that is familiar to most knowledgeable bosses (Sorts), with a sophisticated computer derived strategy based on acceptable percentages of intentional reading errors, is a great example of combining an old scam with today’s technology.
One of the most brazen scams I have ever come across involved simply miscalling the dice. What made the scam so interesting was that there was a surveillance camera on the game at all times, and the operator(s) was not a participant in the scam.
One of the more unusual high-tech scams I’m aware off involved marking the plastic cards with a radioactive isotope and then reading the cards through the table with a dosimeter based system.
I find all of these scams to be fascinating in one way, shape or manner.
Greg, ASM, Lake Tahoe, NV
As an unofficial host of this website I would like to personally thank you for joining us here Steve. Outstanding book, I enjoy your style. You present a dry subject to most of us and find a way rekindle the interest. The flow is nice and it is presented in such a way that it also very entertaining to read. The beauty of it all, is the sheer size and magnitude of materiel. Here is bonus feature I bet you never thought about. Now each operations director has something to slam on the conference table to the bean counters! Its a very big book. My question is if you edited down from 1000 pages to 600, what did we miss?
Greg, thanks for the kind words.
In an effort to get the book down to a manageable size, a fair amount of quality information didn’t make the final cut. In most cases, however, we’re only talking about more examples of the concepts already presented. For every scam and strategy, I tried to pick those ideas and moves that would best help illustrate the spectrum of a particular technique or strategy. In the blackjack chapter there were only so many mucks, peeks, and false shuffles I needed to help make my points, yet I’ve collected hundreds of these moves. In the advantage play chapter, the same can be said for slug tracking; any more examples would have been overkill. I found a condensed format to handle all of the novelty games, so much of the more game-specific information was saved. The section on procedures and myths was also shortened significantly, going with just enough examples to hopefully make a few points. One chapter that could of easily been doubled in size was the section on marked cards, as I have been collecting information on this topic for years, and have always thought of publishing a book dedicated to the subject.
I almost didn’t include the chapter on card counting because so many quality books already exist, but there were things I wanted to say that I’ve never seen in player titles. Whether to keep or edit out the poker chapter was a last minute decision but, given the current popularity of the game, the poker room is getting more attention. Every time I added a new topic to the table of contents, in an attempt ‘to cover all of the bases,’ I shortened and streamlined the descriptions of the existing chapters and topics. For the same reason, 30-40 photos were edited out, too.
Finally, there was a fair amount of information held back that never made it into any of the drafts, but it was more of a commercial nature and, frankly, it didn’t fit the informal text-book style format. This included interviews and biographies of some notorious hustlers and players, a chapter called ‘Unsolved’ which detailed a number of unsolved scams (I didn’t want to leave the reader hanging), and so on. It was an easy decision to omit this material due to size and general goals of the project.
On a related matter, if I may just take a second and respond to numerous emails I have received asking about plans for a second printing, the possibility of a second edition or expanded edition, and when and if the book’s retail price be lowered.
There will never be an expanded edition (I wouldn’t do this to the current owners of the book). At this time, there are no plans to reprint the first edition. If I ever pursue a second edition, it will include all new information. And the retail price will remain at $200 until the inventory is depleted (unless you get the book through an association, contributor, or volume discount)
Bruce, Gaming regulator, New York
I recall reading that you were born on the East Coast; how did you got involved in casino gambling in the first place … What brought you to Vegas, and how did you catch the”casino bug”?
Anyone from the East Coast will tell you that gambling is everywhere. In my neighborhood, the bookmakers openly walked up and down the streets with cigar boxes filled with the betting slips from the numbers, sports and the ponies. Poker, short card games, and dice games were common. As a teenager, Las Vegas Charity Nights were becoming popular, so I had the chance to deal poker and blackjack at an early age.
Somewhere down the road I ended up with Scarne’s Complete Guide to Gambling (John Scarne) and Beat the Dealer (Ed Thorp). These books further fueled my interests in the world of casino gambling.
I took my first junket to Las Vegas when I was 18 years old and caught the ‘casino bug’ big time. I always knew that I would come back someday. While attending school on a basketball scholarship, I couldn’t shake my desire to see what Las Vegas was all about so I moved there when I was 20, immediately went to dealer’s school, and started dealing craps two hours after I turned 21. Today, I continue to find the same fascination with the gambling business as I did when I was a kid.
John, Surveillance Supervisor, San Diego, CA
Steve, what is truly more important to the success of a casino’s table games environment? Sweating the money or catering to the money.
I suspect that when you say “sweating the money” you’re referring to the game protection aspects of supervision (not unprofessional conduct), and when you say “the money,” you’re referring to the all customers. If I have this right, then we have another customer service versus game protection question, which has been addressed previously. Your terminology, however, raises an interesting question of interpretation, and other points.
Your reference to “the money” could be interpreted by many to mean a focus on premium players the money players. If so, it should be noted that even the small players have proven to be invaluable commodities in the biggest clubs. Individually, they may not contribute as much to the bottom line, but they can be a significant contributor as a group. They also help in ways we don’t get from premium play, especially in terms of the successful table game environment you refer to. Smaller players tend to have more fun; they smile, laugh, and converse more then premium players; they also provide a shill like presence keeping the pit crowded. These factors all have a magnetic quality that attracts more players.
If your reference to “sweating the money” actually refers to sweating the money in the traditional sense, it happens to be one of the most colorful topics in our business, but a practice that should be avoided at all costs for one simple reason: There’s absolutely nothing to gain.
Sweating the money can come in many forms and from all capacities. Classic examples include upper management changing the schedules of its shift mangers after experiencing low hold percentages; the floor supervisor keeping the ‘unlucky’ dealers off high limit games; or thedealers changing the shuffle in an effort to get the game back on track. In worst case scenarios, people lose their jobs. Some even see many of our traditional controls as a form of sweating. For example, when the floor counts the drop, bill by bill, the public is left with the feeling that we are sweating every $20 bill understandable in a 500M+ club. Even watching the traditional custom of the dealers ‘clapping out’ has been construed as a form of sweating; it suggests to the public that as an industry we’re sweating the integrity of every employee.
Sweating the money is obviously not conducive to an enjoyable casino experience for players or employees. When upper management sweats, it sends the wrong message to the floor and the dealers who begin to associate losing with doing something wrong. When the floor/dealers sweat the money, it can easily reach an offensive stage that reeks of outright greed. Imagine the typical player who does nothing but lose; he finally wins a bet or two and is confronted by sweaters; what could be more insulting? Also, for many players, if they start winning and sense the ‘bleeding’ from the floor, nothing makes them happier than to get up and quit. They do it for spite, to insure a win, and we as an industry lose the chance for the house advantage to do its work … we eliminate our biggest advantage: the long run!
Even against skilled players and cheaters, there is no justification for sweating the money. Skilled player just play the ‘iggi’ and purposely add cover to their play in an attempt to create doubt, making the evaluation more difficult. Once they find a reason to leave, they may stay away from your shift but not your club, or they can just have team members play your shift. With cheaters, I remember an old-time hustler once explaining to me the psychology of the sweater, “The closer they get, the less they know … but a boss who stands 10-15 feet from the game with a smile and tries to give you enough rope to hang yourself, now he’s problem.”
Although I could relay many stories of good people who were forced to sweat the money due to issues of job security (an egregious practice), sweating the money is generally a sign of ignorance. To make matters worse, the practice usually starts at/near the top of the casino hierarchy and it tends to be contagious. When the games are dealt honestly, dealers and supervisors have no control over chance fluctuation, and should never be given the opportunity to intervene in the process, or be responsible for the outcome of these processes. They should focus on dealing and supervising according to procedures, and let the games run their course. That’s why top management is always easy to spot; you walk through the pit and everybody’s doing the same thing with the same smile, win, lose or draw.
I’ll get off the topic with a true story, and one of the most extreme cases of sweating the money imaginable. It involves a female 21 dealer in a strip club many years back. She’s dealing to limit action and busting every hand. Each time she busts, the boss cringes and moves one step closer to the game. It finally gets so bad that the boss is practically standing on top of her. And then it happens. She busts again sending the boss into an uncontrollable rage. He winds up and suckerpunches the dealer right in the kidney! The cards go flying in the air, the dealer falls straight back to the floor, and everyone comes to her rescue. Lying on the floor, after a minute or two, the dealer’s eyes finally open slowly. She looks straight up into the sky and utters three magic words that would grant her a prosperous early retirement: “CALL MY ATTORNEY!”
T. R. Table Games, Biloxi, MS
Mr. Forte, Have any casino managers purchased the book in bulk and handed it out to their floor supervisors? To me this would be an investment, not a gift if indeed your book delivers only half as advertised.
Yes, a number of casino managers, vice presidents, and general managers have purchased the book in bulk, but not nearly to the extent of ordering enough copies for all floor supervisors.
If your fellow floor supervisors also have an interest in the book, check with your boss. For any club with a desire to purchase enough books for all floor supervisors, huge volume discounts are available.
Thanks for the plug. I, too, believe the book would make a great investment for any property. And I do believe the book delivers as advertised. It’s generally pitched as the most in-depth study on casino game protection ever revealed, but between you and me, this isn’t much of a stretch. Casino Game Protection – A Comprehensive Guide is the only in-depth study ever devoted to the subject!
Steve, this interview has made it clear to me how differently we all view game protection, so as a final question, what exactly does the term mean to you?
It’s interesting how we come full circle to your question. At first glance, the question seems so elementary, but it’s not.
First, the essential background. Prior to the 1960s, the term ‘game protection’ specifically referred to the protection against cheaters and internal theft. After the early 1960s and the publication of Beat the Dealer (Ed Thorp, 1962), the term also included the protection against card counters. In the early/mid 1970s ‘advantage players’ were added to the list, as the industry learned of the tell players, warp players, holecard players and, later, the shuffle trackers. Then, over time, the sharpest operators began to realize that a number of internal industry threats should be added to the list, as they could also result in significant loss of revenue. These included problems associated with incompetent help, weak and ineffective procedures, overreacting to suspect play and backing off the wrong player, etc. Today, game protection is best defined as the science and practice of protecting the tables games from any threat to the bottom line.
The science of game protection is all about one’s knowledge of theft, scams, and strategies. The practice of game protection is all about how we use this knowledge to better protect the games and insure optimal performance (staffing, controls and procedures, game protection philosophy, the relationship between the pit and sky, suspect play guidelines, time and motion issues, game protection training, etc.). When you combine the science with the practice, you get a subject significantly wider in scope than many ever realize.
This was a very busy interview. Probably more than you bargained for. We all appreciate the time and effort you put into this. Any closing thoughts?
Let me just say thanks to all those who submitted questions.
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