3 Biggest Casino Cheating Scandals

Table of Contents

Temptations come every now and then. Normal. And you possibly, at a point in your life, have been tempted to cheat, not necessarily in the casinos. Maybe you got yourself into deep shit, and the “fastest way” to get out of it is to cheat.

This might not be the best option, or put butterflies in your belly if you aren’t a hardened cheat. But the people involved in these scandals will tell you otherwise. Of course, this is just a theory; many other reasons could have led them to cheat.

Now listen, Casinos work hard to make sure everything is safe by spending a lot of time and money on security measures. But one could never tell of the things that are bound to happen; not even the security team could see it coming.

As you’re here, it simply means you’re either a curious gambler or you’re just interested in exciting stories because this isn’t fictional; it’s reality. Well, guess what? You are in the place you need to be. Come on, jump right into the 3 Biggest Casino Cheating Scandals. And a heads up, number 3 might just throw you out of the top of the Burj Khalifa.

Counterfeit Chips at Borgata Winter Open (2014)

Back in 2014, a poker player named Christian Lusardi was arrested for bringing fake chips to a Borgata Winter Open tournament. Christian isn’t a professional poker player. However, you know, winning in a big tournament is a sure ticket to bringing a poker player into the limelight. Who wouldn't want their face on the poker map?

His plan was surprisingly straightforward. He used the chips to increase his stack whenever he needed. This gave him a massive advantage over other players. However, it wasn’t long before tournament officials caught on to his scheme when they noticed that the total chip count was higher than it should have been. So, the officials decided to investigate this foul play. 

When Lusardi discovered that the officials were now aware of his scheme, you will be shocked at what happened next. He flushed the fake chips down the toilet, but he wasn’t wise enough to do it perfectly. There was a pipe blockage, and the people downstairs started complaining that water was leaking into their rooms. This was how a total of $2.7 million worth of fake chips were recovered.

What happened after?

The tournament was initially planned for 3 weeks but had to stop after 3 days when the counterfeit poker chips were found. In the end, Christian Lusardi was sentenced to 5 years in prison.

He also had to pay $463,540 to Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa because they lost money when they had to cancel the 2014 tournament in Atlantic City. Additionally, he was required to pay $9,455 to Harrah’s Casino Hotel for causing damage to its plumbing.

You’re just getting started; this is the Christian Lusardi scandal; wait till you discover “The absolute …”

The Absolute Poker Superuser Scandal (2006–2008)

Casino Cheating Scandals

Ultimate Bet (UB) site was introduced in March 2001 and got approval from the Kahnawake Gaming Commission in Canada. Shortly after that, the Absolute Poker (AP) site was also introduced in 2003. These two sites joined together to form the “Cereus Poker Network.” 

Now, in the mid-2000s, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker were the big players in online poker. But what made Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker stand out is the fact that they hosted various poker games and were also one of the sites that offered serious games with high stakes on the line.

Not only that, they had a hot name. Well-known ambassadors such as Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke were there to represent and boost their image.

What Knocked What Down?

In the year 2007, players who had lost consistently on the Absolute Poker site started sharing on poker forums that the site had accounts with impossible privileges. Before coming to this conclusion, the players had pointed out a few things.

Accounts with extremely high winning rates and perfect play in all spots and this could only happen if their opponent sees their cards in a game. They referred to this as a superuser or “god mode” account.

Most of these observations centered around the account “Potripper.” This account played with a suspicious hand throughout the tournament that year and won. One of the players, going by the name “Johnson”, asked for a record of the hands played at the final table. But Absolute Poker accidentally (dead) sent him the wrong information, including suspicious play. When Johnson received this report, he sent it to other forum members.

An investigation was carried out by a veteran poker journalist, Harley Hintze. It was then uncovered that the system had been manipulated, which was allowing them to see other people’s cards without them knowing. Absolute Poker denied this accusation at first but later yielded and also agreed to refund $1.6 million to cheated players.

What happened after?

The “POTRIPPER” account was traced back to the site’s corporate offices in Costa Rica. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission confirmed what other online poker players have been complaining about. Indeed, Absolute Poker cheated by using a “god mode” to see opponents’ cards.

Because of this, Absolute Poker got a $500,000 fine and was placed on a two-year probation with increased supervision.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael: Hacking Slot Machines (1980s–2001)

Tommy Glenn Carmichael

Tommy Glenn Carmichael made a bold statement when he said, “Give me a slot machine, and I’ll beat it.”  Tommy was born in the mid-1950s, right when technology started booming. From a young age, Tommy was fascinated by the workings of technology. In the 1980s, he opened a store where he sold various goods and offered television repair services.

But as time went on, he couldn’t keep up with the competition. This made it difficult for him to keep his business running which also made survival difficult. On top of that, he was faced with divorce. 

Fortunately, Tommy reconnected with his old-time friend, Ray Ming, who lives in Las Vegas. Ray Ming shared with Tommy the Bally’s slot machine and a top-bottom joint, considered the elite cheating tool for two decades. Tommy, in no time, saw it was easy to do, and that’s how he discovered his cheating “talent.”

The Success Story Sprinkled With Laxative

Tommy was so thrilled and sure that cheating was the way out for him that he immediately closed the repair shop and moved to Las Vegas with his fourth wife. His first successful cheat was at a 5-cent machine near the strip. This filled his pocket with $35 in nickels. This tested his dream more; he could now picture living his American dream with “Yacht and Cars.”

However, he was later caught and sentenced to 5 years. This was when he was 35. What a 35-coincidence! This man can be said to have made old cheating methods obsolete in his time.

Tommy was released in 1987. And this time, he discovered something more interesting. Gambling slot machines were now using microprocessors and random number generators. He continued to develop new cheating tools, such as the slide and the light wand. The light wand had the power to blind a slot machine’s sensor, fooling it into dispensing coins.

He uses the weaknesses in the machines to improve his next trick. The slide and the light wand worked until around 1991. But he was able to make thousands from these tools and also continued to play in various casinos to pick up cheating tips. Tommy maintained a flawless technique and a low-key lifestyle to evade the authorities.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael Downfall

After Tommy’s winning spree, he decided to team up with Ramon David Pereira and Mike Balsamo to form a group with “blockers.” These people are always on the lookout during their cheating activities.

Unfortunately, on October 4, 1996, Tommy was caught cheating again at Circus Hotel Casino. This was because he was acting weirdly and was captured by Surveillance cameras. The security guards noticed this and confronted him.

In Tommy’s attempt to escape, he dropped a cheating device, which led to his arrest. Although charges were dropped, he didn’t stop there. He was arrested in 1998 and 1999 for similar offenses. In 2001, Tommy was eventually sentenced to 326 days in prison and given 3 years probation. As a result of his illegal actions, he ended up losing both of his homes.


It’s not worth all this trouble trying to win by all means because the wind of time will definitely blow things open one day. Not everyone can always come out on top, true, but that’s only if you're not playing smart.

Instead of trying to manipulate things, level up your game  — you’ll thank yourself for it in the end. It is not worth gaming with your reputation and freedom. Is anything even worth it?

Latest Posts

4 March 2024

John Simons

How To Get Free Poker Chips on WSOP

There’s no need to go to a casino to play poker. Today, all you need to do is turn on your computer.  Modern gambling is easier than ever. You don’t need to get dressed up and go to the casino. As long as you have a computer, you can play poker in your pajamas. You’ll […]

Best Casino Games for a Party

4 March 2024

John Simons

6 Best Casino Games for a Party

Planning an exciting party can be a little tricky. You’ll organize the decor, pick the right snacks, and choose a fun soundtrack. But nothing will kill the vibe faster than your guests growing bored. The good news is that there are lots of fun casino games that are sure to keep your guests entertained.  1. […]

Casinos Control Slot Machines Remotely

4 March 2024

Edward Wills

Can Casinos Control Slot Machines Remotely?

Have you ever found yourself pondering the inner workings of a casino? Specifically, how do they set up their slot machines? It’s a fascinating question. Are our winnings the result of hard work, careful calculation, or sheer luck, or are they pre-programmed by the casino? Could it be that the machines are rigged in the […]

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram