Casino scammer used infrared contact lenses to read marked cards

By on September 30, 2013, 2:00 PM
gambling, poker, casino, cheater, infrared contact lens, marked cards

For as long as there are casinos and gambling establishments, there will be people trying to cheat them. The latest cheater story includes everything you’d expect to see in a big-budget Hollywood film – the French Riviera, marked playing cards, infrared contact lenses and shady casino employees.

56-year-old Stefano Ampollini, codenamed “Parmesan,” hatched a plan along with two casino employees in 2011. Working together, the employees somehow managed to mark cards using invisible ink. Ampollini then used a pair of infrared contact lenses purchased online to give him an upper hand which led to 70,000 euros in winnings in a single day.

Parmesan returned once again and took home an additional 21,000 but like most other cheats, he was eventually figured out. According to the casino’s lawyer, security found his behavior extremely odd as he was able to win easily and even folded twice with an excellent hand – a move that suggested he somehow knew the dealer’s hand.

As we have seen with other scams, it’s not all that difficult to figure out how to sway the odds in your favor. The problem, it would seem, is doing so without attracting attention. Often times, a person’s greed takes over and they simply can’t stop with a modest winning.

Ampollini this week earned a two-year prison stay and a 100,000 eruo fine for his deed. One accomplice received the same fine and a three-year stint behind bars while the third man agreed to pay 50,000 euros and serve 30 months in jail.




User Comments: 14

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JC713 JC713 said:

Wow, the things people will do for money...

Guest said:

Greed is really some people downfall, he could win like 15.000 a month, just one night every 1-2 month at the casino, leave without suspicions, repeat and have a more than comfortable living pretty much forever

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I used to count cards playing Blackjack and was busted by one casino. Very embarrassing. But I did win a few bucks doing before I decided the effort wasn't worth what I was getting.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This was interesting! It's a good story because they didn't catch the technology. Instead, they caught the guy based upon his behavior. Just old fashioned greed caused him to become noticed. Seeming like if he would have been somehow aware of his outside appearance he might still be in the game.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

I am pretty sure that's how they catch 99% of the cheaters, not by seeing them do it but by seeing what the statistics say. Even if the guy came in and won 15,000 every month as guest suggests I would bet he would still get caught. That's an obvious pattern if you were to see the data of all the players who come in each month. I think gambling is ultimately foolproof in the long run because numbers don't lie.

Guest said:

I dont know what is the problem with "counting cards"

its not like we are using any device or something, we are using our brain, if the employees of casino have problem, would they tear our brain apart? no.

that rule is sh**..

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

I dont know what is the problem with "counting cards"

Their game, their casino, their rules! Perhaps you could start a casino where counting cards is legal. Or to save time you could just give me all your money now.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Their game, their casino, their rules! Perhaps you could start a casino where counting cards is legal. Or to save time you could just give me all your money now.
Forgive my ignorance, but is counting cards simply not part of the strategy to playing any card game? I'll bet there is not one dealer that doesn't do the same.

Guest said:

Card counting is completely legal. They can't take your winnings, but they can ban you from playing at the cosino

1 person liked this | Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

is counting cards simply not part of the strategy to playing any card game? I'll bet there is not one dealer that doesn't do the same.

I am by no means a card games expert, but I believe true "card counting" only really applies to blackjack where you assign points to certain sets of cards. You then keeping a running count based on what hands have been dealt and it helps you beat the house edge. That's simple way but you can make it as confusing as you want really depending on how accurate you want to be. There's no marking of cards or anything. In a casual game I guess this is fine but the casino's get pissed real quick when you mess with the house edge. In this case I would guess he was playing some form of poker since he "folded". Traditional card counting does not really work in poker. You have to mark cards like this fellow did so there's not much brain to it, much different that blackjack card counting.

It's all very fascinating. Basic card counting is relatively easy with practice, (despite hollywood's depiction that you have to be a savant) but some of the advanced systems really take a lot of brain power, especially if you want to do it and still sit there all casual like, like your just another patron.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Card_counting

Rasta211 said:

How did the casino know he folded when he had a "good" hand?

Obzoleet Obzoleet said:

How did the casino know he folded when he had a "good" hand?

Cameras in the table

1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I used to count cards playing Blackjack and was busted by one casino. Very embarrassing. But I did win a few bucks doing before I decided the effort wasn't worth what I was getting.

I used to count cards as well and I kept coming up with the number 52. It got boring so I stopped.

jagdpanzerIV said:

Sounds like something from a novel or spy movie,

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