#2. Chip Sleight of Hand (That Worked Every Time)
Think back to when you were a kid and asked your mom for some cookies. She said yes, but only one. And because you were a little badass, you palmed a second cookie by hiding it under the first. Incidentally, that's why you now have Type 2 diabetes. Well, professional cheater Richard Marcus farted his way across Vegas with essentially the same childish sleight of hand strategy. And because he was classy, he named his signature move after his favorite stripper, the "Savannah."
"Awww yeah, baby, show me that acacia."
Here's how it worked: Marcus would boozily saunter up to a roulette table, drink in hand, and place his chips on the table. He would angle a $5 top chip so that the bottom one was unseen. And that bottom chip was worth, you guessed it, a kabillion dollars.
So the dealer sees what appears to be a couple of $5 chips. Now here's where the con comes in: If Marcus lost the bet, he openly grabbed his chips before the dealer got them -- which is a huge taboo in the casino world. Like, just-touched-a-butthole taboo. So the dealer would freak and Marcus would play up the drunk charade. Fine, fine, he would say, you can have your stupid pair of $5 chips.
"I hope you choke on them. And I also hope you aren't particularly observant."
But if he won ... hoooo boy, watch out. Marcus raised a ruckus, complete with shouting and high-fiving and spastic hip gyrating (so we've heard), all while the dealer gave a befuddled stare. After all, Marcus clearly just had a few baby chips on the table. "Not so fast!" Marcus would say, then reveal that the second chip down was worth many times more than the visible $5 one. Watch in the video below as he demonstrates the whole routine:
Keep in mind that Marcus was never actually caught doing the Savannah. Or the chip move. The only reason anyone knows about it is because once he was rich enough to retire, Marcus wrote a damn book about his life as a casino cheat.
Great. Now our book about how to steal extra doughnuts by shoving them down your shirt and claiming they're tumors is just starting to look stupid.
Delicious, sweet, glazed tumors.
#1. A Wearable Card-Counting Computer ... in 1972
Years before Steve Jobs and Bill Gates invented personal computers, Baptist family man Keith Taft built a personal computer for the sole purpose of cheating at blackjack. Only back in 1972, it didn't count as cheating, because no one had invented rules against using computers to count cards for you -- because no one had invented computers that weren't football-field size. No one, that is, except for Keith Taft.
Trust us, those holes are not work safe.
Sure, the electronic behemoth he stashed in his gut weighed in at 15 pounds and was controlled with switches above and below Taft's big toes in his shoes. And yes, it had the processing power of a modern musical greeting card. But you don't exactly need a supercomputer to count cards. The real miracle was that Taft walked around Reno without getting pegged as a suicide bomber.
"I don't count toward the 72 virgins, right?"
And that his foot didn't flat out turn him into a cyborg.
You should've seen his underwear.
So how exactly does a computer help you win at blackjack? As Taft played the game, he used his toes to input the cards that were dealt. His belly computer did some quick calculations, then transmitted codes for the remaining cards through LED lights hidden in the frames of his Buddy Holly glasses. So it was kind of like the Google Glasses, but with flashing red lights instead of text. It was like an ambulance in his eyeballs!
The trouble was that Taft didn't always win. So over the years, he and his son teamed up with the big boys, all the while developing smaller and smaller devices. One computer magically tracked where the cards fell after a shuffle. Another connected members of the cheat team through tiny wires -- in other words, a computer network. In 1982. We're pretty sure that's the kind of thing that could get you hanged for witchcraft back then.
"Burn him! Burn that kindly looking older gentleman!"
A few of Benjamin's friends will be appearing in a movie later this year. You can watch the trailer here!