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Heat - Intensive scrutiny of a player's action to determine if he has an edge either due to cheating or expertise. Casinos turn up the heat if you seem to be winning too frequently or in big amounts. As one thing is certain, they can't stand giving back money.

Cheating at Roulette

Years and years ago it was

a lot easier to partake in cheating at roulette. It was also a lot easier to be cheated. Nowadays, it would take some serious dedication, funding, and most likely inside help to cheat at the game. Even then, casinos would eventually catch on and bar you for making too much money, or they might just figure out what you’re up to and have you arrested. Basically, it’s just not worth the incredible risk involved. The following is a thorough list of methods from the very recent to the distant past that have been used for cheating at roulette.


Magnets were used in crooked gambling houses of the past, but today’s casinos would not benefit from risking their billions of dollars of profit each year by cheating their patrons. Basically, four electromagnets are placed equally around the wheel area. The ball, would of course, need a steel ball within its core. The dealer would use hidden controls to activate the different magnets to subtly steer the ball away from heavily bet areas or numbers.

Magnets were also placed within the pockets themselves. When a steel cored ball is added to the mix, it would, of course, tend to gravitate towards these pockets. The dealer could alternate between steel core or normal balls as necessary, depending on the bets.

Roulette Wheel Tampering

A casino owner or a player may have tampered with roulette wheels in the past. In the case of players, some daring souls have actually snuck into casinos after hours in order to tamper with wheels. They may use sticky substances that would make the ball more likely to enter certain pockets, or put certain materials under different pockets to affect the bounce of the ball.

Tripping of the Ball

This form of cheating at roulette is undertaken by casino owners. A hole is drilled in the upper ball track just underneath the rim and a small spring pin is placed under the hole just below the outside of the roulette table. The dealer would operate a small lever under the table that would force the pin against the spring. This would allow a skilled dealer to create a protrusion on the ball track at just the right moment to trip the ball from a certain outcome.

Past Posting

This form of roulette cheating requires a very skilled player indeed. Basically, it involves slight of hand. When the ball is close to landing in a pocket, the dealer will often bend forward to look at the number. At that moment a skilled past poster may change their bet by putting it on a winning number or removing some of their losing chips. This is an extremely risky method of cheating, as dealers are trained to spot it.

Ball Control

Some people claim that dealers are able to control where the ball goes with skillful throws. It is not possible to prove this form of cheating, so if you’re worried, simply place your bet after the wheel is spun.

Computers, Stop Watches, Lasers and Other High Tech Cheating Systems

In March of 2004, detectives in the UK investigated a claim that two men and a woman used a laser scanner hidden in a mobile phone that was linked to a computer to help beat a roulette wheel. On the first night of their gambling romp at the Ritz casino, they walked away with £100,000. The following night they walked away with an astonishing £1.2 million. It looks like they may have gotten a little greedy, however.

During a routine check on the security tapes, as is the custom with big wins such as this, the casino discovered some shady activity.

The trio used what is known as "sector targeting". Once a player determines the point at which the ball is released and the point it passes after one or two spins, he or she can use that information to calculate a ball’s decaying orbit and anticipate the area on the wheel that the ball will come to rest. Although this system cannot predict the exact pocket the ball will fall in, it greatly improves the player’s odds.

A less precise method of sector targeting was proposed in the early eighties as well. OK, so maybe a stop watch isn’t that high tech (unless you are a bush man), but at the time, a gambling expert by the name of Scott Lang published a book detailing how one could use a simple digital watch to calculate the sector the ball would finish in. Casinos responded by banning stop watches.

Since then there have been rumors that con artists have made sector targeting quite practical using computers. It was even demonstrated in laboratory conditions that it was in fact possible. It’s pulling it off in a casino with the many “eyes in the sky” and the keen eyes of the dealers as well as the other patrons that would be the tricky part.

The trio that allegedly struck the Ritz would have had to gather the information, send it back to a computer for calculation and then place their bets, all within two or three seconds – a very impressive feat.

You can’t blame the trio, however. In its publicity material the Ritz seems to encourage players with a plan, stating the “Queen of casino games” is “ideally suited to system players”. It looks like they didn’t count on that system being a computer system, however. And as for the three system players themselves, they didn’t break a single law and ended up keeping the entire £1.3 million. The laws in the UK relating to the case at the time dated back to 1845 and simply forbid "unlawful devices". In this case and previous cases suspects were able to argue that they had not interfered with the game, but simply used a system to win.