We’ve all seen films where suave and sophisticated characters manage to take a casino for millions of dollars. It has been depicted many times in Hollywood blockbusters. But does it really happen in real life?
The short answer is yes! There are many instances where seemingly unsuspecting individuals and groups of people have managed to pull the wool over the pit boss’s eyes. As a result, they walked away with enormous payouts that should never have been theirs in the first place.
Let’s take a look at our 3 favourite real-life casino heists of all time.
The MIT card counters
This story became the subject of a big Hollywood movie. The premise involves card counting and it’s all thanks to specialist Bill Kaplan. He organised a team of mathematical brains from various top universities. His aim was to show them the delicate art of counting cards. So he taught them how to take down the house at the blackjack table.
The film shows the team making a few successful visits to various casinos. But the truth is it went on for many years. During nearly 20 years, the team of skilled nerds managed to take the blackjack tables for in excess of $50 million dollars.
It isn’t known exactly how much they got away with during that time. The team broke off into two splinter groups and continued to make vast amounts of cash.
Some of the players went on to compete in tournaments that were specifically designed to beat the casino at its own game. They play openly and use their methods to beat the competition.
Except now they aren’t playing for the cash, it’s just the glory and the title of the most feared casino players.
Crown Casino camera breach
Nearly 10 years ago, the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia was taken for a ride. Big time businessman James Manning was contacted by the high roller manager at the hotel to come and join in the action and enjoy the best casino bonuses that they had to offer.
Manning lived it up courtesy of the hotel while winning huge amounts of cash. The total came in at $33 million AUD. But he wasn’t exactly on a lucky street. Manning had managed to infiltrate the casino security system to get an advantage while playing cards. And the story goes that he had help from the VIP manager who previously invited him to play at the casino.
Circus Circus ATM heist
Another story that has made its way to the big screen is that of Heather Tallchief. She got in with the wrong people and became the lover of convicted murderer Roberto Solis.
They hatched a plan to steal money from the Circus Circus Casino in Las Vegas. And it involved Heather getting herself a job as a driver for the security truck that transports cash to and from the casino.
They managed to pull the job off while Heather waited outside the casino and her colleagues went inside to fill up the ATM machine. She put her foot down and drove away to freedom with 3 million dollars in the back of the truck.
The pair eventually split up and she then moved overseas. But she handed herself in a few years later. Heather never got her share of the spoils. Solis made off with the vast majority. They never caught Solis or the cash.
Tallchief received a 63-month federal prison sentence and told to repay the 3 million in instalments for the rest of her life.
Usually, these heists don’t end happily! So it’s much better just to stick to the rules and play legally.
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