Roulette Tips from the Inside – Past Posting Strategy
When playing casino table games, there may seem to be a few that are almost impossible to cheat or to beat. In fact, most games played for money suffer from some sort of weakness or vulnerability, especially the game of roulette.
Beating roulette legitimately - without breaking laws or rules - is entirely possible, but we'll examine those methods another time. Today, let's ask how a cheater working single-o or with a crew can increase your chances to win.
Late to the Game – Past Posting as a Work of Art
When I was in my late teens, I began collecting any book or booklet I could find on beating any kind of game played for money. Casino games like blackjack are famously vulnerable to advantage play and a laundry list of cheating methods, but I soon began to wonder how a roulette strategy might be improved - legally and otherwise.
Welcome to the art of "past posting".
The basics are simple: get a bet onto the layout once the result is already known, then collect winnings for that late "wager". Sounds easy? Far from it, it's a rank scam in the hands of most crooked players or an act of desperation or opportunism attempted without thought, planning, or practice.
But in the hands of an expert crew, past posting can almost be artful.
Playing alone (single-o) is risky, but skillful cheaters have been known to slide checks under cover of normal dealer actions and order of play. Once a ball settles into a slot, the cheater might kick a chip onto the red or black option to win back some of his or her losses.
The "slide" requires a busy table with enough legitimate bets to cover the arrival of that late chip; the player must sit close enough, without any objects in the way, and there are several methods for getting a chip (or chips) from their stack to the right spot on the table.
This is an effective method that fools most people if the timing is right; the chip is kicked by the thumb from under the hand, so it slides and stops in the required place to win a bet. Practice is required to avoid over or under-shooting, and it's easier if there are other bets to act as a stopper, but inexperienced cheaters have been known to use too much force, splashing existing bets like bowling pins, and some late betters have slid too far and sent their bet onto the wrong spot only to be collected as one of the losers!
Done well, it can be effective so long as the cheater learns the table procedure and only risks a late bet when dealers and players are otherwise distracted. Once a skillful slide is mastered, a check might be slid from under the player's arm as they appear to be sitting cross-armed, resting on the table with no overt physical movement since the secret "thumb kick" would be completely hidden.
The problem, of course, is the eye in the sky, but in the past, even if security was watching an expert cheater, they might still miss the move; that changed with higher quality cameras and the ability to rewind (in the event of suspicion) so any bet that magically appears might be quickly spotted.
Often, the movement of the chip is what catches someone's eye, so a better method is to cover the slide with another action, such as gesturing towards a number the cheater "was going to bet" and sliding a check into position with their forearm. This way, there's no sign of a chip racing onto a winning spot; it appears after a seemingly casual gesture, as if by magic.
Smart players don't need to work alone. With help, a player betting hundreds of dollars using assigned checks can secretly pass a few chips to confederates to slide or drop bets from somewhere that makes it seem impossible for the winner to have cheated.
Of course, a red/black bet doesn't pay enough to make this kind of move worthwhile, so crews will shoot for winning numbers and can get a chip onto the line even after a number is capped. Some players can even get a couple of chips onto (or under!) another shack of bets, but that's a bold move that cannot be easily repeated without the help of a crooked dealer.
If you have someone on the inside, options for past posting increase significantly.
How Can the Dealer Help to Improve a Roulette Strategy?
A cheating dealer can use many methods to credit players with a winning bet they never made. Simple sleight of hand can add palmed checks into a spread as the dealer checks and separates a winning stack, and, in some cases, a smaller bet can grow substantially as the dealer spreads them for the benefit of the eye in the sky since a stack of three neatly-squared checks and a stack of nine looks much the same (to a camera above the table) until those stacks are spread.
When betting casino chips rather than table checks, players and dealers can collaborate to increase the size of their bets in the event of a win by transforming the chips bet from one value to another. Several gaffed chips have been created with that in mind, and while many gaffs are just trash, there's one particular crooked casino chip that has cost the industry millions - more on that "little wonder" another time.
Another roulette strategy touted by one dubious "expert" was to cover a large denomination chip with a small one and to slide the top (smaller) check forward, creating a cover for the edge of the big chip. Personally, I think this could work in the perfect circumstances, but it just as easily might get spotted by a dealer, not at the perfect angle or smart enough to square a stack before play.
If the bet won, then the high-value chip would be found and paid off, but if the bet lost, the cheater would snatch the chips before the dealer could collect them and either replace the "two five-dollar chips" with a single ten-dollar chip or apologize and switch out the larger value (supposedly thousands of dollars) chip for another five dollar chip.
This idea is older than the man who claims to have invented it and has probably fooled more journalists and TV shows than competent dealers, and while it could work as a one-off in the right circumstances, it is a lot less elegant than more co-ordinated moves; it does suggest that it might be a lot easier to sell the story of a scam than to risk getting caught on the bottom end of The Strip.
After the spin, chips might be added by a dealer without appearing to break procedure or order of play, but these moves have become increasingly outdated thanks to camera quality and positioning as well as electronic game management systems that monitor and record the placement of every bet before and after a spin.
Bottomline – Is It Worth the Effort?
Technology has ruined the careers of many past posters, but erroneous payoffs and phantom bets can still be worth the risk if the only way to pick off the move is to rewind and replay. In fact, past posting can be used to steal from any table game, and tailored strategies exist for craps and blackjack. Past posting tends to be less effective the more a game is protected either by technology, well-designed table procedures, or trained dealers.
Ultimately, all it takes is a little imagination and enough balls to pull it off.