When Skill Turns Into Cheating

What are the differences between skill and cheating when playing casino games? Learn how to tell when skills turn from an advantage into full-blown cheating.

Video Resources

What are the differences between skill and cheating when playing casino games? Learn how to tell when skills turn from an advantage into full-blown cheating.

Welcome Back to Vegas Aces livestream. My name is Heather Ferris and I’ll be your host for today. On this livestream, we’ll be discussing When Skill Turns into Cheating. If you have any questions or suggestions, please put it in the chat and I’ll answer your questions at the end of this video. Before we get started I just want to remind you to subscribe and make sure you hit that notification bell so that way you’ll always be notified of our latest videos and livestreams.


If you’re new to this channel and this is the first time you’re here, my name is Heather Ferris and I’m the founder of Vegas Aces, an adjunct professor at UNLV, a content creator, consultant, and I’ve been involved with the casino industry for over 15 years. I created Vegas Aces to help people learn how to play and deal table games. As a way to give back to our community, we offer a free dealing trade school and we help place dealers at no cost.

What to Expect

Now, on with the show… In the 3rd part of this mini-series we’ll talk about when skill turns into cheating. If you missed the first two videos, “What is Luck” and “Skill vs Luck” then you can watch them by clicking the links in the description below.

In the last video, we talked about the scale (use hands) where luck is on one side and cheating is on the other. So the scale goes, luck, skill, advantage players and then cheaters. Today we’re going to talk about the last part of that scale, when skill turns into cheating.

The Skill to Cheating Scale

Real quick, skill is when a person follows the casino’s rules while being able to turn the advantage in their favor. Both skill and cheating take dedication, focused practice and time to perfect a certain skill but that’s where the similarities end. While skill follows the rules of the house, cheating breaks those rules.

Skill tilts advantage to the player.

Skillful players work towards changing the house edge in their favor. This small change in percentage still means that these players will both win and lose, accepting the outcomes and moving on. Cheating takes that percentage and throws it out the window as they are the ones that decide when they win and lose.

Cheating removes chance from the equation.

There is no chance, no game, there is only a scam. The definition of cheating is when the player breaks the rules in order to increase their monetary value.

In more stark terms, cheating is illegal. Card counting and advantage players are legal and are considered a skill, while past posting, pinching, swapping decks and a whole list of other maneuvers are illegal and therefore considered cheating.

So when skill turns into cheating is when the players actions go from being legal to illegal.

There are several possible consequences for cheating.

So the why do we hear about card counters being arrested? When the card counter is caught, the casinos will typically tell them that they can play any game in the casino except blackjack.

If a card counter doesn’t heed the casinos warning and continues to upset them, then because the casino is private property, they can have that person arrested for trespassing. They are not arrested for card counting. When you’re arrested for cheating, and we will go over some different cheating methods in the next section, THAT is when it becomes serious.

According to the NRS 465.083, it is illegal in NV to alter elements of chance, method of selection or criteria which determine the result of a game, the amount or frequency of payment, value of a wagering instrument and/or credit. If the player is caught, this is a category B felony in Nevada with a punishment of 1 – 6 years in state prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines and restitution to the gaming establishment.

You don’t even have to carry out your plan for you to be charged with this. Both players and dealers who try to cheat a casino can still be convicted of cheating or conspiracy to cheat. It doesn’t matter if the actions were carried out or whether the person actually sat down at the table. … Before we go onto the next section, a quick word from our sponsor…

Aside: A Message from Our Sponsors

If you like this video and you want to help support Vegas Aces, then please remember to tip your dealer, and now you can with Super Chat! Super Chat is a way YouTube allows you to show your appreciation by tipping me any amount you want. Give it a try.

Or you can show your support by becoming a member of my Patreon Page, we have different levels and rewards that you can choose from. Any membership level counts! Even $1! So become a Patreon member today.

Also, if you have any questions or suggestions, please put it in the chat and I’ll answer your questions at the end of this video… On with the show.

What is Cheating?

Types of cheating include:

  • Past Posting
  • Pressing
  • Pinching

So, what is cheating?

In the last section, we used the general term of cheating to describe a whole host of actions. There are so many different methods of cheating that it would take hours to cover. Past Posting and Pressing are the same things. It’s when the player knows the outcome of the game so they place more money on their wager. Pinching is when you take money off instead of putting more money on. Pinching, pressing and past posting are the most common cheating maneuvers executed in a casino.

It is illegal to swap a deck or a shoe, which is a bit harder now that casinos have them on chains. Marked cards are also illegal whether that’s on blackjack or any other casino game. And believe it or not, it’s illegal to have an electronic device, in other words a phone, anywhere near the table in order to help you cheat. That is why dealers will always tell you to take your phone off the table or put your phone away.

Players even need to stop playing and step away from the table if they are going to talk on the phone. There are so many different ways to use your cell to cheat. There’s an app for everything, including figuring out what number will hit next on the roulette wheel. I kid you not, if you hold your phone over the roulette wheel while using this app, by using the speed of the ball and the when this app can tell you what number will hit. But cheaters don’t normally use apps to help them cheat.

A lot of cheaters use sleight of hand and magician type maneuvers to pull off their tricks. This mechanic will spend hours practicing at home until they perfect their skills. They will even buy casino tables so they have the real thing to practice on before they go into the casino.

Cheaters will shop casinos to see where they want to try their scam and which dealers are weak that they want to use their scam on. …

Aside: How to Support Our Educational Videos

Now, before we go on to our next section we have a quick commercial break for you guys.

If you like this video and you want to help support Vegas Aces, then one of the ways you can do so is by going to Vegas-Aces.com and clicking on one of our affiliate banners. When you sign up for an account through an affiliate link from our site then we get a small commission.

If you ever have any problems we’ll be there for you and help you get through any dispute. Okay, on with the show. …

How Casinos Combat Cheaters

How do casinos fight back against cheating?

  1. Dealers
  2. Floor Supervisors
  3. Eye-in-the-Sky
  4. Other Players

The first line of defense is the dealers, the 2nd line of defense is the floor supervisors, the 3rd line of defense is the eye-in-the-sky and the 4th line-of-defense are the players that see this cheating and don’t agree with it, calling out the cheater in the process. As the casino dealer, if you notice anything suspicious, then discretely tell your floor manager so they can gather the evidence they need for the police.

What not to do if you see someone cheating at a casino.

Please don’t yell out, “Hey! We got a cheater over here!” because then he will run out of the casino like the Flash. Instead, when it’s possible, discretely tell your floor supervisor so they can aim the cameras at the player and gather evidence.

Can casinos legally detain you?

Just so you know, casinos are allowed to detain you. A lot of people think that it is illegal for casinos to detain you but it is not illegal.

The casino can legally detain you as long as it’s for a reasonable amount of time while they are waiting for the cops to arrive and handle the situation. When detaining suspected cheaters, employees have the legal authority to question anyone involved in cheating.

If they have probable cause that any cheating happened, they may detain that person in a reasonable manner for a reasonable length of time, until the police arrive.

If the cheater is bad enough they may throw the book at him. Specifically, the black book which is a book and it is black. You can see a copy of the black book at the mob museum in downtown Las Vegas.

Are players the only people who cheat at casinos?

When a lot of people hear the word cheating, they think that the casino is trying to protect itself from the cheater, or the player. Actually the casino has to worry about their dealers cheating just as much as they have to worry about their players cheating.

The casino watches their staff just as closely as they watch their players. It is extremely important for the casino industry to maintain the honesty and integrity of the game at all times. That’s why policies and procedures are put into place for dealers and floor supervisors to follow.

Why policies and procedures are so important for staff to follow at casinos.

It’s very important that dealers follow all policies and procedures at all times. This way if someone deviates from procedure the eye-in-the-sky will be able to catch it faster because that action is not the normal procedure that all dealers follow. It makes those actions stick out like a sore thumb and it makes it easier to see, which really helps the guys in surveillance.

Help keep this site free.

We believe in making education and information as accessible as possible. Help us keep the lights on by supporting financially. Every bit counts!


Support and get something directly back by picking up gear or a lucky trinket.

Shop Now


Get access to years of exclusive content immediately for a small monthly commitment.

Become a Patron


One of the first things we teach players is to tip their dealer. We accept PayPal!

Leave a Tip

Get gamewise.

Don’t miss interviews, upcoming games, dealer and player tips, and more.

Join over 1,500 Vegas Aces students at Curious.com

Join in the conversation at Tapatalk.