Gambling tips from the pros
Gambling industry pros Rick Blaine and Sal Placente talk about their humble beginnings on the streets of Brooklyn and how cheating has taught them how to evaluate and play casino games the right way.
Although on different sides of the table, with Piacente building a life-long career as a gambling industry consultant and Blaine becoming a professional gambler, the two pros agree on one thing: the concept of cheating and the knowledge gathered from it has been an invaluable help during their journey through the gambling world.
Piacente, a gambling consultant for over 30 years, relays in an interview with TODAY.com that “If you ever hear the word ‘con’ games, that comes from the word confidence.” Sal continues stating that “You’re always building up someone’s confidence before you rob them,” referring to cheating in a game of chance. Technically, bluffing may be seen as cheating since the player is lying to his opponents about what hand he might have at any specific time in the game.
No wonder Sal Piacente is the go-to-man when it comes to spotting casino scams and scammers of all shapes and sizes. On the other side of the felt sits Rick Blaine. Blaine is a pro card counter and has instructed the actors from the well-known film 21 that relates the story of the famous MIT group that won millions in Vegas.
Blaine backs up Piacente’s statements and says “You’re putting on an act.” He is also this year’s proud holder of the World’s Best Blackjack Player title, after coming out victor of the Blackjack tournament help each year in January.
Blaine and Piacente are friends and coincidentally both grew up on the streets of Brooklyn. They attest that the smarts learned on the streets probably helped them more in their career than any other thing. At the frail age of 13 Piacente learned the “three-card monte” from his father. Although his father taught him this as a lesson so that he does not fall victim to such street scams, Piacente in turn decided to practice his newly found skill in the schoolyard.
In a recent event, titled “The Art of Cheating” the two pros and friends came together to show the audience of 350 people how things work. The special night was organized by Obscura Society and cheating was actually rewarded instead of frowned upon.
Here are some of the tips that the two pros shared with TODAY.com:
- Trust your instincts. Blaine warns that “If someone is being too smiley, friendly, out of nowhere, it raises a red flag.” Noticing such things comes with more experience in live casino playing. “if someone comes up to the table and starts betting big out of nowhere, I’m thinking that person might be watching the game.”
- Cheats are the same, only the scene has changed. Piacente talks about how scams are the exact same one that were used 50-60 years ago “All the scams are the same as they were back then. When someone promises you something, trust me, if it’s for nothing, there’s something going on.” So watch out for those “angel investors” they’re usually up to something.
- Body language tells all. Looking out for certain indicators is the best advantage you can give yourself, says Piacente. Amateur actions are easy to spot out. Most players starting off have two tells: when they look up, they’re thinking, but, when they look down, this usually indicates a lie.