Baccarat; viewed as the game of distinguished high rollers the world over, and often played in VIP lounges, both online and in real world casinos. It was the game of choice for James Bond, and many still insist that playing baccarat should be done in your best tuxedo. This may all be a bit of hot air, since anyone dressed only in a pair of old underwear can enjoy online baccarat, if they choose to do so, but the game still has a certain reputation that accompanies it. This may be why baccarat scandals still tend to make news.
There have been a fair amount of gambling and casino scandals throughout history, most of which involve fairly standard scenarios of a person walking away with ill gotten gains. But, when baccarat is involved, it can’t be denied that the scandals tend to take on a certain classy edge. After all, anyone can steal a few thousand dollars, but it takes a person of class to walk away with millions. Here are a few of the biggest baccarat scandals in history, all of which would fit pretty snugly into the plot of a movie along the lines of Oceans Eleven.
Phil Ivey – Baccarat Millionaire
Phil Ivey is a well known name in the professional gambling world. The man has earned so much money playing professional poker that he could surely have retired years ago. But, he keeps going back for more. And who can blame him? Why stop at earning 24 million dollars in poker championship prizes, when 25 million is just around the corner? But it was not, as you can tell by the title of this blog, poker that surrounded Ivey’s scandal. It was a 9 million dollar baccarat game.
Ivey won a pretty impressive 9.6 million dollars at Atlantic City’s Borgata Casino, playing high stakes baccarat. All seemed normal, given that Ivey has a reputation for being a card playing champion. Soon after he left the casino, however, the Borgata Casino opened a case of fraud against Ivey, claiming that his winnings were due to cheating, as apposed to actual skill. Representatives at the Borgata claimed that Ivey cheated by exploiting flaws in the playing card designs.
Their story was that Ivey spotted imperfections in the card’s, and so was able to tell one apart from the other. The case is ongoing and has not reached a conclusion, but speculation is rife as to whether Ivey really cheated, or the Borgata Casino is a sore loser.
Royalty Is Not Above The Law
Back in the 1890s gambling was illegal in Britain, so when an enormous scandal unfolded involving some very prominent members of the royal family, it was the kind of thing that could make corset wearing women faint. The story goes that Sir William Gordon-Cumming, a very influential man at the time, invited guests around to his swanky country home, where a game of baccarat was played. This in itself was eyebrow raising, given the illegal nature of the game, but events took a turn for the worse and got out of control.
Sir Gordon-Cumming was accused of cheating, and made to sign a pledge, on the spot, that he would never touch playing cards again. All present agreed to never speak of the affair again, to protect Cumming’s reputation. So, naturally, the story was blabbed to anyone with a pair of ears, and soon the entire country was calling Cumming’s a cheat. Annoyed, Cumming’s put into motion a lengthily, high profile court case, during which members of the royal family were called to speak. All we can say is the piles of fainting bodies on the floor must have been amazing to witness.
Tiny Camera Scandal
One of the more bewildering scandals to involve baccarat was by the so called Cutter Gang. This group, using a tiny camera in a sleeve, stole millions from casinos, simply by recording the value of a card when asked to cut the deck. Seemingly very simple and obvious, the scam still managed to earn the group a huge sum of cash. The scam did not go undetected, however, and the group was arrested in 2011. Tough luck for the people with tiny sleeve cameras.
The story doesn’t end there, however, as the Cutter Gang was released not long after. It turns out that the scammers had foreseen they might get caught, and so took the precaution to destroy every camera they used. With no real evidence against them, the group could not be tried, and so were set free. They could not carry on their little scheme, however, as the vast majority of big casinos banned them from ever entering a gambling establishment again. Who would have guessed that a tiny camera in a sleeve could be used to fool some of the best security systems in the world, at least for a short time?