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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Gambling Spot » » Darwin Ortiz, casino experience? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Bret Maverick
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By Z: Now when you get into this issue of "consulting" it's a bit murky.

Ain’t THAT the truth!

The topic of what it takes to be a casino game protection consultant has already been addressed in this forum, but it can be expanded upon:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=188

So,if anyone’s interested:

I’ve been very fortunate to observe scores of casino game protection seminars over the years presented by "gambling protection consultants" in public forums, in “closed” training seminars and in one-on-one settings.

While the majority of these experts never admitted to having participated in criminal activities, a few of them "crossed the line" on one or more occasions in their lives. Some were caught and paid their dues to society, later working strictly on the square. Others were never caught but, recognizing that their luck was certain to run out sooner rather than later, squared-up when sophisticated surveillance monitoring threatened their livelihoods and freedom, or turned the corner at the time that possession of the electronic “assistance” devices that made them rich became felonious.

Unfortunately, some of those programs I sat through were presented by individuals who I will not name here, to ensure that my mentioning them is not mistaken as an endorsement of their knowledge or skills, or to infer that their programs are worth the fees.

On the other hand, I’ve also been very fortunate to attend several of Steve Forte's protection seminars presented for both pit personnel and regulators/cops (which varied greatly with regard to the info tipped); attended two of Darwin Ortiz' seminars in Vegas; sat in on Sal Piacente’s class for surveillance and regulators/cops; and have attended many seminars over the last ten years conducted by George Joseph for pit personnel, surveillance and regulators/cops.

Steve and Sal certainly have casino experience, and Steve more than Sal, but Mr. Ortiz has never worked in a casino in any capacity that I am aware of.

As a big fan of Darwin Ortiz’ book Gambling Scams I was somewhat disappointed when his protection program seemed designed more to wow the attendees with his card handling skills and promote himself and his products than to teach meaningful game protection methods. More importantly, to me anyway, is that I detected a distinct air of superiority and condescension in his first two presentations that irked me enough to decide not to attend future sessions when the opportunity arose in subsequent years. Admittedly, I have never sat with him one-on-one as I have with other consultants to get a sense of his experience and overall knowledge and I’ve heard from mutual friends that he is quite a gentleman in private. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help feeling that while he is unquestionably very knowledgeable about gambling on a wide range of topics and was able to perform many moves and explain them adequately, despite his boasts about being the “Greatest” and “Foremost” expert at demonstrating cheating, several of the manipulations that he presented live and on his videos as gambling moves were “pseudo-gambling” moves of the type entertainers rely upon when “educating” the public to the ways of cardsharps. To me, if you inform your audience that you are going to perform the real stuff, you owe it to them to give it to them, and not fudge it with a mixture of gambling, pseudo-gambling, and purely magical sleights.

For some reason, despite Ortiz’ persuading me that he was an expert who had valuable information to share, I felt that he lacked the convincing intuitiveness that emanates from someone who has really been there, or who at least has worked extensively in the casino environment overseeing gambling operations from a protection standpoint.

Not surprisingly, yet on the other end of the spectrum, Steve Forte’s seminars were chockfull of gold, although those of you thinking it was an opportunity to witness his world class card handling first-hand would be mistaken because, with the exception of his demonstrating the sky-shuffle and a few more zero-shuffles and an uncanny ability to kill a “six” with the bottom die consistently on the craps table (that he later confided was an incredibly good morning for him), his lectures and demonstrations did not utilize sleights. Rest assured, however, that you would not have been disappointed. Steve made it quite clear that he believed he would be cheating his clients if he wasted their valuable class-time performing “magic tricks” and concentrated instead on both the methods used by real casino cheats and the ways to both detect and prevent them. I understood his reasoning at the time, but told him during a break that I thought he should consider hitting cops from the get-go with a few false shuffles and other sleights to wake them up; prove to them that he was an expert; and warn them as an authoritative figure that what they thought was impossible could very well happen in their houses.

Steve’s ability to call out the values of the backsides of the distant readers he had the attendees examine as we passed them around the room shocked us all - here he was reading marks that we couldn’t find, with little more than a sideways glance from thirty feet away. Cops in training are generally quite skeptical and can spot a phony a mile away; Steve gained their respect without resorting to a series of magic tricks, and it was then that I understood why he presented his seminars in as he did.

Watching Sal Piacente in action was a very pleasant surprise for me, as my only familiarity with “The Hit Man” was what Steve had told me years earlier about his unmatchable mnemonic ability, and the little I had read on-line about the magic DVDs he sells. While it came as no surprise to me when Sal capably demonstrated a number of card and dice moves and gaffs, I was very impressed with his extensive knowledge of dealing procedures, how they can be exploited, and how they can be safeguarded.

I introduced myself during a break and he explained that he had worked as a dealer in Atlantic City for a couple of years before joining the staff of a New Jersey game protection company and, later, went to work for Steve’s casino consulting company in Vegas, which explained his diverse familiarity with game protection. Sal, despite his menacing moniker and tough-guy web site persona, is a very nice man and a real down to earth guy who’s seminar I would attend again in a heart beat.

George Joseph is truly an enigma – unbelievably funny; a capable card and dice man; exceptionally knowledgeable about all phases of casino gaming generally and game protection specifically; a savvy and very experienced surveillance director; and a huge proponent of implementing and maintaining solid internal controls that reduce casino losses without running the risk of costing more money in slowing down the games than the cheats could ever steal, or the counters can ever win will their skill.

As a pioneer in the game protection field when he produced and starred in the first videotaped expose ever made in the early ‘80s; the author of several books; producer of a number of DVDs; and a “talking head” on dozens of cable TV shows about casino cheating, George is “the consultant’s consultant” that Steve Forte asked to edit both of his protection books.

What makes George truly special is his outgoing personality and ability to tailor his classes to meet the demands of diverse groups of any size. Having attended classes that he presented solely for casino supervisors, and other seminars limited to surveillance and regulators/cops, it’s amazing how he can adapt his lesson plans and presentations to tip just enough to the casino managers to properly control their games, while holding back things that they perhaps shouldn’t be provided detailed instruction about. His demeanor and instructional approach changes when addressing surveillance people and cops, and it’s clear that feels completely at home with them and revels in revealing the good stuff.

(The whole game protection field is a conundrum: in telling people how to protect themselves from any particular scam you must explain to them how the scam operates, but there is always the concern regarding who you are educating, and what they may ultimately do with that knowledge. Common sense dictates the provision of details because, without them, the advice would be useless. Granted, dealers can and must be taught and required to adhere to proper techniques, but they need not know precisely why following those procedures are important. Managers, on the other hand, need to understand WHY certain procedures must be followed, and the repercussions likely to follow if they get lax in their oversight. Nonetheless, we can’t help wondering if we aren’t teaching some people things that can come back and bite us later on.)

George keeps as up-to-date on scams as anyone in the business, and is really hip to technological advancements, mechanical gaffs, and sleight of hand, all of which he demonstrates to cops and regulators in a stream of facts interspersed continuously with hilarity that keeps even the cops coming in off the grave shift awake for the entire class and makes them all glad they attended.

The point I’m trying to make here is that “experts” differ in their levels of capability and, more importantly in my view, the diversity of their fields of expertise. I’ve benefited greatly from the information provided by many experts and have passed that knowledge along to others in my employ. Does all of the knowledge I’ve gained from personal instruction, videos, and private conversations and emails with some of the most experienced gaming protection consultants in the world, when coupled with the utilization of my investigative experience and teaching background qualify me an expert capable of educating others?

Perhaps, by some standards and for limited specific purposes, but not at the level of any of those whom I consider to be the very best gaming protection experts. Whether a person is an expert or not is dependant, to a large degree, on the extent of the knowledge possessed by those seeking advice, and on the needs of those trainees.

If, lets say, the audience (or students, if you will) are trainee gaming inspectors - a lecture or video solely displaying sleights is entertaining, but provides little of what these trainees really need to learn. The primary skills required of gaming regulators include investigative and interviewing techniques; basic gaming surveillance instruction; report writing skills and lectures educating them on the laws, rules, regulations, internal controls and rules of the games that are enforced within their jurisdiction.

Although I don’t have a “web-like pocket” in my palm formed after years of switching dice like some of the real experts do, I can demonstrate dice switching techniques by secretly palming some baloneys, picking up the squares, and slowly demonstrating how the switches are performed. The observers don’t necessarily have to see a capable dice switch to understand how one is performed. Once the basic premise is understood and videos of some good dice switches are viewed, the observers will quickly and fully understand the threat.

The same can be said about dealing seconds; while I can describe the methods behind these difficult sleights and demonstrate the principles behind their execution well enough for people to understand what transpires, I cannot deal seconds like the many of the members here. However, when my demonstration is supplemented with a video of a capable card man dealing seconds, I can clearly drive home the point that even trained observers will find it difficult to catch a capable cardman in action, if at all.

Additionally, I don’t have a problem with an expert telling us in advance that, while the move he is about to be performed is not top notch, it will provide us with an excellent illustration of what we should be looking for. Such disclosures actually make the consultant appear more “down to earth” and, ultimately, more believable in many cases to us “mere mortals.”

To my knowledge, there is no single person available today who can teach investigative and interviewing techniques; basic gaming surveillance instruction; report writing skills and lecture about the laws, internal controls and rules of the games that are enforced within multiple jurisdictions, and is also a capable card and dice mechanic, although Bill Zender – who is not a mechanic but can adequately demonstrate the moves - probably comes closest, considering his varied occupational experience in the casino and regulatory/enforcement worlds.

Bret
"If all a man can count on is finally pushing up the grass, when I do I'll lay you odds that grass is mine!" - Theme Song For The T.V. Series BRET MAVERICK, by Ed Bruce
splice
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That was an amazing post, Bret. Glad you shared this with us.
iamslow
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Thanks for the responses Mr. Z and Brett... I cant believe Brett still typed as much as he did, since he allready posted a link to this topic from before... Smile
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Bret Maverick
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You're very welcome splice and iamslow, I'm glad that my longwinded jabbering was read and enjoyed.

Bret
"If all a man can count on is finally pushing up the grass, when I do I'll lay you odds that grass is mine!" - Theme Song For The T.V. Series BRET MAVERICK, by Ed Bruce
Howard Coberly
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Quote:
On 2009-11-09 02:00, ASW wrote:
Quote:
On 2009-11-08 17:42, tommy wrote:
Like you and Ortiz you mean? Smile


Amusing.

I have never worked as a consultant. I have never said I worked as a consultant. I have never had any desire to work as a consultant. I do know a few, however, and while it might assist to have worked as a dealer, it is by no means necessary. Just as it is by no means necessary to have worked as a scuffler to be able to advise on game protection. If you have the knowledge, you have the knowledge.

Darwin Ortiz's client list speaks for itself, regardless of any snarky comments from magic forum members.

Andrew







Fight the urge, Howie...fight the urge....that's it, go back to sleep.
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There used to be famous actors and singers, while today, God only knows! Nobody visits except magicians and organ-grinders. No esthetic satisfaction."
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Quote:
On 2009-11-12 21:44, Bret Maverick wrote:
You're very welcome splice and iamslow, I'm glad that my longwinded jabbering was read and enjoyed.

Bret


It was an excellent and comprehensive post.

I was glad to see Bill Zender mentioned. He's an extremely knowledgeable guy and assisted me a few years ago with a book I am writing which is linked to this subject.

I hope you do get to meet Darwin some day. He is indeed a gentleman. In regard to Michael's post which started this thread, I certainly think his query has been answered at length.

Andrew
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ASW
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On 2009-11-12 23:03, Howard Coberly wrote:

Fight the urge, Howie...fight the urge....that's it, go back to sleep.


"Whenever I find myself gripping anything too tightly I just ask myself, 'How would Guy Hollingworth hold this?'" ~ A magician on the Genii forum
Whenever I find myself gripping anything too tightly I just ask myself "How would Guy Hollingworth hold this?"

A magician on the Genii Forum

"I would respect VIPs if they respect history."

Hideo Kato
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Hey Andrew, let me know when your book comes out, would like to read it... is it fictional or instructional or both??
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JOIN - Darwin Ortiz Fan Group on Facebook!

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=67484679658 (watch a superb video clip from Scams & Fantasies with Cards)

Watch this superb DVD set from Darwin Ortiz and you will see a true expert with a deck of cards (not many people in the WORLD can do THIS with just a deck of cards:

http://www.llpub.com/zenshop/index.php?m......_id=2600

Next DVD is utterly extreme, expert card cheating at highest level with Darwin!

http://www.llpub.com/zenshop/index.php?m......_id=2538

If you can do card cheating perfect like this with a deck of cards then you are a true GURU.
splice
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Uh... thanks for that, I guess. I think we're aware of who Darwin is and what he has out on the market.

So if Darwin's cheating DVD is "utterly extreme, expert at the highest level", what is Steve's like? "incredibly super-duper over the top extremely extreme, super pro expert at the level higher than the highest, ever, forever more"?
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Quote:
On 2009-11-13 07:36, iamslow wrote:
Hey Andrew, let me know when your book comes out, would like to read it... is it fictional or instructional or both??


It's non-fiction and not strictly instructional, though it has some sections that discuss game protection issues which may be of interest to some.
Whenever I find myself gripping anything too tightly I just ask myself "How would Guy Hollingworth hold this?"

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Thank you Mr. Maverick for another one of your incredibly informative posts. Very interesting things you bring up. For my money, Its forte all the way. Watching Ortiz is not the same as watching Forte, at least to me.
Nobody expects the spanish inquisition!!!!!



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kcg5
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And if there really is a Ortiz fan club on facebook.... I might have to start one for that other dude.
Nobody expects the spanish inquisition!!!!!



"History will be kind to me, as I intend to write it"- Sir Winston Churchill
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Either way, Ortiz still has some pretty sick chops regardless of his experience...
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Eye candy isn't everything.
You could chop off Darwin Ortiz's hands and he would still be impressive... as he has an encyclopedic knowledge of sleight of hand with cards as well as casino scams. Even if he couldn't do a single move, he would still be worth the price of admission.
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Worth the price for the average casino employee and for magicians and for card guys like us that is...

I'm not sure what he would have to offer surveillance departments or very knowledgeable gaming executives (there are some). There are more aspects to protecting your bottom line than popping card and dice cheats.

This is where I have to agree with Brett's comments regarding Bill Zender and George Joseph.

I should add that one of the best games protection seminars I have seen was given by a surveillance director with little apparent knowledge of gambling sleights or card moves. There were no eye popping "demonstrations" of any kind; just great information based on actual incidents backed up with footage and commentary on a variety of best practices and techniques being implemented by multiple casino's.
tommy
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Darwin Ortiz frequently conducts seminars for gambling casino managements and police agencies. His law enforcement clients include the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement in Atlantic City, and the LAPD, for which he made a training film on the subject. He has also testified as an expert witness in casino cheating cases. With friends like this who needs enemies? Smile But anyway the law courts regard him as an expert. I would be surprised to find that he has no casino experience dealing.
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If my two cents are of any importance, I'd add that actual play is of first interest. You can know thousands moves, dozens sleights, you can be a first class performer but all that will be useless if you don't know how to use it in a true game.

True play involves psychology and experience is only learned while playing! No book, no video can help you about background or experience. Say you are a master of second dealing. You fool anyone, your demo is beautiful. So what? How would you use it around a table? How would you peek the top card? How would you cull according the locals rules?

What I mean is that true knowledge is better than great moves. You have a staggering bottom deal? Absolutely useless if the guys use a cut card. You're a master of some pass? What if they force a two hands release cut?

Great kills is one thing, true knowledge another one. Only true play/experience can teach you what really matters to fool players. Of course, astonishing skills help but it's only one part of the contract. You must fell the right instant, you must understand the other players.

Leagues, clubs, pubs, cardrooms, tourneys, casinos, friendly games, whatever, true background is irreplaceable. Very often guys are mistaken about true cheating. It's one thing been able to do a sleight undetectably and another one to do it with strangers around you. Cheating has nothing to do with magic

Then, IMHO, true experience is mandatory. I'd say that sleights are secondary if you wanna be an expert. If you can understand, feel, detect when something weird is in the air, it's much more important than fooling people with a move.

If you wanna be called "expert", true play is mandatory.
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"If you wanna be called "expert", true play is mandatory"
Baloney.
You don't have to execute a single move and you never have to bet a dime to be an expert in the field of games protection.

"It takes one to catch one" is just sales hype from magician/armchair gaming types trying to pass themselves off... which is why I will not be surprised if most of the members HERE disagree with me.
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I agree 100% with Dowser.

Sure, experience is one of many avenues of gaining knowledge, but it's by no means mandatory.
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