We were in Vegas living the high life, and we had a chance to talk to the VP of Table Games – the guy that tells you when and if you’re a high roller, keeps an eye on the thieves, and generally presides over the casino operations at Planet Hollywood, Bill Zimmer. He’s an old hand on the Vegas scene and has been around since before you were a twinkle on the $100 chip that won your dad enough money to buy the wedding ring your mom deserved.
Mr. Zimmer had some advice on how to bet, how to act, and how to get at the high stakes table. But, for now, we’ll give you the more important advice – the advice that’s going to keep you out of jail. He told us the three worst attempted casino hustles he’s ever seen. Learn from Bill, and gamble responsibly, guys. And, bear in mind, since all of these stories happened, security has improved dramatically in every casino in the city.
I caught one girl, and I knew that she had chips in her pocket. So, I was bringing her in to see security, and she’s trying to get rid of the chips in her pocket. And, so, she’s sitting their digging a hole in her pocket to drop the chips through. So we’re sitting their waiting, and we see five chips hit her shoe and go rolling off away from us.
And old cheating move is when you’re playing blackjack, and you’re sitting on third base, and you try to hide a chip under your money. I’m walking through the pit and all of the sudden I see a guy who’s got a thousand and ten dollars bet, and he’s got 20. But, nobody bets a thousand and ten, alright? And, so, I just told the dealer, “Hold on. Don’t pay that bet.” The guy is sitting there looking at me and so I said, “Take a picture of this guy.” But, those were the days when we didn’t have cameras on every single table. They told me, “Bill, we don’t have anything.” So the security booth was right across the way, so I called them and I’m looking at security and now it’s a bluff. Now I’m playing poker with the guy. I’ve gone one phone here, another in my other hand, and I’m looking at security and then looking back at the guy. And, so I’ll just send somebody over and try and sweat him out.
So, I’m standing there listening to two dial tones and I’m looking at the guy. All of the sudden, the guy just grabs the chip and goes running out the door. Of course, the security guards see this and are right behind him. He’s trying to get away so he throws the chip and runs out the door. He runs out right into the street – across Las Vegas Blvd. – and gets hit by a car. So, that was kind of funny.
Unfortunately he survived, but he got hit really hard and it was instant karma. This was numerous year ago, so don’t think too badly of me, but as he’s laying on the street I walked up and said, “And don’t come in here again.”
Good Samaritan Across the Street
Who saw the movie “21” – the MIT guy counting cards. I’d thrown this guy out of hotels twice. I was working down at the Flamingo years and years ago, and so I walked in and I saw a guys standing behind the table watching a bunch of play. You see this all the time, where ya go people just watching a table. But, this guy wasn’t really watching the table. He was just sort of standing around looking out at the casino. In all my years of experience, I haven’t seen this. I think, this isn’t right, so I step back and watch this guy. So, now I’m just watching this guy when all of the sudden I see him perk up because somebody had just gotten up and given him a signal. So, the deal is that we’re supposed to get over there.
So all of the sudden, I see this guy walk really fast over to this spot. All of the sudden he sits down and he bets $5,000 and $5,000. And, I’m standing right there, and I just tap him on the back and I say, “Dude, you’re not going to do that here.” He asks what I’m talking about and I say, “Just take your business, and go elsewhere.” So he gets up, and he walks out the front door.
So I keep watching him and he picks up his phone and gets on his phone. And I see him look at two other people in the casino. So, all of the sudden those people sitting there – I see them get up. And I see them walk over and go out the front door. They all go walk across the street to – it was called Barbary Coast at the time.
Now they’re all at Barbary Coast and there are six of ‘em. I was a shift manager at the time, so I got my assistant and I said, “Come on, let’s go over there.” So we go and walk over to Barbary Coast. So I said, “Just so you guys all know, I got a picture of every single one of you. And they’re going to be up and down the strip in about five minutes.” So, you best take your business, try and go somewhere else, go hit some other jurisdiction, but you’re not going to come in here, alright?” I knew the shift manager at Barbary – his name was Jon – and I said, (raising voice) “Hey, Jon! We got the MIT team right here! Get a picture of ‘em!”
So my assistant goes, “I’ve never seen anybody 86 somebody out of another club.” So I told him it was a first here, alright! So they offered me a few choice expletives, and then I went back to my hotel.