Lawsuit: Casinos cuffed player, confiscated his chips
By Mark Gruetze Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015
Ross Miller knows his way around casinos. He's gambled throughout the country and, by his account, has evolved into a skilled card counter and advantage player.
That has forced him to learn his way around the court system, as well.
Miller, 28, of Howell, N.J., filed lawsuits this month in Atlantic City and Las Vegas alleging that security guards illegally detained him and confiscated his chips at Caesars Entertainment casinos.
Gary Thompson, Caesars' director of corporate communications, says the company does not comment on pending litigation.
Although card-counting is legal, casino executives keep an eye out for counters and other advantage players who find ways to tip the odds in their favor.
While declining to talk in detail about his lawsuits, Miller tells Player's Advantage that counting cards at blackjack is one facet of his casino approach.
“Card counting is not the kind of activity that will make you millions of dollars like in the movie,” he says. “As you learn more about it, you start to learn other tricks, different advantage-play techniques.
I consider myself to have a well-stocked tool belt when I walk into a casino. I can generally find a way to profit on some game in one way or another.”
Advantage players follow the rules but exploit casino offers or practices. For example, blackjack player Don Johnson — an inspiration to Miller and other advantage players — negotiated rebates that minimized his losses and gave him the advantage when playing $100,000 a hand. Johnson netted millions of dollars in one five-month spree.
Poker legend Phil Ivey won millions at baccarat in New Jersey and London with a technique called edge-sorting, in which a confederate talked the dealer into rotating 8s and 9s — the best starting cards in the game — opposite from other cards in the deck. Because of design flaws on the card backs, Ivey could tell whether a powerful card would be dealt first, giving him an advantage on how to bet. Although Ivey never touched the cards and casino executives agreed to all his conditions, a British judge ruled that Ivey cheated. Ivey maintains the casino was lax in protecting the game.
“I wouldn't want to draw attention to all the ways you can beat casinos,” says Miller, who considers himself a professional gambler but also operates a website selling high-intensity automotive headlights. “A lot of casinos are just naïve.”
Promotions such as free bets and free slot play are valuable to players.
“If a casino mails you a free bet, you're not going to lose,” Miller says. “It definitely something you can take advantage of.”
Gambling mathematician and game consultant Eliot Jacobson, whose apheat.net website focuses on beatable casino games and promotions, writes that card-counting is a weak form of advantage play compared with poorly conceived promotions. For example, he says a casino offered a “Catch 22” promotion that paid $22 when a blackjack player busted with a total of 22. Betting only $3 a hand, he says, he made $800 to $1,000 per night by trying to get 22 instead of beating the dealer.
Miller's New Jersey lawsuit, in which he represents himself, says casino security staffers harassed him “for being a better gambler than the casino.” The complaint says Caesars tried to intimidate him and keep him from gambling in its casinos. It says he was handcuffed and detained on May 24, 2013, at Caesar's Atlantic City; June 20, 2013, at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas; July 11, 2013, in Harrah's Atlantic City; and Nov. 8, 2013, at Showboat Casino in Atlantic City. The lawsuit says Planet Hollywood kept $4,975 in chips that he was attempting to cash when arrested and that Harrah's kept $750 in chips.
In some cases, Miller was forcibly removed from the blackjack table, the lawsuit says. Twice, the complaint says, casino staffers took his driver's license even after they had verified he was old enough to gamble legally.
“Privacy and anonymity ... are essential to professional gamblers,” the lawsuit says.
In the Las Vegas case, Miller is represented by renowned gambling lawyer Robert Nersesian.
Mark Gruetze is administrative editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7838 or email@example.com.
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