Friday, July 7, 2023

Fun interview with a magician who helps casinos catch cheaters

He hates gambling and being in casinos. Can you guess what his job typically entails?:

Every morning when Harry Milas wakes up, he sits at his desk and picks up a pack of playing cards. He starts every day by dealing “seconds” – dealing out the second card in the deck, rather than the top card – then “thirds” and “bottoms” (just what it sounds like), over and over. He practises shuffling and cutting the deck, too. If he doesn’t do this for up to an hour every morning, he’ll be “in a mood” all day. He even takes his cards on holidays. “It’s the opposite of riding a bicycle – it’s a knife that I have to sharpen every day,” he says.


“Most of my work in casinos is confirming suspicions. And most of the time, it’s the dealer. 


A lot of the work involves studying video footage to see if he can spot a mechanic, watching the movement of their thumbs, the bevel of the deck in their hand. 

He's posted various vids of his tricks.

Speaking of gambling, the WSJ looked at streamers that are very successful playing slot machines. The headline is "How to Make Money by Losing $300,000 a Year on Slot Machines." Matt Levine posted excerpts:

Brian Christopher lost $300,000 gambling on slot machines in casinos last year. Hundreds of thousands of people cheered him on, from the comfort of their own homes. … Christopher declined to provide his total revenue, but said he makes enough to turn a profit after paying his staff and the $300,000 in gambling losses. 

Some celebrity slots players disclose their losses as a badge of honor—a signal they’re being honest about the odds. Francine Maric, a full-time high-roller known as Lady Luck HQ, posts her win-loss statements from casinos. She said she lost $320,000 last year, but still made a profit thanks to advertising revenue and sponsorships.