Protect Your Game from this Roulette Scam

Learn how to protect your game from this classic roulette scam, the Savannah. If you're interested in learning more about this scam, read American Roulette by Richard Marcus.

American Roulette and the Savannah Scam

Hello and welcome to Vegas Aces live stream…

Well let’s get this party started. First off, what Roulette scam am I talking about? Now this one's a classic. It’s been around for a while. But it’s a pretty good scam, and if you are a roulette dealer and you don’t know about this scam then it’s really good for you to know about this scam. And also how to protect your table from it.

So, [the scam] is called the Savannah. If you want to read more about this then please go to the link in the description below where you can get this book, “American Roulette” by Richard Marcus. Richard Marcus is the one that invented this scam and he wrote an entire book on how he did it. So pretty insightful. Check it out. I have read it. I have enjoyed it.

I want to talk about his scam today. I also want to talk about how to protect your game from that scam. So, again if you are interested in reading the book, check out the link in the description below. I have a link to Amazon where you can get it.

The Savannah Scam: How it Works

So first off, what are we protecting from? What is the scam? Again, pretty ingenious scam.

So we're doing a forum of pinching or pressing. Pinching basically.

What they would do is, they would go up to a table and they would put a legitimate bet in the columns area. Ok! Now the columns...this area, this box...the columns and this last dozen right here....this area is really vulnerable to scams. Very susceptible to being taken advantage of. So, as a roulette dealer, you want to protect this area.

It is vital that you protect this area. So what they would do is they would go up to the table, make a legit bet, where they would place $500 or $1000 chip on the bottom and then let’s say four red chips ($20) and they would angle the chips in a way that from the dealers point of view or perspective the dealer cannot see the high value chip underneath.

All they can see are the red chips. And that is all that they can see. And their angle the chips in this way so that way the dealer can’t see that. So, if the bet wins...if this area’s legitimate win and they would win 2 to 1. The $500 or $1000 chip that they bet. They would make $1000 or $2000 depending on how much they put down. And that is if they won. So everything worked, everything cool, it’s a legit bet. If they won...if the cameras are called...anything happens where anyone is suspicious. It’s not a big deal because it’s a legit bet. They legitimately won.

That is the genius behind this.

So now what happens if they lose? This is where the pinching comes into place.

Step 1: The Distraction

So typically, they’ll be working in a team and you’ll have a distraction. Or someone will come up to your table and ask you a question, someone will dump over a cup of water or alcohol. They'll do something to try to distract you. Or they’ll bet in a way that you're focused up here...and not looking down there.

Step 2: The Switch

So they use several different tactics to distract you and to get your attention away from this area. When they lose the mechanic will pinch the bet and if the dealer notices or says anything...oh yeah sure sorry I didn’t realize that.

And they’ll switch the last chip out for a red chip or they will just take it and they’ll put the four red chips there. “Oh, sorry about that...sure here you’s the bet.”

And now they have the large value chip in their hand and they pitch large value chip. So when they lose they only lose $20 but when they win they win $1000 or $2000. If the dealer doesn’t notice it, then they will just put it back and it will be like $20 or $25 whatever. That is the genius behind it.

Step 3: Avoiding Accusations

Typically if the dealer does catch them they don’t call cameras, they won’t call the floor because the person will be like…”I’m so sorry, it was my mistake, here let me put it back down.” They will put it back down without the high value chip. So, again if you win you win a $1000 to $2000 or more. It depends on how much you bet but about $1000/$2000. If you lose you only lose $20. So that is the scam.

Again it is called the Savannah. You can read more about it in the book, American Roulette. Again the link is in the description below.

The Savannah Scam Summarized

  1. The player or an accomplice creates a distraction when a high bet loses.
  2. The player swaps out a high chip for a low chip during the distraction, losing only $20 on a $1k or $2k bet.
  3. The player is amicable and plays off this switch as an honest mistake when called on it.

How to Protect Your Roulette Game

Now how do you protect your game from this? As the dealer you always want to case your layout. It is so important to case your layout.

Case Your Layout

Casing your layout is looking at all of the bets and making sure you see all of the bets, and you know they are over the minimum or under the maximum.

So, for example, if you have a bet over here and he has this angled in a way that I can’t see the high value chip...if I’m doing my job and I’m casing my layout, I will notice that this is angled strangely. Or I’ll just make a point to just looking at it. Oh look, a high value check. Good thing I noticed that.

You actually want to look at each of your bets, and make sure you know what you have on the table. Casing the layout. You always case the layout before you spin the ball. If you do notice a high value check, you call out “Checks Play to your floor. Notify him so he knows there’s a high value check playing. And then as long as it’s not over the table maximum, just go ahead and play like normal. But you want to be able to see it. You want to know that it’s there. And the reason why is because if they try to pinch the bet, if they lose and they try to take that high value check, you know there’s a high value check there and if it loses and there is only $20 there and not the high value check that you saw, you know they pinched the bet.

So, again extremely important to case your layout. Understand that this is a vulnerable area, so you want to pay particular attention to this area and know exactly how much that player is playing. So, just you know... clean it up a little bit, make sure you see it. Make sure you see all of your bets.

Wave Players Off of the Table

If all of your bets look good, go ahead and spin the ball. So the ball is spinning, as we hear the ball start to slow down, the dealer will wave off the more bets. So everyone has to stay away from the table.

The dealer will take two steps back so that way they can see both the table and the wheel at the exact same time. That is another mistake that the dealers make is they get tunnel vision.

Usually they are standing right here and when they go to look at the wheel, they have tunnel vision...they’re looking at the wheel and their back is turned to this part of the table. I can’t see this part of the table because my back is turned to it. I’m so focused on the wheel and the ball...I have tunnel vision and I can’t see what’s going on on my table. You have to be able to see your table at all times. That is good table protection.

If you have your back turned to the table or the bank at any time, that’s not good table protection. You’re not doing a good job as a dealer.

Listen and Wait for the Snap

So again, your spinning the ball, you take a good couple steps back, so that way you can see both the end of the table and the wheel at the exact same time. Listen don’t look, listen for the ball, and when you hear the ball drop...quickly glance over and look and see what number then glance back. It’s “snap” that fast.

It’s just like the snap of a finger. It’s that fast. So quickly glance. Oh, 26, 26 it is. That way you’re always looking at the table and the wheel at the same time. Make sure that nobody does anything weird. Make sure they don’t cover any chips, nothing like that. When you’re watching the ball drop, everyone should be away from the table.

There should be a good area between the table and the players. And again make sure you watch your table and especially this vulnerable area and make sure nobody tries to pick up, take or put down any bets. Again, listen for the ball. As soon as the ball drops, glance over, see what the number is, and then go to that number and place the marker or the dolly on that number. So, this helps a lot. This helps protect your game.

Protect Your Table

Typically when these people are going’s usually a team of people. When they’re going through there looking for weak dealers. They’re looking for dealers who are not protecting their game. So you don’t want to be one of the dealers that they pick. You want to be protecting your game. You want to be aware of what’s going on. Who is playing what bet, And what activity is going on in this area right here. Because again this is the most vulnerable area.


Let me see what you guys are saying in the chat. If you have any questions please feel free to ask, now is the time. Let me know if you have had this happen on your table. Were you able to protect it? What did you do? Or, did you have another roulette scam on your table that you want to tell us about? And again how did you protect your table?

So let’s see what you guys are saying real fast. Yes, Nashvillin says that “I’ve seen videos of that tactic except that one of the red chips is a $5000 chip.” Now some teams might try to do the $5000 chip but they're going to have a lot more problems if they do a $5000 chip than if they did a $500 or $1000 chip. So again you want to...people that are in these teams...who are doing these scams want to avoid the heat. They don’t want heat on them. They don’t want a lot of attention drawn to them. They don’t want people to know what they are doing. They want to be able to get away with it and move on without the casino knowing that they were hit. So if you be a $5000 chip on a column or a dozen, where that $5000 chip pays 2 to 1. You just put out $10,000 on a table. Now you got some serious attention on you. Now you have the shift manager that’s paying attention, the floor supervisor who’s paying attention, the casino manager who’s paying attention and security and surveillance. Because a $5000 chip...they know where every $5000 chip goes and who has what. So if a random $5000 chip just appears out of the blue and they don’t realize it was on the table, or checks were being played or anything like that. Or, if it goes over the minimum or maximum, because sometimes it depends on the table. Then yeah, you’re going to get some heat for that and you're going to get attention and your scam isn’t going to work as well. So if you do a $500 or $1000 chip then it’s still high but it’s not high enough to draw attention from everybody in the casino. Again, like I said, read “American Roulette,” by Richard Marcus. You can find a link in the description below. And he talks about this. He actually goes over that. And he talks about the amount of chips that were used as well as how they used them, when they used them. This book is full of good information so check it out.

Ok so let’s see what else you guys are saying.
Nashvillin says - a few years ago I ran a roulette table at a charity event from a wheelchair. Good thing I have long arms.
Heather - That must have been difficult.

Justin says - on the red or black diamond right here. Do you have to put two times on them? Heather - You can put any amount on them as long as it’s the minimum. So if it’s a $5 minimum table you would put $5 on black. If you want to bet both, which I don’t recommend, you would put $5 on black and $5 on red. If they win, all of these bets get paid even money. 1 to 1. What get’s paid 2 to 1 is the dozens and the columns. They get paid 2 to 1. So I hope that answers your question Justin.


It looks like that’s it. If you are rewatching this…

I hope this helps. Again remember to case your layout and remember not to have tunnel vision. Take a couple steps back so that way you can see the wheel and the table at the exact same time. And if you can read this book, because you are going to protect your game a lot better if you know what they’re thinking and what’s going on. What’s behind people who try to pull off these scams. And again this is a really good book to read. The link is in the description. And I hope that helped you. Thank you so much for watching…

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