Friday, 27 September 2013
There is a long and less than illustrious history of cheating at the poker table but we've never heard of someone using infra-red contact lenses to scam a game.
Three men have been jailed for their involvement in the con which took place at Les Princes Casino in Cannes in 2011. According to the Daily Telegraph, 56-year-old Stefano Ampollini took to the stud poker tables wearing the infra-red lenses and along with a pair of accomplices managed to take the casino for €71,000. The gang were able to keep track of the game by smuggling in a deck that had been marked in invisible ink which was only visible if wearing the contacts. A pair of casino workers were also implicated in the crime. "Casino security found his behaviour rather strange as he won very easily and, above all, because he folded twice when he had an excellent hand, suggesting he knew the croupier's cards," said Marc Concas, lawyer for the casino, which is owned by the Groupe Lucien Barrière. The casino informed the police who mounted a surveillance operation, eventually arresting Ampollini two months later after he won €21,000 on a solo visit to the casino. Ampollini was given a two-year prison sentence as well as a €100,000 fine. Accomplices Gianfranco Tirrito, 55, and described as being the likely 'mastermind' of the scam was also fined €100,000 and given a three-year jail term. Rocco Grassanno, 57, was fined €50,000 and received a two and a half-year sentence. For more examples of cheating in poker (which is much rarer than most people think) be sure to check out Texas road gambler Johnny Hughes' excellent feature.
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