Before casinos tightened their security with sophisticated surveillance equipment and private security teams. The best crew of casino cheats in history made off with millions in a ten year period. This is there story.
John Soares (pictured above) grew up in Oakland, CA. He relocated with his high school sweetheart to Visalia. After marrying, Soares started a small family owned business selling doughnuts.
The business quickly proved to be a failure which put pressure on the marriage. The marriage ended in divorce due to mounting bills.
Soares' good friend, Sully Kelly, offered him a job in Las Vegas. Kelly neglected to tell him that the job was illegal. Soares' was hired as a clean-up man, a job consisting of stolen chips given to you by crooked casino dealers to cash in. Soares received 10 percent of the take.
He averaged nearly $100 dollars a week in additional income, a substantial amount in 1960. He also agreed to participate in a loan company robbery. He was busted, convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to five years at the State Prison in Carson City.
He adjusted quite well because the prison bullpen was a casino.
He met a fellow prisoner by the name of Ned Coleman who was serving time for murdering a gaming official. This association would change his life.
Coleman taught Soares the technique of illegal card dealing. Soares practiced two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.
He soon mastered the art of dealing craps and '21' while learning numerous ways to cheat an opponent.
He was released after serving 18 months. He traveled to Las Vegas to test his 'legal' card skills.
He was hired as a dealer at the 'Riviera Hotel,' and quickly became known as a streak-breaker (a dealer who can easily break a winning streak).
One evening, he was approached by a hoodlum who requested Soares let his wife win at the crap table, Soares declined and was fired the next day.
The next day, Soares was approached by Glen Grayson, a legendary casino cheat who had earned the nickname 'King Of The Hustlers.'
Grayson was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1920. He was a natural born hustler who hustled his buddies out of lunch money. He was also a pool shark at the age of nine. In high school, Grayson would win poker games against men twice his age.
He could even pitch a penny so accurately that it would land on top of the one he had already thrown.
Grayson moved to Las Vegas and soon started cheating in crap games, poker games, switching dice and skimming slot machines.
He was soon banned from all the casinos.
His time was spent, immersing himself in a new venture: Organizing the best crew of casino cheats the world would ever see.
Grayson would eventually assemble the most skilled and organized crew ever.
They would enter casinos with a incredible 2-1 advantage.
John Soares became the seventh member of the crew. Other members included: Glenn Grayson, the mastermind, Rollie Malone, the ladies man with a passion for boxing, Jackie Gillitzer, the ultimate con man, Don Allison, the cowboy, Barry Churchman, the religious one, and the beautiful Jan Deerwood, who was a model, party girl and glamour queen. She only dated millionaires.
Jan's looks were used to distract attention from the crew. She was also known for her master thief skills.
The crew would case a casino, use a miniature camera to photograph the dice, send the photo to New Jersey and await the duplicate pair of dice. They would switch the dice in the game.
Soares first assignment took one hour at the gaming tables and netted $140,000 dollars.
They traveled to Europe, Istanbul and Macao where they broke the casinos.
They had numerous pairs of counterfeit dice and tools used to decode locks and slot machines. They would also cheat at poker, '21' and craps.
Soares buried stacks of money on his beachfront property and he lived the life of a rich playboy.
He befriended a married couple who were having financial problems. He included them in on the next scam, they were able to pay off all their debts.
Between 1962-1972, the crew ripped off millions of dollars from the casinos.
One morning, Grayson called Soares to discuss something big. Soares asked him to fly out so that they could discuss it in person.
Grayson never made it. His Cessna crashed and he was killed instantly.
After his death, the crew disbanded.
None of the members were ever arrested.
Source: "Loaded Dice" by John Soares
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