Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hey, lady... you got two tens for a five?

I've always had a soft spot for change raising, but have always considered it a very, very small con... at most you'd expect to net ten or twenty bucks from a gullible clerk.

In certain circumstances, however, the scam can be much more lucrative. A couple of guys in Oklahoma used the hustle on a dimwitted store clerk and netted $300! I don't know how in the world they managed that, but it's probably a record haul. The store clerk must have emptied the till right on the counter to lose that much money.

One transaction at a time, people... it's not that hard.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

"Harrah's" must be Vegas-speak for "Gutless and Short-Sighted"

Richard Brodie likes to gamble... a lot. I guess he's just a geek living the dream. After all, the man "invented" Microsoft Word and served as Bill Gates' assistant, so why shouldn't he have a little fun? He's become a reasonably high-profile poker player.

Now, however, there is a fly in the ointment. A few months ago Richard managed to hit a couple of video poker jackpots at Caesar's Palace (now owned by Harrah's.) Richard plays for big money, so these were pretty healthy jackpots at $240K each. By his own accounts Richard had been playing $300 per hand and had invested over $150K before he hit the first jackpot, so it's not like he walked up with a quarter in his pocket and hit the big one.

Here's where the story gets interesting. Last month Harrah's sent Richard a registered letter that essentially barred him from setting foot on any Harrah's property because he is too lucky. They have even barred him from the World Series of Poker which is an event with a guaranteed profit for Harrah's.

It's just ridiculous that Harrah's has taken this action. If their high-limit video poker machines are too lose, tighten them up. If they spend more comping this high roller than they make in profit off of his gambling, then don't comp him so much... but barring him from the property? That's just rude and stupid. If this guy keeps playing negative expectation games like video poker, Harrah's will eventually make money off of him. Hell, I'm sure that they have ALREADY made a bunch of profit from his playing in the past.

Anyway, this all goes to show you that the old days of Caesar's Palace being the home of the high roller are definitely gone.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Scammed

Everyone loves a good, old-fashioned oil scam, particularly one that brought in $20M-$25M. What's a little securities fraud among friends, right? Usually the hustler would fake a gusher or two, take in a bunch of money, and then disappear completely.

Gary Milby seems to have followed the plan perfectly, right up to the point where he appeared on MTV. It seems that Gary is awfully fond of his ultra-spoiled daughter Ariel. This particular little mermaid recently appeared alongside her father on My Super Sweet 16. Ariel apparently shares her father's love of oil wells, exclaiming "I love oil! Oil means shoes and cars and purses!"
If the authorities ever catch up with Gary, oil (or more accurately the complete lack thereof) will probably mean fines, prosecution and jail time. His former investors are steaming mad after watching their former money pay for helicopter rides, a huge party and a brand new BMW for 16-year-old Ariel.

Normally I'd give the guy's daughter a pass on the wrongdoings of her father, but since she's a spoiled, demanding brat who has delusions of being a princess, I'm going to make an exception.

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