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The story of Richard Hie – the Robin Hood blackjack croupier


21 Apr 2017

Robin Hood’s agenda was to rob from the rich and give to the poor. His enemies were wealthy, corrupt or both, while he would provide for and support the honest and those in need.

Some casino visitors fit the category of people that Robin Hood would seek to help. They are far from flush, but gamble at well-off casinos in the hope of winning big and improving their personal situations.

Casino’s run with a house edge, meaning that the rules of the individual games usually tip the scales in their favour. This obviously boosts the chances of the casino, rather than a customer, getting richer.

There are illegal ways for the scales to be tipped in the other direction, whether it be through strategies such as players using showmanship and misdirection to manipulate bets or tampering with equipment.

Rare are stories of inside jobs, of casino personnel taking umbrage with the establishment and looking to help visitors enhance their experience with guaranteed financial reward, without them knowing that they are involved in such a heist.

However, examples do exist. One of which occurred 10 years ago in Australia, with the Robin Hood in question being blackjack croupier Richard Hie.

Hie’s story comes from The Link programme aired on ABC News and unravels a one-man crusade to help particular players who he believed were in obvious need of some good fortune.

Casino security were initially stumped when trying to work out why Hie’s blackjack table was losing far more money than they conservatively expected.

Hours of CCTV footage were monitored, looking for suspicious players betting at the table or any underhand developments which could shed some light on the losses being incurred.

Or maybe The Lone Ranger?

However, no players or other casino personnel could be linked to any scam. Instead, Hie was walking his own path.

It turns out the croupier was influencing his own run of intentional bad luck at the table to ensure that his customers received more than their fair share of winning hands.

Among his ploys was to hit for further cards when holding a hand where casino rules dictate that a dealer should be sticking, such as when the value of a hand was 17 or greater.

On other occasions he would overpay the player for a winning hand, mixing in higher-value chips into a player’s payout.

There was no obvious method to which players he would single out, other than that he felt sorry for them. What was most surprising was that Hie gained nothing financially himself from his actions.

“I did gain something. I got their happiness.” Hie spoke on The Link. “That’s my payment. I felt really good.”

The croupier was eventually rumbled, being arrested and convicted of theft, with the judge at the court case commenting on the unusualness of this type of criminal case.

Unsurprisingly, Hie lost his job and was given a criminal record, but his sentence on the whole was on the lenient side.

“Always follow your heart. I felt it was worth it,” Hie added. “It never crossed my mind that I was going to do what I do.”

Other examples

Casino staff aiding customers is nothing ultimately new. One previous case saw female personnel hiding chips in their bras and then passing them to a visitor to cash in.

Chip cups have been designed to look like a stack of five identical chips, but instead is one chip on top of an empty hollow tube. A crooked dealer is then able to fill the tube with legitimate losing chips from a layout at the end of a hand and then pass it back full to a player. Understandably, higher-value chips were preferred.

Another involved a dealer deliberately not shuffling sections of cards in a deck. Having made a note of the order of all cards during a game of baccarat, players then waited for the deck to be reformed. When the first cards of the unshuffled section became visible, the players in cahoots with the dealer upped their bets accordingly, knowing in advance if the next card would help or hinder their position.