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Card Sharp Pens Tell-Almost-All Book

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“Clint Stone” — Who am I really? / Photo by Geno Munari

In the autobiographical book Cheater, the author Clint Stone (likely an alias), paints himself as a lifelong gambling cheat. His specialty is mucking, using sleight of hand, one hand in his case, to introduce a card into play while removing another. A self-proclaimed crossroader, he’d plied his craft around the world.

“I was a cheater. A predator. Casinos my prey. I was hunter and hunted,” Stone described.

The book covers a brief period in midlife for Stone, in the early 1990s, following his release from federal prison, where he served five years “because I wouldn’t drop a dime,” he wrote. Once out, he makes Las Vegas his home and plans the ultimate casino heist of his decades-long career. In the meantime, he and various associates pull off various cheats, of gambling houses and high rollers. All are fully detailed, from prep to conclusion.

The book is fascinating and a fun read, but is it true? It Really Happened! investigated, and here’s what we learned.

The real deal

Las Vegas businessman, Geno Munari, watched Stone demonstrate his card skills, when the two met to discuss Munari possibly publishing Cheater. Munari subsequently published the book on Amazon.

Stone’s performance impressed Munari, a former dealer and magician well-trained and -experienced in detecting card sharps.

“His one hand muck for blackjack, making a total of 12 into a total of 20 or even a blackjack (ace and a 10 valued card) is undetectable,” Munari wrote in Cheaters‘ introduction.

Down to the nitty-gritty

In the book, Stone didn’t use people’s names, and many of the specific places and dates aren’t accurate. For instance, Stone mentions a significant life event involving the Humboldt Hotel in Winnemucca at a certain point in time, which can’t be true as it had burned down prior and hadn’t been rebuilt.

Perhaps Stone changed these details to keep himself and his accomplices from being identified or worse. This is understandable, but if so, perhaps he should’ve informed readers this is the case.

***SPOILER ALERT*** More significantly, the book climaxes with Stone and a crew taking a casino for a multimillion slot machine jackpot. Did it really happen?

It may have!

Similar jackpot win

In Cheater, Stone describes his target as a $25 million jackpot slot machine in an unnamed casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

“I wanted that jackpot,” he wrote. “My desire to take off a multimillion dollar slot machine score was a slice of my reality. That same desire was also part of my non-reality, which would remain an undeveloped, negative image until I beat the machine.”

Stone claims to have rigged the slot to pay off and prearranged for an African American surgical nurse from Los Angeles to come forward and collect the money. He alludes to carrying out the theft in 1993.

In that year, though, the amount of Nevada’s slot jackpots was nowhere near that large. They didn’t reach $25 million until 2003, when a player won a $39.7 million jackpot at the Excalibur Casino in Las Vegas.

In 1992, as reported in local newspapers, an African American surgical nurse from Sacramento landed a $9.3 million progressive Megabucks slot jackpot, a huge and all-time record amount in The Silver State at the time. For the win, she reportedly lined up four symbols on a $1 slot machine in Harrah’s Reno Hotel and Casino in Northern Nevada.

Elko Daily Free Press, June 1, 1992

The similarities between the newspapers and Stone’s accounts suggest this event at Harrah’s Reno is the one he describes in Cheater. The news coverage doesn’t confirm, however, the win actually was a heist.

If this was the career-topping cheat Stone asserts it was, why did he embellish the dollar amount?



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