Dec. 5, 1982: George Reasons and Anne La Riviere write a long investigative piece about professional cheats at the card clubs in Bell and Gardena.
According to Reasons and La Riviere, cheaters are divided between mechanics who manipulate the cards and scammers who signal one another with hand signs or comments. Victims rarely complain, the story says, because of pride, because they are compulsive gamblers or they are afraid of being exposed.
Kevin Kerwin or Kirwin, “a major owner of the California Bell Club (d. 1990), admits that cheating is a major problem in his club. The best he can do is keep it controlled, he said.
” ‘In the top stakes game, it’s really just a cheating match. All we can do is try to keep the pipe salesman (honest player) from getting caught in the middle.’ ”
The clubs had a variety of ways in dealing with cheaters, The Times says, from outright bans to informal invitations to go elsewhere. Most cheaters, however, were eventually reinstated if they promised not to cheat, Reasons and La Riviere said.