How an FBI agent blew $135,000 on blackjack and brought his career to an end

If there was ever a story that highlighted the importance of only gambling what you can afford to lose, this story about Blackjack and the FBI is it.

We all know how much fun blackjack can be. We all appreciate that it’s easy to get a little carried away and maybe go further than we planned. Equally, we should all know the importance of setting a budget and sticking to it. This is key to ensuring that gambling always remains fun.

21+ | Terms & Conditions Apply | NJ Residents Only
Betmgm$25 FREE on Signup
100% up to $1.000 on First Deposit
Hotspot Leaderboard
Visit Casino
Blackjack and the FBI

FBI agent Scott F. Carpenter and an undercover sting

Back in 2017, Carpenter was part of a group of three agents who travelled to Las Vegas. The team had been assigned an operation to uncover public corruption and they were provided with $135,000 to use as expenses. This should have covered what they needed to blend in as well as the odd ‘bribe’ that they would be expected to pay. 

The plan was that one agent would stay at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. They were to pose as a high roller in the casino and blend in as best as possible. The room that Carpenter found himself in required a minimum spend of $1,500 on food and drink. It appears that he may have gone a little too far with the drink.

After a six-pack of beer and a bottle of Vodka, Carpenter found himself taking some of the expenses money and heading to the blackjack tables. Clearly, he had no concept of basic blackjack strategy or bankroll management as he quickly burned through $13,500 with an average wager of $700 per hand.

Blackjack and the FBI – The end of a career

Unsurprisingly, Carpenter’s mishap was uncovered and he found himself facing a courtroom in 2022. What seemingly went in his favour was the fact that he recognised what he’d done and made active steps to try and repay the money. Of course, over $13k was too much of a stretch!

The defense, and even the prosecution, pleaded for leniency. However, the judge believed that enough leniency had already been shown. The judge said that there had already been favourable treatment by dropping the charge from a felony to a misdemeanour, and so proceeded to sentence Carpenter to 90 days in prison.

A few drinks and a few moments of madness at the blackjack table led to the downfall of this FBI agent. With a previously exemplary career, it was destroyed within just a few hands of a classic game.

Blackjack and the FBI – The lessons to take from Carpenter’s fall

While there’s little that can be done to salvage a lost career, there are steps that we can all take to ensure that we avoid temptation. If you want to stay on the straight and narrow and ensure that blackjack remains fun, take a look at these tips:

Set yourself a budget

Clearly, Carpenter had no budget. He wasn’t even playing with his own money. The biggest step that you can take to ensure that you’re gambling responsibly is to set yourself a limit. Your blackjack money should be separate from your household budget and the two shouldn’t meet.

If you play through your budget, it’s time to call it a day. Remember, blackjack can always wait until another day but your household bills can’t be missed.

Don’t chase your losses

Remember that budget? Well, sticking to it means that sometimes you just have to accept that you’re having a bad day. It’s easy to think that you’re on a losing streak and believe that it’s all about to change. Problems arise when you’re wrong. If you’re on a losing streak, simply walk away.

The more you wager in an attempt to recover those losses, the more you’re going to lose in the long run. The best advice is to walk away and live to play another day. 

Set deposit limits

One of the great things about playing blackjack online is that you can set deposit limits. Many online casinos will let you log in and set these limits to a level that suits you. Of course, you should be setting limits that are no higher than what you can afford to lose.

Once you’ve made the maximum deposit that you’re allowed, that’s it until the following month. If you try to add any additional funds, you’ll receive a message telling you when to come back and try again.

Place lower wagers

To keep blackjack fun, it’s great to be able to play for as long as possible. The problem is large wagers can burn through your bankroll exceptionally quickly. Just look at Carpenter: wagering $700 a hand saw him burn through more than $13k in an evening.

Of course, the flip side of lower wagers is lower wins. However, while pros play blackjack for money, most people are recreational players and it’s about having a good time.

Learn basic strategy

Basic strategy is the best thing that you can learn to increase your chances of winning. With this strategy, you’ll always know what action to take and there is no guesswork involved. Using this effectively brings the house edge down and boosts your chances of winning.

It’s worth bearing in mind though that basic strategy doesn’t guarantee a win. However, when followed correctly, it should see you winning more often than you were. It’s still important to call it a day when you’ve played through your budget.

Final thoughts on this story about Blackjack and the FBI

It’s not for us to second guess why Carpenter acted as he did. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t take something away from his story and ensure that we’re in a better place. It’s clear that excessive alcohol doesn’t mix well with playing blackjack but it’s also clear that all players need respect for the money that’s used.

By following the points that we’ve covered, there’s no reason why you can’t carry on enjoying blackjack for as long as you please. Just remember there are key times to walk away so that you can return and enjoy it all again another day. 

21+ | Terms & Conditions Apply | NJ Residents Only
Betmgm$25 FREE on Signup
100% up to $1.000 on First Deposit
Hotspot Leaderboard
Visit Casino
Blackjack Hall of Fame