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Casinos Warn iPhone Card-Counting App is Illegal

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the you-may-only-use-your-regular-brain dept.

Media (Apple) 462

An anonymous reader writes "Gaming commissions in Nevada are informing casinos that a new card counting program has made its way to the Apple iPhone, called Hi Lo. This program can be used in the Stealth Mode. When the program is used in the Stealth Mode the screen of the phone will remain shut off, and as long as the user knows where the keys are located the program can be run effortlessly without detection. Randall Sayre, of the Nevada Gaming Commission says 'Use of this type of program or possession of a device with this type of program on it (with the intent to use it), in a licensed gaming establishment, is a violation of NRS 465.075.'"

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462 comments

awww poor casinos (5, Funny)

nnnich (1454535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887653)

they no like a makey no money

Re:awww poor casinos (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887899)

Why use the iPhone....?

Card counting on your own, isn't that hard. Sure, it takes a bit of practice, but, it isn't rocket science.

I played with it awhile...I just made sure I first memorized basic strategy....the set play for everything based on your cards vs the dealer.

Once you get that down like 2nd nature...you start going with the +1 -1 for the low and high cards showing up on the table...divide the count by number of decks used to that point..etc.

Not rocket science, but, it does take some practice.

Even if you were using this iPhone app...you'd still have to have basic strategy memorized.

Re:awww poor casinos (4, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888119)

Well, the reason is speed, accuracy and memory. Mechanical devices used for card counting have been banned for quite a while, this is more of a notification that the iPhones have an app to do it.

When people are doing it in their head, there are strategies in place to cope with that. Usually the dealer will have things that he's allowed to do and in the worst case the pit boss will come over and talk up the player.

I'm not sure that the iPhone is specifically a problem, but it is within the category of cheating devices when used for card counting.

But it is also worth while pointing out that Black Jack isn't a game that any sane casino would offer if they weren't able to make card counting difficult. It's just not profitable, mainly they offer it as a sort of favor to the clients.

Re:awww poor casinos (4, Interesting)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888283)

When people are doing it in their head, there are strategies in place to cope with that. Usually the dealer will have things that he's allowed to do and in the worst case the pit boss will come over and talk up the player.

Yeah, they will do all sorts of things to make you distracted. I stayed at the Flamingo, and some of the $15 black jack tables had pole dancers in the middle of the tables! I stayed away until after they were done for the night, and when the free drinks come around I got myself a bottle of water.

Re:awww poor casinos (5, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888503)

Sounds like you missed out and some of the fun... Pole Dancers and 'free' drinks sound liek a nice way to spend an evening...

Re:awww poor casinos (3, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888677)

Sounds like you missed out and some of the fun... Pole Dancers and 'free' drinks sound liek a nice way to spend an evening...

And to lose a lot of money.

Re:awww poor casinos (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888201)

Even if you were using this iPhone app...you'd still have to have basic strategy memorized.

While I have the most "basic strategy" memorized, there's variations based on if the dealer hits or stands on soft 17, if black jack pays out 3/2 or 6/5, etc. I practiced using Sega Casino on my Nintendo DS. When I was in Vegas last year, I was happy to find some $5 tables at the Hilton where my convention was, and the dealer told me that you could use the basic strategy cards openly if you wanted to.

Re:awww poor casinos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26888585)

And how much money did you end up winning, Sega Boy?

Re:awww poor casinos (1)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888615)

Yeah, very true. A few years ago when i was in vegas they even sold the basic strat cards in the frigging gift shop, and as long as you held it in your hand and not have it on the table, they don't care.

In fact, I'm sure they must love people using the cards, since most people don't slavishly follow the basic strategy, and when you don't do that, you break whatever advantage it gives to you.

Re:awww poor casinos (3, Interesting)

Ed_Pinkley (881113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888797)

A strategy guide is OK since playing basic strategy still has an edge for the house. The iPhone app isn't great. It only tracks the raw count. It is still only doing the counts some people do in their head. (Hi/lo, Hi/Lo Opt.) Let it do a perfect betting and playing strategy. *That's the stuff a computer is good at. It is a nice proof of concept but as has been mentioned here, it would be impossible to use in a casino. The warning is just to make sure everyone knows about it.

Come up with an app. that hooks up to a camera in your eyeglasses, does pattern recognition on the cards and does a perfect computer count and notifies you via vibration or HUD display in your glasses. Then you got something! Of course you still have to be careful. A casino will notice you winning no matter how you do it. Since you are on private property, they can ask you to leave. If you don't leave, you are trespassing.

Re:awww poor casinos (2, Informative)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888037)

The question isn't really whether the casinos need sympathy.

The question is, realistically what would happen if casinos actually allowed the odds of any game to be tilted in the players' favor?

Answer: People would flock to that game, the casinos would lose money, and there would be no more casinos. Some people think that would be a good thing; are you surprised that the casino operators are not among them?

Of course, counting cards in your head is legal. For this reason, casinos will always have to do their own work to detect card-counters and enforce their own rules against them (by throwing them out and banning them from returning). They have a perfectly good way to detect card counters -- they have their own people counting the cards and watching betting patterns. So in my view the law against card-counting devices is not strictly necessary, though perhaps it encourages more people to play nice (as it puts actual legal consequences on those who can't keep track in their heads).

Of course, I see a lot of games played from a never-ending shoe; good luck counting in that environment.

Re:awww poor casinos (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26888383)

Nicky Santoro: A lot of holes in the desert, and a lot of problems are buried in those holes. But you gotta do it right. I mean, you gotta have the hole already dug before you show up with a package in the trunk. Otherwise, you're talking about a half-hour to forty-five minutes worth of digging. And who knows who's gonna come along in that time? Pretty soon, you gotta dig a few more holes. You could be there all fuckin' night.

Make casinos illegal (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26888411)

Problem solved. I shed no tears for anyone involved in the casino / hedge fund mafia getting their just deserts.

This app is for those of us... (1)

jornak (1377831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887655)

...that are too stupid to keep track of cards in your head.

Either way, you're still going to get kicked out of the casino and/or beaten to death.

I just don't see how it would work. (1)

SuperBry (1242668) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887673)

How would some one inexperienced be able to operate the card counting app without drawing some massive amount of attention to them selves be with the the screen on or off.

Re:I just don't see how it would work. (2, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887825)

Better yet, with the screen off, how do you, uh, see what the count is??

Re:I just don't see how it would work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26887893)

You don't need to see a count, you just need to know whether or not to bet a hand. I suspect it can vibrate to alert you.

Re:I just don't see how it would work. (4, Interesting)

fifedrum (611338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888635)

iPhone has an accelerometer, I use a step counting app all the time, imagine the step counting app keeping track, an up kick with your foot is +1, a down kick is -1 and when the app senses the time is right to bet, it vibrates

and fuck the casinos, they can all burn

From TFA (1)

spydabyte (1032538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887723)

It says:

Randall Sayre, of the Nevada Gaming Commission says "Use of this type of program or possession of a device with this type of program on it (with the intent to use it), in a licensed gaming establishment, is a violation of NRS 465.075."

So is it illegal to have it? Or just have the intent to use it? Five years for possession of illegal apps!

Re:From TFA (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26887823)

From our almighty master Google:

NRS 465.075

Use of device for calculating probabilities. It is unlawful for any person at a licensed gaming establishment to use, or possess with the intent to use, any device to assist:

            1. In projecting the outcome of the game;
            2. In keeping track of the cards played;
            3. In analyzing the probability of the occurrence of an event relating to the game; or
            4. In analyzing the strategy for playing or betting to be used in the game, except as permitted by the Commission.

Re:From TFA (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888061)

"No sir. I did not intend to use it. I accidentally turned it on while fumbling around in my pocket..." What you say to the judge when you get caught with the app on your phone.

Re:From TFA (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888239)

But what kind of self-destructive Las Vegas judge would actually accept that argument and then step forward and set a precedent against the casinos. On one side, you've got some random shmuck who has obviously broken the law but has a semi-plausible excuse that, although although almost certainly false, could reasonably present some doubt as to his guilt. On the other side, you have the financial gods of the region who have in their possession the map that shows you where they've hidden your wife and kids and, as a bonus, have the law on their side. Which way would you rule?

Re:From TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26888643)

"For five hours?" What the judge says to you during sentencing.

Re:From TFA (0, Redundant)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888147)

So is it illegal to have it? Or just have the intent to use it?

Both. According to the gaming laws in Nevada:

NRS 465.075 Use of device for calculating probabilities. It is unlawful for any person at a licensed gaming establishment to use, or possess with the intent to use, any device to assist:
1. In projecting the outcome of the game;
2. In keeping track of the cards played;
3. In analyzing the probability of the occurrence of an event relating to the game; or
4. In analyzing the strategy for playing or betting to be used in the game,
Ê except as permitted by the Commission.
(Added to NRS by 1985, 970)

Re:From TFA (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888205)

Both. According to the gaming laws in Nevada:

According to what you C&P'd, you can't read. It's legal to use it for your own game at your house, so it's legal to own. It's not legal to own it with the intent to use it to actually make money, and it's not legal to use it, either.

It is NOT illegal to own the software. It IS illegal to own the software if you intend to use it to defraud a casino.

The relevant standard in the US courts is "substantial non-infringing use".

Illegal to actually use it in the casino (2, Interesting)

hellfire (86129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888279)

It's illegal to actually use it within the casinos. You can take your cell phone, even an iphone, into the casino. However, they have cameras with tape everywhere. If they catch you looking at your phone repeatedly, they will probably have probably cause to search your person. They can then try to get into your phone look to see if you have the app, and if you do they'll probably charge you right there. I wouldn't be surprised if they are working on a pin cracking software package so they don't have to get your permission. This of course has it's own legal issues, but casinos will err on the side of profits, and they don't care if the court case can't go thru, at least you are out of their casino. Let the courts worry about little things like civil rights. Winning a court case that your rights have been violated is hard against a casino whether or not you did cheat.

Casinos have the right to eject you and ban you from a casino for any reason. I've never experienced this because I don't gamble, but I wouldn't be surprised if they ask you to remove bluetooth headsets before sitting down at a table. If you refuse, bye bye, they don't have to "serve" you, like any private establishment.

However, just for the record, casinos don't beat you up for committing a crime or counting cards (unlike how the movie 21 portrayed it, that was a complete lie), no they don't make you sleep with the fishes any more, and you can only be charged with a crime if that crime is clearly stated in law. Counting in your head is not illegal. Counting using some kind of electronic device, or communicating with someone outside of the table using an electronic device to help you gamble are both illegal.

Re:From TFA (1)

LargeWu (766266) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888445)

It's not illegal to own. That said, I don't think I would walk into a casino with this loaded on my iPhone. If casinos suspect you of cheating, or even counting, they will use any pretext to hassle you or even prosecute you as aggressively as possible. Just being in possession of this on a casino floor is a bad idea.

Illegal to possess (1)

daveywest (937112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888683)

Possession of a cheating device in a casino is a misdemeanor. Like others have said, using said device may be a death sentence.

Hi Lo? (4, Funny)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887741)

They couldn't call it "Rainman"?

Re:Hi Lo? (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888829)

If they'd have called it Rain Man, they're highly likely to incur the wrath of the MPAA for infringing the copyright of MGM/UA. Whilst the casino might only beat you up a little, the MPAA will take away your house (unless you have a credit line to the local whorehouse or a senator in your pocket).

Now I'm not sure whether I'm joking or not...

slashdot sensationalism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26887751)

Why is it that less then 50% of these things where private organizations, which cannot declare things to be illegal, make it as headlines on slashdot as they are. If you search for the word illegal on the article, no hits are returned.

Also, counting cards is not illegal in any shape or form. They have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason just like any other business.

The only exception to this in recent times has been when I think Apple declared something as illegal under the DMCA.

Re:slashdot sensationalism (5, Informative)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887797)

Wrong:

NRS 465.075 Use of device for calculating probabilities. It is unlawful for any person at a licensed gaming establishment to use, or possess with the intent to use, any device to assist:

            1. In projecting the outcome of the game;

            2. In keeping track of the cards played;

            3. In analyzing the probability of the occurrence of an event relating to the game; or

            4. In analyzing the strategy for playing or betting to be used in the game,

Ê except as permitted by the Commission.

            (Added to NRS by 1985, 970)

The Nevada laws are friendly to the casinos, as they make Nevada a LOT of money.

Re:slashdot sensationalism (4, Insightful)

Oidhche (1244906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888049)

You mean it's unlawful for any person at a licensed gaming establishment to use, or possess with the intent to use, a brain?

Ah, well, no surprise there.

Re:slashdot sensationalism (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888399)

I don't suppose pen and paper are legal, are they?

Re:slashdot sensationalism (1)

Oidhche (1244906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888507)

God forbid, no! Of course not! What kind of a criminal mind would think of using pen and paper in a casino?!

Re:slashdot sensationalism (1)

rograndom (112079) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888589)

Pen and paper are illegal if you're using them to count or try to gain an advantage. So are the casino's own chips, drinks, ice cubes, scraps of paper, etc if you're using them in that way. The law is intentionally vague with it's wording, mainly so it doesn't have to re-written everytime a new technology is developed. Any "instrument" is illegal. Please note that you brain is not an instrument, but the casino can still ban you from their property for any reason.

Re:slashdot sensationalism (3, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887869)

Counting cards is NOT illegal

Using a device to assist you in counting cards IS. Geico pointing out that drunk driving is illegal, but that doesn't mean that Geico is MAKING drunk driving illegal.

Further more, whoever submitted the post used a clever trick known as synonyms. Citing a violation of one of the many Nevada Revised Statues is the same as, gasp, warning that the app's usage IS ILLEGAL. Granted the headline could've included, "use of" instead of just the app name would be far more clear. But oh well.

Re:slashdot sensationalism (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887889)

How can you make that mistake when the guy you're talking about references the actual law?

Re:slashdot sensationalism (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888033)

These types of things used to be obvious markers for trolls.

Sadly, Slashdot's anti-trolling efforts have both made the site less user friendly and resulted in a user base that falls for even the most thinly veiled efforts. Back in the inchfan days the parent wouldn't have even merited a link.

What? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26887771)

No I'm not counting cards, I'm masturbating.

I just use that Fiest song (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26887781)

one, two, three, four, tell me 'bout the Kings some more.
one, two, three, four, five, six, nine, and ten, I see that the dealer seems to have called some men
money can't buy you back the love that you had then, but it can get you out of jail on bail.

How to use in stealth mode? (2, Interesting)

shogun (657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887787)

If the screen is off its all well and good to input card appearances with it hidden in your pocket, but how do you get its current odds output? Vibration or something like that?

Re:How to use in stealth mode? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26887875)

Moot point. If you play with your hands in your pocket you will get busted.

Re:How to use in stealth mode? (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888159)

Moot point. If you play with your hands in your pocket you will get busted.

Good advice for any occasion, not just gambling!

foot input, blue-tooth ear voice output (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888165)

For most card counting, you need one gesture for positive count, another for negative count. Toe tapping is an obvious gesture, but you could trained more hidden muscles.

You could have the accumulating count trigger voice results at a significant threshhold and deliver these by blue tooth earplug.

Re:How to use in stealth mode? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26887955)

Cigarret Lady: Is that a good odd output? Or are you just happy to see me?

Would this have widespread use? (4, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887803)

I was recently in Las Vegas and it seems to me that an application like this would only find use in the smaller casinos. The bigger ones use card shuffling machines that I think continuously reshuffle the deck. After a hand the dealer puts the cards back into the machine which reshuffles the decks (I think they hold several decks). Anybody else know if this is how the machine works? Some of the smaller casinos offer 1 deck Black Jack with no machine used for better player odds. The smaller casinos need to draw more players in and have to offer better odds. These would help here.

Re:Would this have widespread use? (2, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888005)

"The bigger ones use card shuffling machines that I think continuously reshuffle the deck."

Well, if you want to play blackjack...you avoid these tables like the plague!!

I've not been out there in a couple years or so...but, are you saying ALL the major casinos use the continuous shufflers only? I know they tried those at the Harrah's down here in NOLA, and they did not go over well. Most blackjack players..can't / don't count cards...but, using that machine took away the illusion they had that they could win.

I thought the continuous shufflers pretty much went away due to players bad responses to them...?

Re:Would this have widespread use? (4, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888345)

Continuous shufflers aren't as reliable about screwing things up as one might imagine. The basic problem is that you aren't guaranteed to hit those dead spots in the decks where most of the cards suck.

This is actually fairly important because it means that with the constraints on the dealer, it means that there's a relatively consistent number of 10 point cards left in the deck. And with the dealer being required to take a hit at any total less than 16 and depending upon the casino will uniformly take a hit or not on 17s.

And as such it changes the dynamics of what you take a hit on, knowing that the dealer has a card between 2 and 6 is more consistent than it is on a table where the decks aren't being shuffled as often.

Which is a long way of saying that while it does limit the traditional card counting, it does open up other conditions in a way which opens up other options.

Re:Would this have widespread use? (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888035)

I've never been to Vegas so I have no idea what they are using. However, I remember seeing something about a machine that doesn't shuffle the deck but pushes out exactly one card at random from a stack which is in effect the same thing. Perhaps that is what Vegas uses now.

Re:Would this have widespread use? (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888063)

The bigger ones use card shuffling machines that I think continuously reshuffle the deck.

No. They will use several decks and do indeed have shufflers. But they do not reshuffle until the decks are exhausted. Continuous shuffling in pretty much any card game would be ludicrously bad form.

Re:Would this have widespread use? (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888133)

Most casinos have 1 or 2 deck games but those usually come with high minimums and are in the "high roller" rooms off to the side. The minimums are usually in the $50-$100 range.

Re:Would this have widespread use? (3, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888177)

I was recently in Las Vegas and it seems to me that an application like this would only find use in the smaller casinos. The bigger ones use card shuffling machines that I think continuously reshuffle the deck. After a hand the dealer puts the cards back into the machine which reshuffles the decks (I think they hold several decks). Anybody else know if this is how the machine works? Some of the smaller casinos offer 1 deck Black Jack with no machine used for better player odds. The smaller casinos need to draw more players in and have to offer better odds. These would help here.

There are several shufflers around - one is a "continuous shuffler" - basically a circular rake (or one on a belt) that can take cards that moves back and forth randomly. Dealer inserts cards at the top, and they get inserted into the rake one by one, and pulls cards from the bottom, whatever happens to be there. Another kind simply takes cards and shuffles them periodically.

But the usual trick is to simply shuffle after every round - the tables only have one deck in play (and a pre-shuffled deck standing ready to keep play fast). When the round ends, that old deck is tossed into the shuffler, and the new deck dealt. This completely screws up counting. Smaller casinos simply use less decks - turns out more decks in the shoe make card counting more successful.

Also, while card counting itself isn't illegal, using an aid is (mechanical, electronic, etc). But it's easy to spot card counters (the people monitoring the eyes in the sky can count cards too). Heck, I'm surprised they haven't equipped the tables with RFID readers and use cards with RFID in them so a computer at the table can maintain the count and watch the bets and point out potential card counters.

And Blackjack is one of the worst games for a casino - the odds are very low. They only carry it because it's popular. Someone doing basic strategy already has cut down the house advantage to less than half a percent - a very poor return. Card counting tips that into the player's favor.

Finally - do casinos allow cellphones to be used at tables? At best, this warning is just a heads up to people who'll use the application that aids to card counting is illegal, but I suppose if one was trying to learn, they could use it at home or in small groups.

The problem of communicating the count has remained though - but since card counting is a probability play anyways, communicating the rough hotness and coldness of the deck is sufficient.

In short, the iPhone app is nothing new - many people have done this in the past, often with more elaborate contraptions suitable for the lower level of technology in the day...

Re:Would this have widespread use? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888555)

Finally - do casinos allow cellphones to be used at tables?

Typically no. When someone gets a call on their phone, the dealer will ask them to step away from the table after a while, usually after one hand of play. Maybe it was only at the Mirage but I can see how all casinos would have the same procedures. First they don't want to give the players any advantage. Second it is annoying to other players.

Re:Would this have widespread use? (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888819)

The bigger ones use card shuffling machines that I think continuously reshuffle the deck.

Please avoid these as much as you would the most draconian DRM you can ever imagine.

Not only are they impossible to count (if designed properly) but they actually lower the odds for the player because of this.

Not only that, but detectable and stupid... (3, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887811)

Card counting really doesn't work that well in Vegas casinos unless you go with a distributed ring: its pretty obvious when an individual is card counting, if you miscount slightly the casino ends up winning big, and the casions can really mess you up, from shuffling more to "backrooming" you and intimidating the F-outta you.

But if they start suspecting this (which is easy, its just like detecting any other card counter, and then looking more fully at where you keep your hands), then they can not just backroom you, but through the legal process, make you WISH they'd just have settled for the old days when they'd have shoved your iPhone where the sun don't shine.

Re:Not only that, but detectable and stupid... (1)

areusche (1297613) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888131)

Please, they just take you into a back room and scare you. The worst they can do is bar you from the casino. It's nothing like 21 where you have Lawrence Fishbourne beating the heck out of you. If you make a real hubbub you get into this mystical book published by Griffin Investigations that lists you as a card counter that security staff will pick you up and kick you right back out.

Re:Not only that, but detectable and stupid... (4, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888139)

"Card counting really doesn't work that well in Vegas casinos unless you go with a distributed ring: its pretty obvious when an individual is card counting, if you miscount slightly the casino ends up winning big, and the casions can really mess you up, from shuffling more to "backrooming" you and intimidating the F-outta you."

They're not gonna backroom you like they did in the old days....they don't need to. They can just simply refuse your play, and if a problem, ban you from that casino, where if you do reenter, you are legally trespassing and they let the law deal with you.

There are ways to count, even as a single person with no team. There are plays that you 'can' make, which are usually very stupid, but, at times can be made and not really lessen your edge you get by counting properly. I was reading one awhile back that where in a strategy, you actually did at times split 10's....a generally stupid move, but, if done at certain times, sparingly, it would not mess with your edge badly, yet it would definitely throw off the casino watching you as a 'serious' counter. I'm sorry I don't have the book around to cite the source, but, it is out there.

Team play is definitely the best way to go, but, most casinos know that MOST people who think they can count cards...will mess up. So, unless you are making huge swings in bets with VERY high denominations of checks...you're likely not going to be harassed. They only really start looking at you if you start taking serious money from them.

Re:Not only that, but detectable and stupid... (1)

Oidhche (1244906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888141)

Oh, so now you're not allowed to win, are you?

Re:Not only that, but detectable and stupid... (3, Informative)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888323)

Nope, that's the whole idea of a casino... suckering people into thinking they stand a chance.

Re:Not only that, but detectable and stupid... (1)

Oidhche (1244906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888467)

In that case, why bother playing at all? Just give them your money and be on your way. Actually, both sides would greatly benefit from that. Casinos would save a lot of money if instead of a great expensive building and a lot of staff they only needed a small room and a clerk to collect the money. Players on the other hand would save a lot of time. I guess they could spend it earning more money to lose.

Re:Not only that, but detectable and stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26888569)

Oh, so now you're not allowed to win, are you?

Actually, no, and that's kind of the point.

The odds are all in the favor of the casinos. This is done on purpose. There are laws that preserve that advantage. If the odds were not in the favor of the casinos they would not be able to make money and they would close.

Sure, a given individual might win once in a while... And if you quit while you're ahead you can actually make some money... But over the long run the casinos will win, that's how they make their money.

Re:Not only that, but detectable and stupid... (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888755)

>Oh, so now you're not allowed to win, are you?

      Uh, why do you think these large companies are falling all over themselves to build ever larger casinos with even more spectacular attractions? To play *fair* with you? Where do you suppose they get the money to build all these casinos?

        The entire system is designed to extract money from idiots who either don't know any better, or think somehow that they can beat the odds. Suckers, in other words.

          Brett

Re:Not only that, but detectable and stupid... (1)

hamburgler007 (1420537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888459)

They don't backroom you anymore, that would be one of the dumbest things a casino would do today. They ban you, and distribute your photo to every other casino, and you are effectively banned from every casino.

You Watch Too Much TV (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26888547)

I was busted for card counting just 10 days ago in Vegas. The pit boss politely leaned over and said, "Sir, we are going to have to ask you to stop playing blackjack."

I said, "ok", cashed in my chips and that was that. I got to keep the $200 I won and didn't even get escorted off the premises.

Re:Not only that, but detectable and stupid... (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888765)

Card counting really doesn't work that well in Vegas casinos unless you go with a distributed ring: its pretty obvious when an individual is card counting, if you miscount slightly the casino ends up winning big, and the casions can really mess you up, from shuffling more to "backrooming" you and intimidating the F-outta you.

Take note that this is illegal. This is what pissed me off about the movie "21". None of the people who were beat the fuck up in the backroom pressed charges against the attackers. Counting cards is NOT illegal. Assault and Battery IS illegal and will get you brought up on Criminal and Civil charges quick like.

Only in Nevada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26887813)

Hello Foxwoods!!!! "The wonder of it all..."(commercial theme jingle)

Re:Only in Nevada (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887943)

Having lived in CT for quite a while, I can only say, "Hello Foxwoods security!" when you get caught :). They're not very friendly people, although they are definitely "professional..."

Making Money in Casinos is Illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26887841)

Other than poker, there is no way to consistently play a game that will make you money and not break gambling laws. The only reason poker slides is because you're being charged to gamble against other players and you're not winning the house's money. It's like horse betting at the Kentucky Derby in that way.

Really??? (1)

jskline (301574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26887885)

And all those silly little electro-magnetic devices under the craps and roulette tables are legal???

The conclusion seems to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26887903)

Don't go to casinos and support their stupid business!

The new mob ... same as the old mob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26887927)

same old setup, make sure the house always wins

it's a crime that greed still keeps the cut so deep

Re:The new mob ... same as the old mob (2, Interesting)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888519)

No, it's a crime that people are so fucking stupid that they keep going and playing. It's one thing if gambling of the sort offered in Las Vegas were offered in every town on the planet, but people schedule entire vacations just to go out to Vegas and piss their money away. If it were offered everywhere, I'd agree it was messed up. But you have to physically go there, for pretty much the express purpose of gambling, to get ripped off. It boggles the mind.

Re:The new mob ... same as the old mob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26888853)

It's pretty fucking stupid that people keep willfully snort cocaine even though it is messing up their lives. Why do they keep doing it?

Today's magic word: adultery

its pretty easy to see you using it (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888043)

You are either visibly typing on a phone, or have it running in voice mode with ear buds with a hand in your pocket. I supposed you could get blue tooth earphones and hide them under a hat or wig.

Idiotic article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26888053)

Making money on card counting is based on betting the minimum amount when the count is bad and betting the maximum (or someone else betting it for you) when the count is good. It is looks extremely suspicious if someone varies their betting amounts like that. Dealers can also count and they are taught to recognize when the count is good. I see absolutely no use for an application like this.

What would you do as a dealer if someone always tapped something into their phone between BJ hands and varied their betting amounts?

Re:Idiotic article (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888273)

What would you do as a dealer if someone always tapped something into their phone between BJ hands and varied their betting amounts?

Besides take their money? Nothing.

Re:Idiotic article (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888521)

Counting is perfectly legal. In fact, you can even announce to the dealer that the odds are tilted to in your favor and you are going to bet more. What's illegal is using a machine or any other contraption/help to come to that conclusion, however cheat sheets are perfectly legal. Hell, in most casinos a decent dealer will actually advise you on what to do on a per hand basis if they see you are a knuckle head. Of course, the flip side is that at anytime they can "ask" you to leave, or close the table down. So flaunting your card counting abilities isn't very wise unless you like to do a lot of walking between casinos.

Using some very simple rules you can easily slowly bleed the entire night away at blackjack and walk away with most of your money. More often then not the simple advice of 'assume the hidden card is a 10 and play to beat it' works fairly well. You won't lose your shirt, but you won't walk away with a heck of a lot either

computer shadowing detects card counting (4, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888269)

Any establishment may expell a player at will and doesnt need to have the physical counting computer. Of course, they'd like to keep the clumsy counters around, because they make money for the casinos.

Wikipeadia mentions computer programs that track cards (by camera recognition) and bets (RFIDs in chips). The computer computes several of the popular counting schemes and compares that against actual play. Positive correlation with actual betting is suspicion of counting and grounds for expulsion.

Re:computer shadowing detects card counting (1)

Oidhche (1244906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888367)

Sounds like only allowing alcoholics to enter your bar.

Re:computer shadowing detects card counting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26888761)

Sounds like only allowing alcoholics to enter your bar.

More like only allowing paying customers to enter your bar.

Folks don't seem to understand that the casinos are around to make money. If they didn't make money, they wouldn't be able to stay open. Nobody is going to start up a casino just to give away cash for the fun of it.

The odds of all these games are in the casino's favor - that's how they make money. It is no different than playing the lottery.

The mechanical games... Things like slot machines and whatnot... Have their odds hardcoded into the game. They will only pay out a certain percentage of the time. The rest of the time they're just sucking up money for the casino.

Games that can possibly involve skill have rules in-place to preserve the casino's advantage. If you break those rules and increase your odds of wining you are, in effect, depriving that casino of income.

Casinos are built on a lie. Or, at the very least, an illusion. People are under the impression that they can actually win.

It is certainly true that people do win... It is possible to walk in the door, play a single slot machine, and hit the jackpot. But for every person who actually wins the jackpot there are thousands of people spending thousands of dollars and getting absolutely nothing for it. They are paying loads of cash for the possibility that they might be the one who gets the jackpot. And, realistically, they may as well be flushing that money down the drain.

This is how casinos work. The project images of opulence and decadence and make you think that you might be able to win... That if you get a single lucky hand you could be living in the lap of luxury... And people will pay hundreds of dollars, over and over again, for that possibility.

Blacklist (2, Informative)

necro81 (917438) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888669)

Even if it weren't illegal, casinos really, really don't like card counters. Even those who do it entirely in their heads, if they are found out or simply start winning too consistently, can be asked to leave or escorted out of the casino. It's not a matter of legality or fairness; casinos regard it simply as cheating (anything that tips the odds they've established in their favor is cheating to them), barely above outright theft, and take action accordingly.

In extreme cases, they can add you to a blacklist that other casinos subscribe to. Enforcement of the blacklist starts getting into really impressive, and scary, Big-Brother stuff that governments could only dream of - automatic face recognition and tracking, cross-checking faces against the black list, logging time spent at such-and-such location (i.e., table), who happens to be around the person at the same time (to sniff out collaborative counting groups). Casinos can do it because they have lots of money and incentive to do so, plus they are working this stuff in a smaller environment that they design and control to the hilt.

Plagiarism (4, Interesting)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888727)

Last paragraph:

'The idea behind counting cards in blackjack is that a deck of cards with a high proportion of high cards (ten-valued cards and aces) to low cards is good for the player, while the reverse (a deck with a high proportion of low cards to high cards) is good for the dealer.[...]

Wikipedia article on Card Counting: [wikipedia.org]

'The idea behind counting cards in blackjack is that a deck of cards with a high proportion of high cards (ten-valued cards and aces) to low cards is good for the player, while the reverse (a deck with a high proportion of low cards to high cards) is good for the dealer.'

C'mon TechFragments. If you copy a Wikipedia article, which you shouldn't be doing anyway, you need to give a link back to the article you copied from and give proper attribution to its authors.

How does this help? (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26888771)

If the screen is black you don't see the running count?

Counting the cards is easy enough without the phone and becomes second nature. I can't look at a table without getting a sum nowadays.

The hard part is memorizing all the tables, and the phone can't help with that.
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