If Players Can't Use A Computer To Count Cards, Can The Casino?

from the fair-play dept

We’ve had articles in the past about how people count cards and try to beat casinos using technology. While the casinos have always fought back using methods to make counting more difficult, now they’re looking at a slightly different strategy. There’s a computerized system that counts cards for the casino and notices which players are betting in a pattern that suggests they’re counting cards. However, players say this is illegal, since even casinos are forbidden from using devices that “change the odds”. The casinos counter that they’re not changing the odds – just catching people who are cheating. Meanwhile someone points out the most obvious way to beat this system: just watch the table until the counts are good, play for a bit until the counts are bad and leave. Since the system is only designed to notice a cheating pattern over 100 or so hands, as long as you don’t play that many you’re probably safe.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “If Players Can't Use A Computer To Count Cards, Can The Casino?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
LittleW0lf says:

Casinos === RIAA === MPAA

I have never understood gambling. Nor have I ever gambled…in a Casino.

Now, people have told me in the past that this is because I am afraid to take risks, which is utterly rediculous. After all, I take risks all the time, and some that are life-and-death risks, such as driving a car, leaving the house, etc. I even take risks which others wouldn’t dare to take, such as driving considerably faster than the law allows on a freeway (though rare.)

But gambling to me is a stupid risk. After all, the only thing a Casino is in business for is to quickly and efficiently remove you from your money. The chances of breaking even in a Casino is less than 1, if played over time. So no matter how hard you try, you’ll always end up paying more than you win. And people tell me this is fun…

So when I read this, I am left with a funny feeling…why should Casinos care if people are counting cards, after all, the odds are still stacked in their favor, even with folks “cheating”.

I don’t think card counting is “cheating” by any stretch of the imagination. Buying out the dealer is cheating. Breaking into the card shuffler is cheating. Keeping track of what cards have been dealt is good card playing (I do it all the time when playing cards…) The fact that the Casinos believe it is goes back to the fact that Casinos are only in business to remove you quickly from your money, and thus, they call it cheating because it gets in the way of the speed in which they can remove you from your money.

If you ask me, this is just another example of an organization attempting to use technology to protect a dying business model. (And it is tragic that so many people gamble their lives away in persuit for something that is unobtainable.)

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Casinos === RIAA === MPAA

I’m reminded of a quote from some comedian about why Comdex is Las Vegas’ nightmare: “You have a bunch of guys who are more interested in computers than girls… and they understand math!”

Otherwise, your points about gambling are interesting. I’d never thought of it that way, but it makes sense.

From my standpoint, I’m also not a gambling fan, though I have gone to casinos occassionally. I’m not the sort that casinos like, though, because I tend to wander around and watch others play – because that’s what I find fascinating, rather than playing myself. The last time I was in Vegas, at the urging of some friends I put some money on a roulette table (which is pure chance) and actually hit my number exactly (payoff 35x your money) on the first run. I took my money and left, and that was the only gambling I did (minus a few quarters dropped in random slot machines). Worked out well for me.

Still, I tend to view gambling as entertainment, and the amount of money I spend is the *cost* of the entertainment. So, I go in with a set amount in mind (not much) on how much I am going to *spend* on the entertainment of gambling, and then I’m not upset when I lose.

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Casinos === RIAA === MPAA

In order to be able to count cards well, you need to see all the cards dealt from right after the shuffle.

Casinos that play with 2 or fewer decks (the easiest to count) do not allow mid-shuffle play. You can sit at the table, but you can’t bet until the cards are shuffled after you sit down.

This means you can’t wait for the deck to ‘get good’ and then bet.

People got around the original card counting watch by having a friend nearby who would come over, sit down and bet big while the deck was good and then leave. Since they weren’t near the table when the first couple of hands were dealt, there was no way they could be counting, right?

LittleW0lf says:

Re: Re: Casinos === RIAA === MPAA

I’m reminded of a quote from some comedian about why Comdex is Las Vegas’ nightmare: “You have a bunch of guys who are more interested in computers than girls… and they understand math!”

I certainly won’t go on record and say that gambling is wrong or that people shouldn’t do it. As like you said, gambling is fun for a lot of people. I see a large number of folks in Casinos with happy faces. But I see just as many throw coins in the slots over and over again, waiting for the ding-ding-ding…and I hear the same folks complaining about how much money they lost…this is what I don’t understand.

Of course, there are exceptions to the always loose more than you win rule of gambling. However, over time, the wins and losses level out and you are usually in the loss column instead of the win column.

I do understand that the folks out there who really love gambling see it the same way as you do. If you see it as entertainment, more power to you (and I am in no way being sarcastic here.) If you go in knowing that you are going to blow $20, and you are happy with that, however I’d much wrather spend $10 and 2 hours of my life watching a crappy movie (which is a pretty bad gamble too,) then blow $20 at a Casino.

But then again, I am kicked out of more Casinos than your average person (probably because your normal customer doesn’t walk in with a laptop and other “evil” devices.) I don’t cheat, because I don’t gamble, but they seem to get really concerned when I walk through the door.

Majician says:

Re: Casinos === RIAA === MPAA

To begin, I’d like to state that casino’s do not accuse card counters as cheaters. Card counters are advantage players and nobody has ever been arrested for counting cards without using a computer. Second, I would like to point out that in the case of a professional card counter, casinos do NOT have an advantage…the counter does. In case you were wondering, the odds in favor of a card counter on a six deck shoe with regular rules and strategy is 2.8%. You are welcome to your opinion sir but educate yourself on the facts before making a statement. I hope you now have a better understanding of the facts now.

mhh5 says:

I don't understand...

why counting cards is even possible anymore..? I thought casinos used upwards of 7 decks and fancy robotic shufflers to eliminate the possibility of anyone (without a supercomputer) counting cards…

If this is for the “low stakes” tables, then it sounds like casinos are getting greedy. They should let the low stakes card counters win a few. Most newbie card counters probably mess it up and lose anyways.

In any case, I would have to agree that if casinos count cards, they are changing the odds. If their system lets the dealer know when “good” cards are coming, the casino can “coincidentally” change dealers and reset the deck.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...