Card Counters are an over rated threat to the casinos!!!
  • I have been working in a Casino dealing blackjack for 5 months now and I have only seen 1 card counter get backed down from playing blackjack. When I was dealing I have only thought that 2 other people where counting the whole time that I have been working there. So in the worst case scenario they have a total of 3 card counters that could make $20 an hour an played for an average of 2 hours each. Costing the casino $120 in lost expected value for a total of 5 months! If the casinos just absorbed the possible cost of card counters they would be better off. Some of the people that casinos kick out for being card counters are lifetime losers at the table. The second thing is the mindplay machines that the casinos have installed. These machines cost the casino money in two ways the first is the most obvious $25,000 expence for the machines. The second is these machines slow the dealer down by about 10 hands an hour. Less hands per hour means less money for the casino.
  • Perhaps a few counters were good enough to fool you, but in fact what you are saying is very true. There are very few counters out there and most counters are still losers because just being able to count is not enough to win. I have written before about what I think it takes to be a winning counter.

    Mindplay, to an experienced advantage player is not a challenge, it is just an opportunity to make more money. Expert counters made a lot of money against mindplay when it was at the Hilton in Vegas and also when it was at Flamingo and today it is out of Vegas completely and I have heard of no plans for its being brought back. Besides your casino paying for the machine, your casino has told their pit crew that they want to fire half of them, and they have told their surviellance folks that they want to reduce their numbers. That is the number 1 reason for Mindplay, though dealers and supervisors are not told this, but all they have to do is check the patten application of Bally Gaming and this is listed as the first benifit to the casino purchasing Mindplay.
    The second item listed is the reduction of comps.
    Then discovery of errors (dealer errors), catching cheats and card counters.
    So you get less hands per hour, the pit and the dealers hate the things (and it has been rumored sabotaged the thing at the Hilton), the players eventually find out that their comps are lower, other players just will not play against it, it might catch a theif, but is useless against counters and especially against one advanced mini team method of play. Result, Bally Gaming makes money and your casino loses money.

    The lesson to be learned here is that if you want to be able to make a good amount of money, then invent something that appeals to casino greed and paranoia. The trouble is, only the manufacturer is making anything here. This is the reason for the CSM machine (now reduced in number in Vegas and only found on low roller tables) and things like Mindplay. The salesman tells the casino you will get more hands per hour (CSM) and it will defeat counters. Sure counters will not play against it and you do get more hands per hour, but most players just do not like it and today only the low roller will play it. Result, the table makes more money without the CSM.
    Mindplay is sold because the casino can make money by paying fewer salaries, sick days, vacation etc. Then cut the comps of their players because no additional comps because the pit likes you, no comps during bathroom brakes and only comped on actual dollars bet. As additional benifit it can show them which dealers make more errors and stop things like bet capping. It will also catch the amatuer card counter but he is probably a loser anyway. What the manufacturer does not tell the casino is, many of your players will not play against the thing and will go to the casino next door, the thing will slow down play and break often and it is useless against experienced advantage players.

    ihate17
  • A dedicated comp-counter can burn a casino for much more than most card counters.It is way to easy to get many times more comps than you have earned,with a little skill and a good bit of chutzbah.Mindplay is supposed to eliminate much of that.
    I've heard from a good many card-counters that they can beat the mindplay,haven't heard any comp counter make that claim.And I think there are a hellofalot more comp counters(comp abusers) than successful card counters out there.
    If mindplay never caught a card counter but correctly gave everyone their earned comps,it would be a huge gain for the casinos.
    The bottom line on comps is that pit bosses are often way more generous than they should be,and on the opposite end are the completely stingy who tend to really piss players off.Neither is giving the casino its money's worth.
  • NYB said:
    A dedicated comp-counter can burn a casino for much more than most card counters.It is way to easy to get many times more comps than you have earned,with a little skill and a good bit of chutzbah.Mindplay is supposed to eliminate much of that.
    I've heard from a good many card-counters that they can beat the mindplay,haven't heard any comp counter make that claim.And I think there are a hellofalot more comp counters(comp abusers) than successful card counters out there.
    If mindplay never caught a card counter but correctly gave everyone their earned comps,it would be a huge gain for the casinos.
    The bottom line on comps is that pit bosses are often way more generous than they should be,and on the opposite end are the completely stingy who tend to really piss players off.Neither is giving the casino its money's worth.



    Mindplay has a _serious_ flaw that can be exploited to greatly inflate your comps. It is not a subject for a public message board, however. But the flaw is there and several have been using it... I won't take credit for the entire idea, but I did a lot of research and live testing a year and a half ago, and then further discussions on bjforumonline got several others to try the idea and it worked for them exactly as it did for me. Won't last forever, as apparently mindplay tables are going to go the way of the dodo bird...
  • Stainless Steel Rat,

    A few months ago I read a post dealing with ways to manipulate RFID's to gain advantages with comps. Was that you, by chance? Also, what is the reason for Mindplay losing favor with casinos?
  • chxplay said:
    Stainless Steel Rat,

    A few months ago I read a post dealing with ways to manipulate RFID's to gain advantages with comps. Was that you, by chance? Also, what is the reason for Mindplay losing favor with casinos?


    Mindplay losing favor with casinos is because the manufacturer sold the casinos something that just does not do what they told the casinos it would do.
    Instead of increasing profits it has reduced them.
    It did not reduce staff because it was always breaking down.
    It dealt less hands per hour reducing profits.
    It may have reduced comps
    It did nothing to prevent good counters or team play.

    So it lost favor because the thing just is a waste of money.

    ihate17
  • chxplay said:
    Stainless Steel Rat,

    A few months ago I read a post dealing with ways to manipulate RFID's to gain advantages with comps. Was that you, by chance? Also, what is the reason for Mindplay losing favor with casinos?


    If you were on Arnold's web site, yes that could have been me. I had not heard of anyone trying this particular angle previously, so I tested it. And then others tested it at a _much_ higher level than I did and reported great success. I did the initial "legwork" to test out apporaches, but do not travel to Vegas frequently enough to take advantage. I figured this would be eliminated over time and chose to tell some players that could take advantage of it before it disappeared...

    I think it is fading away due to (a) cost; (b) technical problems; (c) slows the game down; (d) word got out about the count-tracking software it contained and the potential for the casino to preferentially shuffle away any + count shoes so that the table only plays negative or neutral counts where the house has the edge; (e) general distrust of electronic devices by superstitious gamblers...
  • ihate17 said:
    Mindplay losing favor with casinos is because the manufacturer sold the casinos something that just does not do what they told the casinos it would do.
    Instead of increasing profits it has reduced them.
    It did not reduce staff because it was always breaking down.
    It dealt less hands per hour reducing profits.
    It may have reduced comps
    It did nothing to prevent good counters or team play.

    So it lost favor because the thing just is a waste of money.

    ihate17


    It was actually pretty good at catching the usual counter plays, as it could correlate bets and counts with high accuracy. Unfortunately, for the casinos, it did not understand the issue of playing multiple spots, where you could make idiotic plays on one spot and it would not realize that you played perfectly on one spot and randomly on the second... (plays like doubling for less, insuring for less, raising bet as count falls (small bets are raised on the small spot, the "big spot" gets played properly).

    APs are tricky and if there is a flaw, they'll find it. They found it in CSMs, they found it in mindplay, they found it in RFID, they found it in shuffle methods. They will find a weakness if it exists, or they may even force the casino into a weakness and then exploit it. :)
  • SSR...I have a question for you. How should the discards from a six or eight deck game be distributed into the discard tray? For example, in a 8 deck game if two decks are the cutoff point should they be insurted say four places or do they get placed directly on top of cards played? Is it the casion's decision or is there an actual gaming commission procedure?

    I hope I explained this correctly...not sure. I have always noticed casinos breaking down the last two decks and inserting them in four different parts of the discards. Recently on a trip to the midwest I noticed that two of the three casinos I visited put them directly on top (all) and then began to shuffle. What actually is the proper way?

    Thanks SSR for any information. In additon, is it legal for casinos to use Shills in their operations?

    Appreciate your input.

    -jp]
  • jimpenn said:
    SSR...I have a question for you. How should the discards from a six or eight deck game be distributed into the discard tray? For example, in a 8 deck game if two decks are the cutoff point should they be insurted say four places or do they get placed directly on top of cards played? Is it the casion's decision or is there an actual gaming commission procedure?

    I hope I explained this correctly...not sure. I have always noticed casinos breaking down the last two decks and inserting them in four different parts of the discards. Recently on a trip to the midwest I noticed that two of the three casinos I visited put them directly on top (all) and then began to shuffle. What actually is the proper way?

    Thanks SSR for any information. In additon, is it legal for casinos to use Shills in their operations?

    Appreciate your input.

    -jp]


    1. I have seen the undealt cards handled at least 2-3 different ways. (a) stuck on top of the discards (great for trackers); (b) plugged (broken into several small piles and each pile is inserted at a different point in the discards (much harder to track); (c) stuck in the middle but not broken up into different plugs, just one giant plug. So far as I know, there are no regulations about this, as the house is free to define its own shuffle procedure, which can even change from time to time. Some still do a single riffle. Others do multiple riffles with strips mixed in, etc. The best way would be to evenly shuffle the cards in with the discards. But this would take too long.

    2. shills are not that uncommon. They are often used to "open a table" and attract others before they fade away. They used to be used to cheat (the anchor-man ploy among others) a winner.

    The basic idea is that whatever the casino does is legal, and anything you do to try to win is illegal. :)
  • Rustproof Rodent – For no more than you play, that’s a pretty decent answer...........but you missed the key (and where in the world did you ever see your answer (b)?).

    Jim – It really doesn’t matter where the undealt cards are placed, top, bottom, or middle. The key is the size of the initial ABC (ABC is SOP, occasionally ABCD) cuts. You want to see the dealer quickly dropping about .5 decks to his ABC stacks. That simple procedure alone will mix the discards with the undealt reasonably well and make ST difficult.

    - SSR is correct, it is the casinos’ choice on how they shuffle. SOP for six deck is six riffs and two strips, and that is not enough for a really good mix.

    - Shills (commonly known by “players” today as SAS ) are perfectly legal, and I personally have no problem with them if they keep their mouths shut.

    Regards…..Grifter

    p.s to all……Since my name was mentioned in the thread, sometime I’ll get around to replying to the discussion about the comparative EV’s of Hold ‘Em vs Blackjack; and why I’ve switched to poker as my primary game for the last two years.
  • Grifter:

    (b) is the most common option I see used. MGM grand. Caesars. downtown vegas. etc. most places in Tunica. Beau on the MS coast prior to Katrina. IP as well.

    I have seen about 90% "plugging". Maybe I did not describe it very clearly, or you didn't read it carefully enough. Again:

    You have 6 decks in the discard tray. You have (using example given) 2 decks in the shoe (undealt cards). Dealer usually removes the cards from the shoe, breaks them into 3-4 segments/piles and plugs them into the discard tray. Most common is 3 plugs, but I have seen 2, 3 and 4 at least.

    So I really don't understand your "where in the world did I see that?" query. The answer is "almost everywhere in the US (world) that I have played." I have rarely seen (a) in recent years although I have seen it here and there inconsistently. And I ripped an indian casino in MS for doing that. But anyone that has not seen a lot of (b) is _not_ playing blackjack at the casinos I visit. Unless you assume SD/DD which was not what JP asked about...

    The part about "missing the key" is also something I don't understand. He didn't mention tracking, so I didn't offer any details about tracking at all. However, I would assume that the plugs are equal-sized. That's generally true. In the 8D game JP mentioned, I would assume each plug was 1/2 of a deck (4 plugs as he said). And with 2 riffles (ignoring strips or cross-grabbing) I would probably not stick around to play that game purely for the tracking angle, if one is just using basic card counting to get a count for those two unplayed decks. It would be necessary to track a much smaller and higher-density 10-rich segment and hope that it stays in a single plug where it can be tracked.


    BTW your "six riffles" confused me a bit. Unless you are counting each individual riffle the dealer does, where the ST guys I know of usually count a single riffle as mixing all 6 or 8 decks once. The classic "single-riffle" is exactly that. Two piles of 4 decks each, riffled together, usually taking 4-6 grabs depending on the dealer. Are you really meaning 6 complete passes? Nobody I have seen does that. I have seen 1, 2 and 3 riffles, with strips, cross-grabs and such, but 3 has been the max assuming we are counting 'em the same way...
  • stainless steel rat said:
    It was actually pretty good at catching the usual counter plays, as it could correlate bets and counts with high accuracy. Unfortunately, for the casinos, it did not understand the issue of playing multiple spots, where you could make idiotic plays on one spot and it would not realize that you played perfectly on one spot and randomly on the second... (plays like doubling for less, insuring for less, raising bet as count falls (small bets are raised on the small spot, the "big spot" gets played properly).

    APs are tricky and if there is a flaw, they'll find it. They found it in CSMs, they found it in mindplay, they found it in RFID, they found it in shuffle methods. They will find a weakness if it exists, or they may even force the casino into a weakness and then exploit it. :)



    SSR
    I think earlier I mentioned that it was good at catching amatuer counters, or mainly counters who are lifetime losers anyway and not expert AP's.
    Your big spot/small spot method was also used by myself as one of two methods that I used to net big wins at the Hilton when it had Mindplay. The other method I used was from the mind of my niece (I refer to her as the best counter I know) and was used for my biggest wins there. Now if we had 2 methods, I would imagine that there are many more. I personally have never considered myself an innovator or inventor. More of a technician who can apply the methods developed by others, so I know there are plenty of other methods for defeating the thing.

    ihate17
  • I'm not a particularly good "innovator" in this regard either. My innovation with RFID was solely based on my background with computers and electronics, and when I heard about the RFID-embedded chips, ostensibly to track bets and comps more accurately, I thought "I wonder if that is subject to exploitation?" Since I have RFID at my office (my parking lot is RFID-entry, my building is RFID entry after hours, I have an electronic chess board that uses RFID to identify the piece on each square, etc) I started playing around with it and came to the conclusion that the casinos had lost their minds. :) I was correct. :) I know of one player who's apparent betting level is over 5x-10X what his betting level actually is.

    The casinos got stuck when they bought into the system, and then they got stuck by using it. Serves 'em right IMHO...

    BTW, you are absolutely right about "if I have come up with this idea, there are probably others that have either (a) found the same idea previously and/or (b) found other better/worse ideas as well." Once I discover that the hole has been fixed, I'll post a longish report here detailing the idea, how I tested it, the funny (almost tragic) happenings during the "testing" and so forth. It was an interesting approach...
  • SSR - My bad, I misread it..........G.
  • Grifter said:
    SSR - My bad, I misread it..........G.


    Not a problem...
  • Thanks Grif and SSR for your replies. Knowledge is sure powerful and the two you you combined keep this board alive. Blackjack has been like when I started to bowl as a kid. Improvement came quickly in the beginning once I had the basics down. Professional level came five years later rolling ten games a day perfecting advanced play and condition changes. I could never have accomplished bowling on the PBA Tour without the same kind of help that I receive at this and other forum sites. I will continue to practice, practice and practice until I achieve this level in blackjack within the next three years. That is, if the corporate casino gang does not continue to ruin the game in the form of shareholder profits. In closing there is nothing more important than live action at the tables once the basics are achieved. "Forum AP's" are everywhere today, but true "Players" like Grif may become a part of the past. Damn shame what current corporate owners have done to this great game.
  • Actually there are still plenty of good games around, you just have to look a little harder and take better notes, so that you can avoid the games that are not worth the time... There are still plenty of players that will play anything that counts an ace as 1 or 11. :) We have to strive to not be those players...
  • Their is no gaming comision proceeder on how to put the cards in the discard tray. The casinos them self set the proceeder. My casino makes me plug if I'm on the low tech game with just a flashing light but I put them straight on top if I'm on the mind play machine. Besides shuffle tracking on a six deck shoe is impossible because you have 6 ace of spades 6 5 of clubs and so on plus not to mention that you get a whole new set of cards when the dealer pulls them out of the shuffle machine. Their are 312! ways that a six deck shoe can be shuffled thats 312*311*310 and so on all the way down to 1 thats a number so big that it has 1 with more than 99 zeros or trillions and trillions of ways that a 6 deck shoe can be shuffled. Shuffle tracking is possible but only on a single deck game where the dealer hand shuffles and uses the same deck every time. Shuffle tracking is done by relating one card to another you can't do that if you have more than one of the exact same card and have no way of distinguishing it. You relate where a 9 of diamonds is to that ace of clubs. Why do I mention the suit? So you can distinguish one card from another because the ace of spades might be next to the 7 of clubs.
  • learningtocount said:
    Their is no gaming comision proceeder on how to put the cards in the discard tray. The casinos them self set the proceeder. My casino makes me plug if I'm on the low tech game with just a flashing light but I put them straight on top if I'm on the mind play machine. Besides shuffle tracking on a six deck shoe is impossible because you have 6 ace of spades 6 5 of clubs and so on plus not to mention that you get a whole new set of cards when the dealer pulls them out of the shuffle machine. Their are 312! ways that a six deck shoe can be shuffled thats 312*311*310 and so on all the way down to 1 thats a number so big that it has 1 with more than 99 zeros or trillions and trillions of ways that a 6 deck shoe can be shuffled. Shuffle tracking is possible but only on a single deck game where the dealer hand shuffles and uses the same deck every time. Shuffle tracking is done by relating one card to another you can't do that if you have more than one of the exact same card and have no way of distinguishing it. You relate where a 9 of diamonds is to that ace of clubs. Why do I mention the suit? So you can distinguish one card from another because the ace of spades might be next to the 7 of clubs.


    Actually there are some regulations about how all the cards at the table are handled. I know of no requirement to have a transparent discard tray, but most have a requirement that the discards be put into a viewable "thing" to prevent some cards from being skimmed out of play (10's or A's for example). Ditto for cards that drop to the floor, which usually causes a stoppage in the game while the cards are counted and often replaced...
  • learningtocount said:
    Their is no gaming comision proceeder on how to put the cards in the discard tray. The casinos them self set the proceeder. My casino makes me plug if I'm on the low tech game with just a flashing light but I put them straight on top if I'm on the mind play machine. Besides shuffle tracking on a six deck shoe is impossible because you have 6 ace of spades 6 5 of clubs and so on plus not to mention that you get a whole new set of cards when the dealer pulls them out of the shuffle machine. Their are 312! ways that a six deck shoe can be shuffled thats 312*311*310 and so on all the way down to 1 thats a number so big that it has 1 with more than 99 zeros or trillions and trillions of ways that a 6 deck shoe can be shuffled. Shuffle tracking is possible but only on a single deck game where the dealer hand shuffles and uses the same deck every time. Shuffle tracking is done by relating one card to another you can't do that if you have more than one of the exact same card and have no way of distinguishing it. You relate where a 9 of diamonds is to that ace of clubs. Why do I mention the suit? So you can distinguish one card from another because the ace of spades might be next to the 7 of clubs.

    perhaps i'm not understanding what you are saying. shuffle tracking is possible with a six deck shoe if it is hand shuffled.

    best regards,
    mr fr0g
  • learningtocount said:Besides shuffle tracking on a six deck shoe is impossible...

    That’s what I love to hear! I wish all casino employees believed that. I would be rich by now!

    learningtocount said:Shuffle tracking is possible but only on a single deck game where the dealer hand shuffles and uses the same deck every time.

    I think you have it backwards. Tracking is not possible in SD or DD games, only shoes. Even a simple shuffle is enough to render a SD or DD game untrackable.

    learningtocount said:Shuffle tracking is done by relating one card to another you can't do that if you have more than one of the exact same card and have no way of distinguishing it.

    You’re thinking of sequencing, not shuffle tracking. In any case, there are tricks that will make sequencing more accurate in multi-deck games. There are simple ways to reduce the occurrence of “false keys” in just about any game. In fact, multi-deck games are often much more vulnerable to sequencing than SD games because of the insufficient shuffles. Personally, DD games are my favorite for sequencing.

    -Sonny-

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