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The Tech Used to Catch Vegas Cheats 321

Black Jack writes "Interesting piece on silicon.com about the technology used in Vegas for catching the cheats. It goes into detail on a number of things from facial recognition and RFID to some CIA-developed systems for background checking staff. Surprised they're so open about what they do! ...or is this just the stuff they admit to?"
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The Tech Used to Catch Vegas Cheats

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  • by It doesn't come easy ( 695416 ) * on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:54PM (#13357637) Journal
    Surprised they're so open about what they do!

    It's one thing to say you do something, it's an entirely different thing to say how you do it. For example, saying that you have an RFID chip in every casino chip is one thing. Having a monitoring system that can quickly and automatically identify a RFID position and movement anomaly among millions of active casino chips is something else.
    • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:58PM (#13357680) Homepage
      One of the major points of the RFID in the chip is that when a chip is played in a slot machine or some such, they can check if there is a chip there and if it's valid. If it's not, the machine can automatically alert the casio at that moment that there is someone using fraudulent chips and arest the person. Same could be done on a table when the dealer collects chips. It's not neccessisarily about finding out who is doing what when and their patters (although they want that), it's about finding fraud faster.
      • I've never seen a slot machine that accepted casino chips. They take coins.
    • Also, no harm in letting everyone know what you can do.

      "We know everything about you."

      In general, I'm sure the casinos would consider it preferable to advoid cheating, than to catch cheating. In the same way, police will often patrol an area that might be more likely to have crime (like a concert) BEFORE any crime is done.

      An ounce of prevention...
  • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:55PM (#13357649) Homepage
    There was a special about a month ago on Discover or one of those channels about this guy who made his own tokens for use in casinos and how he went about doing it, including having to figure out the right metal combinations, making the dies, getting giant press machines to form them, and everything. It was facinating. The way they finally caught him was the counts of tokens would come out high (they should have 100 $50 tokens at the end of the day, they'd have 120). Then from that they were able to go find him (eventually spotted him using them in a slot machine, and when the machine didn't like a token he put in, he just kept going where anyone else would complain LOUDLY about it).

    Facinating to watch.

    • by Gogo Dodo ( 129808 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:04PM (#13357748)
      It was the History Channel. Breaking Vegas [historychannel.com], Counterfeit King episode.
    • That was "The Counterfit King" [historychannel.com] episode of Breaking Vegas on the History Channel. It is a series where they highlight different ways that people have cheated casinos out of money.

  • You figure this is a good deterant for any wanna be's. just like i'm sure the show CSI diters many would be murderers..
    • by Haydn Fenton ( 752330 ) <no.spam.for.haydn@gmail.com> on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:13PM (#13357823)
      Funny, every time I watch a show on "hey, look at how these criminals did x, and look at how were so smart that we still busted them!" I think to myself.. well, you've given us all the info on how the criminals used to do it, and told us that it still works on a large number of cases, and now you've told us how you catch people, so we can avoid doing that in future. Although I can never be bothered to get into the business of it all, mainly cos it costs a fair bit (or you need to know people) to get started and I'm lazy and don't have the money. But I'm sure for every TV show on how to bust people, you simply introduce a whole number of new crooks to the game, with bigger and better ideas.
  • by OnceDark ( 155468 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:57PM (#13357663)
    Anyone have information as to how cheating scanning relates to online poker?

    I enjoy playing a hand or 2 of poker, but have been reluctant to try online poker as the chance of cheating seems very high in terms of people working in pairs and sharing information.

    Anyone ever see someone accused of cheating on one of the poker sites?
    • If cheating seems pretty likely, then your best bet is to not play the game...

      Personally, I think that with online casinos in general, cheating, whether on the part of the players or the house, seem very very possible. Online casinos aren't audited like the ones in Vegas -- where they actually have a gaming commission that ensures that the casinos aren't using loaded dice, fixed roulette tables, hacked slots, etc.

    • by BridgeBum ( 11413 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:14PM (#13357826)
      The sites do monitor for abuses like that as best they can. (Checking IPs, etc.) However, there are limits to what you can do in poker anyway. Collusion is possible, but there are also so many tables in play simultaneously that if you suspect there may be collusion going on, you can move to another table very easily.

      I've been playing online for some time now and I haven't noticed anyone cheating. It's been fun and profitable for me. YMMV.
    • While I haven't seen anyone accused of cheating in online poker, the fact that it would be pretty easy for someone to be on the phone with someone else at the table, plus the fact that no technology is perfect and someone could theoretically see other players' cards or cheat in some way makes betting money online seem to me to not be a smart thing to do. I enjoy playing online poker on for play money. This way I can enjoy a game of poker and get some practice while not being a victim of some scammer. I woul
    • I have never seen anyone cheat or get caught cheating at any online poker sites (although I am sure it has happened). However, I do play online poker a few nights a week and I believe as long as you stick to the tournaments you should be ok. I usually play in 30+ people tournaments and even if there were people working together it would be pretty difficult to do. Everyone is randomly placed at tables of 10, so you do not know if you will even be at the same table as the people you are working with. Now,
  • by RandoX ( 828285 )
    Let's face it, their goal is to stop people from cheating. Catching people that cheat is one part. Convincing the rest that cheating is a bad idea is the other. It's a deterrant.
  • 'cheat' is realative (Score:5, Informative)

    by prgrmr ( 568806 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:58PM (#13357677) Journal
    Catching an employee in the counting room taking his work home with him or a crooked dealer is all well and good, but card counting and varying your bet amount isn't cheating, it's playing shrewdly within the rules. This is where the casinos, IMO, are going over the top with the spying.
    • You're at a private property, if you don't like the amount of surveillance being pointed at you, go somewhere else. If it were just card counting or varying bets (a telltale signal that surveillance uses), then such extensive measures wouldn't be required. It's the people who use computers, mirrors, pass posting, ink tags, counterfeit money and chips and other tricks that require such security
      • I understand that there are an abundance of people using devices to circumvent the rules. All I'm saying is find those people, and leave the card counters alone. The ability to do math in one's head isn't cheating.
        • A property can toss anyone out and tell them that they are no longer welcome at the property from now on. A casino's purpose is to part players from their money and anything that shifts the odds even in the slightest towards the player is going to cause a reaction. It's in your right to count cards so as long as you are not using anything other than your brain, but it's also the casino's right to toss you for looking at the pit boss crosseyed.

          People are fortunate today- back in the bad old days here when th
          • Actually a casino's purpose is selling "FUN" and part of that fun involves winning. So someone playing and winning big during busy hours is an asset, ESPECIALLY if that person induces "suckers" to play big. OTOH counters tend to play at slightly "off" times and try to be discreet in order to maximize their paycheck. Why do you think sirens and bells and whistles and streamers show up when someone hits a big jackpot on any of the jackpot games?
          • The mob still runs things, just they've become a lot better at not being caught.
      • That's not true at all. Card counting and varying bets are more than enough to stack the odds in your favor, and were the reason that MIT team - who never actually cheated - weren't allowed in casinos anymore.

        Extensive measures were put out to specifically stop them, and to stop anyone else from repeating what they did.
    • by dr_dank ( 472072 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:04PM (#13357745) Homepage Journal
      Pretty much anything that doesn't make you a loser and part you efficiently from your money is verboten. If they allowed people to win too much, they'd be out of business next week.

      While card counting and strategies like it (by natural means, not counting using a computer or some such gimmick) isn't cheating, they are well within your rights to refuse to offer you a particular game or bar you completely from the premises. Most casinos share this info with each other since it is all within each others best interests to keep these people out, and before long, a cardcounter is persona non grata pretty much everywhere on the strip.

      Check out Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich.
    • If it's going to significantly cut into their profits, it's in their best interest to stop it from happening...whether it was within the limits of the rules or not. They can decide not to let you play if they don't want you to.
    • card counting and varying your bet amount isn't cheating

      Most reasonable people would agree. Casino operators, however, are very adamant that it is cheating, I guess on the grounds that it eliminates pure chance from the equation, and it's cheating to use your brain. Or something. Although they've recently adopted measures to make card counting far more difficult, in the past a skilled enough gambler could exploit the odds (possibly as part of a group) and win big. Casinos don't want any skill involved,
    • by JustAnotherReader ( 470464 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:13PM (#13357817)
      Absolutly true. Consider this:

      If a game is not a game of chance, but a game of skill, then the law does not allow casinos to host that game. So on one hand, casinos want to ban card counters, but on the other hand they don't want to admit that skillfull players can play better than players relying purly on luck. Blackjack brings in a LOT of money for casinos. They want to keep that money stream coming.

    • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:16PM (#13357842) Homepage Journal
      Basically, they get to throw you out if they catch you counting because it's a private establishment. They can throw you out if they don't like the color of your shirt.

      Honestly, I agree with you: it's dumb to throw out players just because they can play better than you allow yourself to. (The percentage comes mostly from the fact that the dealer must hit on 16 and soft 17 no matter what the count looks like. A smart dealer would have a huge advantage, with the player having a chance to bust first, but they don't want to make it a skill vs. skill contest.)

      In Atlantic City, it's actually getting harder to find a straight 21 game. They have a lot of variants of it, and although I haven't done the math I bet they eliminate your percentage in the game. Your percentage is small and it's not that hard to eliminate it with a few rule changes. But I guess the Vegas houses feel strongly about the traditional game.

      Still, it would be a lot cheaper to change the game than to try to catch people based on what's in their heads. (Or in their shoes, if they're using an illegal computer. At least there they're trying to restrict the game to skill, including memory, although again a rules change could eliminate the advantage of having a computer.)

      I suspect that they like the fact that people know that there's a percentage to the player in 21, even though most people don't know how to get it. And unless you're playing on a team it's hard to make money fast at it. (If you can play well enough to get a 1% advantage, you win an average of $1 per hand at the $100 table, which comes out to perhaps $30 an hour. Real money, certainly, but a lot of work for it.)

      So if there are 6 players at the table and 5 of them are losing because they don't play the game very well, and they can catch you if you're making the big money playing on a team, it may still be to their advantage to leave the rules as they are. I've never heard of them messing with a small-time card counter, even though it's obvious they're counting.

      Sounds dumb to me. There's a lot more vigorous cheating going on (stealing chips when people aren't looking, for example) that's easier to catch.
      • Still, it would be a lot cheaper to change the game than to try to catch people based on what's in their heads

        It's difficult for casinos to introduce new games because people don't want to play it. Rarely do people play games they don't know. Some games, like craps or roulette, can be intimidating because there are many bets, and many things going on at once. Also, players are afraid of messing with the "flow" of a game. If the guy next to you sees you're playing stupid, and he starts to lose, he's go
    • FTA, the card counting and wildly varying bets isn't what they nail people on. They flag the customers for further observation based on it. And it's also used to weed out people who are varying bets not based on gambling strategy but in order to milk comps out of the casino. And in security like this, you have to take the red queen hypothesis of immune system evolution: you have to keep running faster and faster just to keep up. Wow, that was convoluted logic that somehow came back to the topic: start w
  • Cheating (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kevin_conaway ( 585204 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:59PM (#13357689) Homepage
    There are two types of cheating. Cheating the house and cheating the other players. I have a problem with the former and not the latter. When you're playing against the house, the odds are severely stacked against you.

    However, the best defense for any kind of cheating is, and always has been, a set (or multiple sets) of well trained eyes.
    • Re:Cheating (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RzUpAnmsCwrds ( 262647 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:20PM (#13357878)
      "There are two types of cheating. Cheating the house and cheating the other players. I have a problem with the former and not the latter. When you're playing against the house, the odds are severely stacked against you."

      No, they aren't. Sure, if you play Keno, your odds suck. But if you play basic strategy (not hard to learn) and find a decent Blackjack game (NOT 5:6, etc.), the house edge is frequently below 0.5%.

      And cheating is cheating. If you don't like the house edge, don't play. Stealing chips from a casino is exactly the same thing as stealing real money.

      Remember, the cameras aren't just there to prevent you from cheating - they are also there to prevent the house from cheating. The NGC is, thankfully, a bunch of hard-asses who will pull licenses if the casinos don't play on the straight and level.

      In Vegas, the games are fair. Sure, the house has the edge, but the deck isn't stacked and the slots really are random.

      Playing BS Blackjack at $10 a hand, with a decent game (house edge 0.5%) costs only $.05 a hand. At 100 hands an hour, that works out to $5 an hour. It's every bit as cheap as a movie, and you get free drinks. Moreover, if you play for a few hours, you can probably get a comp for the buffet.

      Know how much you're willing to lose (and stick to it), know which games to play (and what the house edge is), know the rules, know the basic strategy, and have fun.
  • by jratcliffe ( 208809 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @03:59PM (#13357696)
    While the casinos might not want to let every detail out, they certainly want people to know if they have impressive anti-cheating capabilities. The casinos would prefer you didn't do X in the first place than catch you doing X, and if you're aware that they can catch you doing X, they've solved a lot of their problem right there...
    • Exactly.

      "or is this just the stuff they admit to?" ..or is this just the stuff they want you to think they do? ;)
    • In fact it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they weren't overstating their capabilities deliberately. I mean it's the threat that's important. As long as you believe they can catch you doing X it doesn't matter whether they actually can or not.

      I've worked for a few different Las Vegas casinos doing data analysis. My job was more to do with maximizing profits rather than catching cheats, but it did involve analysing a lot of the same or similar data. In many ways casinos are indeed remarkably advanced in
      • It's a surprisngly conservative industry in many ways.

        Not really, when you consider that it has much in common with the insurance business. Laying a chip down on a craps table and taking out an auto policy are virtually the same in many ways. Both are gambling propositions in which the house has a slight edge. In both cases, the house doesn't care about the outcome of any individual bet, except when the bettor is cheating. In both cases, the odds are well understood by the house beforehand and usually n

  • Redundancy (Score:2, Funny)

    by WTBF ( 893340 )
    Harrah's, the largest casino group in the world and on the Las Vegas Strip

    Welcome to the department of redundancy department.
    • Re:Redundancy (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MarkGriz ( 520778 )
      "Harrah's, the largest casino group in the world and on the Las Vegas Strip"

      Not redundant at all. Las Vegas is an *entirely* different world.
  • Internet Casinos (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Eightyford ( 893696 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:01PM (#13357714) Homepage
    I'd like to know what kind of technology is used to catch cheaters on internet Casinos. Sites like Pokerstars must have some pretty complex systems in place to catch cheaters, as it seems so easy to cheat at first sight. I mean, how hard would it be to have your friends play at the same table as you while on a conference call with them? Maybe I'll try that right now actually...
    • Re:Internet Casinos (Score:3, Informative)

      by AaronStJ ( 182845 )
      Internet poker sites aren't as worried about collusion (the form of cheating your described) as Vegas casinos are about people cheating the house. If a gambler cheats the house, the casino loses money. But if poker players cheat, it's the other players who lose. The house still gets to take it's share of each poker pot (the rake), so they make money whether you cheat or not.

      Of course, they don't allow collusion, because if other players start to lose a lot, they might not want to play as much. And the o
    • I mean, how hard would it be to have your friends play at the same table as you while on a conference call with them?

      This is actually a huge problem for online casinos, whether it be over the phone or IM. Online casinos watch for play patterns that would indicate collusion between the players, and they'll flag people for it. They have a good deal of automated software that does the tracking. The huge advantage they have is that they log every single bet, so they have a lot more data to look through. Rea
    • Re:Internet Casinos (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Skeezix ( 14602 ) <jamin@pubcrawler.org> on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:55PM (#13358154) Homepage
      It's not really known how often collusion takes place on internet poker sites. Most reputable sites at least claim to monitor playing habits and look for patterns that might indicate cheating. But who really knows how often they catch people. It certainly seems like it would be in their best interest to catch cheaters. Although stricting speaking the cheats don't steal money from them since they still get a rake of every pot, if a site has a bad reputation players will be less likely to use their site and switch to a more reliable one.

      They can monitor to see how often specific players play at the same table and observe the betting patterns of those players. One technique colluders will use is to gang up against a player who is going all in to increase the odds that player will lose the hand. If player X pushes all his chips in with pocket aces and 3 colluding players call with decent hands there is a good chance the aces will not hold up and one of the colluders will win the pot.

      There have also been accusations of poker sites doing the cheating. By altering the odds, they can generate bigger pots and therefore bigger rakes. Take a simple example. Deal one player pocket aces and another player pocket kings. Both players are likely to push a lot of chips with those hands and make a big pot. Drop a king on the flop to give one player a set and you're really going to see sparks. The bigger the pot, the higher the rake the house gets. I'm not saying this actually occurs at most poker sites, but it's an interesting thought experiment.

  • by riptide_dot ( 759229 ) * on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:02PM (#13357719)

    On a behavioural level such intelligence could also flag up 'one to watch' - for example a player laying $5 bets while sitting with $100,000 of chips in his or her pocket. This is certainly no cause for concern in its own right but such behaviour would in the past have caught notorious card counters waiting for the odds to fall in their favour or getting their eye in and honing a system.

    While I will agree with the casinos' rights as a business to ask ANYONE to leave their casino for whatever reason, I just want to point out to everyone that card counting is NOT cheating and that people who in engage in card counting are simply using the casino rules and game's strategy to their best advantage. Both Las Vegas and Reno gambling laws state that cheating is defined as manipulating the rules of the game, or using devices to get around the rules of the game, not using the rules to your advantage, thus card counting is not illegal according to Nevada state laws (and many, if not all other state laws as well).
    • by szquirrel ( 140575 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:18PM (#13357856) Homepage
      card counting is NOT cheating

      This perhaps offers the best insight into why the casinos are so hot to catch counters quickly. Catch a cheater and he's going to jail, and the casino can probably collect nice damages.

      Catch a card counter... and do what? Ask him to leave? Not give him any more comps? He's not doing anything illegal so the casino won't be getting any money back. Better catch him quick then, before he relieves you of $50,000 at the blackjack tables.
    • Many Vegas casinos have made card counting much more difficult in just the past few years. It's something I've done regularly and it used to work fairly well. These days though all the tables have four (or eight) decks and they only play through maybe 2/3rds of it. It's rare to see the odds skew too far one way or the other in those situations.

      Occasionally you'll still find a double deck dealer who plays almost to the bottom, and you can clean up fairly well in those cases.

      Despite my best efforts to p
    • I think you will find that most casinos don't mind casual card counters, after all they make a lot of money off them. The advantage gained by card counting is so small, that it is easy to wipe it out by just screwing up the count a few times an hour.
    • Card counting isn't illegal in Nevada, but that's not really relevant, because nor is it illegal for a Nevada casino to ban you for card counting (or indeed pretty much any other reason they feel like).

      From the point of view of the casino, they don't really care whether you go to jail or just get asked to leave, so long as you're not card-counting (successfully) in their casino anymore. The tech they're talking about here still achieves that goal.
  • by GecKo213 ( 890491 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:03PM (#13357729) Homepage
    Surprised they're so open about what they do!

    It shoudln't suprise you. It's the same reason the police officers drive around in very obvioulsy marked cars while on patrol. (Except for undercover cars of course, but they are doing a different type of work) While driving for instance, when you see a policeman pull up behind your car the first thing that comes to my mind at least is some form of "am I doing anything wrong at this point in time?" and that's kind of the effect they're after. They want you to know they are there and patroling hopefully keeping you from doing something you shouldn't because you just saw a cop.

    I think the same thing goes for a Casino owner. The more that you know about the measures they are using to keep you away, the more likely you are not to try to cheat in the first place. There is also a show on TV currently on Court TV [courttv.com] called The Takedown [courttv.com]. It's a team of prior casino cheats and thieves that are now hired to go and test the security in casinos by beating them at their game. Interesting show, even more interesting concepts.

  • Not really.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jason1729 ( 561790 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:03PM (#13357732)
    Surprised they're so open about what they do! ...or is this just they stuff they admit to?"

    They can still have excellent security while being totally upfront about it. It's only certain governments that feel the need to hide everything about "security" in the shadows.

    This is also good customer friendlyness. If I go to a casino and there's a big sign that says they do facial scanning to catch cheaters, I have no problem with their scanning and I'll still go in. If they do it sneakily and I find out later, I'll feel violated and never go back to that casino.
  • Who's calling who a cheat? They can change the take percentage on their slot machines from the other side of the country? Not taking enough money and giving away to many winnings? Click the mouse a couple of times and fix that.

    It beats me why anybody would go to a place like Vegas, which is all about having your money taken away from you. Or if you prefer, it's a place to give your money away. Personally, I think the homeless people on the streets around me are more deserving than those fat corrupt cor
    • Re:Who's the cheat? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by richmaine ( 128733 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:18PM (#13357857)
      There are plenty of good reasons to go to Vegas for business meetings. Good airline connections, decent hotels at reasonable rates. Good food. All subsidized by those fools who go there and leave their money on the tables.

      Now if you go there to gamble, that's a different matter. But other people should continue to do that in order to keep subsidizing my meetings. :-)
    • Who's calling who a cheat? They can change the take percentage on their slot machines from the other side of the country? Not taking enough money and giving away to many winnings? Click the mouse a couple of times and fix that.

      I worked at a casino in Louisiana for about 6 years and still have relatives that work there. The only way to change the hold percentage is by changing the program chip which is locked down and taped in the presence of the state police. Get caught with the tape broken and the casin

    • Re:Who's the cheat? (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheCabal ( 215908 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:25PM (#13357925) Journal
      Uh, no you can't do that. Gaming regs here prevent casinos from doing that. If you advertise a 99% payout on a bank of slots, those slots HAVE to have a 99% payout (mind you, it's over the lifetime of the machine).

      Payout schemes are locked in each machine in the presence of a gaming control agent. They have ways to tell if a machine has been tampered with. Gaming in Vegas is quite on the level- people just forget that a casino won't engage in a game of chance unless it is favored to win.

      And there's plenty of homeless people on the streets here in Vegas, so come on down with your roll of cash...
    • by protolith ( 619345 )
      Convince people that giving money to the homeless is "entertainment" and throw in the notion of completly random rewards of cash and prizes for giving money to the homeless, and you will have very rich "homeless" people in no time.
    • Re:Who's the cheat? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:44PM (#13358058) Homepage Journal
      Who's calling who a cheat? They can change the take percentage on their slot machines from the other side of the country? Not taking enough money and giving away to many winnings? Click the mouse a couple of times and fix that.

      No, they can't. First of all that's illegal, and is tracked. Second the machines simply aren't built to allow that. Slot machine have a locked "theoretical hold" value which is the theoretical long term amount that the machine will retain as a percentage of turnover. It is fixed, tracked and cannot be changed - certainly not at the click of the mouse.

      What a casino can and will do is lay out the machines on the floor with theoretical hold as a consideration. That is, they will endeavour to put a bank of relatively low hold nickel or dime machines near the entrance (not at the entrance mind you, the machine right at the front will be dollar machines or the like: they want casual gamblers wandering by to play the high stake slots) so you get to hear the sound of people winning. The rest of the floor layout is just as carefully designed, taking into account the theoretical hold, popularity of the game type, denomination of the game, quality of the floor space (harder to quantify), and so on to maximise profit. I used to work in the R&D department for a software company that helped casinos do this more effectively, so believe me, I know how exacting they are.

  • Duh! (Score:2, Funny)

    Look for the guys who are winning.
  • RFID's a great idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dlt074 ( 548126 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:17PM (#13357845)
    back when i worked in a casino i had this guy buy in for a couple hundred bucks on a crap game. i was handing the money into the box person and was joking that the money looked fake. he thought i was serious and so looked at it a little more then i had. turns out it was counterfeit and security pulled the guy off the game. turns out after talking to him and running back the tape, he was passed the bogus money from our our cash cage!

    the RFID in the chips is a good idea. we once had some bogus 100's come in one afternoon and everyone knew about them but i was still finding them a day later in "clean" banks. if they were all RFID'd you could scan a whole bank and see if it matches what you have down on paper as the proper amount. short a few 100 then there must be some bogus chips in there someplace better take a good long look.

    as far as the cheating goes. the only place it's even worth trying is on a crap game with two of the dealers in on it. when the stick person is watching the dealer who's in on it, that's when you pass off a stack of chips. nothing too high for you might call attention, maybe $100.00.you only do a few hundred a night on a BUSY game other wise they will spot you quick, greed is bad. craps is a very verbal game, unlike BJ where everything is done with hand gestures and easy for servailance to watch. in the years that i dealt craps never did servailance call down and ask about a payout we made or about any of the action on the game. it moves too fast and is too verbal for them to know what's going on. if you have a busy game and no box person or floor watching, you could very easy hand off a "payout" that was not legit and nobody would ask or care. there were many many times where i would book a bet verbaly without seeing the actual money on the table and the dice would roll and the person would either win or lose and they would payup or i'd pay them and there was NO money any where to be seen before that moment for the camera. which is why you are always nice to the crap dealer in front of you and watch what you joke around about, i've booked bets that people were joking about, at that point they pay up or they get escorted out of the casino. that was always my favorite way to get rid of people that pissed me off.
  • by VidEdit ( 703021 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:17PM (#13357852)
    The odd aren't just stacked in the casinos favor, they also throw out players who win too much. Casinos use the surveillance systems and facial ID systems to detect and bar players who are card counters. Card counters are not cheaters, they are people who are really good at math who carefully observe what cards have been played and place bets accordingly--just as expert poker players do consciously or unconsciously. Cardcounting can give these blackjack players an extremely small edge. But casinos don't like to lose even to legitimate players. Rather than make adjustments to the game of blackjack, casinos throw winning cardcounters out and pass a blacklist of photos to other casinos around the country. This unethical practice of baring players merely for winning should be illegal, but the gambling influenced laws in places like Las Vegas fully support it. Casinos hold out the promise that you can win if you are good, but balk at actually letting you play if you are really good. Using high tech security to bar non-cheating players for winning is unethical and should be banned. The article should be condemned for giving the false impression that casino security is only used to catch cheaters.
    • Articles like the parent and your comments make me wonder why anyone wants to go to a Casino. I just do not get it. Vegas is full of fun things to do, without playing games of chance that are orchestrated to take money from you.

      Off the Strip games will be where the players you talk about should go then, maybe back room poker games or such.
  • All this just proves that nomatter how the 'Holier then thou' like to spin it, our vices will forever be the driving force behind our technological development.

    Think about it, blood lust drove nuclear research, porn drove Internet penetration (No pun intended) and now we have gambelling (not some war on terror) driving survallience and crowd management.
  • by hellfire ( 86129 ) <.deviladv. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:22PM (#13357895) Homepage
    Under law it's illegal to tamper with slot machines, use slugs, play with tampered cards, etc. It's also quasi-illegal to do things like posting, which means changing your bet after the game has started. There are tons of gambler cheats.

    The most common "cheat" which isn't a cheat, however, is card counting in Black Jack. Casinos have been known to harass and eject gamblers who are expert card counters. The process is not illegal but they are labelled as cheats anyway. Card counting is little more than being really good at math and concentration and coming up with a consistent pattern. Casinos don't appreciate it because most games have an automatic "profit margin." Roulette, for example, has lots of ways to bet, but if you were to down the same amount of money on every number, you'd end up with winnings of only 80-90% of what you initially put down, essentially losing money. Mathematically they are designed to win unless you cheat.

    Blackjack is not the same. You can beat blackjack because the odds say if you play things right, you can come out on top even in the long run. That's why so many organizations have popped up in the past few decades running "black jack" companies. They are made up of math wizzes who train at card counting.

    Then the casinos find them, repeatedly showing up, figure out they are counting cards, and then eject them from the casino. It's completely legal so they can't arrest you, but because it's a private company they can refuse your business and ban you from their business, and future excursions to their casino would be considered trespassing.

    It's pretty scummy, though I must say it's an improvement over getting your knee caps shot off for being a good poker player, like in the good old mob days.
    • Funny TFA insists the house always wins while admitting they are looking for counters.

      One correction though: no need to be a math whiz to win at Blackjack. And in Canada, it's illegal for the Casino to eject you for counting, although they can take some countermeasures.
  • by xTK-421x ( 531992 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:25PM (#13357922) Homepage
    JC made a post talking about how the casinos nailed him for card counting:

    A few of us took a couple days off in vegas this weekend. After about ten hours at the tables over friday and saturday, I got a tap on the shoulder...

    Three men in dark suits introduced themselves and explained that I was welcome to play any other game in the casino, but I am not allowed to play blackjack anymore.

    Ah well, I guess my blackjack days are over. I was actually down a bit for the day when they booted me, but I made +$32k over five trips to vegas in the past two years or so.

    Taken from here: http://doom-ed.com/blog/category/doom-ed/john-carm ack/ [doom-ed.com]
    • Card counting at blackjack is actually pretty easy to pick up, and you don't need expensive high tech systems to do it. You just need staff who know what the signs are and are reasonably vigilant. It takes some time to really make a lot of cash at card counting, and in general casinos are entirely capable of picking up on it quickly enough that it really makes very little difference to them. There are some interestign and elaborate schemes I've seen that can actually get past these basic measures but they r
  • I just use This. [server4.cyon.ch]
  • Hacking Las Vegas (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Digital_Quartz ( 75366 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @04:35PM (#13357992) Homepage
    Here's an older article from Wired on just the opposite; a group of students who sucessfully hacked vegas;

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.09/vegas_pr. html [wired.com]

    It's an older article, but it's a good read.
  • I'll show you cheating. Here [webpark.pl]'s a picture of a roulette wheel. It has two locations makrked '0' and '00' in addition to the numbers 1-36 and yet we're expected to play with odds corresponding to having only 36 locations. Now that's what I call cheating. People who 'cheat' are just evening up the odds a little.
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Friday August 19, 2005 @08:05PM (#13359247)
    among the millions of honest players

    among the millions of stupid players

    At its crudest level this would stop the appearance of counterfeit chips and would also catch players trying to sneak an extra chip onto their stake upon winning.

    You mean these readers are good enough to read the RFID's of chips stacked directly on top of each other? There must be some sort of random delay to prevent collisions. Be interesting to know more about the technology of reading a lot of simultaneous RFID chips in close proximity to each other.

    a player laying $5 bets while sitting with $100,000 of chips in his or her pocket. This is certainly no cause for concern in its own right but such behaviour would in the past have caught notorious card counters waiting for the odds to fall in their favour or getting their eye in and honing a system.

    Oh, card counters are nororious now? Last time I checked, card counting is not illegal. Casinos will certainly try to keep you from doing it, but it is a skill for an Advantage Player, and not a cheat. It's only PR that tries to tell you otherwise, but the bias in this article is already apparent.

    And btw, since when are casinos entitled to know the contents of your pockets? Time to get out the aluminum foil for the pockets.

    Subsequent players, one replacing the other at a table, whose bets vary greatly in size but whose chips originate from the same batch could also be identified as potential partners in a system.

    I'd say any cheat team will quickly learn to acquire their checks (casino-speak for chips) separately soon enough.

    Carol Pride, CIO of Caesars Palace, told silicon.com that many casinos favour chips and playing cards marked around the edges with invisible inks and barcodes, enabling optical monitoring of their movement and authenticity.

    Great! The casino's are marking my decks for me now. Well, if a tv camera can see it, then there will be a way for me to see it too. It's not an invisible ink if they can read it.

    Say what they want, but there are very few people serving jail time for cheating a casino in this country.

  • Back in '99-00 I was spending a lot of time at Las Vegas casinos. At the peak, I was visiting every other weekend, and I was card counting. Unlike the sensational stories popularized in the media, I was not a "big time" gambler. I was not doing this for a living, and I wasn't do it to strike it rich; I was doing it for fun.

    Typically, I'd go out there with $500, find a place with 2 deck blackjack (single deck in true form doesn't exist... the places that advertise it typically cut the deck so deep that you'll only get two hands out of each shuffle), and spend 40-50 hours over the weekend playing. At lower limit tables, even playing perfectly, that doesn't amount to much. On average, with that $500 stake, I'd live with about $700 in my pocket, up $200 for the weekend. This works out to about $5 an hour, less then minimum wage.

    Sometimes, if I was lucky, I'd come out with more, but I didn't always win. There were times where I'd leave with 5 crisp $100 in my pocket and return home with nothing but a few good stories.

    My favorite experience was at the Excalibur. One night, while playing low limit blackjack an older man sat down at my table. He was flanked on both sides by attractive women nearly half his age, and he was really, really drunk. He pulled a giant wad from his pocket of tightly rolled $100 bills, peeled off a few of them and laid them on the table. The dealer picked them up and said "Changing 300", to which this man yelled "no, damnit I don't want any chips that's my bet!" "money plays".

    He lost. He did it again. He lost. When he would win, he'd throw his winnings back on the table and give them back to the casino. Chips, he explained loudly, were "unlucky". His play was horrible; he'd hit a 16 with a 5 showing, double down on an 8 against an Ace. Meanwhile, I just sat there quietly plunking down my $5 bets, occasionally raising them to $10 or $15 when the count was good. This guy was attracting so much attention from the casino staff that my small potato attempt at card counting (which wasn't on that night anyway) went by unnoticed.

    At one point, he put $800 down on the table. This was a min $5, max bet $500. "I'm sorry sir, but the maximum bet here is $500". Almost instantly, the pit boss swooped down said "This man can bet as much money as he likes". Of course; this man was a drunken idiot trying to impress the those two woman (I don't know if they were prostitutes or what) by loosing as much money as he could. During the 45 minutes or so he was there, he lost about $20 grand. After that fat roll of $100s were gone, he got up with the help of his lady friends and stumbled out of the casino with a big grin on his face.

    I pretty much stopped playing seriously after three losing trips in a row. Now when I get to Nevada I might spend a few hours at the tables, but the all night sessions are a thing of the past. To this day, I still don't consider myself a "cheater"

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents