Friday, January 28, 2011

Some Online Poker Players Consider Use of Heads-Up Display Cheating...Is it?

Firstly, if you are unfamiliar with Heads-Up Displays (HUDs), they are informational online poker tools that allow users to instantly display information about poker adversaries and their hand-histories directly on the poker table on their monitors. Information ranging from statistical data from tracking and analysis software databases such as Holdem Manager and PokerTracker 3 to probability occurrence info generated by calculator tools like Holdem Indicator combine to give users a great wealth of data. Just like its use in modern aviation, Heads-Up Display gives users sharper insight into their opponents' actions, allowing them to make better and quicker in-game decisions. Online poker players using HUD efficiently definitely have an advantage over players not using it.

But is it online poker cheating?

I think not. Simply because the highly efficient informational tool is available to all poker players online and is not cost-prohibitive. And as far as its advantage is concerned, its use alone is not going to make anyone a winning online poker player. It is only one ingredient of the recipe to being a winning online poker player.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Professional Casino/Poker Cheat Team

I received an e-mail today which inspired this blog post. The e-mailer, a university student writing a paper on criminal and illegal organizations, asked, "What is the daily life of a professional casino cheating team like? Do they train the way a professional football team gets ready for a game?"

Yes, the second part of his question did make me laugh, but then I thought back to my days as the leader of perhaps the world's best casino-cheat team and came to the realization that the life was somewhat similar to that of a professional football team, although not as regimented as far as training and practice is concerned.

My answer to the e-mailer was:

There are certain simularities in the preparations of professional casino/poker cheating teams and professional football teams inasmuch as they both constantly train and practice. However, the practice sessions for a casino-cheating team (at least mine) are not as strictly schedulized (not sure if it's a word but it sounds right). Whereas during the NFL season, football teams practice Tuesday thru Friday with some light workouts on the Saturday before the game, poker and casino cheat teams vary their schedules.

When I was in the heyday of my professional casino-cheating career, my team practiced for two days before leaving for whatever casino destination we were headed for. In my Las Vegas apartment I had a full-size regulation roulette wheel and blackjack table, both loaded with full racks of casino chips (unknowing guests found my living room both peculiar and interesting). Our team, usually four-man, would gather at the apartment and practice for three hours or so while listening to music or even watching a sporting event or movie. There was never much tension as we knew we were good and were very comfortable in one another's company. Of course, when we were working on the development of a new move, such as the famous Savannah Pinch Move, the practice sessions were longer and more intense. Same for when a new member was being trained.

In our business there is no off-season but rather weeklong or two-weeklong vacations, sometimes taken in that very casino area before going to work in those casinos. This was the usual way we handled the Caribbean Islands. We would arrive in Aruba or the Bahamas, hang out on the beach for a week and party and chase women at night, then when we finally had enough we turned strictly to business and hit the casinos.

Besides the practice, we lived a pretty normal life. Most of us had girlfriends, some of whom went on the trips and participated in the cheating moves, others who went on the trips but stayed away from the casino-cheat action, and still others who were totally kept in the dark for our own security reasons. We played softball in Vegas leagues, and believe it or not, one of our softball teams was called the "Vegas Switchers!" This was for the fact, however, that we had five switch-hitters in the lineup, not for the fact that four of the teams star hitters were professional chip-switchers in the town's casinos!

In short, the life was sometimes hectic, but mostly loads of fun!...and profits!

Oh!...Even though we never compared ourselves to the Beatles, we did go on a heck of a lot of world tours!