Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What about Poker Computers in Live Brick and Mortar Poker Rooms?

At a brick and mortar poker table?
I am hearing about this online-poker cheating transformation to live brick and mortar poker games, which raises many new questions in the poker and poker-cheating world.

First of all, the use of any electronic or digital gadget in a poker room is considered cheating, and may in some jurisdictions, especially Nevada, be prosecuted as a felony.

But apart from the legal ramifications, do poker brick and mortar bots work well enough to give players using them a distinct advantage over their opponents at the table?

The theory is that the poker computer, which of course has to be well disguised and avoid casino surveillance detection, can memorize all the exposed cards, calculate the cards remaining in the deck, and then feed that information to the user, who then decides how to play the hand. This is much the same function of poker bots being used to cheat online poker games.

But is it enough?

I do not think so.

In a casino game like blackjack where there is no human element affecting the bets after they’re placed, computers can be very effective for card-counters and advantage players. The same holds true for roulette where computers can help determine biases in the spinning wheel and quadrants where the ball will land depending on speed and revolution.

But poker, both online and off, is a game of intricate strategy and bluffing, in which skilled players constantly change their strategies to enhance their chances in any given set of conditions. That facet of the game is too hard to keep up with—even for computers. As far as I know, even the most sophisticated computers cannot latch on to players’ changing strategies and bluffing patters.

So the bottom line here is until someone invents the ultimate poker computer that can read players’ minds, this is one type of artificial intelligence that can stay away from the poker tables.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Casino Game Protection Post: How Live Casino Surveillance Communication Fails

Do I see it?
An integral part of the surveillance and security apparatus protecting live brick and mortar casinos is strong communication between surveillance operators upstairs and casino personnel on the floor working table games. This will not only better protect the casino where a cheating sequence occurred, but it will also serve other casinos down the block quite well.

Without it, protecting casinos will not get optimum results from all that state of the art video and audio technology.

A prime example of the failure of these systems occurred when I was active cheating casinos.

I was pastposting $5,000 chips (called “chocolates” in some high-end Vegas casinos) underneath $100 chips, known almost everywhere as “blacks.” This was a major move taking five grand a pop out of casinos, sometimes ten when my teammates and I used two chocolates at a time.

After an incredible run of consecutive successful chocolate-chip pastposts in July and August 1995, we finally had a “miss” on a Caesars Palace blackjack table when a pit boss refused to pay the pastposted bet. In the aftermath, the heat that came down inside the Vegas casinos was a helluva lot hotter than the scorching desert air outside.

Griffin Investigations and the totality of Las Vegas casino surveillance shot into action to try and put my team and I out of business. They immediately flooded Vegas with circulars (no widespread Internet at the time) advising casinos that a pastposting team was running amok slipping chocolate $5,000 chips underneath $100 blacks.

It was enough to make us stop using that move—but not enough to put us out of business.

We discussed our “big heat” problem and soon came up with a very clever idea that enabled us to go right back into the hot casinos:

Pastpost yellow $1,000 chips under $25 greens.

True, the change was a reduction in our profit-per-move, but taking a grand off the table each time was better than having to pack up and leave town.

So we went on another casino-cheat rampage doing the reduced pastpost move, the same exact move with different value chips. Right back inside Caesars, we encountered another steamy situation. The floorman was suspicious but still ordered the dealer to pay the bet.


Because the intercasino advisory warned of chocolate $5,000 chips being pastposted underneath $100 black chips—not $1,000 yellow chips being pastposted underneath $25 green chips.

For this reason, we were able to continue doing the same move as if we had never been doing it with the chocolate chips. After bunches more of the yellow-green combo, we took heat again, and then, believe it or not, went right back into the casinos slipping $500 purple chips underneath $5 red chips. With no problems getting paid.

Even I couldn’t believe it!

Where’s the surveillance communication failure?

Simply its lack of communicating the totality of the move. The advisory should have given a description of the move AND advised that it could be done with other high-denomination chips besides the $5,000 chocolates.

This failure of proper and complete communication between casino surveillance departments and the casino personnel in the gaming pits still exists today, in spite of all the technology. I realize that what happened back in the mid-90s could not happen today, but this was only an example to show the damage that miscommunication between the floor, surveillance and associate casinos can do to any casino and all casinos.

Proper communication is always one of the key points I make to casino floor and surveillance staffs when I train them in the field of casino table-game protection.