Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Can You be Cheated in Casinos by the Poker Analyzer?

Poker Analyzer Cheat Hardware
Earlier this month we heard about a poker scam at the Alea casino in Glasgow, Scotland, where a poker dealer teamed up with a player and used high-tech electronic equipment to swindle the game.

So how much of a threat is this to you in brick and mortar poker games...and perhaps other house-banked games as well?

Before I answer that, let me explain how this Poker Analyzer scam works.

It takes a collusion agreement between a dealer and at least one player. It also requires that an electronically-marked deck of cards, similar to the way retail bar codes are embedded into boxes and bags, be put into play at the target game. The dealer must lay the deck of cards on the table untethered to his hands.

This allows a tiny mobile phone camera disguised as a cell phone lying on the table to read the "bar code" off the cards. It then sends a signal to a second mobile device inside the playing-cheat's pocket, which generates a recording that is received by an earpiece plugged in the cheat´s ear. The recording gives the cheat at the table the value of all the cards as they come into play.

That's pretty much the stone cold nuts advantage when you're playing poker against legitimate players.

But does this really happen in public casinos and card rooms?

Well, my short answer is that I've only heard of it happening this one time at the Scottish casino. I don't know how accurate the report is or how much money players at the table were fleeced for. I would say that you being a victim of a poker-analyzer scam inside a legitimate gaming establishment is extremely unlikely. Too many variables are involved, let alone the risk of bringing all that electronic equipment into the game, which in many casino jurisdictions is a felony in itself punishable by prison time.

However, this electronic poker scam can be deadly in home games and unlicensed and illegal games. Cheats working those games with the Poker Analyzer wouldn't have to worry about any legal consequences when getting caught, although they might face the risk of getting the shit kicked out of them.

The giveaway to this scam is the dealer laying the deck of cards on the table after each shuffle, as this is necessary to give the camera the space and time it needs to record the markings on the cards. Also beware of a winning player often touching his pocket to adjust the mobile device hidden there.

What about other casino card games such as blackjack and 3-card poker? Can you be cheated at these games by the Poker Analyzer?

Same answer as above: most likely only if you are playing in somebody's house or in an unlicensed or illegal casino.

All in all, I wouldn't worry about Poker Analyzer as a threat in aboveboard casinos.

What happened in Scotland probably stays in Scotland...and who knows just how aboveboard that Scots casino even is?

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Can Roulette Dealers Control Where the Ball Will Land? Some Extent?

Can the dealer control where the ball lands?
If I was asked that question two years ago, I would have answered a firm "no."

But that all changed when I was training the staff of a Midwest Native American casino in 2016. I got into a conversation with the casino's table games director who asked me if I was going to include roulette-dealer-ball-control in my table-games-protection segment.

I told him no because there was no validity in roulette dealers controlling where the ball lands.

The astute table games director begged to differ.

He took me over to one of the wheels in his training room and asked me to pick a number. I felt like I was participating in another ages-old boring card trick, but not to be rude I said, "0".

He yanked the ball and I watched it spin around the cylinder with disinterest.

It bounded a few times and then dropped into the pocket for number 35, just three numbers away from his target 0.

"Not bad," I said, just to be polite.

"The objective is to hit a six-number quadrant of the wheel," he a still dubious audience.

"Let me see you do that again?" I quipped.

"Okay, pick the number."

"Go for 31."

He spun and hit number 6, just two numbers away from 31.

Still not impressed, I said, "Come on, this wheel must be biased, and you've been practicing."

He laughed and motioned me to follow him to another wheel in his training room. "You're right, I've been practicing...but you're wrong, that wheel is not biased. None of the wheels in here are."

There were four wheels in the training room. At this one, the second, he missed the six-number quadrant, but then hit it three of the next five spins. On the third wheel, he hit the number straight-up...and it was 13! Two more spins on that wheel and he hit the quadrant once more. On the fourth wheel he hit the six-number quadrant two of four times.

"Convinced?" he chirped after the multi-wheel ball-control demonstration.

Not wanting to give in, I said, "Well, maybe it's your lucky day. And I'll think about including it in tomorrow's training class.

I thought about it all night, and I have to admit I was intrigued. I did not include it in that next day's presentation but I did the following day. And I had the table games director help me out. He spun the ball six times and hit the six-number quadrant twice, still a profitable outcome if betting equally on all six numbers.

After the demonstration he explained the three anti-roulette-ball-control measures that casinos should take, and I now include them in all my game protection seminars in casinos that offer the ball version of roulette.

They are:

1) Do not let dealers look into the wheel when they set and spin the ball. If they cannot set up the same way with the same starting point every spin, they will have a much tougher time hitting their target.

2) Have the dealers change the speed of the rotor before spinning, and even change the speed of their spins. I'm not saying every spin but certainly a few times during each individual tour at the wheel.

3) Change the roulette balls. Roulette balls come in different sizes and each size has a different feel in the dealer's hand. Therefore, by changing the balls you are making the dealer who is looking to control the spin less comfortable.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this lesson as much as I did when I received it...and don't get this mixed up with dice control! I will never believe dice control works with legitimate throws of the dice...unless, of course, I run into another sharp table games director who shows me differently LOL.

And by the way, that table games director who taught me roulette-ball control is now the head of casino operations at the same casino.