Anti-conmen technologies used by modern casinos
James Bond, that connoisseur of lovely women, shaken vodka martinis, and classy casino games, doesn’t play unfairly, but he certainly has the “Q gadgets” capable of doing so. Imagine wearing x-ray specs that allow you to see the cards behind your opponents’ covered hands; winning games would be a cinch.
Of course, this scenario is as Hollywood as it gets. Apart from loaded dice – which you’d be hard-pressed to slip into casinos anyway – all you can take with you in rounds of poker or roulette are your wits and the strength of your prayers to whichever deity you worship for luck.
Gaming establishments, however, don’t believe in not having control over the games they host. A Betfair Casino forum post talks about players needing to learn the essential knowledge of “understanding the overall action… before beginning to actually perform,” but this goes both ways. The house always wins, as the saying goes, and casinos make use of the following high tech tools to make sure that patrons are all playing fair and square:
Right off the bat, casinos take note of all the customers who drive in using license plate readers. Using the many CCTV cameras, this program simply snaps a picture of each car’s plate and matches it to a database of known casino offenders. If a match is made, the player is denied entry right at the front gate.
If it’s a new hustler that’s come to play, the cameras switch over to another program: biometric facial recognition. Like the tech above, this program automatically detects faces and takes pictures, matching them up to the database. It isn’t always foolproof, though, since some gamers could possibly trick the system with the right wig, fake beard, and contact lenses; in which case, the next technology comes into play.
TableEye21 is a complex eye-in-the-sky program that keeps track of virtually everything that goes into every game at every table, including player win percentages, frequency of player and dealer switches, and other trend reports. Simply stated, even if a player has the science of card-dealing down pat to grant him entry into the infamous MIT Blackjack Team, this program will still be able to sense if something’s up before it even begins.
4. Behavior Monitoring
In conjunction with technology like TableEye21 is a program called Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness, or NORA. Taking the complexity of the previous program up to 11, NORA holds a multitude of massive databases and cross-references each one to gather as many information angles as possible about a casino’s players. Say that a group of people decides to pull off an Ocean’s Eleven. All it takes is for one of them to get recognized, and almost immediately NORA would check which of the other patrons present have associations with the tagged player. The program would then delve into their histories, not just in other casinos but also in seemingly tangential info like which schools they went to, and seeing if those data match up.
A memorable scene in the movie Casino has De Niro’s character talking about the chain of command in a gaming establishment; who watches whom, from the floor men to the shift bosses to the pit bosses and so on, right up to the big boss De Niro himself. With the technologies above, this old way of doing things might eventually just become obsolete.
What do you think? Ever tried card counting? Do you have a formula or system for 21, roulette or other games? Ever had any amazing gambling runs or Vegas-style experiences? Let us hear from you in the comments.