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Casino Countermeasures

 Posted by Michael Dalton on 6 October 1998, at 7:04 p.m.



Since my battle with Doogie over the past month on RGB my interest has been spurred further about the latest high-tech methods casinos are using to catch card counters and keep them off their tables. I've known for several years that casinos were using some quite sophisticated methods in an attempt to catch the higher stakes professional player. Casinos are not only using sophisticated "in-house" technologies such as "card counter" catcher software (e.g., Blackjack Survey Voice and Blackjack Tracker) but many of the upper-scale joints have subscribed to services such as Griffin Investigations which monitors and maintains huge databases of card counters, cheats, and blacklisted players. Face recognition software appears to be in use and I am convinced that this technology has finally come of age and can potentially be very dangerous.


To start off, here is a repost of part of a reply I made on RGB. I hope to generate some discussion here from other players who have had experience with these types of casino countermeasures and would appreciate any feedback from any one out there.


Doug Grant said, "> More con man bullshit. Please define the "act" that

> overcomes cooperative surveillance and bet averaging
> detection methods. There is no ACT con man that can
> circumvent real world casino card counter detection methods.

I have never said that there was a specific "ACT" that could overcome casino counter-measures of this type "if" they are directed against you. If you are the selected victim of cooperative "casino" surveillance (the sharing of information) it means you have played far too long in a participating casino and for bet levels that were just too high for them to continue to take your action without monitoring. If you are confirmed or highly suspected of being a "higher stakes" card-counter you run the risk of being added to the casino's black book and/or the Griffin Investigations information network. Detection by bet averaging requires data input using the latest "counter catcher" software. From what I understand, data input is usually performed "after the fact" using tapes of the player's play. Even at the higher limits, if you limit your play in any one casino you may still have a good chance to beat their system.


No doubt, if you are a high stakes professional card-counter you must be aware of these counter-measures. The good news is that not all casinos share this type of information and not all casinos use the Griffin books. More good news is that these counter-measures take personal attention on the part of the casino and considerable effort to perform. Do you really think the casino is going to spend time analyzing the play of a $10 to $100 player when there are many players betting $25 to $500 in the house? Do you really think they actually have the resources to do this?


How do you overcome these counter-measures? The first thing that is required is to know what you are up against. In my opinion, I believe Doug Grant has lied about how extensive these counter-measures are. Not all casinos use these methods (they do cost the casinos money) and those that do use them generally only use them on selected "higher stakes" players. If you are a small to medium bet player you most likely will not have to worry about any of these measures since the casino doesn't have the man-power to waste time on you. Obviously, if you play at high stakes you will be required to completely conceal your identity from the casinos, have a great act, and be able to make technical camouflage plays that won't impact your advantage harshly. But even with a great act and camouflage you may not be able to overcome directed survellience on you and a software product that informs the pit that there is a 99% chance that you are counting cards successfully and have a reasonable advantage over them. That means you must select your casinos carefully and only play them for short periods of time. You must never let your guard down and even after being barred you must act as if you don't know why. Never give them a hard time and in 6 months (with another identity and face) give them another shot -- possibly at slightly lower limits. The goal, however, is to never get barred. Any other comments from me on this board discussing this topic compromises not only my potential play at higher limits (my current personal bet range is $10 to several hands of hundred) but my members as well.


Without a doubt, professional blackjack play is very difficult these days. The best news of all, however, is that they can't catch "all" of us. And for recreational small to medium bet players, conditions in some areas are better then they have been in many years. As an example, at this very moment, a casino in this country is actually offering a game with a significant player advantage and it's been available for several months now! All you need is basic strategy to beat this game folks.



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