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Crime The Almighty Buck Technology

CCTV Hack Takes Casino For $33 Million 308

iComp writes "A sophisticated scheme to use a casino's own security systems against it has netted scammers $33 million in a high-stakes poker game after they were able to gain a crucial advantage by seeing the opposition's cards. The team used a high-rolling accomplice from overseas who was known to spend large amounts while gambling at Australia's biggest casino, the Crown in Melbourne, according to the Herald Sun. He and his family checked into the Crown and were accommodated in one of its $30,000-a-night villas. The player then joined a private high-stakes poker game in a private suite. At the same time, an unnamed person got access to the casino's CCTV systems in the poker room and fed the information he gleaned back to the player via a wireless link. Over the course of eight hands the team fleeced the opposition to the tune of $33 million."
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CCTV Hack Takes Casino For $33 Million

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  • Headline is wrong. (Score:5, Informative)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @03:16PM (#43198107) Journal
    It was a private poker game in a private suite. The casino didn't lose $33 million, the other players lost $33 million. The casino made money (they take a cut from every game).
  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @03:49PM (#43198305)

    It's typically legal to count cards, however the house isn't legally required to let you do so. And that's even if you aren't using mechanical assistance. Typically if they catch you doing it, the pit boss will come over and switch things up, and if that doesn't work they'll eject you from the casino or ask that you not play any more blackjack.

    Which is understandable, blackjack only gives the house about a .5% edge over the player with normal play, and counting cards can easily change the house into operating at a loss.

    But, the fact that things are stacked in the house's favor and that the house keeps it that way is dubious ethically speaking. Most players are not in any position to understand that to any appreciable degree.

  • by History's Coming To ( 1059484 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @04:29PM (#43198515) Journal
    How can they tell? Because you're winning - and also because of your betting patterns. The original MIT Bringing Down The House guys got rumbled fairly quickly because of their betting patterns, so they switched to using a low-stakes gambler to do the counting who would continue to lose when the odds were in his/her favour, and they would discretely signal an accomplice to come in and bet big when this happened.

    These days casinos combat it by using multiple decks of cards in a shoe which are changed before they've run through enough of them to give a good statistical idea of the remaining contents.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 17, 2013 @04:52PM (#43198631)

    RIAA and MPAA called. They want you to know you're wrong.

  • Re:Er, what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by a_n_d_e_r_s ( 136412 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @05:05PM (#43198685) Homepage Journal

    In blackjack the rules for how the casino plays is pre-determined. So even if the casino know the players cards it wont affect what happens in a hand. The casino has to act the same way anyhow.

  • by miroku000 ( 2791465 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @05:40PM (#43198831)

    Not true, the fact of the matter is that card counting depends upon there being relatively large number of cards to function correctly. If you were trying to count against a single deck, you wouldn't see enough hands in order to have any meaningful impact on the cards.

    That's ridiculous. The reason they use multi-deck shoes is to increase the difficulty of counting cards. If they were only dealing with 52, it would be relatively easy for a normal person to count cards according to a simple system and watch as the odds turned for or against them and increase or reduce their bets or change the level at which they stay. Also, if they use 12-deck shoes, it's impossible for a player to determine when the casino isn't playing with full decks.

    It doesn't increase the difficulty of counting cards at all. But, it does decrease the variance. Card counting involves placing higher bets when there are a significantly higher than average number of 10's, face cards and aces in the deck than 2-6's. With a small number of decks, this situation occurs much more frequently than with a larger number of decks. Player's can't easily determine whether or not they are playing with a full deck even when there is only one deck because they do not deal all the way down to the last card, and they also burn a card at the beginning. A typical card counting scheme involves each card having a value of either -1, 0 or +1. For example, card 2-6 might be +1, and 10's, face cards and Aces would be -1. You just keep track of a running total of the count. But usually, that number is pretty close to zero because the cards tend to cancel each other out. I think the highest count I ever saw was like +15. You can teach yourself to count cards pretty easily. If you are good at it, with say a $15 hand minimum bet you can have a positive expected value. The problem is it will usually be something like $250 plus or minus $2000 or something. So, in the end, you need to have a lot of capital in order to have a hope of beating the variance. Meanwhile, you are likely to be detected and banned.

  • by Stone Rhino ( 532581 ) <> on Sunday March 17, 2013 @07:56PM (#43199675) Homepage Journal

    Not quite, you can get payout of 100.7% [] if you pick the right machine and strategy. Add on comps and free drinks, and you can end up well ahead. Not my idea of a good time, but some people love that.

Happiness is twin floppies.