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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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  • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @03:22PM (#43198135)

    For big dollar games like this they don't rake based on bets placed, they charge for time- basically they rent you a dealer and the table. Same end result though.

  • by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @03:28PM (#43198181)

    33 mil in eight hands? Wow...more than 4 mil per hand?

    I must assume that at least some of the people around the table will have faster and more extreme ways to recover their cash and/or pride than regular law enforcement. Plus the dude was dumb enough to check in with his family?

    Hope they live long enough to enjoy their ill-gotten gains. Mind you, one could argue that taking 33 mil from people who are clearly prepared to gamble it away is less immoral than mugging a tramp...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 17, 2013 @03:59PM (#43198361)

    I'll never understand that. How are you supposed to play, if not by counting cards on your mind to decide what's your best bet? Just speak nonsense at random times just to see if you win? And how can they know you're counting cards? It's insane.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @04:12PM (#43198421)

    The difference is that if you're counting cards, you're varying your bets so that you're betting more when you're more likely to get a good hand and less when you're less likely to.

    And yeah, they've got a pretty good idea as to who is and isn't counting cards. The industry puts a ton of money into figuring that out as they can easily lose tons of money to card counters if they don't. Usually, they're looking at things like bet history, rate at which the player is playing and such, often times the pit boss will go over and chat you up if they think you're card counting, to try and distract you a bit.

    The only part of the casino where they ever permit people to be profitable without being lucky, is the slots. The slots will have the pay schedule on the front of the machine, and sometimes you find some machines where they're set to pay out more than they take in. They'll usually be up front near the door to try and entice suckers to come and gamble. And they're usually video poker where if you play perfectly, you can expect a small profit over time.

  • Re:Er, what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by citizenr ( 871508 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @04:21PM (#43198459) Homepage

    Exactly. Story about CCTV is bullshit, they would need HD cameras pointed a players back at specific angle to even make the cards out.
    This leads me to believe Casino security got compromised to the point of someone planting cameras in the room beforehand, maybe even Casino employees being on the scam.

  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by whois ( 27479 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @04:26PM (#43198491) Homepage

    I haven't read the article so I'm not sure of the details, but you generally don't need to be able to read all the cards. Lots of cards are distinguishable from each other. An 8 for instance looks nothing like an Ace. A face card can easily be distinguished from a regular card. You could tell if the card was black or red even if you couldn't see the suite.

    With Texas holdem and other community card games, it's easier to see the important details. Does he have a pair? Does he have a flush? A straight? An Ace or a face card? You could at least have some confidence of what they don't have.

  • by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @04:42PM (#43198591) Homepage Journal
    Counting cards is useless when they shuffle every half deck in a set of 12 decks
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 17, 2013 @04:48PM (#43198611)

    Because the casino's security network was used to perpetrate the cheat, the casino has liability. Also, when cheated players howl, houses have to make up the cheat-losses to proof that they were not partners in the scam. This is one of the reasons casinos pay top-drawer card-sharpers to scan and play, especially where unnatural luck appears, especially against the house, but also for, for public relations.

    High-stakes players are of high value to casinos, even in rent-a-table poker games, because the house's collects a percentage of the stakes, just as auctions do of the knock-down (sale) price.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @04:59PM (#43198653)

    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.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @05:14PM (#43198719)

    I am surprised that no one has commented on the fact that this is another case of a backdoor that was intended for the use of whitehats being commandeered by blackhats. When you build backdoors into systems you weaken security.

    Another, really amazing story along those lines is the cell-phone wire-tapping of greece [] during the months before the last olympics games in athens. The system was designed with a wire-tapping backdoor, greece didn't even purchase that feature when they bought the switches, but the blackhats were able to turn it on and listen in to the phone calls of the mayor of athens and the prime minister of greece.

  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @05:27PM (#43198777) Journal

    This may come as a surprise, but plenty of people (even those in lower income brackets) prefer to not have the government set wages and redistribute income to a great extent... even if it means that some other fellow might be making way more than themselves.

    I am sure that you are right, but I suspect that the same people who would not support redistribution only do so because they don't understand how large numbers of wealthy benefit from the way thet they and other wealthy people have stacked the decks in their favor.

    The bank bailout, for example, effected a massive redistribution of wealth towards wealthy bankers. It's ongoing, with large banks benefitting from very low cost loans from the Fed, which they use to buy government bonds, which return a higher interest rate.

  • by luckymutt ( 996573 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @06:31PM (#43199123)
    Also, many tables use a continuous shuffle shoe. At the end of each hand the cards are placed back in the shoe which is continuously shuffling. Making the that table completely useless to a counter.
  • Re:Er, what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GNUALMAFUERTE ( 697061 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <etreufamla>> on Sunday March 17, 2013 @06:43PM (#43199187)

    No need for HD cameras. It's all about optics. A PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) with 32x optical zoom can easily read a card at a distance of 50m.

  • by MrPsio ( 2781139 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @07:07PM (#43199367)
    This is plain wrong. On standard video slot machines every single game has a random result, there is no 'memory' of past games in order to reach a certain payout percentage. There are jurisdictions and game types who do/did this (eg UK AWP, Germany street market) but in typical (Las Vegas style) casinos the hold is defind by the math of the game and is only true for large numbers of games played. A casino game can be way over or under the theoretical payout percentage even after many games played, because it is - (pseudo) random. This is tested and certified by global gaming labs like GLI and others.
  • by swamp_ig ( 466489 ) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @07:36PM (#43199545)

    Perfect strategy in video poker is not to play.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?