Introducing myself

Hello all,

Ive been following this site off and on for a few months now, have emailed the mayor a few times, and now I think Ill be posting. I guess I need to state that there may be a hidden agenda and Ill do my best to avoid it or at least
make it known.

Im a programmer. My experience in the past has been trade processing on an options exchange for a group of highly theoretical, high-edge, low-risk market makers.

About 6 years ago I moved offshore and started writing trade-processing software for an online sportsbook (note
how I call it trade-processing, its all the same). Since then Ive worked with a few sportsbooks and believe Ive done very well in the area at writing manageable house-edge sports software that has a great deal of control in identifying and managing risk on a per-customer basis.

I needed a new start and for the past year have been unemployed. I wanted to work on a casino game to test my ability and to learn a new operating system, database, and programming language. As my first project, I picked blackjack for many reasons. Its hard to overcome the trust issue for online games of chance/skill so I set my hurdle as high as possible with bj. I wanted a game that would require a high volume of transactions (to test the platform), that is skills based (much like sports), and was hoping I could make a game that could actually be beaten unlike 99% of the online casinos that shuffle up and practice other techniques which end up being a joke.

The mayor seems to think I will not succeed, but then Im a stubborn one. Im hoping to create a game that can be beat, that can be managed by a super sharp cyber pit-boss, and that can attract a huge number of players that would otherwise have nothing to do with traditional online blackjack versions.

By this time next year, I may be broke. I may have succeeded greatly, or most likely, Ill be somewhere in between.

Anyways, thats my introduction. You now have my agenda so if you call me on it, Ill be open. Again, Im trying to build a bj game that can make money for the house, and bring players in who otherwise would never give it a shot. Ill have plenty of input but almost always, it will be from the other side of the table. I will have tons to learn, Im not a player myself, though I certainly consider myself a student of the game.

Best regards to all, I hope to bring up some controversial subjects, and will most likely play the devils advocate many times. I hope to learn, and I hope to bring some insight that may help others learn too.

Please welcome my presence, -lifesabet
cyber-pitboss ?

The beatable cyber game that is nonetheless unbeatable... a BJ-koan, eh? Anyway the BJ games are primarily beatable in the realm of scientific-bonus-play - another words, analysing -

1)the bonus value offered to new and repeat customers
2)the rules and play-action-req., and
3)then detirmining the risk-quotient as relates to your BR and the confidence you have in that particular casino's integrity.

The above basis for e-casino advatage play is easily neutralized if the gaming software analyses the 'playing style' and degree of play-time that a customer places, thus tossing 'suspected' "e-bonus-counters" into a bin for further scrutiny, though notwithstanding they should be allowed to collect in those cases.

As for offering beatable e-BJ games, a savvy cyber-pitboss would catch them each within a few to several minutes, certainly wouldn't take more than 50 hands, yes?

Therefore, devote your efforts to developing the cyber-pitboss and select licensed e-casinos can safely choose to offer deeper penetration to entice new customers more competitively.

Cyber-pitboss, Good idea! zg

The Mayor

Well-Known Member
Hi 'lifesabet"

I think your idea is great, the problem I posed was that once you create software that deals deep into a deck and identifies player's skill level before deciding to shuffle or not (or alert the "pit"), you are also creating software that allows the online casino to cheat. They can cheat in several ways, through preferential shuffling, through only allowing decks to be played out that immediately (after the first round) get a negative count, through dealing different depths to different skills of players, and through allowing you to exclude players whose skill is at a certain level or above.

There is no guarantee that your software isn't capable of this, and therefore from a distance, it looks like "cheating" software for the casino, even though your intention is to allow skilled players to be enticed.

I wish you good luck, and I truly hope you are successful! But I am not convinced that all who use your software will do so with the same honest heart that I know you have.


The Mayor

Well-Known Member
Re: how many hands...

I can usually spot a good player in about 2 seconds. There is a lot of software out there that already does this sort of thing, that is used by survelience companies. The problem is, the cards have to be entered by hand, so they have to suspect someone in the first place, which usually happens by a call from the pit. The same programming ideas could be used on every player seamlessly at on online casino.

Honestly, ZG, how long does it take you to identify a good player?

Re: how many hands... OFTEN

Often, prior to the first hand, BUT statistically speaking I beleive that it should take at least 30-60 hands minimum to verify by computer, but I'm guessing. zg
Re: Hi 'lifesabet"

I could go on for hours on the subject of special treatment for special players, but Ill save it for a more appropriate time. Suffice it to say, I plan on giving operators complete control to treat (and mistreat) a player however they choose, but I will not give them access to cheat.

Is preferential shuffling cheating? You say yes, but a casino might argue that its exactly the same thing as a player making the choice to play through a great shoe, or get up and walk as soon as those face cards start showing just after the shuffle. I do not plan on actual advantaged
preferential shuffling for the house, but I plan to give the house the choice to reduce the penetration for a player who continually walks away from decks that are not advantaged. (sorry mayor, just being honest).

Im going to go out on a limb and be as extreme as I can to show you how far I think I can go, and still be fair. I welcome any heat I may receive from this statement, and Ill stay open minded so you may change my mind.

I think its fair for the house to say before every single hand:
These are the rules of this table RIGHT NOW.
Knowing the rules, you now have the choice to bet or walk!
The cage is right over there if you dont like these rules.

Now if I were to start with liberal rules, and tighten up too fast, I would be called a cheater. I would probably make a few mistakes and turn off some players who are willing to lose in the end. I certainly would not be very popular. But in the most extreme sense, if everyone knows the rules, and everyone has a chance to continue, or stop, is this not fair?

There is a fine line that I will try to walk. If a game is programmed to be fair then you will never be cheated by a dealer. You will be able to play more games per hour if you so chose. You will be playing against a house that does not pay license fees to a corrupted gaming control board. You will be playing against a house that does not have nearly the same overhead that a land based establishment has. This leaves lots of room for value both for the advantaged player, and the house. It should be a more fair market for all involved. Im not sure it can be achieved, but these are the goals and reasons that Im working in that direction.

I hope to run many ideas across the posters and readers here. I hope to learn what I will be able to get away with without cheating anyone, yet enabling the house choices to control risk and stay afloat.

Needless to say, the same exact product may NOT be offered to each and every player. However, value will be offered to everyone, some folks may get more. It will still be a cat and mouse game just like the real world. I think it will be close to fair, and it will have to work.

Re: how many hands... OFTEN

As Ive stated before, Im not a blackjack player, Im just trying to learn the game, and Im programming as well.

Im pretty sure that a program could identify a card counter quickly. I dont quite understand how the mayor would identify someone within a few seconds. Maybe its body language that I dont understand from the online world. I would expect it involves primarily what table the player decides to sit down to, or which tables he/she's standing up behind waiting to jump into. Maybe it involves what he/she's watching and how quickly they scan the table. Or maybe it requires an abnormal deal of cards, and some sharp reaction to them. The computer cannot do this, this gives an edge to the player, but it stops right there.

The computer can be very sharp. As the mayor states, an online game could do this quickly and seemlessly, but I really believe that no software companies have given this any thought. They give you the worst rules, the most decks, and an autoshuffler. In fact, in my experience of researching games, Ive come accross a few that would actually allow me to set a return percentage (now what does that tell you?). Basically, I dont believe there are too many games out there trying to attract you sharper folks.

Not that I would want sharp folks, but I just dont think Id be able to avoid them and still offer a game that attracts the people who play blackjack for the very reason that it is beatable. Im naively convinced (maybe wrong) that there are just too many square players out there that let the emotions get to them, and no matter how hard they try, will not master the game. This leaves room for the rest of you.

Id expect my game to be able to identify a counter as soon as something strange occured. maybe you just got up and left after the first hand of high cards. Maybe you upped your bets after seeing a bunch of 4/5/6s dealt on the first hand. Maybe you played really sharp basic strategy and not wonging, but grinding it out and adjusting your bets only slightly not to be noticed, and then made a sharp adjustment to basic strategy.

Im not out to drive every winner out of the casino, in fact I believe there are 3 important types of players that must win.
A) the lucky gambler every once in a while
B) the house consistenly, week to week.
C) the sharp player (just as long as it doesnt cut into the house).

If I were running an operation, and I knew what my break-even needs were to cover expenses, and I knew someone like the mayor were playing, and not overcoming my square action, and teaching 300 students who are very interested in the game but not yet masters, I think Id want him to play and win almost as much as I had won (but definitely not more).

As I said, Im convinced that there are enough students of the game, and not enough masters of the game, to attract the action in the game for the reasons its gotten so big, that you dont have to blow the market by ruining it for the few that have worked hard enough and deserve to win (a little) consistently.

Again, its a question of not what is right or wrong, but what will work. What is right will blow the casino out of biz and it wont much benefit you after that happens. You want to win, and if you want to continue to get paid, you had better hope the casino wins too. Fair is great, but dont forget how the opportunity gets there in the first place.

Re: how many hands... OFTEN

I think that determining an advantage player would solely depend on the play and how the cards come out. The number of hands they played wouldn't matter as much compared to how they played them.

Mayor and ZG, both of you make the comments "in about 2 seconds" and "before the first hand". I hope those were sarcastic comments, or do you honestly believe that anyone's ability or intent to count can be "read" by simply looking at them?

The Mayor

Well-Known Member
Re: how many hands... OFTEN

Yes, I was exaggerating for effect. But, I can usually tell in under 10 minutes, and often much less.

I was playing a shoe, a stranger walked up when the count was huge and put down $1500. When the count tanked he walked away.

I was playing single deck. A guy came off the top with the table max, a few face cards fell and he played the table min. He later took insurance on a T-6 with a max bet.

There are certain situations where it is just easy. Too easy. And I wonder how these guys get away with their play the way they do, me with my humble 20-1 spread in single deck, am put to shame by the guy I saw who spread table max to table min in single deck.

Re: how many hands... OFTEN

Good points, all of them. As for their (your examples) willingness to play boldly, one can only assume this draws whatever heat there is away from good for them!?