On Flamingo Road in Las Vegas, James Grosjean sits at a steel table outside Starbucks. In the distance stands a sign for the local casino, the Palms, where he has been shown the door more than once. Running out of a casino was a job hazard for Grosjean, a professional gambler who majored in applied mathematics at Harvard and briefly considered a career on Wall Street and in academia.
How to Become a Casino Profit Player
He took a sip of coffee from a container the size of a vent and typed rapidly into his laptop computer. He’s been here most of the afternoon working on a strategy to beat the casino game – but it’s a long way from America’s gambling capital. The opportunity is in Shawnee, Okla., Nearly 40 miles east of Oklahoma City. Grosjean Mine: an offbeat version of dice played with cards instead of dice.
“This game is like the last dinosaurs,” he said. “We killed most of the card-based dice games, including one at the Agua Caliente casino near Palm Springs. That’s where we won $ 335,000 – my team’s biggest single session hit with me as the main game caller. Once this is gone, we will be in an ice age when it comes to card-based dice games. “
Grosjean specializes in finding vulnerable games like the one at Shawnee. He uses his programming skills to spot opportunities in various situations and then develops strategies to take advantage of them. Only two questions seemed to dampen his confidence in the face of this particular game. How long are they allowed to play before being asked to leave? How much money can they win?
When Grosjean first scouted the game, he noticed that the 12 playing cards used to simulate a pair of dice dice were being shuffled by a machine designed to speed up the game and scramble the order of the cards. But Grosjean knows that shuffling machines are driven by computers and therefore only as good as those to program and use: Sometimes, in fact, devices are surprisingly predictable.
That’s right at Shawnee. After each spin, the dealer there sweeps the cards and puts them in the shaker without mixing them with hands. Grosjean found that he could see the identity and sequence of at least three cards that entered the machine, the bottom one held by the dealer and the two exposed during the game. Since he has examined this shuffling machine and knows how it works, he can reliably judge the likelihood of a particular card being excluded from the game.
Armed with that knowledge, he spent several months simulating games in software; his computer mimics a randomization algorithm and plays the game a million times. His findings will give him a significant advantage in playing the card-based dice game at Shawnee. This would be the same as gambling with standard dice against dice and knowing which three dice facing each other – out of 12 odds – would have the least chance of appearing on any roll.
Many casino executives hate gamblers like Grosjean. They accused him of cheating on him. But what he is doing is completely legal. “I wouldn’t describe Grosjean and people like him as scammers,” said Ted Whiting, vice president of corporate oversight at MGM Resorts International, one of the world’s largest bitcoin casino companies. Whiting said he did not deserve to be arrested. “If you’re using your device to get information that no one else has access to, that’s cheating in the state of Nevada” – and most other states too. Grosjean, for example, doesn’t use his computer at the casino. Those are usually illegal, things that can result in a prison sentence. But Whiting said: “When you sit there and do what the other people at the table can do, that’s what we call the game of profit. But whether you are a con or a profit player, you can take money from us, and I don’t want that to happen. I see these as losses that can be prevented. “
Whiting estimates the number of successful profit players in the hundreds. Cumulatively, they rake in huge profits from games designed to be unbeaten: While some bettors may be lucky and win in the short term, over time they should lose and the casino is expected to win, statistically speaking. However, in recent years, Whiting said the excellence rating of players had swelled. Several factors are responsible. One is the ease with which gamblers can find each other online and share tactics. Grosjean has a blog called Beyond Numbers, for example. Another is the proliferation of books such as “Beyond Counting” from Grosjean,
Common profit-playing techniques include “hole carding”, where a sharp-edged player makes a profit on a reckless dealer who unwittingly reveals a fraction of the cards; “Shuffle tracking,” or memorizing a series of cards to predict when a particular card will be dealt after the next shuffled; and a counting system that monitors the cards that have been dealt to estimate the value of cards remaining in the deck. Richard Munchkin, a professional gambler who is the author of “Gambling Wizards” and co-host of the radio show “Gambling With an Edge”, claims to have mastered all of these techniques. “I think every game can be beat,” he said. (Munchkin, whose real first name is Richard, chose his professional last name because he stands slightly taller than five feet.) Certain slot machines have to pay off their jackpot once they have raised $ 30,000. At $ 28,000, a slot machine is probably the game “- the gambling argument for something that can be bet profitably -” and there are slot teams that specialize in this. I know people who clock the roulette wheel and others who can control one die on the dice. “
Casino Game Best Player Advantages
Among the most vulnerable games today are blackjack and variations of poker such as Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em, where the game is against the house rather than other gamblers. Teams of players who have an edge – which typically requires one person to bet and another to see the dealer’s hole cards (which are rejected and shouldn’t be seen), track shuffles or count cards – have become so prevalent that they often find themselves in the same vein. . casinos, at the same time, target the same games. “We had blackjack in Atlantic City with weak dealers,” recalled Bobby Sanchez, known as Bullet, who often played as Grosjean’s partner. “We locked our keychairs when players from the other two crew tried to jump into the game. Elbows were knocked out and a lot was jostled around the table. An older civilian accidentally stepped into the middle. The son thought I had hit him, and the son jumped on my back. “Everything calmed down and an agreement was reached via a secret cell phone conversation: Members of the other team will be able to sit and play at the table and use information from the Sanchez supervisor, but their stakes will be limited to $ 800 per hand. “Meanwhile, I’m betting three hands at $ 3,000 each,” said Sanchez. “Unfortunately, the dealer was pulled out after about 90 minutes. After all the fuss, the table was being watched and someone knew what was going on. Still, we managed to win about $ 100,000 that night. “Members of the other teams will be able to sit and play at the table and use information from the Sanchez supervisor, but their bets will be limited to $ 800 per hand.” “Meanwhile, I’m betting three hands $ 3,000 each,” said Sanchez. “Unfortunately, the dealer was pulled out after about 90 minutes. After all the fuss, the table was being watched and someone knew what was going on. Still, we managed to win about $ 100,000 that night. “Members of the other teams will be able to sit and play at the table and use information from the Sanchez supervisor, but their bets will be limited to $ 800 per hand.” “Meanwhile, I’m betting three hands $ 3,000 each,” said Sanchez. “Unfortunately, the dealer was pulled out after about 90 minutes. After all the fuss, the table was being watched and someone knew what was going on. Still, we managed to win about $ 100,000 that night. “
One Friday night I accompanied the skinny Grosjean, in loose jeans, a red polo shirt, and a low-billed hat, as he walked across the carpeted mezzanine floor at the Grand Casino Hotel and Resort of the Indian Potawatomi tribe in Shawnee. Walking beside him, I tried to appear casual, with the tail of my shirt not tucked into the notebook in the back pocket of my pants.
Grosjean goes through the escalator and down the back stairs. To experienced scouts, he was a player with an edge; whenever he could be seen, was matched with his photo in such a player database and asked to leave the casino. If that happened, the security guard could also read it as an offense, meaning Grosjean would risk being arrested if he tried again. Leaving, on the other hand, would give him the opportunity to return someday and perhaps go unnoticed. So if security awaits him downstairs, Grosjean should be able to run back in the opposite direction in hopes of avoiding a confrontation. He can’t do that on the escalator.
Below, on the gaming floor, surrounded by wall-mounted TV monitors silently showing sporting events, slot machines beeping, and blackjack tables crammed with action. Grosjean avoids the cocktail waitresses and approaches the only dice game in the casino, where cards are used instead of dice.
Grosjean has previously explained the reason for this oddity: The Grand happens to be located in a jurisdiction where it is illegal for dice to determine financial results in a game of chance. Two sets of six playing cards, numbered one through six, one set with a red back, the other with a blue back, serve as the de facto dice. A player rolls a giant numbered cube, apparently made of plastic foam. The cube determines which cards are flipped. This is a way to make the game feel like a dice without dice that directly yields monetary payoff.
Games have been paused to accommodate another recent arrival at the upholstered table – Richard Munchkin. Dressed in a black jacket and hat with the Mercedes-Benz logo, Munchkin dropped $ 25 on the surface of the game and received a black chip from the dealer. Two regular gamblers, whom Grosjean had watched on many occasions at Shawnee, watched in shock: Customers rarely play such large numbers there.
Grosjean bought with several crumpled $ 20 bills. Playback resumed. Grosjean made a minimum bet of $ 5 and seemed excited about the action. The dealers on the table clearly knew him – he had built a presence here over the past week, familiarizing himself with the game and figuring out its ropes – and they sincerely sympathized with him for his tendency to lose. As they were chatting among themselves, they failed to notice Grosjean’s hand movements. With his right arm resting on the edge of the table, Grosjean will slightly twist his wrist or snap his fingers lightly. The move was a signal for Munchkin: At a glance, he had a statistically significant advantage in knowing which numbers were likely to be excluded.
“Turn off 4 and 5,” Munchkin told the dealer. “And give me the maximum bet on the high / low.” He wants to clear the bet on 4 and 5, because those numbers will be disadvantaged by the possible absence of 2 and 3 in this hand; high / low, however – bets that two aces (1s) or two 6s will turn up and pay out at 30 to 1 in each case – now have a higher likelihood of arriving.
That’s what happened all night. Munchkin is less friendly, gives simple tips, demands a lot of service. One merchant, irritated by light gratification, bluntly said to him, “We need to make money tonight.”