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Blackjack Card Counters??? Call the Bloodhound10 June 2004
Foxwoods Resort Casino is very fortunate to have such a great team of professionals from many different backgrounds and experience. For example, one of our MIS Department staff was actually a former casino manager at Crown Casino in Australia before relocating to the United States. Greg Dean is his name and he is now one of our Senior Systems Analysts. He not only understands gaming but he also understands computer programming and analysis and therefore adds a new dimension or perspective to our MIS team in better understanding the gaming side of our operation. Greg is also a member of our Comp Review Committee which helps management to better evaluate players from different aspects. The Bloodhound summary below was written by Greg as part of an in-house orientation to gaming for our MIS department. I thought it was quite interesting and informative and therefore want to share it.
The Surveillance Departments new dog is named "Bloodhound"
Players who card count (that is observe every card dealt and determine the
approximate mix of high cards to low cards remaining in the shoe) bust even
less often and therefore reduce the actual house advantage to about 0.1%. The
theory behind this is that the more decisions a player has to make the more
the likelihood they are to draw and bust. The higher the value cards in play
generally equate to fewer decisions and as a result less busts. Also, with more
tens and aces remaining this improves the chance of making Blackjack at 3 -
2 and double downs at 2 - 1. The betting strategy associated with card counting
is therefore to increase bets when the cards remaining in the shoe have a high
face value (count is high, aces and tens) and reduce bets to the table minimum
when they are low (count is low, lots of two's three's and four's). Considering
that Foxwoods Resort Casino presently offers a xx% (confidential %) return on
investment through comps, Wampum points (comp dollars) and other offers to players,
the longer the association with these types of skilled BJ players the less chance
the company has of making a Profit or making Budget.
There are however, the few highly skilled players who through sheer skill
and intelligence or from the assistance of certain electronic devices that you
won't normally find available on eBay or in Walmart that help them to beat the
odds. On the gaming floor when one of these players is recognized as having
a "particularly good run of luck" they are flagged for surveillance
to record, archive and have their trusty "dog" review the play. Bloodhound
uses either voice recognition or the keyboard for data entry. The data is actually
a summary of every aspect of the recorded game interaction observed on the BJ
table. Sounds complicated but in fact the data entry is quite easy and in approximately
20 minutes you will have one of the most accurate summary analyses of table
games play presently available anywhere for the game of Blackjack.
We actually experienced a very interesting case here at Foxwoods. We had a
customer buy in for $15,000. He finished his play that day winning just over
$100,000. He came back every day for the next three weeks and repeated his same
good fortune. He won just over $2,200,000 in approximately three weeks or so.
Needless to say, "everyone" was getting very nervous and some of our
non-sweating executives almost started to sweat. However, based upon our Bloodhound
analysis we knew that this was an abnormal situation and that as long as the
customer kept coming back that we had a reasonable chance of beating him based
upon his skill level. Our CEO was not as comfortable as our Casino Vice President
but still had confidence in the accuracy of the Bloodhound program. The gentleman
returned again and lost back the full $2,200,000 plus an additional $75,000
in one session. Bloodhound helped take away some of the tension and stress involved
with these types of abnormal high wins. We were also lucky because the player
felt either very lucky at Foxwoods or that his particular betting system was
actually working and kept returning. However, because of Bloodhound we never
"sweated" his action and in fact, made him feel comfortable and welcome
at all times which are additional reasons why he kept returning to Foxwoods.
I have also witnessed the opposite at some casinos where they do everything
they can to make the player feel uncomfortable and not want to come back. Evidently
they decided to cut their losses and not take a chance losing more money. Bloodhound
might have been a beneficial tool to help their decision making.
Don't guess. Do your homework properly. Good luck in your operations.
[Steve Karoul is Vice President of Casino Marketing for Foxwoods Resort Casino located in Connecticut. Steve has over 25 years of experience with top casinos both domestically and internationally. He is a contributing writer to several different major casino publications often injecting his own experiences. Steve can be reached at Tel. (860) 312-5070 or by E-mail: email@example.com]