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X-Ray Specs and Blackjack

16 December 2004

By John May

Every now and again, if you hang out on the various gambling message boards, someone asks about beating blackjack with a pair of x-ray specs to see through the card backs. They always say it in a semi-serious, aha-hah-hah-type way, to cover themselves for suggesting that a concept straight out of a comic might be a legitimate form of advantage play. But you can tell that they really do want to know if any type of device exists that could penetrate the card backs. The idea appeals to the seven-year-old in all of us.

The answer is yes. X-ray specs don't exist, of course. An x-ray is a strong form of radiation. Go around blasting people with radiation and you'll end up in jail. In any case, it isn't possible to minaturize an x-ray machine to the extent where it could be the size of a pair of spectacles.

However, the related field of thermal imaging yields much more interesting possibilities. A thermal imaging camera can be made much smaller than an x-ray device. It can tell you what rank and denomination a card is from the back because the paint on a card has a slightly different heat signature. Obviously, knowing what card you will be dealt before it has been exposed is quite enough to win any amount of money at any card game.

The difficult bit of this equation is getting a thermal imaging camera into a casino. Naturally this would contravene any sane device law. Even if no specific device law existed, the camera user would probably be prosecuted for some kind of fraud analog.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at


The Ultimate Blackjack Team?

6 November 2004
If you can count cards and play with an edge at blackjack over the casino, why would you want to join a team? Here is why. The more hands you play as a card counter, the more likely you are to win. The results of two counters of equivalent skill each playing 5,000 hands are the same as one counter playing 10,000 hands. ... (read more)

Blackjack's Strategy of Maximal Boldness

11 October 2004
Allan Wilson's classic Casino Gamblers Guide contains one gem amongst a myriad of valuable pieces of advice. Wilson advises the roulette player who does not play with an advantage, and who insists on playing roulette in spite of the inexorable and unforgiving house edge, to bet all of the money he plans to bet at roulette during his lifetime on red or black. ... (read more)

Side Bet Shuffle

7 September 2004
Some years ago I received an e-mail from a perplexed casino boss asking why he was losing so much money at the Super 7's game. Three successive jackpots had been hit. I replied that I did not usually assist casino personnel, but since his request was courteous and the answer could not harm advantage ... (read more)

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John May
John May is one of the most feared gamblers in the world. He has developed "advantage play" techniques for many games that are considered unbeatable.

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John May
John May is one of the most feared gamblers in the world. He has developed "advantage play" techniques for many games that are considered unbeatable.

Books by John May:

> More Books By John May