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Blackjack Players Challenge Card Counting Countermeasures

19 July 2001

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey –– As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer: "This group of card-counting blackjack players had a good thing going for about 10 months a decade ago as they pooled their money, split their winnings, and worked their way through the tables of Atlantic City's casinos.

"But Dino D'Andrio, 71, a retired engineer from Marlton, and his cohorts haven't sat at the gaming tables in a decade, not since the casinos began shutting them down with strategies of their own. D'Andrio and friends have been trying ever since to challenge the rules that allow the casinos to count cards and shuffle the decks whenever they start favoring the players. The group even argued in a lawsuit that casino card-shuffling practices were in violation of federal racketeering laws.

"Yesterday, D'Andrio and his former blackjack pals busted again, failing to persuade the New Jersey Casino Control Commission to require casinos to post signs informing patrons of their `card-counter countermeasures.'

"Simply put, the card counters want the average gambler to know that the casinos can - and do - count cards, too.

"Not only did the panel vote down the proposed rule change unanimously, but chairman James Hurley called the group's request nothing more than a `recapitulation of baseless claims' and an `obstinate relitigation of settled issues.'

"…State regulations permit dealers to `shuffle at will' after every hand. And various courts, as well as the commission, have upheld casinos' right to employ `countermeasures' against known card counters, who can gain a mathematical - and legal - edge in blackjack by keeping track of the cards played.

"…For a card counter such as D'Andrio, the preferential shuffle is big-time frustration. Counters wait as long as three hours - playing through hand after hand, shoe after shoe - until they have determined that the remaining cards in an eight-deck shoe definitely favor the players. Their strategy then is to start wagering big.

"…`A group of good players can earn anywhere from $30 to $90 to maybe 115 bucks an hour per person,' D'Andrio said. `It just became impossible to play. It became more and more difficult because of [the casinos'] shuffling.'

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