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Comment count is 26
DerangedGoblin - 2014-02-25

According to the youtube description, this is from a documentary called... "Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians."


Enjoy - 2014-02-25

They are an interesting bunch. I know the ring-leader.

jangbones - 2014-02-25

Heard them on NPR, interesting group of folks

RockBolt - 2014-02-25

The whole thing is really good

yogarfield - 2014-02-25

OK Enjoy, it's story time.

Enjoy - 2014-02-26

The leader is a guy named Ben Crawford who I got to know through mountaineering. He is hilariously creative with his exploits (and this is just one of his adventures). Look at some of his disguises he used in casinos after he had to start hiding. They tell you everything.... scroll halfway down:


Enjoy - 2014-02-26

also, look at his Christmas card from a few years back. Still makes me laugh:


yogarfield - 2014-02-26

That is amazing, thank you.

jreid - 2014-02-25

Interesting stuff. Rod seems surprisingly reasonable, I expected some back room finger breaking.

badideasinaction - 2014-02-25

Nowadays the whole point is to stop them before they've made enough money to actually hurt the casino. This guy was being blatant to get their attention - CCTV + computer maps how hot a shoe is, and tracks the betting. Once it crosses a certain confidence threshold they call down to the pit boss to tell them to pull the plug. Why break fingers when you can legally tell them to stop playing?

Dude must have been working hard to stick out - never seen a pit boss take an interest in someone before sitting down, or at least not at a table with a minimum.

chumbucket - 2014-02-25

"We're not ripping you off enough, please leave."

exy - 2014-02-25

You wouldn't guess the budget for this video was at least 00 just by looking at it.

infinite zest - 2014-02-25

I too was expecting Joe Peschi to run outwith a baseball bat or something when he keeps asking questions.. how'd his friend get away with filming the whole time? Last time I was in a casino (my first and probably last) they took our cellphones, which at that time barely had any video-taking capabilities, searched for anything like this very thoroughly, and the Casino in question wasn't a big Vegas style one either.

The God of Biscuits - 2014-02-25

A friend of mine lives in Vegas and knows how to count cards. He's been kicked out of a few casinos' blackjack pits. It's a lot like this from what he's told me. They figure out that you're counting and simply refuse service.

The God of Biscuits - 2014-02-25

Also, serious card counting operations are usually more elaborate than this. In "Bringing Down the House", for example, the MIT card counting team used a bunch of sentry players who just bet the minimum the whole time. There were one or two people who would get a signal from a sentry that the deck was hot, sit down for a few hands and bet a lot, then get up and leave. Nowadays I'm pretty sure casinos can catch that pretty easily, too.

Chancho - 2014-02-25

They don't need to figure it out. Your bet sizing changes when the deck is rich in tens+, so when you start betting big after betting small its obvious. The only time you can card count without getting spotted is when the casino is packed for a big event.

Adham Nu'man - 2014-02-25

I used to work at a couple of the online Casinos that were popping up all over the net some 10 years ago (before all the credit card restrictions thinned the herd and left only a couple of big operations out there).

My job was specifically to find these players.

I was trained on how to count cards (it's not that hard and you don't have to be rainman) and my job was to look at players who were winning. We'd look at their play history hand by hand: if they were winning because of luck, we'd let them be, while if we spotted card counting patterns, we'd block their account, ban their IP address and general information and send them their money.

At least here in my country, at IRL Casinos, you can still count cards, provided you're betting small. After all, you're only getting a minimal % advantage over the house so it takes a while to rack up your winnings. If you keep it small, you'll fly under the radar, but then again, you won't really be making a capital letter PROFIT.

Personally, I've never bothered; gambling on its own doesn't give me a rush, winning a modest amount after hours of playing seems boring, and betting big would probably get me beaten up in the street by thugs (Casinos here are not yet owned by Corporations).

cognitivedissonance - 2014-02-25

See, gambling on cards has always bored me. I love the ponies. Then again, I just gamble a few bucks at a time and consider it the price of admission rather than an investment.

badideasinaction - 2014-02-25

I'm kinda amazed they weren't doing that automatically, except for some extra scrutiny. Card counting monitoring a computerized game is trivial - most of it is correlating shoe value to player bets and picking your p value since card counting is more about betting amounts than changes in play style. Alternately a test on losing versus winning hand bet value can reveal the same thing. Seems silly to have a person doing basic card counting when a computer does it perfectly.

Adham Nu'man - 2014-02-25

This was back when the whole Offshore Online Gambling thing was taking off (above I wrote "about 10 years ago", but it's actually more like twenty + years ago). Bunch of mobsters came down to Costa Rica and paid local talent some (relatively) very low prices to custom design the software for them, so these kids with very little gambling experience started designing these platforms to run the games on, but there was no such system in place to pick these individuals out automatically. Hence a couple of us got trained on how to do it.
Most of these companies don't exist anymore; the one I worked for certainly doesn't: one day the staff arrived at the office and the building was empty. Fortunately I had left the ship some time before after the Manager refused to pay me some benefits I was legally entitled to.
I'm sure those automatic systems are well in place for the few surviving online gambling companies out there, although I really haven't had much connection to the business in a long time.

Adham Nu'man - 2014-02-25

Sorry, 15-17 years ago, I'm retarded tonight and math is hard. BUT I'M A CARD COUNTER!

yogarfield - 2014-02-25

Gambling isn't a rush for me either, that's why I mug strangers.

Jet Bin Fever - 2014-02-25

It's a really stupid and boring way to make or lose money. I never saw the appeal in playing a bunch of silly card games and piss away your savings.

Nominal - 2014-02-25

Yeah put me down for not seeing the point. Vegas always seemed so much more fun (not to mention cheap) if you did anything but gamble. I get the worst luck in blackjack and my average is losing the minimum bet every 2 minutes. minimum? 0 down after 20 minutes.

There are a LOT more fun things you could do for 0/hour.

Chancho - 2014-02-25

Professional gamblers don't care about one session. They are rolled for enough sessions to survive the swings and they grind out a living at whatever game they have an edge in.

My dad took the local casinos for an extra paycheque every month. He kept all of his gambling money in a separate account and never dipped into the family account. We would also go to the local fair (a big one) and he would clean up at the blackjack booths. He would pay for the day plus a couple hundred extra. Once he was up, he just walked away.

There are way more degenerates than pros, of course.

Nominal - 2014-02-26

Well yeah. Gambling is so boring that the only way I saw it being worth bothering with was if you had a system to sit down and grind out some liveable scratch like it was a second job, because you know it was about as fun as a second job.

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