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Could Google Glass be banned in the casinos? (milanvrekic.com)
12 points by milanvrekic 1057 days ago | 22 comments



As far as roulette goes, I believe that casinos changed the rules a long time ago to require that the bets be placed before the ball is released, after a group of UC Santa Cruz physics postgrads in the late '70s, early '80s built a wearable computer that would predict which octant the ball was going to end up in well enough to give a 44% advantage over the house. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eudaemons

What you could still do, though, is use the computer to look for biases in the wheel. Roulette wheels do not produce uniformly distributed results, and with enough data you can find bets that give you an advantage.

This was covered in an episode of the wonderful TV series Breaking Vegas ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaking_Vegas ). Each episode of that series focused on one person or group that found a way to beat the house. Some cheated (bribe the dealer, hack the slot machine software, sleight of hand to alter bets after the outcome is determined), some develop amazing physical skill ("dice dominators" can throw dice with such precise control over the initial conditions that they come up with the same outcome each time), one guy counterfeited casino tokens (and did such a good job that the chip manufacturer was not able to tell which tokens were his and which were theirs--they only knew counterfeit tokens existed because more tokens were coming back when they emptied the slot machines than they had issued), and some (such as the roulette bias people) exploit the math of the game.

In the episode that dealt with roulette biases, there was a family in Europe that would observe a wheel for a very large number of plays, taking notes on the outcomes. The casinos do not object to note taking--they encourage it, because people taking notes are people who think they have a system, and 99.99% of the time people who think they have a system are people who do not understand the laws of probability and are going to lose. Well, this family is not part of the 99.99%. They took their notes, found the favored numbers, and bet on those, and won big.

The casinos tried moving the wheels between tables, but the family members had spent so much time looking at the wheels gathering data, they could recognize the wheels from wear patterns, scratches, and so on, and so still place the right bets.

The casinos then simply banned them. If they had been playing in Las Vegas, that would have been the end of it, but they were in Europe. They went to court--and the court said casinos could not ban people for simply winning too much. The family had not violated any legitimate casino rules, so the casinos had to let them back in.

I don't remember how the casinos finally stopped these people--probably by replacing wheels with ones the family had not seen, or physically altering the wheels to change the distribution.

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It's been a couple years since I played roulette in the US, but in the UK/Europe you can definitely still place bets for a few seconds (maybe 5?) after the ball is released.

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I've played roulette for the past 2 years at several casinos in the US and you can still place bets after the ball is released. Once the wheel starts to slow down and before the ball drops onto the wheel, the dealer will signal no more bets.

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Seeing as they can ban you for using your brain to count cards, I'm pretty sure they'll ask you to take off your nerd glasses.

Edit: Also, hackers were doing this stuff while Milan Vrekic was eating Cheerios. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eudaemonic_Pie

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Very cool :) Thanks for the link

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Programming Google Glass to play blackjack (basic strategy or a card-counting system) seems like a much more tractable problem. Watch the table, count the cards and recommend the optimal play.

I believe these sorts of wearable computing devices are already banned in most casinos.

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The blackjack games most casinos spread don't allow for a positive expectation, even when counting cards, and any card-counting software would obviously be banned by any casino.

It's already against the rules to use your phone at the table, even to look up basic strategy. Although it's not against the rules of most casinos to have a paper basic strategy guide, and most dealers are more than willing to give you basic strategy if they remember it.

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> The blackjack games most casinos spread don't allow for a positive expectation, even when counting cards

It's true that terrible games have been proliferating lately (eg, 6:5 payoffs replacing 3:2), but can you really back up the claim that most casinos don't have a positive expectation (with counting) blackjack game? Do you just mean that to make it a positive expectation game you would need to use such a wide bet spread as to make the card-counting obvious? (Even then, I'm suspicious; Nevada is full of countable games. And are you ignoring strategy variation?)

It actually doesn't have to work at every casino; it would suffice if it worked at the casinos that had a good game - and a good glasses app could tell you which games were good. So yes, the glasses would have to be banned at the table.

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I wonder what are the policies for cell phones?

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You can have a cell phone in your pocket but they won't let you use it for anything. I suspect in the era of smartphones that they would completely ban them from the floor if not for the fact that enforcing that rule would be a nightmare.

Source: I've absent mindedly taken a call while sitting down at a table in Las Vegas and got an instant warning from the dealer.

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No cell phones allowed at the tables. If you want to use your phone you have to stand up and walk away.

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I think that is pretty self-evident given that cell phones are banned at any casino table I've ever been at.

The real question is "Where else they will be banned?" Government buildings? Court rooms? What if I'm going to the bathroom? Walking down the street and you see some cops arresting someone? How do wiretapping laws come into play in public? in private?

And further, what happens when we no longer needs glasses? When this is all just part of our body?

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> Government buildings?

Many facilities that handle classified data would not allow employees to bring in cell phones with cameras. So there is (was?) a good market for used brick Nokia phones in that niche.

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Given that cell phones are banned in casinos (for table games, etc) I think it's self-evident that Google Glass will also be banned.

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Holy crap. I was thinking about this very idea a few hours ago. You didnt happen to be listening to The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe when this idea came up, did you?

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Shit, better put my tinfoil hat back on :)

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Creepy!

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They'd have to be. You can't have your cell phone out when you are sitting at the table, so Glass wont be any better

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What will be interesting is what casinos will do when this kind of tech is embedded in contacts or the eye itself.

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Fall back to pure chance games. Google Glasses won't help you win slots. (And should that become untrue, the slots can and will be fixed until it is true again.)

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You will have to leave your eyes behind.

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They'll have to ban them or shut down, so it seems like a pretty obvious choice.

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