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The Courts Idle Games

How A Professional Poker Player Conned a Casino Out of $9.6 Million (washingtonpost.com) 406

Phil Ivey is a professional poker player who's won ten World Series of Poker bracelets -- but he's also got a new game. An anonymous reader write: In 2012, Ivey requested that the Borgata casino let him play baccarat with an assistant named Cheng Yin Sun while using a specific brand of playing cards -- purple Gemaco Borgata playing cards -- and an automatic shuffler. He then proceeded to win $9.6 million over four visits. The pair would rotate certain cards 180 degrees, which allowed them to recognize those cards the next time they passed through the deck. (They were exploiting a minute lack of a symmetry in the pattern on the backs of the cards...)

But last month a U.S. district judge ruled that Ivey and his partner had a "mutual obligation" to the casino, in which their "primary obligation" was to not use cards whose values would be known to them -- and ordered them to return the $9.6 million [PDF]. "What this ruling says is a player is prohibited from combining his skill and intellect and visual acuity to beat the casino at its own game," Ivey's attorney told the AP, adding that the judge's ruling will be appealed.

The judge also ruled Ivey had to return the money he later won playing craps with his winnings from the baccarat game -- though the judge denied the casino's request for restitution over the additional $250,000 worth of goods and services they'd "comped" Ivey during his stay.
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How A Professional Poker Player Conned a Casino Out of $9.6 Million

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  • Remember kids! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2017 @07:46PM (#53673767)

    Only the casinos are allowed to cheat you out of your money!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Only the casinos are allowed to cheat you out of your money!

      That's exactly it though, the local government grants an exception to the casino allowing it to run rigged games of chance in return for a portion of the profits.

      The only winning move is not to play.

      • Re:Remember kids! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @07:59PM (#53673827) Homepage

        It depends on your definition of "winning".

        If you are entertained by playing games of chance, the small percentage the house takes is your bill for the night's entertainment. Everybody knows the deal going in.

        • Re:Remember kids! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2017 @09:45PM (#53674227)

          Everybody knows the deal going in.
          Sort of. Some people think they're "lucky", or have a gambling addiction. Casinos know this and actively try to exploit this (very real) weakness in humans. The casino is using its intelligence to maximize the profits, and exploit a property it's noticed about players. They'll go as far as call up people (often problem gamblers) to encourage them to come to the casino through comps, etc. This isn't a secret, and it genuinely ruins peoples lives. Real harm is done here. What if your bartender called an alcoholic patron he hadn't seen in a while and asked them to come on down to the bar for free drinks on him?

          When a person does the same thing and exploits a weakness in its system (that was NOT ruled to be illegal) it's considered wrong? Turnabout is fair play.

          • $DEITY forbid they should have a marketing department.

            The casino doesn't know (and may in fact not be allowed to know) who has a gambling problem. All they know is that a long-time customer has stopped coming, so they fire up the marketing machine and incentivize future business. To use your analogy, the bartender might pass a known regular on the street, say "I haven't seen you in a while", and offer a drink on the house next time the customer comes in.

            Yes, some people think they're lucky. Some people are

          • Re:Remember kids! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Monday January 16, 2017 @01:37AM (#53674973) Journal

            Turnabout is fair play.

            Two wrongs don't make a right. Marked cards are cheating, period. He knew it was cheating and is only sorry he got caught.

      • Re: Remember kids! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2017 @08:04PM (#53673859)

        They are not rigged. It's a tax on those with poor reasoning skills. Twenty some odd years ago I worked as a dealer in a casino. One night this really drunk guy swore the big six wheel was being stopped by the carpeted box under the table. Security handed him the box and kicked him out the front door.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          Nope. It's actually rigged. Watch the slots. They'll almost always "stop" one away from a big win. They are programmed to win a certain amount of the time, but being one away from a big win counts as a 100% loss to the count, while counting as a "win" in the human brain.

          They exploit human weakness in a deliberate manner to harm those that play the games. That's "rigged" even if it doesn't explicitly change the payout numbers.
          • Re: Remember kids! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Nkwe ( 604125 ) on Monday January 16, 2017 @01:43AM (#53674983)

            Nope. It's actually rigged. Watch the slots.

            Modern slot machines don't use the mechanics of the spinning wheels to decide if you win or lose. When you pull the lever (or push the button) the computer generates a random number and decides immediately if you are going to win or lose. The spinning wheels are just a display or a user interface to indicate the result to you. Where the wheels are going to stop is decided by the computer before they even start spinning. Yes, when the computer has decided that you are going to lose, it will spin the wheels and stop them so it looks like you were going win - it's part of the psychology of the game. Is it psychologically rigged, yes. Is it mathematically rigged, no.

            • Re: Remember kids! (Score:5, Interesting)

              by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Monday January 16, 2017 @07:27AM (#53675553)

              Is it psychologically rigged, yes. Is it mathematically rigged, no.

              but it's amazing the number of times they cheat people out of big jackpots by declaring that the machine had malfunctioned...

              https://newsone.com/3578167/ca... [newsone.com]

              http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new... [dailymail.co.uk]

      • Re:Remember kids! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2017 @09:25PM (#53674163)

        The games are mathematically in the house's favor...is that what you consider rigged? The odds are known for anyone who cares to look.

        A casino wouldn't dare rig a table to make sure they win, if they got caught they would lose their gambling license. And, considering the amount of underpaid workers that roll through casinos, one of them would inevitably rat them out.

        Personally I think Ivey should keep the money here, but he was an idiot about it. Had he done it just once he would have gotten away with it, but he dug too deep like the dwarves of Moria.

    • Its not cheating (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drnb ( 2434720 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @08:33PM (#53673971)

      Remember kids! Only the casinos are allowed to cheat you out of your money!

      Its not cheating you out of anything when you ignore the fact that the statistical probabilities are against you. As my statistics 101 professor explained (literally, he used casino games examples all the time) you are either:

      (1) Paying the "I didn't pay attention in math class" tax.
      or
      (2) Paying someone else to play cards with you.

      • by sustik ( 90111 )

        I got your point. However, please not that (state sponsored) lottery, scratch-offs etc. have waaaay worse payout than blackjack or roulette.

        If you go to a casino, you go in order to be entertained (yes, partly pay someone to play cards with you, but also): watching dressed up people lose and win money and observe how they react to it and experience the thrill of occasionally winning yourself. Now, if you go with the intention to make a fortune, you will be most likely utterly disappointed.

        When I am in Vegas

    • Re:Remember kids! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @08:35PM (#53673983)

      Only the casinos are allowed to cheat you out of your money!

      How exactly are the casinos cheating?

      The odds are certainly in their favor, as any reasonable person knows. They don't have to cheat to make lots of money.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by phantomfive ( 622387 )

        How exactly are the casinos cheating?

        They paid politicians to write the law in their favor.

      • Re:Remember kids! (Score:5, Informative)

        by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @09:42PM (#53674217)

        "They don't have to cheat to make lots of money"
        But they go to great lengths to prevent card counters from playing or where they're prevented by law from banning them, they harass or physically threaten them

        • Re:Remember kids! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by retchdog ( 1319261 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @10:01PM (#53674277) Journal

          "they harass or physically threaten them."

          i suspect that they first ask them to leave, and after that formally evict them, and inform them that they are trespassing. maybe they skip the asking nicely part; that's okay.

          but if the silly gits still don't leave, well, yeah, willful trespassers are often treated poorly. this is hardly unique to casinos; i've seen more than a few slashdotters commenting in gleeful terms about how they'd not hesitate to shotgun anyone trespassing on their property.

      • Re:Remember kids! (Score:5, Informative)

        by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @11:34PM (#53674589)
        The slots are rigged. They appear "random". They are not. They are programmed to show a near-jackpot for every loss. This tricks the human brain into thinking they are doing better than they are. If they literally displayed a random result, they'd be legit. But the outcome is statistically determined, and the losses are deliberately rigged to show a near-jackpot to trick people into playing more.

        If casinos weren't cheating, they'd actually display random results for every win and loss. They don't. They are cheating, and they know it. They cheat as much as allowed by law. That it's legal cheating doesn't make it non-cheating.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          The slots are rigged. They appear "random". They are not. They are programmed to show a near-jackpot for every loss.

          They are at least quasi-random, they are not programmed to give specified outcomes (you can look up how they work).

          It is the game design (i.e. the inherent probabilities) which make it appear as if there are near-jackpots so often. The situation is comparable to the error people make when they think that 5 heads in a row is less likely than H-H-T-H-T. That is it is humans ascribing meanin

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @07:52PM (#53673791) Homepage

    When you play baccarat, you are playing against other customers, never the Casino's money.

    Did the casino return the money to the other PLAYERS he cheated?

    Or did they simply keep the ill-gotten gains?

    Also, he deserved to keep the money he won in other games. That was bull. Money is fungible, he made those bets and won.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      When you play baccarat, you are playing against other customers, never the Casino's money.
      Did the casino return the money to the other PLAYERS he cheated?

      Yes, yes they did. Did you not read the article?

      Guess not. What a goose...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      He also got a green light from the casino on all the things he requested. I can't understand the judge's logic in this at all. They should have just denied his request knowing he was asking for these things to gain an advantage. They gambled that his requests would give him no advantage and they lost, but yet cry foul after the fact. A

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ClickOnThis ( 137803 )

        He also got a green light from the casino on all the things he requested. I can't understand the judge's logic in this at all. They should have just denied his request knowing he was asking for these things to gain an advantage. They gambled that his requests would give him no advantage and they lost, but yet cry foul after the fact. A

        As TFA explains, some baccarat players have may superstitions. The casinos have no problem indulging such superstitions when, on their face, they don't appear to impart an advantage to the player. The fact that the casino didn't notice what these players were doing until later is irrelevant. The players cheated. The judge made the right decision in finding with the casino.

        • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @09:21PM (#53674145) Homepage

          The players cheated.

          They did not mark any cards, they noticed a flaw that could be used as a mark. No rule of the casino was broken, they're nullifying it because state law says the presence of marked cards means the game is not lawfully played and thus void regardless of whose fault that is. But this means that all games played with this deck should be declared void, every win and every loss. Otherwise you're saying the casino can write the values on the back of the card, they win it was a fair game but you win and they call foul. So I'm actually with Ivey on this one, he's played with the same deck under the same rules as other players but they're cancelling just his games because he won. That's not a legally sound reasoning.

          • by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Monday January 16, 2017 @03:32AM (#53675203)

            No rule of the casino was broken, they're nullifying it because state law says the presence of marked cards means the game is not lawfully played and thus void regardless of whose fault that is.

            Exactly. A lot of people posting here are missing the legal reasoning of the ruling, which is NOT based on the fact that these two guys acted fraudulently, but rather the fact that the game was VOID from the start because it did not conform to the rules for LEGAL gambling and gaming under state law.

            But there's something very odd about using that reasoning in this case, because the casino explicitly agreed to the terms of these guys -- including offering a specific card deck, instructing the dealer to turn cards based on player's instructions, instructing the dealer NOT to disturb card rotation prior to reshuffles, etc. That all is suspicious enough, and casinos generally do NOT allow players to dictate that many rules to avoid PRECISELY these kinds of problems. I'd imagine the only reason they allowed it in this case is because they hoped to sucker more money out of a high profile gambler. Unfortunately, their strategy of offering a MODIFIED GAME failed when it was they who were suckered out of money.

            But why does the fault then fall only on the players? From the ruling conclusion:

            As we previously found, by their own design, Ivey and Sun played games at Borgata that violated important provisions of the CCA and thereby breached their agreement with the casino. They must disgorge the benefit they received as a direct result of the breached contract

            Yes, "Ivey and Sun played games" but the casino offered the marked deck and agreed to numerous manipulations that ultimately modified the odds. If this was indeed an "illegal game" under state law, why is the casino not culpable, at least for negligence for failing to adhere to reasonable gaming standards and thereby offering illegal gaming? If a private person ran a flawed game like this, they'd likely end up fined or even in prison. And likely any money transferred during illegal gaming would be confiscated.

            I'm fine if the casino wants to argue that it engaged in offering an illegal game, but by doing so, they should submit to being punished according to provisions for offering illegal gaming in their state (including government confiscation of winnings). But if they don't want to argue they were engaging in illegal gaming by THEMSELVES offering marked cards, etc., then they'll likely just have to admit they were fools and just live with banning these people from their casino in the future, rather than recovering money. Or, they could actually prove the defendants committed FRAUD in some way to void the contract. (And maybe there is enough evidence to support that; I don't know. But it's not the legal reasoning used here.) The way the case was decided is not very consistent legally.

        • The judge made 3 decisions. 2 very bad ones and 1 marginally good one.

          1) The players cheated at baccarat, those winnings are forfeit. This is a judgement call, but yeah I agree this is cheating.
          2) The players bet ill-gotten money on craps and won, those winnings are forfeit. Bullshit. Doesn't matter what they did with the winnings. Maybe they owe interest on it but not unrelated fair winnings.
          3) The players get to keep items comped by the casino. Bad call. The casino "comp"ensates you for playing a

          • 3) The players get to keep items comped by the casino. Bad call. The casino "comp"ensates you for playing a game that they are favored in. They were cheating. The players broke their obligation.

            In this instance, "comp" is short for "complimentary", not "compensation".

        • "Hey Casino manager, I have this superstition where I think playing with the deck upside down will make me more likely to win, is it cool if we do that?"

          "Sure, sounds like a superstition to me"

          "Can I alter the position or appearance of the cards, I think it will make me win" should always be viewed with suspicion especially since inverting key cards known way of cheating at card games (at least in the TCG community, I don't know much about casinos.)

          The casino decided a cheat move was a superstition and
      • I can't understand the judge's logic in this at all.

        The judge made a ruling based on the law. The law is on the side of the casinos. Yet another of many ways that the casino stacks the deck against you.

        • The judge made a ruling based on the law. The law is on the side of the casinos. Yet another of many ways that the casino stacks the deck against you.

          Of course casinos always win. Nobody with a casino loses money, unless they're really clueless or trying to cheat more powerful players.

          I mean, can anyone think of someone so stupid and/or crooked that they lost money owning a casino?

    • Did you play baccarat in Europe. There are three major varieties of baccarat. In North American casinos, Punto Banco is common. I understand in Punto Banco all players are playing against the house, similar to blackjack.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Money is fungible, he made those bets and won." It isn't always that simple. If he didn't have the money in advance, then he wouldn't have been able to use it to play for scraps and hence couldn't have won that money, making his winnings proceeds of crime.
      In fact, in many jurisdictions it's possible, and common, to have criminals hand over not just the direct proceeds of crime, but indirect proceeds like the returns on investment of stolen money as well. This is done precisely because if you cannot force c

    • When you play baccarat, you are playing against other customers, never the Casino's money.

      From the article:

      In each of his visits to the Borgata, the casino accepted the same five requests. Ivey asked: that he play in a private area...

    • by gravewax ( 4772409 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @09:24PM (#53674153)

      When you play baccarat, you are playing against other customers, never the Casino's money.

      Did the casino return the money to the other PLAYERS he cheated?

      Or did they simply keep the ill-gotten gains?

      Also, he deserved to keep the money he won in other games. That was bull. Money is fungible, he made those bets and won.

      incorrect, there are multiple variants of Baccarat including ones where you are playing against the house

    • When you play baccarat, you are playing against other customers, never the Casino's money.

      In some form of baccarat, the players take turns being the bank (or house). In the baccarat you play at the casinos, the casino is the house. Phil Ivy and the casino's dealer were the only two people pushing money across the table.

    • When you play Baccarat in AC or in Europe, you play against the casino. Other players only bank games in places like non-Indian casinos in California.
      Also, he did not cheat.
      The casino has a duty to protect the game. They agreed to all his requests. This is the equivalent of the dealer accidentally flipping over the hole card at Blackjack and you taking advantage of it. The judge made a very boneheaded ruling and I hope that Ive appeals.

  • I get this... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @08:00PM (#53673839) Homepage

    Ok, I get this particular instance, it is sort of "cheating", but I still cannot get over how you are somehow not allowed to USE YOUR BRAIN to count cards in order to win in a casino. Yes, I know it is not illegal to count cards (I mean how would someone go around proving it beyond reasonable doubt), but casinos (except in NJ) are allowed to ban players who can win, which is mostly the same thing.
    Anyway, I try not to think about it too much (to avoid having my brain explode), and I just enjoy going to Las Vegas, with the inexpensive luxurious hotels, nice buffets, shows etc and before I leave I try to do my part sustaining the system by dropping a quarter in a slot machine ;)

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by buss_error ( 142273 )

      I don't know why you say you enjoy Las Vegas. The hotels I've seen are not luxurious, nor are they cheap. The food in the buffet is inedible - I wouldn't feed it to hogs.I did not find the shows enjoyable, and as a former wagering services IT guy, I don't waste money on wagering. I know the odds. Sometimes I was programming them.

      As for the person doing the wagering - yeah, security folks have a saying - "JDLR" - just doesn't look right. Alarm bells should have been sounding at the oddly specific requests ma

      • I don't know why you say you enjoy Las Vegas. The hotels I've seen are not luxurious, nor are they cheap.

        The best hotel rooms are not on the strip, or they cost a thousand dollars per night and up. The best place to stay inexpensively is a business hotel. They have lots of them, for obvious reasons. I liked Doubletree while I was there, it didn't smell bad and they had nice beds.

        The food in the buffet is inedible - I wouldn't feed it to hogs.

        I haven't been in some time, but the buffet at the Rio was pretty good IMO.

        If you can win, and you won't break even, why play?

        To me the reasons to go to LV are drinking and fucking. But I quit smoking tobacco, so now it's pretty fucking gross.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Ecuador ( 740021 )

        It's been 5-6 years, since I am currently in Europe, but last time it was $90/night to get a pyramid suite with jacuzzi at the Luxor. Turn off the lights, and relax in your jacuzzi under the starry sky - since, you know, you're in a huge glass pyramid (the largest one intended for the living) and so the glass "wall" in your jacuzzi room is also the ceiling... A year later I paid 500 euro/night in Rome for a seemingly well-rated hotel with jacuzzi suites (yes, I like my jacuzzis), and it was mediocre compar

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Waffle Iron ( 339739 )

        The food in the buffet is inedible - I wouldn't feed it to hogs.

        That's funny... that's exactly what they do.

        I saw a segment on some TV show a few years ago that featured a guy who collects the abundant leftover buffet food from Las Vegas hotels, mixes it all together, and then delivers it to hog farms. The animals did seem to be enjoying it quite a bit.

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          The food in the buffet is inedible - I wouldn't feed it to hogs.

          That's funny... that's exactly what they do.

          Never mind where the leftovers go, that's an apt description of the guests at most casinos, especially those willing to scarf at a buffet.

    • I still cannot get over how you are somehow not allowed to USE YOUR BRAIN to count cards in order to win in a casino. Yes, I know it is not illegal to count cards (I mean how would someone go around proving it beyond reasonable doubt), but casinos (except in NJ) are allowed to ban players who can win, which is mostly the same thing.

      It's the same in Las Vegas (in fact, all of Nevada.) Counting cards is not illegal, but casinos have the right to expel you and blacklist you if they suspect you're doing it. And they'll rat you out to other casinos, so you can't just go to a different one.

      Generally, casinos are good at spotting cheaters, because their business model depends on it. In the case of counting cards, they start to get suspicious when your luck is significantly out of line with the laws of probability.

    • Borgota is in NJ.

    • Re:I get this... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Monday January 16, 2017 @01:00AM (#53674859)

      but I still cannot get over how you are somehow not allowed to USE YOUR BRAIN to count cards in order to win in a casino

      Sadly the rule "only the house is allowed to get ahead because they pay shitloads in taxes and you rubes don't" is enforced by the governments that get money this way. Breaking that rule by using your brain to take advantage of an edge case violates that rule.
      Unfair, but deep down did you every really think it was supposed to be fair?

  • Con:
    Persuade (someone) to do or believe something by lying to them [oxforddictionaries.com].
    A confidence trick ... is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their confidence, used in the classical sense of trust. [wikipedia.org]

    I don't see where he lied, so I think the word is misapplied. The second definition comes a little bit closer, but casinos are very much aware that gamblers are adversaries, not allies.

    • Con is the wrong word.

      These players did not "con" the casino. They cheated.

      It was clever, it was under the radar of the casino, and it was seemingly benign. That doesn't change the fact that it was wrong.

      • It was not cheating. They never touched the cards and they didn't collude with the dealer. The casino management was dumb enough to agree to their requests because Ivy cultivated an image of a sharp poker player but a degenerate gambler in other areas.
        It's the casino's job to protect the game, not the player's.
        Every pit boss involved in allowing this play should be fired.

        There is a legal definition for cheating in each jurisdiction that allows gambling, and Ivy's actions didn't come close to meeting the leg

        • Ivey was able to study the reverse side of cards in order to learn what was on the other side. It's similar to the referees handing Tom Brady's center lineman a wrongly inflated football.

          • by DeafDumbBlind ( 264205 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @11:21PM (#53674529)

            I get how edge sorting (the name of the technique used) works. It's been a known advantage play move for decades and explanation of this exploit has been in print both in advantage play (Abram's casino tactics book) and casino game protection literature(Steve Forte's book). Shame on paid casino managers/executives for not being aware of it.

            It's not illegal to use marked cards if neither you nor a compatriot marked the cards. Look up the case law if you don't believe me. If someone accidentally bends a corner of a card, you don't have to pretend not to notice; you can legally use that info as long as you didn't do it yourself and the guy didn't do it for your benefit.

            I've made the point in other posts, but it's the casino's responsibility to protect their games. The casino provided the cards, the casino trained dealer rotated the cards thus allowing edge sorting to be used, the pit personnel and surveillance observed this, and had no problems with it. Ivy and his partner never touched the cards and didn't alter the cards in any way. This was a social engineering attack on a casino's greed and incompetence, but it was not cheating.

            This was a horrible decision by the judge.

             

      • They cheated if they broke the rules. Without knowing in details what the rules were, we can't say whether they cheated.

        However we do know that a judge who knew in detail what the rules were required them to return the money. This being a civil case, we don't know if what they did was criminally illegal.

  • Opening Arguments made a podcast about this case, give it a listen if you want to have the case entertainingly explained from a legal point of view: http://openargs.com/oa32-phil-... [openargs.com]
  • But last month a U.S. district judge ruled that Ivey and his partner had a "mutual obligation" to the casino, in which their "primary obligation" was to not...

    I wonder if this judge also believes that casinos have a "mutual obligation" to problem gamblers to make sure that they're not gambling money intended for other purposes? Because the way I always notice the headlines, it's usually "Man embezzles funds, gambles it all away at the casino." No one ever seems to ask the casino for that money back.

    This

    • I wonder if this judge also believes that casinos have a "mutual obligation" to problem gamblers to make sure that they're not gambling money intended for other purposes?

      To some degree they do - they have a blacklist you can add yourself to, and then they are not allowed to let you gamble.

  • From the Story (Score:5, Interesting)

    by crackspackle ( 759472 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @08:49PM (#53674037)
    What I'd like to know is how did his partner get sent to jail for an MGM gambling debt? Anyone know? While looking for the answer, I did come across this interesting article about advantage [nytimes.com]players, that there are many, that the casinos know of them and don't call them cheaters because what they are doing is legal.
  • by jhecht ( 143058 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @08:57PM (#53674065)
    Essentially they were playing with marked cards, because Sun had memorized subtle flaws on the back of the cards. That's generally regarded as cheating in any card game.
    • and back in the mob days they bated you up or killed you for doing stuff like that.

    • by schwit1 ( 797399 )
      Only if Ivey marked the cards, which he didn't. This is little different than an opposing poker player having a a tell and you exploiting it.
  • Mutual Obligation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @10:51PM (#53674425)

    I don't understand exactly how they violated any 'mutual obligation'. Ivey and Cheng made certain requests of the casino about how they would like to play. The casino agreed to their terms. Granted, Ivey and Cheng had some knowledge that the casino was not privy to, specifically the asymmetrical pattern on the cards. But this was something that the casino should have known (casinos provide the cards). Ivey and Cheng made no attempt to conceal anything from the casino.

    If I engaged in some game with an opponent and I had a better understanding of the mechanics and probabilities than they did, would I be cheating? Would I be under some obligation to explain a playing or betting system that I had developed to my competition?

  • You're missing something here blackjack commenters. Baccarat's decision is to bet on "Player" or "House" to win the hand... so you can steal the house's advantage and turn this into a player advantage game. Play as "House" too much and you're offered an investment into the casino and the game is over. This is really a reason to invite a rich guy into the office space and take his money as either a loser or an investor.

    Other player advantage games such as "Beat the Deck" are played to reward people who have

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