Blackjack Therapy by Clarke Cant
Chapter 6, Bangers and other tasty tricks to do to a casino.
The peeking devices are designed to limit the damage done to cards when the dealer would conventionaly look under aces and tens to determine if they had a blackjack and avoid the inevitable tells they would exhibit as they reacted to the hole card and their chances of winning or losing versus the players. They come in various forms but the most typical ones now in use involve a window and mark on the face side of the corners of the cards designed to limit the information available to the dealer to only the fact that an ace is not in the hole when a ten is up and a ten is not in the hole when an ace is up.
The machine I will describe as my typical device is the type that has the dealer turn the cards 90 degrees away from the customers when the card is an ace up and pointing toward the customers when the card is a ten up. The corner of the card that typcally doesn’t have the index at the corner is the corner that is inserted when the ten is up, while the corner that typically has a small ace is the corner inserted when the ace is the faceup card. Dealers are trained to more than anything else, when they first deliver their cards to themselves, don’t accidentally flip the bottom card up and expose it.
! J !
! __________ J! This would be the view of having a jack as the top card
/! A !
!A____________________! This would be the view of having an ace as the top card
(and I am sorry about the graphics folks)
The pressure is at the edges of the cards as they are slid into the guides, but is lighter in the middle of the card. In normal procedure the pressure, being directly on the top card, and not the bottom one, bends the top card deeper and differently over time. The diagrams below show the typical bends for the backs of aces, tens and low cards that results.
( down bend symbol
) upbend symbol
Ten card (back view) Ace card (back view) Cards 2 thru 9 (back view)
___________ ___________ ___________
! ! ! ( ! ! ) )!
! ( ! ! ( ! ! ) ) !
! ( ! ! ( ! ! ) ) !
! ( ! ! ( ! ! ) !
! ( ! ! ( ! ! ) ) !
! ( ! ! ( ! ! ) ) !
!(_________! !________(_! !)_________)!
A slight clumping effect can be found too that will be covered in the chapter on shuffle machines.
Insurance gains are 20% greater in these games due to being able to distinquish between aces and tens as hole cards. Typical reading accuracys are in the 90% range if they are found at all. The level of the bending is slight however and compares with the bending found in normal hole card peeking by only being about 1/3. Wong’s, Basic Blackjack, has the proper playing strategies for bent cards in general.
The first series of countermeasures for this playing was found in the Safejack
systems. They use a small bar code section to have the table read the hole card directly, and are the only system to use no guides. The need however to have the hole card reader do a wide scan however is highly error prone. Cards other than the dealers tend to be picked up. The system is subject to crashes whenever the number of hands being played changes. You can also build a simple device that will crash the system by causing false readings.
Simply take any bar code reader and couple the signal directly to any digital recorder device, such as the chips in Birthday Cards that let you record an audio message to the recipient. Once recorded, instead of feeding this signal to a speaker, feed it to any high power led that has both visual and infra-red light output. Place your device in the back of a blinking badge, such as those that circulate every Comdex show in Las Vegas, or any large ham radio convention (thanks Wayne Green, the publisher of 73 magazine, and Knightmare, the hacker, between articles by both of you I thought this up). The device will keep outputting the signal that is in the same band as the scanning laser system, except that it will now register the card you select. Haven’t you ever wanted the fun of playing a game with several thousand aces?
The next countermeasure was suggested by the Griffin Agency reportedly and I got another report that it originated with a dealing school owner in Reno. Both were related to me by sources at the Cal-Neva in Reno. That countermeasure is to have the dealer only push the bottom card into the reader. In that procedure all cards are bent in the way the diagram above shows for low cards, but the downbends are now upbends. Profits for the player however are still found due to 2 causes:
the procedure is clumsy where the dealer has to pull the hole card in, and tends to cause the dealer to flash the hole card.
the dealer has to run the top card along the surface, smoothing it along.
The result is that in this procedure there are still distinquishing bends between high and low cards, though we lose being able to distinquish aces and tens, because the high cards are flatened out. The game becomes the same as you would find with conventional peeking and warp play.
The last group of countermeasures is readers that use guides still but move both aces and tens for checking the same way. These use infrared bar code markings or dot patterns. They tend to play the same as in the diagrams except there is no turning to distinquish between aces and tens and the low cards do not endup with 1 or 2 diagonals. Part of the phenomenal accuracy of bangers is that only low cards can endup with normal procedures with both diagonals bent. The direction of the bends is not affected by this countermeasure.
Cut Control lite is a strategy for when a dealer flashes a card during the last riffle of a shuffle, in typical 1 deck, or highly favorable rules 2 deck, games. The following table shows recommendations for jumping your bets high or low on the first round of play based on these observations. Best of all, you don’t even have to be the person cutting to take advantage of this. You gain cover: not always betting low on the first round, without the loss in expected value that random betting off the top would bring.
Card exposed position in deck exposed position of cut Bet
High High High Low
High High Low High
High Low High High
Low High High High
Low Low High Low
The chart continues but is easiest to remember by memorizing just one line and remembering this simple rule: whenever you change one entry from a valid line you must change one more entry to get a valid line.
Full cutcontrol is something covered in Dustin D. Marks books, Cheating at Blackjack (and the same title except with squared added), though this is certainly information that is freely available to all players and thus not cheating.
Banger play, since the stress is at a diagonal of the cards, creates other oportunities in handheld games. The bends are not necessarily fully corner to corner. When the bends are off corner a wear point is created that marks the cards so that they can be viewed from the side of the pack when held by the dealer. A player can gain much of the profits that techniques known as ace keying (not covered in this book; this book is not complete so much as what the title implies: Therapy for your game) are able to gain in shoe games, in handheld games.
All of these tactics are profitable or can greatly extend your playing time in the casinos, but can compromise some attempts at optimal spreads in your betting strategies. For this reason Chapter 4 was split to have this material inserted, but still labeling the next chapter 4 (4A) because of its completion of chapter 4.