Ralph Stricker: Electronic Devices

Electronic Devices
by Ralph Stricker
Copyright © 1997 Ralph Stricker

Ralph Stricker was an internationally known blackjack expert. In 1978 he opened one of the first blackjack schools on the East coast. In 1981 he sold the school and has played blackjack professionally. He has appeared on many of the major talk shows throughout the United States. He had his own radio and tv shows for three years. He has also written a book on the playing of Blackjack entitled the Silver Fox Blackjack System “You Can Count On It“.  Ralph Stricker passed away in 2012

   
   With the coming of the computer age there have been electronic devices developed. Miniature computers concealed which enabled the person to attain an even more advantage than the cerebral card counter.  The first of these devices was known as “George”.  This was a computer that could keep track of every card played and then determine the precise mathematical play for any hand.  It also told what advantage/percentage that the person had for each bet.

   The information was inputted through the use of switches in the shoes of the person using the computer.  The big toes were “fixed” between two switches in each shoe.  Binary code was used, this enabled the user to input any rank of card. The response (decision) was via a pulsing mechanism which gave the correct plays and bets.  It was powered by two lithium batteries.

   It was first used by Ken Uston and one of his teams in the mid seventies.  They were successful until they were discovered using the device. 

   Since that time newer and more sophisticated ones were developed.  One was for “shuffle tracking”  with kept track of the exact sequence of cards as they were put into the discard tray. A shuffle code was devised to analyze the various shuffles that the casinos used.  The last and most powerful was a computer for roulette.  This determined the speed of the ball aagainst the spin of the wheel.  It then gave you an approximation of what segment of the wheel the ball would most likely fall into.  Remember if you can determine what 5 numbers the ball will not fall on, you have a tremendous advantage.

   In the mid eighties, the State of Nevada legislated against these devices. It made the use of them a felony and the person found guilty of using one was subject to a jail sentence along with a fine.   In most states it is not a felony to use one, but the casino can confiscate them.

   Recently the casinos implemented the use of “card counting & shuffle tracking” software. This is being used by many casinos to monitor card counters and shuffle tracking players.  The software will detect and alert the casino if a player is using any of these methods to win at blackjack.

   The software will let the casino know if there is a correlation between the player’s bets and the count. It also determines if the player is using the count for decision making plays. These are plays that are beyond basic strategy plays.

   My question is.  Are these devices really cheating devices?  If the casino can use a computer to track a counter/shuffle tracker then why is it illegal for a player to use a computer. Isn’t one just as illegal/legal for the other?