Some interesting comments from Bill Zender on the state of advantage play:
January 10, 2017
Dear Friends and Business Associates,
I hope everyone had a great Holiday Season and are looking forward to a prosperous New Year. It seems that I am always asked about what I see as the biggest Table Game problems, cheating and otherwise, for the year to come. Following are my answers. I’ll start with the “core” table games first, and then comment on other factors not specific to table games.
2017 Table Game Advantage Play and Cheating Scams to Watch Out For
Blackjack – Still the dominate table game on the casino floor, I believe the primary avenue of attack will come from advantage players finding weak dealers in order to spy the dealer’s hole-card. Please don’t rule out shoe dealt games! Finding dealers that give up the hole-card (unintentionally) in shoe games is more common than you think. Also, don’t rule out card marking (both daub and punch) and card switching in hand pitched games. The biggest cost to the gaming industry will come from card counting; however it’s NOT the players at the table creating the cost. It’s the FEAR of counters that hurts our industry. For example; do you cut off more than one deck from the back of the 6 or 8 deck shoe games? If the answer is “yes”, there’s the cost! Cutting off more cards than necessary decreases hand decisions per hour which costs blackjack revenue.
Baccarat – Baccarat is internationally popularity, simplicity, and offers “sky-high” wagering limits, and it will remain the primary game to beat in 2017. My biggest concerns lie with cheaters gaining access to playing cards, and either recording pre-shuffled card sequences, or using invisible paints to mark the card (primarily the sides, surprised!) If you question my thoughts on using invisible paints to mark the sides of cards, please go on YouTube and watch videos (there are several) regarding the “Holdem Analyzer”, and consider how that principle would work in regards to baccarat and card sequence knowledge. Also, beware of the high limit customer who requests changes to the games dealing procedure (dealer turning up the cards, as well as determining the method for inserting the shuffle point card). Procedure manipulation through social engineering has been a big problem over the past several years, and probably won’t diminish in 2017.
Craps – One of the hardest games to cheat or gain an advantage by the customers. Be on the lookout for dice sliding (not controlled throws). Dice sliding appears to be on the rise in smaller, less game protection educated casinos, or in high limit games with “demanding” VIP players. Make sure the dice hit the back wall and be done with it.
Roulette – The color scam, buying in for a minimum denomination chip, and getting another person to cash those chips out at a higher denomination, is still being accomplished. Educate your staff on the technique. The cheating scam of past posting is becoming a dying “art” with the advent of HD cameras, however don’t rule it out. Also, be careful with computer “clocking” and “number bias” regarding the roulette wheel head…but not necessarily on the “cloth” table games; on the physical roulette wheel heads used in conjunction with electronic roulette games (you know….the games the slot department think they own).
Alternative Games and Side Bets– Some of the smartest people in the world are advantage players, and they closely examine every new table game and side bet released each year for advantages. Be sure you understand the procedures and mathematics of any new game or side bet before offering it to the public. If in doubt; keep the maximum limits low. Also, be on the constant lookout for dealers unintentionally exposing dealer controlled cards, either a hole-card or a community card (or both). Educate your dealers and floor staff, and then hold you managers responsible for guaranteeing proper dealer hand/community card protection. One other point; watch out for possibilities of card switching between two players, especially in Three Card Poker. Other alternative games are susceptible as well.
And the biggest area of concern moving forward into 2017… Marketing Promotions. – More money is lost every year from bad promotions and programs. Be sure that someone in your organization runs the numbers! In addition, don’t copy someone else’s promotion, and then deem it OK just because someone else is doing it (especially from big gaming companies). If you think your organization’s marketing strategy is OK, ask yourself this question; “Do we use Match Play Coupons and/or Promo Chips as a strategy to attract table play?” If the answer is “yes”, then you have a problem!
At this point in time in the gaming industry’s history, we operate the safe table games ever. The recent developments in equipment technology, time tested game procedures, quality floor and table camera coverage, and the availability of game protection education, have made are jobs a lot simpler and easier.
With that said, every organization still needs to stay up to date with the new advantage plays and cheating scams. One of the best ways to stay up to date is to send at least one person from your organization to the World Game Protection Conference (WGPC) each year in Las Vegas. This year the WGPC will be held from February 21st through the 23rdat the M Resort. Anything threating to the casino bottom-line which has arisen in the past year is discussed at length by some of the top game protection experts in the world. One topic of interest, although not about table games, will be an exclusive look into how computers and devices are being used to attack slot and video machines!!
I hope these prognostications help enlighten everyone about the possible pitfalls of this upcoming year. I wish everyone a prosperous and safe 2017.
Seminars and Workshop
World Game Protection Conference in Las Vegas – M Resort – February 21st – 23rd
Speaking of the WGPC, I will be presenting on the first day of the Conference during three morning sessions. The topic of my presentations will be: Bill Zender’s Lessons Learned as an Expert Witness
The title speaks for itself. Primarily, I will discuss my experience in putting together cheating cases for the police or regulators, and how I proceed with criminal or civil cases as an expert witness. During the three 50 minute presentations, I will refer to many of the cases I have worked over my career as a casino executive, gaming control agent, and gaming expert witness. The titles for the three sessions are as follows:
- Putting the case together for Law Enforcement
- Conducting my own investigation as an expert witness
- Testifying in court as an expert witness
For more information on the World Game Protection Conference please go to; http://www.worldgameprotection.com/
Potential Future Seminars
It appears I will have some spare time this early spring so I’m strongly considering holding a March seminar in Las Vegas at the Tuscany Suites Resort. At will either be a two-day seminar on Table Game Management, or a one-day seminar on the Cost of Table Game Promotions. I’m also considering conducting a two-day Table Game Protection seminar and/or a one-day Optimal Baccarat Seminar 2017 somewhere outside of Las Vegas this summer. My last two seminars outside of Las Vegas, in the Seattle Washington, and the Albuquerque New Mexico areas were a big success.
Please watch for future eBlast to find out what seminars, dates, and locations will be available.
On the Move
I’m looking to fill up several weeks in February with March and April wide open. If you have any questions, let me know [email protected].
Indiana Gaming Agent training
World Game Protection Conference Las Vegas
Las Vegas seminar
I’m always available to answer your questions. If you have any questions on gaming; don’t hesitate in contacting me through email. I answer close to a half dozen email on gaming every day [email protected].
Cheers and best wishes on a new year.
Bill Zender and Associates