Card Counting Days Numbered—Update

Just a quick update, blackjack fans. Details have been released about Kris Zutis’s card counting detection software.

You all remember Kris Zutis, right? He’s the 22 year old from Dundee in Scotland who has created a computer program that will detect card counting in blackjack—this is after he decided not to write a program that would undermine poker strategy, his game of choice.

Details have been released on the basics of how the software works. Zutis’s program uses various visual recognition techniques that collect information. Some of this information that is collected is contour analysis which detects what cards have been flipped. Stereo imaging is also used to measure the height of chips tacks to determine how much a player has bet.

After this and other data is collected, the program will analyze what cards have been played and a player’s betting strategy. The casino is then alerted if the program thinks that the analysis on the player’s actions is suspicious. At that point they can take action against a blackjack player.

Already casinos are interested in Zutis’s program, and it’s no wonder. If having an edge over a player isn’t enough, the casinos want to take away our strategy now too.

Zutis has been invited to present his paper on his program, entitled ‘Who’s Counting?: Real-Time Blackjack Monitoring for Card Counting Detection’ at the International Conference on Computer Vision Systems (ICVS) in Belgium. He’s hoping to generate more interest in his program so that it can be further developed and made ready for sale.

Are Card Counting Days Numbered?

Casinos the world over must thinking that their day is coming and are getting ready to celebrate. To my blackjack friends, I am sorry to say that a computer program is in the works that will be able to detect card counting.

Or so its programmer says. Kris Zutis, a final year student at Dundee, is claiming that he has developed a program that will be able to track a game as it progresses by monitoring the cards played and by tracking how a player bets. It is explained that a camera will watch a game of blackjack, collecting information about the game. It then somehow uses a complex system of algorithms to analyze how the game is being played. It will compare betting done by players to what cards have been played.

In other words, this card counting detection system is going to count cards to see if how a player is betting is reflected in how this detection system has counted the deck. I have to admit that this Zutis kid is pretty smart to think of this—what better way to detect card counting players than to have the casino count cards and compare it to how blackjack players are betting. Actually I’m surprised the casinos haven’t figured that idea out already. But this kid takes it the idea further by creating a program to compute that comparison. Nice way to make money, Zutis.

So not only will we blackjack players have to find a new system, but now we’ll have to be mindful of how we’re betting. Seems we won’t be able to bet how we wish anymore without upsetting these poor casinos. Seems Big Brother has finally tapped into the world of gambling—let’s tell them how they can and can’t gamble.

Zutis says his program isn’t ready to go on the market quite yet; he has to develop it further. Calling all investors—help develop a program that will do the counting that we will be forbidden to do. A bit hypocritical, no?

Zutis is a self-proclaimed poker enthusiast. Originally he said he wanted his project to be related to poker. He wanted to sully his own game. But after learning the system was better suited to crackdown on blackjack he went that route. More like he realized, ‘Oops, I don’t want to somehow limit the game that I play.’ And while he will most likely be rather disliked if his card counting program for detecting card counting is sold to casinos, I can’t imagine anyone liking a guy who sells out to the casinos’ side.