My 15 Seconds of Fame

“In the future everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes seconds.”
– Andy Warhol

When the story broke that Borgata filed a lawsuit against Phil Ivey for his $9M baccarat win in 2012, it was widely reported that Ivey used edge sorting. Because of Ivey’s fame, masses plugged “edge sorting” into their favorite search engine to find out more. Guess who was number 1 (and 2, 3, 4 …)? My site saw an explosive surge over the brief news cycle of the story, peaking on Monday, April 14. The following graph shows the number of hits for my site each day during the two-week period April 4 – April 18: Continue reading

VIDEO: A Survey of Edge-Sortable Cards


Podcast on about Phil Ivey

My discussion of the Phil Ivey edge sorting case at Borgata starts at 28:23

Advanced Advantage Play Seminar, May 13, 2014 in Las Vegas

Announcing a one-day game protection seminar

Advanced Advantage Play
Safeguarding the New Generation of
Proprietary Table Games and Side Bets

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 , 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Tuscany Suites Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas

Presented by Eliot Jacobson, Ph.D.

Space limited, sign up soon!

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Computer-Perfect Play against Baccarat

I have recently been obsessing over computer-perfect play against the baccarat Tie bet and Pairs bet. Almost 18 months ago, I gave a rough estimate for the earnings possible from computer-perfect play against baccarat, which I presented in this post. However, that research definitely left room for improvement (will my laziness never end?). The current post takes computer-perfect baccarat to the next level. I am going to give the computer-perfect win-rates and other statistics for each of the Player, Banker and Tie bets for a variety of cut card placements. This will allow me to give an overall win-rate for a patron using a computer to play baccarat perfectly. Continue reading

Computer-Perfect Play against the Baccarat Pairs Bet

The Pairs bet (PB) is a non-proprietary baccarat side bet that pays 11-to-1 for a dealt pair. The player can wager on either or both of the Player or Banker side to be dealt a pair. Unlike the Tie bet which is essentially worthless (see this post and this post), PB is highly vulnerable to advantage play. The fact that PB is found on baccarat tables around the world, often with table limits as high as $10,000 or more, makes it a premium target for advantage play. In this post I am going to give the win-rate statistics against PB using computer-perfect play. I will also give a side-by-side comparison with the Tie bet. Continue reading

Computer-Perfect Play against the Baccarat Tie Bet

In this post I am going to give the win-rate statistics against the Tie bet using computer-perfect play. In this analysis, I assume the AP is keeping track of the cards that have been played from the shoe. Before the start of each round, the AP uses a computer to give him the exact edge on the Tie bet based on the knowing the composition of the cards left in the shoe. If the AP has the edge over the house, he makes a Tie wager; otherwise he does not place a wager. These results give an absolute upper bound on the earning potential against the Tie bet through ordinary advantage play. Continue reading

Fact-Checking an Article on Donald Johnson in CHANCE Magazine

This post concerns significant errors in the article “Examining a Gambler’s Claims: Probabilistic Fact-Checking and Don Johnson’s Extraordinary Blackjack Winning Streak,” written by W.J. Hurley, Jack Brimberg and Richard Kohar [HBK]. This article appeared in the February, 2014 issue of CHANCE magazine, Vol. 27, No. 1, pages 31-37. Two of the authors, Hurley and Brimberg, are professors in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the Royal Military College of Canada. The third author, Kohar, is a graduate student in the same department.

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Hole-Carding Blackjack Shoe Games

Few who work in table games management and even fewer APs know that blackjack shoe games offer hole-carding opportunities. How could this even be possible? Yet advanced APs know that shoe games have been one of the most reliable sources for hole-carding opportunities over the last 20 years. Hole-carding opportunities do not exist by themselves, ready to be discovered by the astute scout. Rather, in shoe games hole-card opportunities are created by APs. To make these opportunities occur, APs understand subtle principles of blackjack layouts and know how to identify key flaws. Poor layout design together with a lack of awareness allows APs to force dealers to expose their hole-card. In the right circumstances, even skilled dealers can become vulnerable targets. Continue reading

My Single-Deck Blackjack Skilled-Cutter Fantasy

In this post, I wrote about exploiting advanced knowledge of the specific location of a Ten or Ace in the shoe. Among the many ways an AP can know that an Ace or Ten will be dealt is when the bottom card is exposed to a skilled cutter. The cutter places the Ace/Ten at a known depth, allowing the premium card to be steered to an awaiting big player. This strategy begs a question: what about the times that the bottom card is something other than a Ten or Ace? Should those rounds go to waste? Continue reading