Blackjack Expert Explains How Card Counting Works
The card counter sits quietly on the witness stand, his thinning hair, gray slacks and worn blazer suggesting librarian, not Las Vegas.
Morse knows he's a counter, but he deeply feels he's not a cheat.
Even so, he's got to suck it up if he ever wants to sit down at a card table in this city again.
It's been this way along the Boardwalk since 1995.
To the state of New Jersey, Morse cheats at blackjack because he peeks at the cards when he cuts the deck.
Piles of surveillance videotapes and reams of testimony persuaded an administrative judge back then to ban Morse forever from Casino island blackjack cheat City's green felt blackjack tables.
In the peculiar, insular and high-IQ world of card counters, most at least know of Morse, whose aggressive habits have had him kicked out of casinos from Nevada to Connecticut.
Whether one thinks he's a cheater depends on casino island blackjack cheat perspective.
Morse may be a card counter," Stebbins continues, acknowledging that counting is entirely legal.
He has hired an Atlantic City lawyer to plead his case before the Casino Control Commission, the government agency that put his picture on the Internet and banned him from every blackjack game casino island blackjack cheat town.
Morse's pocket at any time.
That is the danger," Stebbins says.
Stebbins presses Morse: "Was it cheating?
What Morse and his "colleagues" do -- often through somewhat intricate mathematical strategies -- is track every card dealt in order to assess the best moment to bet.
In blackjack, a player is dealt cards, betting with each hand, with the goal of amassing a winning card value as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it.
By closely monitoring the cards dealt -- typically from a stack of casino island blackjack cheat many as eight decks -- a player can determine when it is most advantageous to make a big wager.
Some, like Morse, go far beyond counting, following every move of the dealer, waiting for sloppy moves and the chance to catch a glimpse of a card.
They track "slugs" or "clumps" of cards, even individual "key" cards as the dealer shuffles.
And some, like Morse, devote an inordinate amount of time to cutting the deck, the process where the player inserts a yellow "cut card" before the deal.
But unless he can convince New Jersey he's not a cheat, he'll never enter a casino here again.
The reality is that time is running out for people like David Morse, who are rooted in another gambling era, when a smart guy could beat the casino suits at their own game.
Blackjack, one of the casino games in which the house has only a slight edge, has long been the favorite of the thinking, disciplined gambler.
But it's different now.
Sophisticated computer surveillance software tracks counters the minute they walk into casinos.
Games are dumbed down with low stakes to make them, for the professional gambler, as worthless as slot machines.
New technology can track every card and every chip, making it easy for casinos to spot -- and harass -- good counters.
The Anti-Vegas Guy David Morse can't walk into a casino on the Las Vegas strip without silent alarms going off.
In his tidy, bright yellow kitchen in Cranston, R.
He is the anti-Vegas guy: no gold bracelet, no stylish Nat Nast shirt, not even a tan.
Come in for a visit, have a cup of tea, remove your shoes at the door and he'll tell you how to beat the Vegas casinos.
Morse's "cheating technique" -- which he says he has long since abandoned -- began at the start of the game, when it was Morse's turn to "cut" the deck with a plastic yellow card.
He would stand or lean right over the pile of cards, staring app free />Since the game is dealt from the place where the deck is cut by the yellow card, a player can conceivably gain an advantage knowing if, say, a 10 of hearts is going to be dealt.
Like these napkins," he says, gesturing to his small kitchen table.
Morse will generally either stand, leaning over the deck as he cuts, or will at least lean forward out of his chair," Masin concluded.
Morse is a cheat.
Knowing where even a single ace or 10 card is can tip the odds in a player's favor.
If they are flashing it, I will look at it.
They forced me to get better," Morse says.
You can focus in where that one single card is and cut precisely to that location.
I have done this," Morse said.
He estimates that a good player can achieve a 1 percent or 2 percent edge over the casino in only about 12 percent of the blackjack games there.
They don't have the patience and discipline to wait to get the edge.
And the edge is very small.
We are talking about single-digit percentages.
For most people it's not worth their time.
Instead, he came upon a book that changed his life, the holy text for counters: "Beat the Dealer," by Edward O.
Thorp, a mathematician, devised a strategy of tracking the high- and low-value more info that shifts the advantage slightly from the house to the gambler.
Within a decade, Morse moved to Atlantic City, where he lived, gambling full time, until the casino commission banned him.
By his own count, he was arrested at least 18 times in casinos between 1989 and 1996.
Even now, mostly out of the game for years, Morse remains something of a mythic figure in the furtive world of card counting blackjack players.
This infamous counter is a man pit bosses want to meet -- before they toss him out of their casino.
Advantage Play Counters are among those known in the casino industry as "advantage players," gamblers -- not cheaters -- who use their wits to outfox the house.
Some are so good that casinos work hard to make life hard for them.
A typical tactic is to tell them they are not welcome or push them to play at a table where betting is limited.
If the gambler refuses, he may be charged with trespassing.
They are going to make business decisions," said Stanford Wong, author of "Professional Blackjack," published in 1977 and still considered a bible of the game.
Florence, former director of surveillance at The Mirage casino in Las Vegas, is familiar with Morse.
He said advantage players are largely harmless, but a handful can do serious damage and a casino has the right to limit service to these people.
He has been told he can't make large bets.
Some casinos have ordered the deck shuffled after every casino island blackjack cheat to interrupt his counting.
He has been arrested, charged with trespassing, held in jail, brought to the backroom, politely asked to leave and escorted out by security.
These days cameras at many large casinos use digital surveillance software that compares the faces of players at blackjack tables with databases of known card counters and "undesirables.
New technology will allow casinos the ability to track every card dealt and every chip bet, thereby tipping a casino off if a card counter is at work, since a counter will dramatically increase betting if he thinks he knows what cards are going to be played.
Just by speaking with them, the card counter, 99 out of 100 times, will say, 'No problem; see you later,"' said William Velardo, chief executive officer of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority.
Foxwoods has the same policy.
We demand a fair price for that product," Vellardo said.
Nersesian sees a pattern of intimidation, where advantage players are handcuffed, taken to back rooms and later arrested.
There are probably 3,000 who are skilled enough to play with a consistent edge over the casino," Nersesian said.
According to Jim Pepin, vice president of sales and marketing for Biometrica, a New Jersey company that supplies surveillance software to casinos, most card counters "are pretty awful.
A group of men in suits approached the table and told the counter to leave.
I know the drill.
They get on the phone.
It's obvious," said Morse, who left with a friend and went to eat in a restaurant in the learn more here />Mohegan Sun wasn't finished, though.
State police went looking for him and found him as he finished his cannoli.
Casino officials wanted him charged with trespassing.
They tell me to accompany them, that they are the real police.
One of the detectives shook my hand and was almost apologetic about the thing," Morse recalled.
You can plead guilty and send in your 92 bucks.
Morse also wasn't having much casino island blackjack cheat returning to his old haunts in Las Vegas.
At the opulent Bellagio they were ready for him when he stepped inside the casino not long ago.
It was a casino executive.
He says, 'Hi, Mr.
Do you remember me?
Morse insists he doesn't have to gamble.
He lives by himself, frugally, and can make a comfortable living off stock market investments.
He admits he misses the camaraderie, "the social aspects" of the article source />It's been 10 years.
I haven't been in any trouble.
I'm not out there casino island blackjack cheat thousands of dollars.
I have no necessity to do so.
Even if I never go into another casino again in my life I'm OK.
If he gets off the exclusion list, he promises to return to the Boardwalk casinos, even if it means not using his infamous card-cutting technique.
A story on Page 1 Monday incorrectly reported the date as 1995.
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