back to article CCTV hack takes casino for $33 MILLION in poker losses

A sophisticated scheme to use a casino's own security systems against it has netted scammers $33m in a high-stakes poker game after they were able to gain a crucial advantage by seeing the opposition's cards. The team used a high-rolling accomplice from overseas who was known to spend large amounts while gambling at Australia' …

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  1. Bernard

    Cojones

    Scamming a casino out of big money takes cojones. Being the on-the-ground frontman for the scam even more so.

    If he has a mysterious accident or decides that life isn't worth it in the next year or two then I don't see anyone being too surprised.

    1. firefly
      Linux

      Re: Cojones

      I don't see how the casino lost anything. In poker you're playing against your fellow players around the table and not against the house. The house makes its money by taking a small percentage of each pot, known as the rake, or in tournament play they will take 10-15% of the buy-in.

      The only possibility is that the casino, so not to piss off some valued customers, voluntarily compensated the players who were scammed.

      Linux, because...

      1. Mephistro Silver badge

        Re: Cojones (@ firefly)

        As the scam was performed using the casino's infrastructure and bypassing the casino's security, and probably with the help of some of the casino's staff, the casino is liable. Either they pay the money scammed voluntarily, or their insurance does, or a judge will make them pay after a lengthy (= expensive) process.

        Not that I feel sorry for the bastards :-D

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cojones but

        Did it really happen or was he one of those players too good to be allowed to play.

        Did he have a hidden earpiece, going to he loo a lot or was he taking calls on his mobile?

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Cojones but

          "Did he have a hidden earpiece, going to he loo a lot or was he taking calls on his mobile?" I was wondering that, too. Getting the information was relatively straightforward, if complex in practice. Relaying that information is the real trick. I doubt the old "hearing aid" trick wouldn't work, not when money was being lost hand over fist, and surely the casino has those private suites screened from radio anyway (if they don't, then they may well have to show it isn't negligent failure). I am intrigued ...

        2. Psyx

          Re: Cojones but

          "too good to be allowed to play."

          There's no such thing at a poker table, because the House just takes a cut. They don't care who wins. They only care that a lot of money goes over the table, hence the guy being Comp'ed a massive suite: He obviously had a prior reputation as a whale. The only thing that happens if you're 'too good' is that the House might offer you work playing for them.

          "Did he have a hidden earpiece, going to he loo a lot or was he taking calls on his mobile?"

          There are at least half a dozen other ways to communicate. Simply strip down a 'phone/radio to the bare essentials and stash it on-person so that it signals the wearer by vibrating various signals. 1 buzz for 'fold now, you'll get owned', 2 for 'bet big, you've got the winning hand' et cetera.

      3. andy 45
        FAIL

        Re: Cojones

        "I don't see how the casino lost anything"

        They lost their reputation. What sucker is going to go and play in their Casin when they could end up being scammed out of millions?

  2. Tezfair
    Thumb Up

    Oceans 14

    IRL?

  3. ecofeco Silver badge
    WTF?

    No Laws Broken?

    This can't be right, can it? No crime?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: No Laws Broken?

      You could probably get illegal wiretapping on the books, but casino cheating isn't normally in the books as a crime, especially if they don't involve the instruments of the game (in this case, the cards). Still, as happened here, the casino is perfectly withing their rights to tell a cheater to get out and stay out. Happens all the time, and casinos usually pass around blacklists between each other to help keep them in the loop about cheats who might try to find new haunts.

      Still, given the sophistication involved here, I would (pardon the pun) place my bets on an inside job.

      1. Brad Ackerman
        Pirate

        Re: No Laws Broken?

        IANAL in any jurisdiction, but shouldn't Crimes Act 1958 §81 (obtaining property by deception) and/or §82 (obtaining financial advantage by deception) apply?

    2. Vulch
      Coat

      Re: No Laws Broken?

      If Australian law matches English in this respect, bets are "debts of honour". There's no legal recourse for failure to pay out or against cheating.

      1. Throatwobbler Mangrove
        Boffin

        Re: No Laws Broken?

        ss334-335 of The Gambling Act 2005 (E&W) changed that rule: gambling debts are now enforceable in England & Wales. http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/ihtmanual/ihtm28130.htm

        1. BongoJoe

          Re: No Laws Broken?

          Indeed and that law is now very useful.

          Want to pass on a house to your beneficiaries without having to sell it to pay Inheritance Tax? Just sit down with a pack of cards and go on a very bad losing run...

          1. Jon Green
            Facepalm

            Re: No Laws Broken?

            Except that Capital Gains Tax would probably be incurred, and Stamp Duty would be payable.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No Laws Broken?

      It's most definitely a crime here in Nevada. You will go to jail for a long time. There's a joke around here about murder not being a big deal as long as you don't cheat a casino out of money while doing it.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: No Laws Broken?

        Yep when a state has no income tax due to making its dime off gambling they would have to be stupid not to not make cheating a casino a felony (which it is in Nevada). From what I understand they also have some of the toughest drug laws in the US as they can't tax that sin (heard one pot seed is a felony there).

  4. Jim O'Reilly
    Holmes

    Only $4 Million per hand?

    Probably a Red Army hacking officer doing a bit of moonlighting for a nice profit.

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Holmes

    Brings a new consideration to the phrase

    "If you can't find the sucker in the game, it's you..."

    I'm confused though: did he rip off the casino, or the other player(s)? If the latter, do they have a case against the casino for improperly securing their monitoring and thus enabling the scam?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

      I would imagine the other players are now suing the casino and in a reasonable country it would have lost its licence

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Flame

        Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

        > and in a reasonable country it would have lost its licence

        A reasonable country would investigate the circumstances and once the all evidence had been collected a reasonable country would assess the evidence, come to a conclusion and then take appropriate action.

        On the other hand an unreasonable country would have a knee jerk reaction like revoking a license without any due process.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

          A reasonable country wouldn't allow gambling full stop.

          1. Bumpy Cat
            Facepalm

            Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

            Yes, because banning gambling, like banning drugs, will immediately result in the complete cessation of all such activity and no-one would ever gamble illegaly.

            1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

              "A reasonable country wouldn't allow gambling full stop."

              "Yes, because banning gambling, like banning drugs, will immediately result in the complete cessation of all such activity and no-one would ever gamble illegaly."

              I upvoted both these, even though they are contradictory, because they represent how I feel myself.

              Whilst I don't use drugs and I don't gamble, I can see the utility of one (drugs), but not the other (gambling). In an ideal world, gambling would not be state sanctioned, and certainly advertising wouldn't be allowed (I am actually repelled by the averts for the various gambling establishments that have recently been allowed on British TV). However, in order to be consistent, since I think that drug-use should be legalised and brought within the remit of the State because it is an aspect of freedom,* and because it reduces harm to those indulge, then I logically have to accept the legalisation of gambling.

              *Unlike libertarians, I don't think that freedom resides in being free to die at the hands of someone less scrupulous than you.

            2. boltar Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

              "Yes, because banning gambling, like banning drugs, will immediately result in the complete cessation of all such activity and no-one would ever gamble illegaly."

              By the same logic why make ANY crimes illegal? After all, people will commit them anyway , right?

              Why does anyone still use this fscking moronic banning-won't-prevent-it argument? No it won't but it will make it happen less.

              1. pepper

                Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

                Boltar, banning wont make it happend les either, especially if it happend before.

                You also have to keep in account the fact that some crimes are not viewed as a crime by society in large(gambling, drugs use, alcohol use etc).

                1. boltar Silver badge
                  WTF?

                  Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

                  "You also have to keep in account the fact that some crimes are not viewed as a crime by society in large(gambling, drugs use, alcohol use etc)."

                  I don't know what society you live in but where I come almost everyone sees drug use as a crime.

                  1. Bumpy Cat

                    Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

                    @boltar - I personally think using drugs is stupid and have never wanted to try.

                    However, in the UK something like a quarter of the population has used or currently uses illegal drugs. From where I sit right now I can walk 500m in any direction and, if I knew who to ask, I could buy illegal drugs. Every year record amounts of drugs are seized - which means, if you think about it, that the amount coming in is increasing.

                    The War on Drugs is OVER. Drugs WON. What we should do now is follow Portugal's model of treating addiction and drug use as a medical/social matter.

                    1. boltar Silver badge
                      Facepalm

                      Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

                      "The War on Drugs is OVER. Drugs WON. What we should do now is follow Portugal's model of treating addiction and drug use as a medical/social matter."

                      So you believe that if drugs were made legal usage wouldn't go up? Or what exactly?

                      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                        Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

                        1. If we look at the Netherlands, we see the possibility of drug use going DOWN because the "forbidden fruit" effect is gone (some people will partake simply because it's illegal--sticking it to The Man and all).

                        2. Once it's legal, drugs can be regulated. Manufacturers can be inspected and quality controls enacted. IOW, you can help make sure that whatever goes out is as safe as you can expect from it. The users than inherit whatever risks are inherent with the drug.

                        3. You can still ban specific drugs for significantly justifiable reasons (for example, drugs with a very easy tendency to overdose so whose safety can't be controlled).

                        Take a look at the US and alcohol. Was alcohol easier to control DURING Prohibition...or AFTER Prohibition?

                      2. Vic

                        Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

                        > So you believe that if drugs were made legal usage wouldn't go up?

                        Evidence from other countries indicates that there is an initial spike in use, followed by a downwards trend such that, after a little while, total use is down.

                        But what it would *really* do is to take away the easy source of large amounts of revenue for the criminals that control the drugs trade. And that's far more important than whether or not someone likes a bit of puff.

                        Vic.

                        1. Bumpy Cat

                          Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

                          @ boltar - if drugs were legal and forced a health intervention rather than arrest, organised crime would take a massive hit. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the anti-legalisation lobbying is paid for by narco-criminals.

                    2. Psyx
                      Pint

                      Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

                      "I personally think using drugs is stupid and have never wanted to try."

                      Yet you drink beer and coffee, eat chocolate, maybe smoke, and take whatever pills the doctor tells you to?

                      That seems a little incongruous, I must say.

                      1. Bumpy Cat
                        Happy

                        Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

                        @Psyx - I'm teetotal and don't smoke. I do drink coffee and eat chocolate. I try to avoid painkillers.

                        I avoid drugs partly because a lot of people act like a tit when they're drunk/high/stoned. The main reason I think it's stupid is that you are injecting, smoking or ingesting random chemicals that you bought from criminals. If you think that's clever, I have a bridge to sell you.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

                    Drugs are fun, m'kay?

                  3. Psyx
                    Stop

                    Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

                    "I don't know what society you live in but where I come almost everyone sees drug use as a crime."

                    Really?

                    You mean they've finally realised that our society doses itself senseless on a combination of alcohol, caffeine, hormone-and-mind-adjusting contraceptive pills, ant-depressants and beta-blockers which cause major personality shifts, chocolate, nicotine et al.

                    There's some other drugs which aren't so legally available, but nearly all of those are far less harmful than most of the above.

              2. James 36

                Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

                @boltar

                read this

                http://files.stv.tv/pdf/heroin-seizure.pdf

                banning drugs barely reduces their availability so you could argue that it has no effect on use, or could indeed make the social effect of drug use worse by putting criminals in charge of the sale and distribution and putting the profits in criminals hands, on the other hand murder is probably best left illegal.

            3. Psyx
              Holmes

              Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

              "Yes, because banning gambling, like banning drugs, will immediately result in the complete cessation of all such activity and no-one would ever gamble illegaly."

              It kind of beggars belief that it's still ok to advertise it so heavily though.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

            > A reasonable country wouldn't allow gambling full stop.

            You mean reasonable countries like:

            Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Algeria, etc all of whom are noted for the reasonableness of their judicial systems and all of whom ban gambling.

      2. FutureShock999

        Re: Brings a new consideration to the phrase

        Yes, because it is in Melbourne's best interest to destroy the massive investments the city has centred around The Crown Casino in the Southbank area, which over the past 10+ years transformed the area south of the Yarra from a dump into valuable real estate, corporate headquarters, and luxury residential skyscrapers. Let's go ahead and pull their entire license because someone scammed them. Do you even understand that it was not the casino's fault, but actual crooks operating there? That's like saying "Let's close down Citibank because some mobsters installed credit card scanning devices in a few Citibank ATMs." EVERY business gets scammed or taken at some point, period.

        1. Jon Green
          FAIL

          "Do you even understand that it was not the casino's fault"

          So remind me: whose lax security allowed the game to be gamed?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Do you even understand that it was not the casino's fault"

            > So remind me: whose lax security allowed the game to be gamed?

            A the present moment that is unknown.

            It could be that the manufacturers of the equipment left an unknown security hole, or the OS vendors a flaw allowing hackers in or the Casino never patched or left the network unsecured. Or it may be that everything was patched and secured properly and the hacker bribed or blackmailed an insider.

            Just because security was breached does not automatically mean that security was lax. You can take all of the correct and justified security measures and still have your security breached. For example, a local store had a reinforced front, alarms that fed directly to the police, high def security cameras that recorded both on and off site, embedded posts in the pavement in front. It still didn't help when a truck was driven through the front and the cash machine stolen.

  6. Ragequit
    Joke

    My bet...

    Unsecured wireless AP's. lol. I would hope not. It probably was an inside job or a bit of social engineering. Say someone posing as a CCTV repairman from the hotel's chosen vendor... or even getting a job with said vendor. Whatever it was it was a weak link. There really shouldn't be a physical link between the CCTV system and the internet connectivity in the rooms but...

  7. EJ

    Are we to infer from the story this was a Chinese crim?

  8. Scott Pedigo
    Go

    All Bets Are Now Off

    The high-roller was king for a day, but his scam was deduced by an ace detective. The pair of cheaters, flush with victory, must now go straight.

    1. Shagbag

      flush with victory

      and flush with cash!

    2. LinkOfHyrule
      Paris Hilton

      Re: All Bets Are Now Off

      Looks like we got ourselves a couple of jokers here!

  9. Buzzword

    Faraday cage

    For true security, these high-roller private rooms should be enclosed within a Faraday cage. No leaking of Wifi, 3G, Bluetooth, ham radio, or indeed anything. It's the only way they can be sure.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Faraday cage

      Why downvote this? When you can lose 30million because your security wasn't good enough, the cost of building a metal frame into the walls, doors ceiling and floor is pretty small. A faraday cage is not exactly impossibly complicated, it just needs wire mesh stuck to the walls and ceiling followed by a decorator plastering over it. (the floor could be done simply by sticking the wire mesh under the carpet?)

      At most, your looking at that sort of project being in the tens of thousands range, which is not unreasonably expensive for something which would have prevented this outright.

      Trustworthy staff would have also prevented it happening, but I don't trust my staff not to open viruses that people send them, and I doubt that anybody else here does either. I certainly wouldn't bet anything on them not accepting a couple of million pound bribe!

      1. P. Lee Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Faraday cage

        The first fail was thinking that spying on your customers was a good idea.

        The second fail was consolidating the information from the spying.

        The third was the security/social engineering breach.

        The fourth fail was stopping it before it became humoungous, leading to the possibility of a film with Mr Cluney in it.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Faraday cage

          "The first fail was thinking that spying on your customers was a good idea." Ironically, this is done in all "respectable" gambling establishments in order to identify cheating. There are levels of security in casinos that would make a government weep. Everything from straight observation to pattern recognition, both by humans and machines. Security in depth at its best.

          "The second fail was consolidating the information from the spying." Well, maybe yes, maybe no - part of the security comes from consolidating and integrating the data. Whether the benefits outweigh the risks is a different question.

          "The third was the security/social engineering breach." Which are almost impossible to eliminate. If the person you want can't be bought, s/he can be threatened either directly or by threats to significant others. Not so much a "Fail" on the part of the casino, because no-one is immune from social-engineering one way or another.

          I was hoping Bruce Schneier's blog would have something on this, but I don't see it.

    2. Psyx
      Boffin

      Re: Faraday cage

      I'm guessing that the kind of person who splashes millions of the poker tables is the kind of person who has other things going on in life that are quite important and has a great sense of entitlement.

      ie: Good luck telling them they can't use their mobile 'phone for 12 hours.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Faraday cage

        Actually, until only a few short years ago, it was against the regulations to have a phone on in sight of a gambling table. If the phone rang, you had to move away from the table to take the call.

        I have seen many instances of people cheating in casinos, from cameras up the sleeve to teams of "top-hatters". All that are caught become instantly PNG in the UK. Casinos were using facial recognition software years ago.

        1. PC Paul
          Mushroom

          Re: Faraday cage

          "All that are caught become instantly PNG in the UK"

          i.e. images of them were all that were left...

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Faraday cage

            I sincerely hope you were just joking on an alternate interpretation on this abbreviation of "Persona Non Grata".

    3. CaptainHook

      Re: Faraday cage

      Faraday cage might help with stopping getting signals back into the room to prevent the guy at the table from learning how to bet at each hand but you'll note that the CCTV camera feed is going offsite to the Gambling Commision... and also presumably out of the room for the in house survailance team (i.e. I doubt the CCTV monitoring station is in the same room).

      That means all the CCTV feeds are already being shipped at the very least around the hotel and probably offsite to a different building. Hopefully the camera's probably have a some sort of basic encryption and I would hope that the feed going off site is getting additional more beef encryption.

      Sounds like someone somewhere managed to get physical access the the network equipment and either the feed decryption keys or the feed at that point wasn't even encrypted which is possible if the hotel thought no one would have access to the network hardware.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Damn

    Why didn't I think of that

    1. Wallyb132
      Unhappy

      Re: Damn

      "Why didn't I think of that"

      That was the first thing i said...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    Got access to the casino's CCTV systems

    "At the same time, an unnamed person got access to the casino's CCTV systems in the poker room and fed the information he gleaned back to the player via a wireless link"

    Purely as a matter of interest, how did they get access to the CCTV system?

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Got access to the casino's CCTV systems

      It's interesting they managed to do that without breaking any laws. That would suggest the access was authorised for another reason? Unauthorised access etc would normally fall under some law in most countries right?

      1. Disintegrationnotallowed

        Re: Got access to the casino's CCTV systems

        This is what got me too, how did they get access without breaking any laws?

        The only thing that I can think is that there was a weakness in the security somewhere? Maybe in the transmission to the gambling commission. If somehow this was presenting on an "open" channel that anyone could see, then it may be considered publicly available. Any other method i.e. hacking into the system, intercepting transmissions, or man in the middle attacks would presumably fall foul of some law or other?

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Got access to the casino's CCTV systems

          If the official description of how it happened is trying as hard as this to be non-specific then it was probably an inside job.

  12. Disintegrationnotallowed

    The Herald Sun understands remote access to the venue's security system was given to an unauthorised person.....

    Hmmm so a social engineering hack then, i.e. they handed the person the "keys" to the door when he asked for them in the right way, hence they are at fault for handing the info over?

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      "... hence they are at fault for handing the info over?"

      Not necessarily. A suitably placed employee could have been paid in some way, or threatened, in order to get the required access. There is mention in the article of a VIP handler (or similar term) being sacked - this may or may not be related to the access to the cameras etc.

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Happy

    Obvious when you think about it.

    Using the casino's own security system to watch the other players cards.

    Obvious really.

    I'll suggest the reallytricky bit is passing the information back to the player.

    NFC anyone? It's (allegedly) been done before.

    I'm fairly sure this will come under "mechanical assistance" of the player.

  14. Steve Graham
    Pirate

    Universal Plug'n'Pray

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/29/cctv_vuln/

  15. Eradicate all BB entrants

    Never mind the scam on the game .....

    ....... it's the $30k a night villa that left me shocked.

    1. The_H

      Re: Never mind the scam on the game .....

      Me too. Clearly not one of the *very* high rollers, if he only got put up in a Villa.

      Nice, but not the nicest on offer at Crown.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Never mind the scam on the game .....

      I obviously have imagination failure - what can you possibly get for $30k a night that you can't get for £500 somewhere else? All you need is a bed, an internet connection, possibly cable TV, a bath/shower, and someone to bring food and drink when you want it, but it will be added to the bill. Oh, and some reasonable security and privacy - make the top figure £1500 a night.

      I genuinely am baffled ...

    3. Ralph B
      Pirate

      Re: Never mind the scam on the game .....

      I was more thinking: They have a turnover of $33m in a single game, but report only $181m profit for the whole year.

      I think the crime is actually being committed by the Casino's accountants, and the victims are the Australian tax payers.

  16. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    Crown

    Suffer in ya jocks!

  17. ShadowedOne
    Stop

    The VIP handler..

    Wait, why fire the handler? Was he/she in on it, or just spite for not being able to read the VIP's mind?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The VIP handler..

      "Either he was in on it, or he was too stupid to see what was happening right under his nose. Either way, he's of no use to me." to paraphrase a certain casino boss.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: The VIP handler..

      Which VIP is going to trust that handler again? (S)he has just become dead wood.

    3. david 12 Bronze badge

      Re: The VIP handler..

      Of course the implication is that the employee was complicit, so if they weren't complicit, I hope they got a good payout.

      My second guess was that the owners had, like the old Mob owners in the USA before the companies were allowed in, fired him/her as unlucky.

      But on third thoughts, maybe he/she is on commission. Commission employees get dropped if they can't meet target, and this one will definitely not meet target.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Greedy

    They got caught due to greed.

    How many others got away?

    And why would you play poker in a room with real time cameras watching your every move anyway... that is asking for a fleecing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Greedy

      "And why would you play poker in a room with real time cameras watching your every move anyway... that is asking for a fleecing."

      Speaking as a professional security theorist and not as a gambler (I have other vices) , having known someone fairly well who has makes a living as a professional gambler for 3 decades, your risk of a fleecing in a managed casino is very much less than somewhere else where a gun can be pulled, or more to the point where you are less likely to have an independent third party dealing the cards and providing the table and a cage to change money into chips and vice versa where they check ID. The in-house cameras are an important part of the security a well managed casino can provide.

      You will know as a punter in a managed casino exactly what the casino takes for setting the table and dealing the cards anyway in a poker game where the casino isn't party to the betting. The insurance you get for casino security failure at that price, I would guess depends upon your ability to prove it.

  19. Why Not?
    Facepalm

    You would have thought the first thing they would have done to a cctv feed was obfuscated the cards. Google smudge anyone??

    1. YetAnotherLocksmith
      Angel

      Because a feed to Google would be more secure?

      So your theory is that the card footage would be more secure if it was fed live to the Big G servers so they could scan for, track, then obscure the cards? I can see a flaw or two here.

      Further, since most cheating is by the person holding the cards, leaving the "trusted" security officer unable to see that the 4 cards in someone's hand just changed from a low pair to a high pair, or indeed into both, would be a big step backwards.

      Would you like to play "Find the Queen" while we wait? You can trust me. Just look at my icon, it has a halo.

      1. Why Not?
        Boffin

        Re: Because a feed to Google would be more secure?

        no but when proposing technology to non technical people I tend to compare it to widely known public version that way they have a reference to base a decision on. Suggesting we use opencv to pixellate the cards tends to lead to a lot of head scratching.

        Therefore to illustrate obscuring cards I compare it to the smudge feature on google maps, most people understand such things.

        Sometimes the audience are so stupid that when I say lets open coffee house like Starbucks they do that then complain they get sued for calling their coffee house 'Like Starbucks but we pay tax'.

        Stupid is as stupid does - I still have problems coming to terms with that.

  20. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  21. FanniM

    I have a lot of respect for anyone who wins against a casino

    1. Dave Bell
      Big Brother

      Sometimes it's just luck.

      While there are a few known ways of winning in certain games of chance that don't depend on accessing secret knowledge--any player can count the cards in Blackjack--a casino is set up against the players. They bias the odds they pay out. so that some money sticks with them. But when enough people play the unusual events happen. It's like tossing coins: getting ten heads in a row is very unlikely to happen, but it does.

      Another factor, and we go back to Blaise Pascal for the math on it, is that even in fair game, the player with more money has an advantage. If it's a dollar a play, and you only have one dollar, you have to win that first game.

      We can talk about the banks being the insanely wealthy predating on the rest of us. Casinos are the predators on the insanely wealthy.

      1. FutureShock999

        Re: Sometimes it's just luck.

        Casinos are not "predators". They are an amusement that one partakes of out of one's one self-judgement. I lived within 5 blocks of The Crown for a year, I think I lost maybe $100AU to them. I "lost" far more in the restaurants, bars and nightclubs that are part of the complex...and waiter, another bottle of "Ten Minutes by Tractor" for the table, please....yummy.

        1. Why Not?
          FAIL

          Re: Sometimes it's just luck.

          Sorry when I was visiting South Africa I came across a Casino with a field of slot machines played almost exclusively by dirt poor workers in that situation Predator is the correct description.

          I would imagine the average loss by normal people in Vegas is in the thousands, for Warren Buffet that is nothing, for most people its a lot of money they didn't want to lose.

    2. Psyx

      Why? It's dumb luck.

  22. John Savard Silver badge

    Puzzled

    The player who was part of the conspiracy, while he might be out of reach of the law because he has "returned to his overseas home" - I'm surprised he isn't named in the news stories, and there isn't a warrant for his arrest.

    In general, wherever gambling is legal, any interference with it is criminalized. In Canada, people can even be jailed for card counting at Blackjack.

    1. Trevor Marron

      Re: Puzzled

      As card counting is done in your head (or it should be) how can it be illegal, or is it a thought crime now? Card counting is not exactly rocket science and every serious blackjack player is doing it.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Puzzled

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Card_counting

        supports my recollection of being told that U.S. casinos bar people who seem to be winning by remembering the order of cards. They may be actually counting cards, or doing something else. Either way, apparently it cuts into casino profit.

        1. David Neil

          Re: Puzzled

          "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Card_counting

          supports my recollection of being told that U.S. casinos bar people who seem to be winning by remembering the order of cards. They may be actually counting cards, or doing something else. Either way, apparently it cuts into casino profit."

          Card counting is more useful in Blackjack and in that game you are playing the house - in Poker you are playing other people on your side of the table, the house takes a fixed cut of turnover

      2. Psyx
        Holmes

        Re: Puzzled

        "As card counting is done in your head (or it should be) how can it be illegal"

        It's not. It's just against casino rules, and they'll ban you and pass your photo to every other casino once you get caught. Ultimately they are a business, gambling is their business not anyone's right, and they are allowed to refuse custom.

  23. DougS Silver badge

    $33 million in EIGHT HANDS?

    I guess the guys at the table with him have way more money than poker smarts. Think about it. In so few hands, the odds that you see one of your opponents get some great cards that inspire him to bet to the wall, but you have even better ones, aren't all that great. So that probably isn't what happened. Smart opponents would take longer to take to the cleaners, unless they got really damn lucky with the cards in the 8th hand. I would love to see the CCTV footage for the eight hands, but that probably isn't in the cards :)

    1. Dave Bell

      Re: $33 million in EIGHT HANDS?

      This method seems to stop you making big losses, but you need to be able to match the other players.

      $33 Million in Eight hands? And how many players? Was that winning eight hands out of more being played, or one big win? What gave the stunt away?

      Either it was the technology that raised an alarm, the player was too good, or his style of play was suddenly very different. And that last might be why the VIP Host is out of a job for not noticing.

      And, yeah, you wonder about the other players.

      Anyway, even on the vague reports, I can see there being a film made from this. Don't set it in Australia. Don't have Chinese gamblers.

      Don't play poker against somebody who looks like Geoge Clooney.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: $33 million in EIGHT HANDS?

      Don't make such a big deal about the AMOUNT of the take. The article notes that this was a very exclusive room, indicating this was a high-stakes cash game. In such an environment, six- to seven-figure wagers can and will happen. For all we know, the table had $50,000 antes and blinds in the $100,000-$200,000 range (if a community card game like Texas Holdem was being played). IIRC such high stakes are not limited to poker. IIRC, baccarat was famously known as a favorite among high-stakes gamblers.

  24. turborock

    casino care?

    Why do the casino care? "The company is "in a good position to recover a significant portion of the amount involved in the scam."" Of which they lost £0 I assume. As it was poker they would have taken their rake and been happy, the "loss" would be the other players betting.

  25. Joe Montana
    FAIL

    Incompetent security is worse than none at all

    This scam was only possible because the casino was being paranoid about cheating, but doing so in an incompetent way. It just goes to show, if you can't do something properly then don't do it at all.

    1. FutureShock999

      Re: Incompetent security is worse than none at all

      I've spent time at The Crown - I lived nearly next door for a year. NOTHING about that place is "incompetent". It is run like a machine, as well as any Vegas casino I've been in. It had huge investment, it's physical plant is first rate, and the staff seem switched on. This is most likely a money-induced personnel failure....

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boring

    What a boring outcome. No chance of a film!

  27. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    Wait till they REALLY minaturise Google glass until it fits a contact lens....

    My thinking is the casino deserved it!

  28. IT Hack
    Pint

    Measure Twice Cut Once

    A perfect example why any security system needs to be evaluated (read - hammered to shit) by an external source that is trustworthy before going live.

    Pint while I wait for the call that will never come.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Measure Twice Cut Once

      And how do you stop insiders? What about the connection to the commission?

  29. pierce
    Facepalm

    phew to heck with the $30K/night suite.... the $30M was won in EIGHT hands ?!? thats some big stakes poker.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any good films/books about ripping off casinos? I don't know enough about this.

    1. MacroRodent Silver badge
      Boffin

      The Newtonian Casino

      > Any good films/books about ripping off casinos?

      "The Newtonian casino": A true story of some very clever students figuring out how to improve their odds in roulette with a hidden microcomputer in the 1970s. It did not work quite as well as planned, but a good yarn.

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Newtonian-Casino-Penguin-Press-Science/dp/0140145931

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: The Newtonian Casino

        There was a TV series in the US called, "Breaking Vegas," which was all about true stories of outwitting casinos (not just in Vegas). It was based on a pilot special which described the time a college professor and a few students became well-trained Blackjack card counters, and it went on from there. I recall one episode having a family of (I think) Latinos training themselves to study roulette wheels for bias.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "21"

      I thoroughly enjoyed that film. It had sciencey bits.

  31. ed moran

    Phil Ivey.

    On a similar topic (big player, big win, possible collusion- at least that's what the casino hints, but they would wouldn't they?) does anyone know how the Ivey v Crockford's Casino dispute stands?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a former employee of Casinos in both the UK and abroad, I've read a lot of these posts with barely disguisable incredulity!

    "The casino deserved it" is one that springs to mind! - Casinos are there to provide an environment for gaming. I know for a fact that in the UK this is very heavily watched. From the size of the canoes on a roulette wheel (Yes, go look it up!), to the markings on the backs of cards. Everything is checked to make the game as "honest" as possible. Of course, the odds are in favour of the house, otherwise there would be no such thing as a casino!

    I've seen enough high-rollers to know that that sort of money is NOTHING to them. And yes, I will ask my friends at Crockfords what the score on Ivey is.... Hope to get an answer for those interested!

    AC because...well, I think that's obvious!

  33. Purlieu

    Faraday cage

    Sticking some wire mesh around the place is not eonough.

    Look up "Tempest"

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