Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Cutting Edge: Beating Vegas - 8.30pm tonight on SBS

"This documentary tells how a group of American college students created a way to the beat the casinos - legally. In this ultimate 'revenge of the nerds' tale the students used a mixture of strategy, theatre and sheer nerve as they lived every gamblers' fantasy and made millions of dollars.

In the early 1960s a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor devised a mathematical probability program for the game of blackjack. His calculations led to card counting - where players use a mathematical formula enabling them to predict the value of cards and place winning bets. In the 1990s, the competitive and mathematically brilliant students at MIT formed blackjack teams. Card counting is not illegal but casinos have the right to eject or ban anyone who may be a threat to their bankroll.

So through intensive practice sessions lasting months the students perfected the art of undetectable card counting and secret signalling to coordinate their playing and betting. The students also had to create credible identities as high rolling gamblers as once again they had to fool the casinos - in this case to convince them that the students were authentic clients with the money and personalities of big-betting clients.

One student pretended to be a Russian arms dealer and another used wigs and outfits to transform her identity. Meanwhile the casinos analysed their losses and realised, even though it represented a miniscule percentage of their profits, that someone was doing the inadmissible and 'beating the house'. From the US, in English)"

I have read or heard of this story before. Sounds like an interesting doco.

Source: http://www.ebroadcast.com.au