More Non-Random Video Blackjack
Blackjack Simulation Software From ET Fan:
Rip-Off Robo-Dealers: More Non-Random Video BlackjackBy Allan Pell
(From Blackjack Forum Vol. XII #4, December 1992)
© 1992 Blackjack Forum
I feel cheated. I had planned on following up on "Invasion of the Robo-Dealers" with another article, but the Oakland fire got in the way, and all my research went up in smoke. Material or not, Arnold called me with a request for a succinct follow-up... so here it is in a nutshell...
If you play video poker, video blackjack, video craps, video roulette or video keno outside of the jurisdictions of the Nevada Gaming Control Board or the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, you may be getting ripped off.
During the course of gathering research material for "Invasion of the Robo-Dealers," I received technical sheets and even technical manuals from every device manufacturer reviewed in the article. Every manufacturer had software or hardware methods (dip-switch settings) which the casino could use to change the payout of the machines. Typically the settings ranged from 99% to 84% payouts. So what does this mean in a blackjack game?
Video machines that deal card games within Nevada and New Jersey must meet strict software requirements in that the probabilities must simulate true probabilities with randomly shuffled cards. Both gaming boards go to great lengths to insure randomly-dealt games; they even examine the programming sourcecode, and test a prototype of the games for zillions of trials to check for randomness.
Blackjack and video poker machines in Nevada and New Jersey make money for the casinos only by varying the posted rules and/or the payout schedules. In some video blackjack games I've seen in Nevada, you are not allowed to split pairs. Some only allow you to double down on ten and eleven, and the rules get even worse, like blackjack pays even money... If you're a three dimensional thinking blackjack predator like myself, you can figure out the vigorish (house edge) against you.
Outside of Nevada and New Jersey, no protection exists for the unsuspecting player. In effect, the manufacturers are cheating you--legally that is! Devices may lure players with great rules, but the software can defeat you with everything from peeking and dealing seconds, to programming that prevents you from getting a blackjack in your lifetime. This also applies to other video games--seven out more often in craps, etc. The machines can be programmed to defeat you, regardless of the supposed odds of the game.
I've seen it with my own eyes in Japan, and arnold has relayed some horror stories to me from the land down-under. [Note from Arnold Snyder: An Australian reader has told me he's seen these video blackjack machines in numerous foreign casinos, and has yet to see anyone win on one of them.] You are being cheated (or, at least, you are according to the standards that casino players take for granted in Nevada and New Jersey casinos). Typically my play in Japan was in some of the underground (illegal) casinos within Tokyo. I won't get into the Asian gambling mentality, but let's just say you don't have to cheat players in Japan to maintain a hefty blackjack hold. So most of the machines I've played appeared to have been set on a high rate of return--and life was sweet.
However, the dip-switches exist, and outside of Nevada and New Jersey, you are completely unprotected. Now that gambling is booming again, beware when you visit the Indian reservations, riverboats, or cruise ship casinos. The machines they possess may not operate under the laws of God or man.
More on this subject later.
Sayonara from Pell-San. ♠
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