9 thoughts on “Hacking Blackjack

  1. There is a related section of *The Art of Intrusion* by Kevin Mitnick called “Hacking the Casinos for a Million Bucks”; it refers to a group of guys who exploited a weakness in the random number generators of video poker machines – and for the most part, got away with it.

    On a more historical note, he refers to a book called *The Eudaemonic Pie* by Thomas Bass that apparently chronicles “the story of how a band of computer guys and physicists in the 1980s beat roulette in Las Vegas using a ‘wearable computer’ the size of a pack of cigarettes…”

    I remember a really old book from my high school library that had all sorts of card sharp stuff, including stuff like iron filings imbedded in cards and a little clip that would have a mild current go through it and make your arm tingle when you got certain cards it detected, colored contacts that would let you see dyed cards, cigarettes with little mirrors imbedded in their tips, crazy ghetto stuff like that… I want that book now… why did my HS have a book on card sharping??


    I think that more recently there were a few cases of using PDAs and IR to mess with slot machines, or PDAs and a laser to get odds of roulette… or both. I don’t remember.

    If you are interested in stories of taking down casinos in general, there is the famous one chronicled in the book *Bringing Down the House*, about a bunch of math geniuses from MIT who used stats and social engineering to win in Vegas.

    I don’t have cable. Anyone have a torrent of the Breaking Vegas history channel show, perchance? :P

  2. dont worry about getting antsy for def con. I have been going the last 7 years and last year was the last time. It has become a large commerical event with way too many people, and lots and lots of very ugly women wearning nothing or next to nothing because they are “elite”.

  3. yea i ead the part in the art of intrusion, cool stuff

    the interview was intersting (and long) but i still don’t understand what the computer actually did, did it calculate the odds by logging all the cards they had? I imagine that with newer technology like microcontrollers this sort of thing would be really easy

  4. Wonder if any of this stuff is seeing any sort of revival as online gambling becomes more popular? No casino guards or eye-in-the-sky to watch you when your playing poker at home…

  5. I remember the book, The Eudaemonic Pie by Thomas A. Bass, where a bunch of computer geeks made an appratus for determining which quarter of the roulette wheel the ball would land in. It was wonderfully written and is back in print after about 25 years. Well worth the time.

  6. There was a documentry on in the UK last week about this topic and this device featured in it. Was very interesting to watch. When microchip were invented a few years after the computer featured above a device similar sized to a calculator was invented that did the same job, somone got caught using it in a casino and no one could identify what it was, even the FBI at the time because it was so advanced.

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