SandySandfort on January 03, 2011, 04:10:05 pm

J Thomas on January 03, 2011, 04:15:29 pm
The backs of cards are intended to be identical, and not a means of determining what is on their fronts. So I have no problem with treating the use of marked cards, even by passive means, as cheating.

If we get technology that makes it easy to read the backs of cards, we should probably get technology to stop it rather than just try to keep people from using their technology.

We could have cards that have the faces printed on both sides and then insist that honest players not look. But that is not really practical.

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However, in Canada, people have been convicted of cheating - rather than merely thrown out of casinos - for card counting at blackjack. That is going too far, because that clearly is merely skillful play, remembering what cards have gone before.

I agree. But -- what if you counted cards with pencil and paper. Should that be legal? What if you have a computer system that computes odds for you? I tend to think that should be legal, particularly if some people have the computing machinery embedded in them so you can't much tell whether they're doing it.

I figure that if somebody knows the odds a lot better than I do, that doesn't mean they're cheating but it does mean I can't afford to risk much money playing against them. It might change things -- people might choose gambling games that don't involve much computation of odds.

ZeissIkon on January 03, 2011, 05:12:59 pm
I figure that if somebody knows the odds a lot better than I do, that doesn't mean they're cheating but it does mean I can't afford to risk much money playing against them. It might change things -- people might choose gambling games that don't involve much computation of odds.

Then again, how much it's worth to know the odds (relative to the alternate skill of reading the other players) varies somewhat between different variants of poker.  My own personal opinion (completely unbacked by any sort of actual computation) is that 5 card draw, with minimal variations (i.e. not "dealer's choice" games with constantly changing wild cards and winning criteria) offers the highest advantage to a "player reader", while a game like Texas Hold'em (the version seen in the Daniel Craig version of Casino Royale, among other widely seen venues) places the highest emphasis on odds calculation -- in general, that is, more hidden cards in play and more player choices will push the advantage to the human side.

So, even someone who can *read* the cards might be beatable at 5-card draw, deuces and Jokers wild on every hand, by someone who can accurately interpret very subtle and fleeting expressions and body tics (because no matter what he knows, he can't always get the best hands) -- but the best "mind reader" around won't get all that much help at Hold'em, where knowing every card on the table only gives you a better odds estimate prior to dealing the final shared card (hence even the holder of the winning hand only knows what his chances are until that final card falls).

GlennWatson on January 03, 2011, 05:26:25 pm
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Suppose I had such a "natural skill", but required glasses to correct my natural near-sightedness? Where do we draw the line on "artificial means"?


I thought about that possibilty right after I posted.  Its a good question.  Advanced technology might it impossible for the house to make money on gambling.


J Thomas on January 03, 2011, 05:42:49 pm
I figure that if somebody knows the odds a lot better than I do, that doesn't mean they're cheating but it does mean I can't afford to risk much money playing against them. It might change things -- people might choose gambling games that don't involve much computation of odds.

Then again, how much it's worth to know the odds (relative to the alternate skill of reading the other players) varies somewhat between different variants of poker.

That does make sense. If you can consistently tell whether another player thinks he has a good hand, that makes a giant difference. Then the better he is at computing the odds, the better you know whether to raise or fold....

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My own personal opinion (completely unbacked by any sort of actual computation) is that 5 card draw, with minimal variations (i.e. not "dealer's choice" games with constantly changing wild cards and winning criteria) offers the highest advantage to a "player reader", while a game like Texas Hold'em (the version seen in the Daniel Craig version of Casino Royale, among other widely seen venues) places the highest emphasis on odds calculation -- in general, that is, more hidden cards in play and more player choices will push the advantage to the human side.

I don't know enough about the games to have an opinion. What you say sounds reasonable. The less hidden information, the less value you get by knowing the other guy's opinion.

wdg3rd on January 04, 2011, 10:21:32 am
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Suppose I had such a "natural skill", but required glasses to correct my natural near-sightedness? Where do we draw the line on "artificial means"?


I thought about that possibilty right after I posted.  Its a good question.  Advanced technology might it impossible for the house to make money on gambling.


If the house can't make money on gambling, the house won't be part of the game, though it may provide the facilities and security so that customers can play, making money on seat rental, drinks, drugs and other entertainment.

The house percentage on card games is fairly low compared to games less vulnerable to player "strategy" such as wheels, slots and dice anyway.
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

GlennWatson on January 08, 2011, 08:34:21 am
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The house percentage on card games is fairly low compared to games less vulnerable to player "strategy" such as wheels, slots and dice anyway.

I played poker once in Vegas.  It seemed the House took a much larger percentage than say the slots.  Certainly it was more than I was comfotable with.  I like playing with friends in the basement for small stakes.

ZeissIkon on January 17, 2011, 07:59:31 pm
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The house percentage on card games is fairly low compared to games less vulnerable to player "strategy" such as wheels, slots and dice anyway.

I played poker once in Vegas.  It seemed the House took a much larger percentage than say the slots.  Certainly it was more than I was comfotable with.  I like playing with friends in the basement for small stakes.

Some card expert or another, many years ago, summed things up for you:  "If you can't stand the vigorish, get out of the game."  Oddly, Google can't seem to tell me who it was, though I want to say it was that same Hoyle who wrote the book with all the rules in it...

Of course, vigorish collection is one of the main (it not the) reasons for the push toward "Hold 'em" style "poker" in casinos; the house can run such a game with a house dealer, house shuffles and a shoe, and by hauling in the bets before distributing the win, make sure the vigorish is a percentage of the pot rather than just a dollars-per-hour chair rental.  I agree, penny-ante with a few friends, and the only "vigorish" being an expectation to supply my own beer and bring a bag of chips, is much more my speed -- and draw poker is where the real skill comes in, as far as I'm concerned.