[extropy-chat] About ESP, etc.

Benjamin Goertzel ben at goertzel.org
Mon Apr 30 15:28:32 UTC 2007

> I always wondered about that. How do they know that someone is counting
> cards rather than just lucky? Is it just the ones lucky at blackjack that
> they pick on, or do they also throw out the ones who do too well at roulette
> or the poker machines?
> Stathis Papaioannou

Actually, since I know how to count cards [though not all that expertly], I
would know how to spot a blackjack card counter by  looking at them play
through a video camera.

For one thing, a blackjack card counter has got to look at every player's
hole cards, in the instant between when they're turned over and when they're
collected by the dealer.  A good card counter is good at not revealing that
they are looking at these cards, but it's hard to cover up all the signs (of
your eyeballs shifting, etc.).

Also, if you're the dealer and YOU can count cards even primitively, you can
tell if a player is systematically tending to increase their bets when the
count is favorable and decrease their bets when the count is unfavorable.
(But of course, a good counter will randomize their bets to some extent, to
make the recognition of their betting pattern harder.)

-- Ben Goertzel (who lived in Vegas from 89-93 ;)
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