JerryWillis
JerryWillis
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June 21st, 2024 at 2:12:53 PM permalink
I've recently been playing some online blackjack and have noticed that occasionally players with suspicious names that I assume are bots will join the room and will make crazy plays like hitting on a hard 20. If it was for small bets it wouldn't pique my interest, but I noticed they are often betting the same exact amounts as other "bot-like" players, and the dollar amounts are extremely specific like $49.52 USD for example. This has lead me to wonder exactly what they could be accomplishing by throwing that much money away on a bet over and over again.
First off, if it's bots paid by the casino there is no risk involved as the money cycles right back. But what strategy advantage could the house gain by hitting extra times when the mathematics of blackjack works out to the player vs the dealer, with other player's decisions making no difference.
That's when I realized every single card has a chip in it. They may appear to be a bar code that gets scanned, but I have seen dealers not scan the code but get the chip close enough to the scanner that it activates.
So assuming each card has a chip that identifies it, and hypothetically lets say the house has a way to know the exact order of cards via these chips, the seemingly random hits start to make a lot more sense.
My question is this: assuming all of this is really going on, what kind of house edge would be gained in this scenario?
I'm unsure how you would figure this out mathematically since the house is only able to "burn" as many cards as the extra bot players can hit.
gordonm888
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gordonm888
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June 21st, 2024 at 2:49:04 PM permalink
What specifically are you hypothesizing?

That the team of house bots knows:
- the dealer's face-down card and the sequence of every card in the shoe?
- OR, the dealer's face down card and the identity of the next card in the shoe at any point in time?

And they are optimizing the House's advantage for the entire team by using this knowledge? Including having third base draw a card that would be favorable to the dealer (and go bust himself) to give the other members of the team a chance against a dealer who must then draw the next (more unfavorable to the dealer) card?
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
JerryWillis
JerryWillis
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ChumpChange
June 21st, 2024 at 3:48:19 PM permalink
I'm assuming that they know both the dealer's face down card and the sequence of the entire shoe, and that none of them are actually trying to win at all, but instead are attempting to cause as many real players as possible to lose.
gordonm888
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gordonm888
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June 21st, 2024 at 6:34:28 PM permalink
Quote: JerryWillis

I'm assuming that they know both the dealer's face down card and the sequence of the entire shoe, and that none of them are actually trying to win at all, but instead are attempting to cause as many real players as possible to lose.
link to original post



Ooooh.
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
camapl
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June 21st, 2024 at 9:57:35 PM permalink
Quote: JerryWillis

I've recently been playing some online blackjack and have noticed that occasionally players with suspicious names that I assume are bots will join the room and will make crazy plays like hitting on a hard 20. If it was for small bets it wouldn't pique my interest, but I noticed they are often betting the same exact amounts as other "bot-like" players, and the dollar amounts are extremely specific like $49.52 USD for example. This has lead me to wonder exactly what they could be accomplishing by throwing that much money away on a bet over and over again.
First off, if it's bots paid by the casino there is no risk involved as the money cycles right back. But what strategy advantage could the house gain by hitting extra times when the mathematics of blackjack works out to the player vs the dealer, with other player's decisions making no difference.
That's when I realized every single card has a chip in it. They may appear to be a bar code that gets scanned, but I have seen dealers not scan the code but get the chip close enough to the scanner that it activates.
So assuming each card has a chip that identifies it, and hypothetically lets say the house has a way to know the exact order of cards via these chips, the seemingly random hits start to make a lot more sense.
My question is this: assuming all of this is really going on, what kind of house edge would be gained in this scenario?
I'm unsure how you would figure this out mathematically since the house is only able to "burn" as many cards as the extra bot players can hit.
link to original post



As for the odd bet amounts, could it be due to players using foreign currency? Also, what behavior leads you to believe the “others” are bots, too?
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Mental
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June 22nd, 2024 at 7:04:32 AM permalink
Is this a US regulated casino or an offshore site?

I highly doubt US regulated casinos would risk putting up shill accounts. How would they ever get through a tax audit if the profits from the shill players were not reported accurately? They need to show that all accounts are tied to a specific individual.

If this is an unregulated offshore company in a sketchy jurisdiction, then there are much easier ways to increase the house edge besides having shill players.

I have seen really stupid play at US regulated BJ tables. Hitting a hard 20 can be due to careless clicking of a mouse. I would need to see some screen shots before I believe this is really a thing.
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gordonm888
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June 22nd, 2024 at 8:10:29 AM permalink
I think this is important. I think OP has identified a new way for online casinos to increase the effective house edge of blackjack games in a way that probably does not break any existing regulations.

OP has said that these other players at his table all simultaneously make the same wager size, say $49.24. So, they are obviously bots running on the same software, either by a third party or by the house itself. If the bots are managed by the online casino and all have access to the sequence of cards in the remaining shoe, they then have a (limited) capacity to consume cards in such a way as to improve the hand that Dealer gets when drawing a third card, or to improve Dealer's first two cards on the subsequent deal. As house bots, they are playing with house money, and don't have any incentive to win their own wagers. This is a new idea, and rather frightening, IMO

I have enormous respect for Mental's opinions. But I believe that if a person or gambling entity can do something within the regulations to make more money more quickly, then eventually someone or some entity is going to do it. It's a small step to then say that someone may already be doing it.

This is worth reviewing the mathematics, IMO.
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
Mental
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June 22nd, 2024 at 9:08:15 AM permalink
Quote: gordonm888

I think this is important. I think OP has identified a new way for online casinos to increase the effective house edge of blackjack games in a way that probably does not break any existing regulations.

OP has said that these other players at his table all simultaneously make the same wager size, say $49.24. So, they are obviously bots running on the same software, either by a third party or by the house itself. If the bots are managed by the online casino and all have access to the sequence of cards in the remaining shoe, they then have a (limited) capacity to consume cards in such a way as to improve the hand that Dealer gets when drawing a third card, or to improve Dealer's first two cards on the subsequent deal. As house bots, they are playing with house money, and don't have any incentive to win their own wagers. This is a new idea, and rather frightening, IMO

I have enormous respect for Mental's opinions. But I believe that if a person or gambling entity can do something within the regulations to make more money more quickly, then eventually someone or some entity is going to do it. It's a small step to then say that someone may already be doing it.

This is worth reviewing the mathematics, IMO.
link to original post

I believe that it has already been found by the NV regulators that a casino cannot even use a count to preferentially shuffle up. This is considered an unfair practice that alters the odds of a game. I would hope that shilling to improve the house edge would violate existing regulations.

I don't doubt that there are many offshore casinos who are barely regulated at all. I also assume there are many regulators who wouldn't understand how shills could negatively impact real players unless you made a very easy-to-understand presentation of the math.

If this turns out to be a real case of shill players as described by the OP, then the evidence should easy to produce. Just give us screen shots or statistical evidence that the suspected shills are harming real players.

I would be very upset if shills were just consuming cards at positive counts. This would increase the house edge over time. OP insinuates more than that.

Quote: JerryWillis

I'm assuming that they know both the dealer's face down card and the sequence of the entire shoe, and that none of them are actually trying to win at all, but instead are attempting to cause as many real players as possible to lose.
link to original post

If the shills have knowledge of the cards to come, then this is a major scandal. If it pertains to a US-regulated entity, then it should be possible to expose the practice and get it stopped.

But this is OPs first post ever, and there is minimal evidence presented. (OP may net be able to post images yet.) I am skeptical, at best, and I really cannot see a US-regulated company risking this behavior.
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Mental
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June 22nd, 2024 at 9:40:21 AM permalink
The online live-dealer games that I am familiar with are shuffled by hand in view of the camera. It would not be possible for the shills to know the sequence of cards to come. It would be easy for the house to give the shills the value of the dealers hole card. There are some places that use a shuffle machine to shuffle the deck, but then deal from a shoe. You could argue that the machine could read the card order while it is shuffling and the shills would use this info. You could also argue that they could read the next card in the shoe using a marking or cheating device to read the next card value.

If a shill was playing at third base and only knew the dealer's hole card and next card up, then they would never deviate from basic strategy if the dealer had a pat hand 17-21. They would also never take a bust card that would have helped a dealer. They would never stand on a hand where BS say to hit unless the next card is favorable to the dealer.

You wouldn't need to video-record a game for very long before you had solid evidence that the third base deviations were fishy.

But why would the shills be using the same odd bet amount? That makes no sense at all.
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