Before reading this you should read the pages on Preferential Shuffling and BJ Computers.
MP21 is a Blackjack table sold to casinos by MindPlay LLC. (Purchased by Bally Technologies.) This table tracks all the bets and cards in real time. The casino can refer to the MP21 screen and see this information as the game is played. The cards are marked. (Yes you read that correctly – marked cards are used.) This provides the system with the ability to keep track of the card count as would a card counter. Ostensibly, the purpose is to rate the skill of players and to comp them appropriately. This in itself would appear to be a legitimate use.
But, could it also be used for other purposes? And does it violate the Nevada device law? Let us review the statute:
NRS 465.075 Use of device for calculating probabilities.
It is unlawful for any person at a licensed gaming establishment to use, or possess with the intent to use, any device to assist:
- In projecting the outcome of the game;
- In keeping track of the cards played;
- In analyzing the probability of the occurrence of an event relating to the game; or
- In analyzing the strategy for playing or betting to be used in the game,
except as permitted by the commission.
I am not a lawyer, but it would appear that since the device tracks cards played, there is a potential violation unless the gaming commission has specifically permitted it. Now, is it a scam? Well, if it is used for the purposes of preferential shuffling, I would say clearly yes as stated on the Preferential Shuffling page.
Now the question is, is this device used for this purpose? I have read that the company claims that there is a delay in the counting such that it cannot be used for this purpose. However, the MindPlay site says nothing about this delay nor does the MindPlay advertising flyer. In fact, the only time-based terms used are “real time,” “as it happens” and “instant analysis.” These terms do not suggest any delays. The site itself does not suggest that the device be used for Preferential Shuffling. But, clearly a device built with capabilities to read marked cards as they are played, to count the cards, and to report instantly a player’s skill level could be built to advise the dealer when to shuffle away shoes advantageous to the player.
Obviously my advice is to stay away.
May, 2005 Update:
The attorney for Nevada Gaming has announced that MindPlay has been approved by Gaming, but subject to at least two significant restrictions:
1. No information regarding the balance of the undealt cards can be available to the casino until the shuffle point is reached.
2. Any information regarding the "count" of the cards is subject to an eight hand delay.
This is good news as some of the potential cheating aspects have been found illegal in Nevada. Now the question becomes one of enforcement. Will the casinos follow the dictates and not use the marked cards to cheat the players? Unfortunately, Nevada has a mixed history when it comes to enforcement.
"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands."