updated 07:50 pm EST, Mon February 16, 2009
Counting cards with iPhone
California and Nevada state gaming officials have begun to focus on the iPhone and iPod touch as the latest gadgets used by gamblers to count cards and potentially cheat the system, according to the Review-Journal. The mobile devices can run apps that calculate the card counts when playing blackjack. "The program calculates the true count and does it significantly more accurately," read an alert sent to casinos last week.
The gaming officials are likely referring to apps like A Blackjack Card Counter from Poulet Maison. A 'Stealth Mode' feature is clearly intended to reduce the risk when using the app in a casino, a practice that would be considered illegal in most areas that prohibit the use of counting devices. The screen is turned off but the virtual buttons can still be pressed, while a vibration alerts the user when a certain count is reached.
By tracking the number of high- and low-ranked cards, the player can calculate a better idea of the probability of winning. As the dealer reaches the end of a shoe, the gambler can have a better chance of success if the remaining deck contains a large percentage of high cards.
The Northern California Indian casino found customers using the program, leading to a Bureau of Gaming Control notification. Individual casinos are likely to have varying rules regarding cellphones or media players.