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Casino sues poker star for using "marked" deck

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The Borgata Hotel Casino & Space is suing World Series of Poker star Phil Ivey for nearly $10 million for using what they claim are "imperfect" playing cards that gave Ivey a leg up. Borgata is also going after Gemaco, Inc., makers of the playing cards. From NorthJersey.com:

The suit alleges that the some of the cards made by Gemaco turned out to not have a perfectly symmetrical design on the back of the card. Ivey, the suit claims, was able to figure out what the first card to be dealt was – giving him a significant advantage over the “house,” or casino.

Ivey contacted Borgata officials in April 2012 and sought to play mini-baccarat for up to $50,000 a hand on the $1 million he would wire to the casino, according to the suit. Given Ivey’s high-roller status, the casino agreed to his request that he would be given a private area in which to play as well as provided with a card dealer who spoke Mandarin Chinese. The casino also agreed to let Ivey bring a guest to the table as well, to provide one purple deck of Gemaco playing cards for use, and for an automatic card shuffling device to be used.

According to the suit, “The pretext given for some of these requests was that Ivey was superstitious."

"Famed poker star Phil Ivey sued by Borgata for almost $10 million over alleged playing card scam" (Thanks, Gil Kaufman!)

Cheating F1 team wins the right to deduct its fines from its taxes

McLaren, a cheating Formula 1 team, got caught and fined £34M, so they deducted it from their taxes. The British tax authority objected, but they appealed, and won. Ren Reynolds has a gamerly perspective on this on Terra Nova:

In short McLaren argue that the fine was an expense related to the trade that they were engaged in. That there are exceptions to this such as statutory fines, but this was not such a fine, it arose out of the contract between them and the sporting body and it was not a 'punishment' but a commercial deterrent as such it was a risk of and thus an expense of trade.

The way that this has been presented in some elements of the UK media is a some what popularist version of the dissenting opinion in the case by Dee. This opinion holds that the fine was a punishment and that 'fines and penalties' of a similar nature are not allowable under tax law. What's more "the conduct of McLaren fell way outside any normal and acceptable way of conducting their trade, as found by the WMSC."

The problem with this view is that it misunderstands the nature of games / sport and in particular their relationship with law.

To put it simply the sort of conduct that is accepted as part of a gaming or sporting practice is not just that set out by the rules but also a wide set of acts that are within the tradition of the actual practice of that game or sport. That is, there are types of cheating that while outside the rules of the sport are still seen as being within the bounds of that sport.

Can I get a tax deduction for cheating?

Microcameras versus casinos

Microcameras really change the security landscape. Case in point: a casino-cheating gang used a microcamera to capture footage of a baccarat deck as it was being riffled during the player-cut, and then got cues from an off-site analyst who ran the video in slow motion to get the deck-order.
After a few hands, the cutter left the floor and entered a bathroom stall, where he most likely passed the camera to a confederate in an adjoining stall. The runner carried the camera to a gaming analyst in a nearby hotel room, where the analyst transferred the video to a computer, watching it in slow motion to determine the order of the cards. Not quite half an hour had passed since the cut. Baccarat play averages less than six cards a minute, so there were still at least 160 cards left to play through. Back at the table, other members of the gang were delaying the action, glancing at their cellphones and waiting for the analyst to send them the card order.

The gang had just walked away from Macau, the largest gambling city on Earth, with millions. They took $100,000 from the Bicycle casino in Los Angeles only weeks after the Las Vegas run. The Cutters’ scam did not require marking or switching cards, so casinos’ card scans and tracking software was irrelevant. Security consultants say that the gang numbers about 70. (With so many players, facial analytic software is easy to beat.)

Spy vs. Spy: Casinos Can't See The Cameras Hidden Up Gamblers' Sleeves (via Scheneir)

(Image: Baccara Palette, Wikimedia/Roland Scheicher -- public domain)

Women football players half as likely to fake an injury as men

According to a study published in Research in Sports Medicine, woman football (soccer) players are about half as likely to fake an injury as male players. The researchers used a representative sample of match-videos, counted injuries, and noted whether the player left the field for a substantial period or had visible blood, and counted those as definite injuries, then ranked the remaining injuries by their plausibility. Hilariously, they use the term "injury simulation," instead of "faking an injury," the former is apparently the term of art preferred by FIFA, which knows an awful lot about fraud.
"While it was difficult to know for certain if a player had a true injury or was faking or embellishing, we found that only 13.7 percent of apparent injuries met our definition for a 'definite' injury," Rosenbaum said. "Also consider that we saw six apparent injuries per match in the 2007 Women's World Cup but team physicians from the tournament reported only 2.3 injuries per match, so it looks like there may be some simulation in the women's game."

Rosenbaum's research indicates that apparent injury incidents for women are much less frequent than for men, however, occurring at a rate of 5.74 per match as compared to 11.26 per men's match. The proportion of apparent injuries that were classified as "definite" was nearly twice as high for women, 13.7 percent, as compared to 7.2 percent for men.

(Image: Ambulance, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from danielmorris's photostream)

Con artists caught tricking med-students into helping with high-tech entrance exam cheat

Two men in British Columbia are facing criminal charges for engaging in an elaborate high-tech ruse to cheat on the med-school entrance exam. According to investigators, the men told a group of med students that they were to be interviewed for jobs as MCAT (the standardized medical entrance exam) tutors, and showed them a series of grainy exam questions, asking them how they'd answer them. The questions were actually being relayed by a wireless pinhole camera from one of the con-artists, who was sitting the exam at the time.

The students grew suspicious, and when the "interviewer" left the room to relay their answers (using a mobile phone) to his confederate. They looked around the computer they were using and discovered that it had been used to research wireless pinhole cameras. They alerted campus security and began to feed bad answers to the questions they were receiving.

According to documents filed in provincial court in Richmond, B.C., Josiah Miguel Ruben and Houman Rezazadeh-Azar are each facing six charges including theft, unauthorized use of a computer, using a device to obtain unauthorized service and theft of data.
High-tech medical exam cheating alleged (via /.)