New optical pattern recognition could change card games
By maddy
For all the old timers in card counting, here's a new technology to make things tougher. A new optical pattern recognition technology called MindPlay MP21, which is designed to automatically track and analyze the play and betting patterns of every gambler at a blackjack table in real time.

How does MindPlay play? MindPlay system has a set carefully placed 14 digital cameras around a specially built blackjack table tray. The playing cards have a special invisible ink which is recognized and registered in real-time by the MP21’s optical equipment. Much like facial recognition technology, the system can distinguish between say the cards and the napkins, ashtrays, chip stack and the drinks on the table tray. It essentially tracks and compares the location and value of chips to a 3-D models database of all objects placed on the table.

MindPlay monitors all the cards and player’s bets during the game. Trusted counting strategies dictate that counters bet high when more high cards remain as a larger number of unplayed high cards gives an advantage to the player. This is where MindPlay gets to work. The system knows which cards have been played, detects a player continually adjusting his betting pattern coincident with a preponderance of undealt high cards, it triggers an alert.

MindPlay’s President and CEO Richard Soltys claims there's nothing players can do that MindPlay can't detect. But man is mightier than machine, because we invented the machines. Mike Orkin, a gaming expert at California State University at Hayward, has a strategy to play with MindPlay. He reveals, 'A card counter hangs out by a table and watches until the count gets good. Then he sits down and makes huge bets until the count gets (worse) and then he gets up and leaves. And there's no way software can detect that.'

The card counters predictably are against MindPlay’s technology. They say it effectively alters the odds, which is against regulations prohibiting use of such devices in Casinos.

The Casinos deploying the technology defend themselves saying it only gives them a more accurate way to rate regular players and its better than relying on pit bosses who used to monitor the table manually and with lot of inaccuracy, besides making the card games more ‘efficient’.

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