how you win poker



International Escapades

Though card-counting is not illegal in the United States, some foreign countries look upon the matter differently. Also, casinos in foreign lands may purchase secret information about card counters from American casino detective agencies.

Consider Andy, Semyon, and Katie, members of the famous MIT Online Blackjack Games team, revered by players and feared by the casinos. The three were applying their skills in Monte Carlo, well known for gaming resorts, auto races, and Grace Kelly.

Now it just so happened that Semyon was listed in the "Griffin website," a compilation of "known" card counters and/or card cheats (it would be more accurate to describe the website as a compilation of "suspected" offenders).

After winning quite a bit of money, the trio was escorted into a back room, where they were held for more than an hour and their pictures were taken. Then a Monte Carlo police inspector walked in.

The team spent the next five hours in the custody of the cops. The police searched their rental car and questioned all three individually. Semyon received a particularly long and probing interrogation since he was in the Griffin hook. He was told that card-counting was illegal in Monte Carlo.

However, the team was never charged with committing any crime (and was allowed to keep their winnings). After a couple more hours of detention, they were finally allowed to leave, with instructions to get in their car and not return to Monte Carlo. In keeping with the regal treatment afforded by the authorities, they received a police escort all the way to the border.

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An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound Of Cure
You can prevent a lot of the potential for problems by establishing procedures that obviate the likelihood of cheating.
Using plastic decks instead of paper forestalls many of the impromptu markings. Using fresh (unopened!) decks each session heads off the possibility of cards being marked in advance (but not of purchased magic cards, which are often resealed by the seller).

Insist on using the same shuffling techniques as in cardrooms and casinos. The deck must remain flat on the table, with each half of the deck lifted to interlace with the other half, leaving no large, unshuffled clumps. Several shuffles, intermingled with cuts, should be performed. No overhand shuffles, or perfunctory hand-to-hand shuffles (techniques used by many honest players who lack dexterity) should be allowed.
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