iPhone Card Counting App Could Land You a Felony

Dennis Faas's picture

Casino operators have warned that a new card-counting program for the iPhone could earn sneaky players a felony violation. That's because using electronic devices in such a way is barred nationwide.

The application, which costs $3.99, helps players take advantage of the fact that used cards aren't always replaced in the deck before each hand of blackjack. Keeping track of the cards which have already played can give players a better chance of predicting which cards will come up in future hands, letting them place higher or lower bets accordingly.

Card counting such as this isn't illegal in itself, though casinos usually retain the right to ask players to leave if they suspect them of doing so. In some cases, like those portrayed in the Kevin Spacey movie "21", players who develop high levels of concentration can scoop up large sums this way.

iPhone Card Counting Stealth Mode

The new application has a stealth mode designed to evade being caught card counting. Users can keep the phone in a pocket and simply press one side of the screen each time a 10 or a face card appears and the other side of the screen for a 9 or lower. The phone then vibrates whenever the chances of winning the next hand make it worth placing a larger bet. (Source: latimes.com)

However, using such a device in a casino is illegal in most places. In Nevada, home of Las Vegas and the most popular U.S. location for gambling, it's a felony, meaning a lengthy jail sentence is possible.

Casino officials in California first spotted the application being used in an Indian reservation casino. They tipped off the Nevada Gaming Control Board which has now written to all casinos in the state warning that "The program calculates the true count and does it significantly more accurately."

The Board says it's up to individual casinos to decide whether or not they ban the use of iPhones in gaming areas. (Source: arstechnica.com)

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