Starting this Sunday, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas is hosting the World Game Protection Conference (WGPC), a 3 day conference and exhibition dedicated to casino game protection. CEOs, surveillance managers, operations managers, and security heads from casinos all over the world are among those who will be in attendance. I’m planning on going as well, and no, I won’t be employing an alias or an elaborate disguise in order to infiltrate the WGPC. Quite the contrary. I will be of all things, an invited guest speaker.
Looing back on my card counting days, what were the odds of a member of the MIT Blackjack Team fraternizing with casino managers and executives? It would have been considered blasphemy. When I was an active player it was natural for the casinos and our team to view each other as adversaries as we engaged in a cat and mouse game. From our perspective, what gave casinos the right to bar us for skillfully playing blackjack within the rules of the game and the law? As far as the casinos were concerned, they had every right to take countermeasures against our team to protect their business interests.
In the last few years I’ve had the unexpected pleasure of meeting a number of surveillance managers. They turned out to be great people who have a lot of respect for professional card counters. Knowledgeable casino people who have taken the time to learn how to count cards understand the skill and discipline required 0f an advantage player. I also learned that detecting card counters is just one facet of the many responsibilities of game protection. Although we were from opposite sides of the table, we definitely shared a mutual respect.
At the WGPC I’m really looking forward to attending the conference’s program. For starters they will be conducting tours of the Caesars’ surveillance room. Having spent a lot of time getting my picture taken and being filmed by casino surveillance, I will finally get to see what it’s like on the other side of the cameras. The WGPC is also offering classes and presentations on interesting topics such as hole card play, high tech casino crime, and table game cheating. I anticipate a fun and very informative experience. I’ll give you my take after the conference.