Nov 102010
Authors: Ryan Gibbons and Glen Pfeiffer

This week one of the Binary Boys hit a pretty big landmark in his life. Sure it’s a little overdue, but we can now both sit in the Ramskeller and write this column whilst enjoying a tasty beer, legally. Perhaps it took months or years after his peers, but slow and steady wins the race, right? Just not if you’re shotgunning a cold one with your friends.

You can now expect a marked improvement in the quality of this column.

The important question at hand is now, “How do we celebrate?” Everyone hit the bars for their 21st already, and it’s getting a little bit old for the veterans. So we’ve decided to trek up to Blackhawk and make ourselves tons of money.

We’ve put in some practice time with old poker chips and cards here at home, but this is first time we’ll be hitting a real casino ­­–– for card playing. We played the slots in Vegas once, but it would have been more fun to burn the money. We’re admittedly a little anxious. Rather than going into uncharted territory blind, we’ve decided to play to our strengths and do a little research on the technology that those casinos use to make us lose.

If you’ve seen the movie “21,” you know that technology can be an issue in the realm of gambling. Cameras abound in casinos, and, in most cases, their use is to take pictures of suspected “cheaters” and run them against photo databases with known scammers.

The camera technology in “21,” which is supposed to almost automatically identify nervousness on the faces of possible cheaters, is not something you should expect to run into anywhere but the richest casino in Vegas. But that’s not to say there isn’t a Laurence Fishburne there looking through the lens, stretching out so that he doesn’t pull a muscle while beating the snot out of you.

There are also systems in place which can track individual customers –– how much they are spending and where. The easiest of these take the form of rewards programs, where customers can sign in and get credit for playing slots and video poker, as well as other leisure activities like teeing off on the hotel’s golf course.

Using this type of data mining can help the marketers do their job better. And if you’re a high spender, you might just get yourself more attention from those lovely people handing out the complimentary drinks.

Speaking of electronic slots and video poker, how many of you really trust the machines?

The casinos wouldn’t be playing the games in the first place if they didn’t have the advantage, so why not just cut your chances down a little bit more? Besides, we all know how machines act. When SkyNet becomes self-aware here in a few days, the slots are gonna take all our money, first thing.

In any case, we’ll probably spend most of our time at the blackjack table, because with those aforementioned complimentary drinks, even when you lose, you win. We’ll see you next week.

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