Casinos on lookout for iPhone card counters

Nevada casinos, never ones to tolerate anything that cuts into their winnings, are on the alert these days for a blackjack card-counting program that can be used on the iPhone or the iPod portable music player.

According to a memorandum sent out by the Gaming Control Board, the "program calculates the true count" and makes it possible for blackjack players to cut the odds--or even gain an advantage--over the dealer. The program is installed through the iTunes website and operates in a stealth mode where the phone's screen is shut off, gaming officials maintain.

Casinos consider card counting as cheating and look askance at anyone using any method to cut the house's odds of winning so naturally they've told their agents to watch iPhone and iPod users even though there haven't been any reports of the devices being used. Casinos can and will detain anyone suspected of using the devices for anything other that personal entertainment. For those who've watched movies and television shows about how casinos handle cheaters, that could be a painful experience.

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