Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Friday, 9 October 2009 12:43 UK

Days numbered for card counters

Card counters try an anticipate what card will come next in a pack

A final year university student has developed a new computer system that could signal an end to card counting at casino blackjack tables.

Dundee student Kris Zutis, 22, has devised a program that not only detects card counters but also dealer errors.

The system works by using complex algorithms to analyse information captured by cameras set up in casinos.

Card counting is when gamblers try to anticipate a card by remembering which have already been played.

Although not illegal, casinos will move suspected card counters to other tables where they are forced to start afresh, or eject them from the premises completely.

The new program is able to track a game as it progresses, monitor the cards played while also tracking a player's betting patterns.

Poker player

Devised with the help of his project supervisor, Dr Jesse Hoey, and staff at Dundee's Gala Casoni, the system also has the ability to monitor a dealer during a game and assess whether a correct action was taken.

Mr Zutis, who was born in Latvia and moved to Tayport, Fife, at the age of 10, said: "I'm not a big gambler myself, but I do enjoy playing poker and I had originally intended my project to be related to that.

"It turned out that blackjack was far more suited to a computer vision system, and so I developed the system from there."

The program is already attracting worldwide attention, with Kris invited to present his research at the International Conference on Computer Vision Systems (ICVS), in Liège, Belgium later this month.

Mr Zutis added: "My system needs work to be commercially viable, but the potential has been demonstrated, and hopefully appearing at the event will help generate some interest in helping me to develop it further."

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