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by Vinny DeCarlo


Vinny DeCarlo is the author of new e-book, How to Beat Casino Surveillance – Insider’s Casino Secrets for Card Counters, due to be published in May by Blackjack Insider. He is a retired veteran casino man with over 20 years of upper management experience. His expertise covers the pit, security, surveillance and he even served as a General Manager for two different casinos. Currently, Vinny travels the states as a freelance reporter and a personal consultant to many Indian casinos. According to Vinny, there are two types of casino employee people; those that know him, and those that claim to know him, so, never believe what you hear.


Note: Part 1 and 2 of this series on casino surveillance appeared in the February and March issues of BJI.

Part 3.

Today everything in casino surveillance video cameras is Digital Video Reorders and Kollectors that increase the amount of video you can store. What was once measured by tape length is now measured in MEG’s, GIG’s, and even TERRA BYTES.

The Pelco 6 station Matrix is among the best and can work with almost any other system. High Five for American Ingenuity!

Pelco, in my experience, has gone way beyond the expected customer service and has delivered a grade "A" product. If you see cameras located in a parking lot and they’re stamped "PELCO," I wouldn’t go into that casino if I were thinking of doing anything illegal. This company makes ‘MADE IN AMERICA’ mean something again.

They offer a basic configuration of 16x32 or 16 monitors (with 32 cameras plugged into them) to an amazing 128 monitors (with 1024 cameras plugged into them which can easily be doubled). Moreover, that’s a basic system. It gets much better. The sky is the limit for system designs. If you have a problem or want something special, you can call the person that built it or even invented it and have him invent something to fit your needs. Now that is service.

Is there a product that is somewhat cooler looking? Sure. Does it have more bells and whistles? Yep! Does it come in neat colors? Oh, but of course. Is it as reliable as Pelco? SHUT YOUR MOUTH! Pelco is made and designed for the worker, and not for the executive that leaves his or her hanger in their suit while he is wearing it.

I may sound one-sided here but note the absence of any disclaimer stating that I work or represent this company (that’s because I don’t). If they want to throw money at me after this is published, I’ll take it, but for now, I am just telling it like it is.

The true surveillance story could not be told without a look at the ‘black light’ marked card detector. Actually, there was a Black light and a Bright Light. The Black Light could pick up most of the daubs including skin oils, alcohol wipes, and even ashes from an ashtray while the Bright Light could identify bends, line shade, nicks, and it even worked as a magnifying glass by illuminating possible sorts or factory blems such as all Ten value cards being a tinge brighter.

The Black Light Box was so simple; a floor man could make it (I like Cavemen). It consisted of wood with a small slit (some had table felt for the cards in question to rest on; it was a nice touch).

As you can see, it had an easy open top portion for changing the black light bulb and even a nice, sturdy handle to carry it around with ease. In the picture below, you see the box with the lid in the open position. The three cards in the picture are there for looks only. They are not marked; therefore do not waste your time trying to find the marks.


Note the Black light bulb

The "Bright Light" was something you could buy or make out of a vanity type light that would be used in conjunction with a make-up mirror.

Simply put, it is called the Bright Light. Surveillance could set a card on top of it (after it was turned on) and you could see any and every imperfection on the card be it man made or a factory blem. This little monkey was well worth the time to make or the price to buy as it could save a casino from taking quite a beating. Of course the user needed to know how to use it and what to look for but we’ll save that for another column as I need to get back to watching my front door since I’m expecting the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol (I might be their next millionaire because I already got the letter from ‘em).


Next Month: Exclusive Q&A with Vinny DeCarlo. Don’t miss it.

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