MIT Blackjack Player Laurie Tsao Back in Court 18.11.2012

Blackjack News

The name Laurie Tsao might not be recognized immediately but if you have ever seen the 2008 movie “21” then you might know who she is. The movie was based on a group of MIT students who took Las Vegas casinos for millions of dollars at the blackjack tables by working together and using card counting techniques. Tsao was one of the players.

Card counting is not exactly illegal because essentially it involves the player thinking and the casino cannot ban that. However, casinos frown upon this method and label players they suspect of card counting as “advantage players.” Casinos reserve the right to ask any patron to leave and to issue the player with a warning. Returning to play at the casino after such a warning can cause a player to be arrested for a misdemeanor offense.

In 2008, Tsao was approached by security in the Caesar’s Palace Casino and asked for identification. She gave false information and was arrested although she claimed she was legally in the casino due to having received several promotional offers for free rooms and event invitations even after the casino had classified her as a card counter.

Tsao filed claims that the she was falsely arrested and that the casino had defamed her. A court judge ruled against her so she filed an appeal. While the appeals court upheld the initial ruling, the case has brought to light a major issue centered on how trespassing restrictions should be handled when the casino deliberately sends an invitation to the banned player.

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