Ken Uston and Keith Taft

Kieth Taft

Keith Taft had an aptitude for solving complicated problems, he had a degree in both physics and music, he had a passion for technology and one day he discovered card counting. Taft read Edward Thorp’s book Beat the Dealer and he was intrigued by the counting system and so he set about designing computer software that would help him to beat the casino. In the 1970s he built a personal computer which he nicknamed George. It weighed 15 pounds, was strapped to the waist and was controlled by switches that were operated inside specially designed shoes. He and his son continued to build smaller and more efficient machines, although he wasn’t incredibly successful until he teamed up with Keith Uston.

Ken Uston

Uston is regarded as one of the world’s greatest blackjack players of all time. He’s famous for his book The Big Player, which had a significant impact on how blackjack was played at casinos. Ken is also known for winning a court case against casinos who were attempting to have him barred. These two members of the Blackjack Hall of Fame combined their talents to form a successful blackjack team that would use a computer, camera and card counting software to help them beat the house advantage. Although not as successful as the MIT Blackjack Team, they won more than $100 000 in a five-week gambling spree which would cause casinos to become suspicious. When they were eventually caught, the FBI examined their equipment and concluded that they weren’t cheating. Irrespective of this decision, casinos banned both the hidden computer devices and Ken Uston. Uston, however, was undeterred by the ruling as he was a firm believer that it took genuine talent to count cards. He then resorted to wearing various disguises that allowed him to sneak into casinos and gamble.

Is what they did still possible today?

With today’s modern technology, of course, it’s possible. Even to a larger scale we presume. The technology that we have today allows us to manipulate various systems, and cards are but a small system. Therefore we are sure that if they could manage to it back then, with the limited technology that they had we are more than capable of achieving greater with the vast amounts of technology that we have. Moreover, if you do, in a few years to come, like Uston and Taft, we will tell your story.

Which other machines did they use?

Other than Goerge, there were other machines that these geniuses used. There were David and Thor. Both had the same goal of bringing down the house edge. Each of the machines was used to ensure that these men had a fighting chance against blackjack.  David, the second blackjack machine was given that name so that he could slay the casino edge. When Taft invented David he was playing with Uston.

The Magic Shoes

Imagine going into a casino with shoes that could help you to walk away as a winner? This is exactly what these two did and they managed to walk away with it.  The Magic Shoes were called Frankenstein Boots. The computer was put into the heel of the shoes, and before you wore these shoes you had to go through some training.

It just fascinating what people would go through to make sure that they beat the house. Don’t you think that it would be better if the hose edge was lowered? Because, if these men could do so much under such limited resources imagine what are people doing today? To add on to that, if they could do it, we are sure that you can too. You just have to know who to work with.