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Comment Re:Discipline (Score 1) 597

1) Yes, they are mostly wrong, the media exaggerates hugely to make the story more interesting. There may have been a casino somewhere once upon a time that never shuffled, used a small number of decks and had rules very favorable to the players, but in 99.9% of casinos the math simply does not work.

2) The Griffin book and casino security are mostly directed at real cheaters. If they happen to throw a few card counters in there thats great, but saying the Griffin book exists to catch cheaters is like saying that the police exist to catch people who are jaywalking. Sure, a handful of people have gotten in trouble for it, but it is not the primary purpose. Personally I think they throw those few card counters in there for marketing purposes more than anything.

3) Never heard of people filing bogus lawsuits against major corporations in an attempt to get money? OK, maybe casinos in Vegas were run by violent and dangerous people like 50 years ago, but the idea of that happening today over someone trying to count cards is just silly.

4) OK, so there are some books targeted at casinos about the odds of blackjack and how to set up your game profitably. This makes it just like every single other popular game out there.

To be clear I am not saying card counting is impossible. Just that the profits will be negligible over the long term even under ideal circumstances that you are not likely to ever see.

Since you like choices so much here is one for you:

a) The casinos decided to set up a game they knew the could lose money on, build elaborate security systems, and hire teams of security people just to prevent losing a couple bucks to a few highly skilled players.

b) The casinos decided to adjust the odds to the point that they were favored no matter what.

Comment Re:Discipline (Score 3, Interesting) 597

I read that book, but I have a very difficult time believing it is true. The numbers just do not make sense. You will burn an awful lot of money betting the minimum over and over again waiting for that rare opportunity when your odds improve to about 50.5% or so. And then for a couple of hands you can make a .5% return after waiting around and burning money all night. So for a couple of hands a night you bet thousands of dollars a hand, risk a huge amount of money, for an expected rate of a few tens of dollars per hand. And this is after all your teammates burned their money betting the minimum for hours on end. Oh, and you have to somehow win enough to pay for all the overhead of a vacation to Vegas. It is all garbage. The casino does not spend gobs of money employing elite security teams to track down card counters. (and lets not even think about how ridiculous the idea of a multi-billion dollar organization exposing itself to lawsuits by roughing up a customer who scammed them out of a few bucks is)

I can believe a story about guys who went to Vegas, played basic strategy and managed to get some nice comps. But there is no way they were bringing down millions in net profit. At least not until they started doing book/tv/movie deals. That I can believe is profitable.

Comment Re:Pointless in Vegas (Score 1) 597

You hit the nail on the head, I swear this myth that card counting is in any way shape or form a profitable endeavor is perpetuated by the casinos. They do not hate it, they love it. And there are so many clueless people who have convinced themselves that they can do it. Duping players into thinking if they are smart they can win is a far better sales pitch than the games that everyone agrees are guaranteed money losers over long periods of time

If you sit down and actually do the math you will realize that even with perfect play you are playing a game where the player comes out ahead about 49% of the time. If you count cards then on very rare occasions you will be able to notice those scarce moments when the odds shift to 50.5% in favor of the player. (and believe me, they are scarce, especially with all the shuffling and multiple decks) So in order to make a profit you have to sit there for huge amounts of time betting low amounts and then suddenly turn around and start betting thousands of dollars a hand when your odds of winning are barely over 50%. Even if we assume that you can get away with that (or if we assume that this business of having a team is practical) you are still left with a scenario where you are risking a huge amount of capitol and investing phenomenal time for a relatively low expected rate of return. And that is if everything goes perfectly.

It is a nice fantasy to think about math nerds walking away with the casino's money, but at the end of the day you will make more money working at McDonalds with no risk even assuming perfect execution.

Comment Re:In honor of Programmer's Day (Score 1) 306

Yes, the provisional government and their tenuous hold on power is exactly what I was referring to. I do not think it is fair to claim that they squandered it though. They inherited a terrible situation, they were trapped in a highly unpopular war that had devastated the economy and generated ridiculous debt. There is no way things would have gotten better overnight. On what grounds do you think they "squandered" their power?

Comment Re:In honor of Programmer's Day (Score 1) 306


"Stalin's laws to âoetighten work disciplineâ made the situation worse: e.g. a 1932 change to the RSFSR labor law code enabled firing workers who had been absent without a reason from the work place for just one day. Being fired accordingly meant losing âoethe right to use ration and commodity cardsâ as well as the âoeloss of the right to use an apartmentâ and even blacklisted for new employment which altogether meant a threat of starving"

"...being absent or even 20 minutes late were grounds for becoming fired; managers who failed to enforce these laws faced criminal prosecution. Later, the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, 26 June 1940 âoeOn the Transfer to the Eight-Hour Working Day, the Seven-day Work Week, and on the Prohibition of Unauthorized Departure by Laborers and Office Workers from Factories and Officesâ[3] replaced the 1938 revisions with obligatory criminal penalties for quitting a job (2â"4 months imprisonment), for being late 20 minutes (6 months of probation and pay confiscation of 25 per cent) etc."

Comment Re:In honor of Programmer's Day (Score 2, Insightful) 306

I suppose that a lot of that has to do with what industry you work in, but in general I would disagree. For example programmers (I choose it because it is the original topic of this thread) :) are hugely expensive to replace. For some complex software products it can take years to get to know all the ins and outs.

What do you really lose by quitting your job? Assuming you can find a comparable new one I do not see any real loss.

I agree that the model breaks down somewhat in eras of extremely high unemployment where other work is totally unavailable and people who want your job are desperate. But I think that the logical conclusion of this is that the government should be focused on maintaining a stable and relatively low (ie 5-6%) unemployment rate, not on legislating worker-employer agreements. And currently, this is what the government does in the USA. Eras of high unemployment tend to be relatively short in the grand scheme of things in the United States. (and frankly, the USA standard of high unemployment and hardship is far different from virtually every other country in the world)

Comment Re:In honor of Programmer's Day (Score 3, Insightful) 306

The worker doesnt have to go along with whatever the boss wants. It is a free country. If my boss said that he was going to pay me half of what I make now and ask me to work 16 hours a day I would quit. Sure bosses will try to get as much as they can, but that doesnt mean the workers have to go along with it. Other companies have to compete for workers. That is part of what makes the economy viable.

I am not a total free market ideologue, I do agree that some things need to be regulated. (particularly risk taking in the financial sector) But generally speaking I believe that workers and employers should be able to come to their own agreements with regards to compensation relative to amount of work done.

Comment Re:In honor of Programmer's Day (Score 2, Insightful) 306

No doubt things were bad in Russia, but the Bolsheviks were not the ones with the solutions. There were lots of pro-democracy and moderate socialists who on the rise before the Bolsheviks seized power. Those were the ones who could have turned Russia's industrial revolution into a good thing, but Lenin (and later Stalin) basically had them killed and exiled. To say that the Bolsheviks were the champions of workers welfare is just crazy. :)

Comment Re:In honor of Programmer's Day (Score 2, Interesting) 306

Sorry if my post came across as a 'Youre a commie!' type of comment. :)

However, they were extremely stern taskmasters. What do you think happened to people who did not work, worked less, or decided they wanted to quite their job and do something different? I'll give you a hint: It was a hell of a lot worse than getting fired or making less money which is what happens when you skip work in the USA. When you completely remove incentives to excel the only way anything gets done is if you punish people who do not do what you tell them. Basically they treated workers like slaves.

However, you are correct that they won over working class Russians in the beginning with wild promises that they could not possibly have kept.

Comment Re:In honor of Programmer's Day (Score 1) 306

Yeah, those extra two hours a day are really killing me. :) There are plenty of places in the United States willing to hire you to work part time or less than 8 hours a day. You just wont make as much as someone willing to do 8-10 hours a day. Call me crazy, but that seems fair to me. I am sure Lenin and Stalin would have disagreed with me though.

I prefer living in a country where the government allows me to make that choice rather than telling people how to live through legislation.

Comment Re:In honor of Programmer's Day (Score 2, Insightful) 306

Amazing how defenses of Bolshevik economics get modded up in spite of how truly horrible it was to actually live in an economy like that. I would rather work in a country where you can actually earn something for a full days work than one where the government comes in and mandates that noone is allowed to work more than 8 hours. I work probably 9-10 hours a day, but at least I get something out of it. And I would not have in the old 'Workers Paradise'.

Comment Re:Thank goodness (Score 1) 517

You know the funny thing about this whole discussion is that the OS linked to in the article is not the first. Integrity from Green Hills Software was proven correct a while ago. It is popular for safety critical stuff like flight controls for airplanes and is one of the dominant players in that niche.

And what is truly amusing about following this argument, is that Integrity is written in C. :)

Comment Re:Halfway Competent (Score 3, Insightful) 665

The truth is you dont need to be really competent to be a PC repairman. 95% of problems can be solved with either "reinstall windows" or "try replacing part X and see if it works". Anything more complicated than that is going to require time, effort and expertise that exceeds the cost of the computer. So there is no point of hiring expensive people with high levels of skill to begin with.

Comment Re:Steal passwords (Score 4, Informative) 665

Not quite from the article, but from an article linked to by it at the bottom of the story:

"...Inside one of the documents copied to the memory stick was a text file containing passwords for Facebook, Hotmail, eBay and a NatWest bank account.

Once the technician had discovered this information, he opened a web browser on the laptop and attempted to log into the back account for around five minutes.

The only reason he was unsuccessful was because the details were fake....."

Comment Re:Deliberately breaking the motherboard? (Score 5, Interesting) 665

+5 Gullible. :) It is very unlikely that they realized it wasnt a legit customer. If they had realized they were being watched they probably would have been on their best behaviour. That sounds more like an excuse than anything. More likely is that they were afraid the customer would go someplace else and get it fixed without needing a new motherboard thus discovering that Evnova's advice was bad. So they broke the motherboard on purpose to make their claim that a new motherboard was needed more credible and likely to be confirmed by the next shop.

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