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Friday, 31 May 2013 07:13

Derren Brown Banned from Birmingham Casino

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It must be a nightmare for any casino manager – when a mentalist casually walks onto the floor, you just know there's going to be trouble.

How do you balance politesse and good financial sense? By feeding the problem and quietly banning it from your casino, apparently. TV illusionist Derren Brown had just finished performing his live show 'Infamous' when he decided to hit the Broadway Plaza Casino in Birmingham for a little light casino games action.

Whilst it's not fair to say the casino panicked, you can imagine that the reaction was probably quite close.

The casino manager quietly pulled Brown aside and informed him that while he would be allowed to watch his friends play blackjack against the dealer, he himself would not be allowed to play. Management did not confirm that the ban was because they feared he would employ a card counting strategy, but it's likely that this was the cause – Brown has been banned from most UK casinos.

The hypnotist confirmed that 'they were very nice, served me food, but they wouldn't let me play. I watched the others for a bit and then left. I was escorted out by a member of staff and the manager.'

Blackjack, the famous card game in which you have to beat the dealer to 21 without going bust, is particularly known in gambling circles for its susceptibility to mathematical strategy. By employing a counting strategy that keeps a tally of high and low cards, a player can determine what kind of card is likely to come up next, decreasing the inherent house edge. It's the reason that blackjack tables are so closely monitored in brick-and-mortar casinos, and even though the strategy becomes ineffective in an online casino (because the card 'pack' is fresh every time) the game is still excluded from many bonus wagering requirements.

Those of you who'd rather like to see the counting strategy in action might consider hiring 21, the 2008 film starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth. As for Brown, he'll have to stick to getting his gambling kicks on the internet.