Video-Juice Camera System



Get QuickTime
Requires QuickTime

duration:  00:08;13
file size:  463.9KB
image size:  312x234
open video in new window

This video shows a deck of cards that has been marked with a special substance that is visible only under a special video camera. The video was shot with two different cameras positioned side-by-side and running simultaneously. The image on the left was shot with a regular camera, and the image on the right with a specially modified one. Also, please take a moment to review our Camera Ink Demo for some further details on various inks used for these camera systems, as well as our Gaffed Blackjack Shoe demo, for some further information on how these camera systems may be used.

The simulated game dealt in this demo video is 7-card stud. It is clear that all the cards might as well be dealt face up. If the game was Texas Hold'Em, and the 5 community cards were dealt-out face-down at the beginning (rather than after each betting round and using burn cards) then the cheats know who has the highest ranking hand before the first betting round (see footnote*).

Such camera systems are most often used in after-hours clubs, private homes, and crooked card rooms. The scam requires a special setup operated by a small team of people. A typical setup consists of a hidden video camera (or a camera that masquerades as a security camera), a video recorder with frame-by-frame playback capability, a video monitor, and a wireless communication system. When these camera systems first came out VCRs were used to record the video signal. Nowadays, VCRs have been replaced by much more practical DVRs that allow playback while continuing to record the live video feed.

The scam is ran by two or three people working together. The guy at the card table does not make any playing decisions; he is just a puppet player who only acts as instructed through secret signals. The actual player (i.e. the one that actually makes the playing decisions) is seated in another room watching the game on a monitor and probably sipping on a beer. He records the initial distribution of the cards and immediately plays it back on his monitor, frame-by-frame whenever necessary. Since the cards are boldly marked across the backs their values can be easily seen, even at a distance. He then uses a wireless communication device to signal the playing decisions to the member of the team posing as a player. In a three-person set-up, the initial signal is delivered to a third guy who is standing in the room and apparently not taking place in the game (the use of a third person is safer because the player seated at the table does not have to wear any covert communication equipment). This guy now signals the puppet player whether to fold, call, or raise (for example arms crossed means fold; scratch chin means call, and scratch nose means raise).

When these video system were first introduced they carried a hefty price tag around $20,000 on the black market, provided that one knew where to buy it. The system that I used for this demo video is one that I've developed myself, many years ago. In other words I did not spend 20 G's to for a ready-made one; instead I spent some time doing experiments and fine-tuning my own system. These systems were still relatively hard to find in the early years 2000, and therefore still carried the $20,000 price tag for a while. But as technology advances and solutions are more easily available to the masses the price had to come down. Around 2005 these systems came down to about $10,000, which (as any math genius could tell you) is about half price of what it originally sold for. Around 2007 or 2008 some outlets began selling camera solutions for around $3,500. But the truth is, these cameras don't really have to cost that mush either, so towards the end of 2008 camera solutions were available for a far more reasonable price. But those are only the cameras, the ink is a different story.

This system is not to be confused with various well-known luminous reader systems, that use faint green ink and a red filter. The green ink that most people try to make for luminous readers can actually be seen without a red lens, and if it is diluted enough to be invisible to the naked eye it turns out to also be virtually undetectable through a red filter. The substance used to mark the the cards for a video system is completely invisible to the human eye. In order for the video system to work one must use a very specific substance as ink, and a specially modified video camera.

The substance that is used to make the ink is actually extremely expensive (about $100,000 per pound in powder form, no kidding) and is usually sold in rather small quantities. When I first started experimenting with camera systems, I was only able to afford a pinch the size of a droplet of water, literally; and only because I was lucky enough to find a distributor that was good enough to sell such a small amount to me. Some other distributors did not budge from their $5,000 or $10,000 minimum order policy. However, eventually I found other solution, and better inks. But the video shown of this page is of an early system, which is why the marks are rather faint.


* The procedure of dealing-out all the community cards, face-down across the board, at the beginning may seem odd (or even idiotic) to some of our readers, but that is one of the Hold'Em procedures described in some old poker books. This unsafe procedure can still be encountered in some circles - sometimes even played fro worthwhile stakes. It is relatively rare, but still mentioned here for completion.