The age of Google Glass has brought with it a lot of implications about what a future involving wearable technology will be like, and the types of concession and adjustments we’ll all have to make. One of the first discussions has centered around where Glass won’t be allowed – and one of the locations up for debate is the casino floor.
However, Colin Jones hopes that isn’t the case. That’s because he’s working on a card counting app for Google Glass – yes, card counting, like in 21 or Rain Man. About 10 years ago, Jones had a degree in math and a substitute teaching position when he read a book about card counting. After practicing in local card rooms, Jones felt confident enough to take $2,000 out of his and his wife’s bank account to take his skills to a casino.
In six months he turned that $2,000 into $100,000. He kept playing, and during the course of his and his friend (and future co-founder) Ben Crawford’s ride through casinos, they accumulated some $4 million. This success turned into a business – and that business became Blackjack Apprenticeship, the premiere online card counting community. The company offers bootcamps and live training sessions, video training via the site, and other resources for the online card counting community.
“We built Casino411, which is like a Yelp for card counters,” says Jones. “It tells you ‘don’t play this place, this place is really tolerant of card counters,’ that type of thing. All the casino information that’s really important to a card counter.”
This and other features are what Jones wants to bring to Google Glass. He says the company developed an iOS app the moment the API was available, and the app has been wildly successful – so why not put the platform in front of players’ eyes?
Well, casino regulations, for one reason. But Jones says thus far, only Harrah’s has outlawed Glass. “It isn’t a surprise. Harrah’s is one of the most paranoid, harshest, slimiest places within the card counting community.” He says he knows one card counter who was detained against her will by Harrah’s.
Elsewhere, the rules are being written as we go. “I think it will be like smartphones,” Jones explains. “If everybody has it in a few years, some form of smart eyewear, it’s going to be difficult to ban them from casinos. They might say you can’t wear them while sitting at tables, but that would be difficult if Google Glass had prescription eyewear … or in 10 years, when here are Glass contact lenses – who knows?”
He makes a legitimate point: Smartphone adoption followed a similar course, although wearable technology like Glass are definitely a larger pill to swallow. But if mass adoption is in our future (whether that’s the near or distant future), as so many predict, it will simply have to become a part of the landscape. Even the Vegas strip landscape.
So what will the purported app … be like? Right now, it’s strictly in the blueprint phrase, as the team’s developers are still waiting for their Glass unit. Jones says the Yelp-like feature would be core to the experience: Users wearing Glass and walking down the street would instantly be able to see which casinos were card counter-friendly and which weren’t.
Training features would also help the user visualize and learn the trade in real-time; the inefficiencies of pause-and-play video learning minimized by Glass’ heads-up display.
Regardless of what the future holds for gambling and Glass, Jones says that his app is strictly trying to help players utilize their own smarts and the latest in smart tech. “We’re only interested in legal means of using our brains and technology to play the games that casinos offer us.”
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