October 9, 2021
Ask any casino dealer this question, and you run the risk of being thrown out. Invented by Edward Thorp in the 60s, card counting has been a thorn in the flesh of most casinos. Players, notably the legendary MIT Team, have used card counting in blackjack to make huge profits.
But don’t dare think that casinos are bystanders. They have their own mechanisms of catching up with card counters and defeating this legal strategy. So, do you want to know how a casino catch card-counting players red-handed? Read on!
Sounds obvious, right? Yes, employing a dealer and a pit boss is the first step most casinos take to combat cheating.
Usually, the pit boss will walk around the floor to observe play and help struggling players. And if they notice substantial bet spreads, they may count the cards in the discard tray backward to find any discrepancies. Also, there is another ‘dirty’ trick up their sleeves. Once they suspect a player of counting cards, the pit boss walks up to the player, pretending to act friendly.
But, in the end, their main goal to make you uncomfortable and lose concentration. So now you know why professional card counters switch between 1 to 3 unit bets.
Immediately after the Beat the Dealer book was launched in 1961 by Edward Thorp, casinos started creating unfavorable game rules. Of course, this was to make card counting unprofitable.
Today, the best online casinos offer multi-deck shoes. During Thorp’s days, most blackjack games were played using a single deck. This alone increases the house advantage by 1.4%.
Also, some tables allow the dealer to improve their soft hands by hitting a Soft 17. Again, this boosts the house advantage by 0.2%. As little as it seems, this percentage might be all you need to win the round.
As if making the gameplay miserable isn’t enough, casinos employ scare tactics to “back off” card counters. In other words, the casino will do everything possible to get into the card counter’s head.
For example, the pit boss might walk around to find card counting players. After that, they may head straight to the dealer and start conversing while pointing at the player. They may also come over and stand near the advantage player. This is to make the player uncomfortable.
Are you winning more blackjack hands these days? Well, you may already be inside the casino’s ‘bad’ books.
For years now, casinos have perfected the art of keeping a database of blackjack gamers. Some even go as far as contracting third-party database companies to keep tabs on advantage players. A good example is the Griffin Investigations, which is famous for nailing down the MIT Team. Unfortunately, James Grosjean sued the company later on, with Griffin International going bankrupt after that.
All in all, any targeted player will find it difficult to get a seat at a blackjack table. Some casinos will block you altogether.
It’s vital to note that card counting is absolutely legal in blackjack. However, casinos reserve the right to kick you out of the premises for using this strategy. In addition, other casinos will ban you, depending on the extent of the wrongdoing.
Fortunately, there are multiple tricks to use if you want to avoid getting caught. They include:
Now you know the multiple ways that casinos catch card counters and how to avoid getting caught. The trick is finding the right online casino and not appearing too wise. Throw the dealer of their scent by keeping it simple. Another thing, get enough practice with free games before going live.
Ethan Lim, a native of the Lion City, is Singapore’s rising star in the domain of online casino guide localization. He masterfully blends his intimate knowledge of local culture with international gaming standards to produce content that resonates deeply with Singaporeans.