Blackjack is, by far, the most popular card game played in most casinos. The game is fun, exciting, and engaging. However, most importantly, it has the best player odds out of any other casino game. And on top of that, players can boost those odds by learning how to implement specific strategies. One of the most popular blackjack strategies is undoubtedly card counting.
Table of Contents
What is Card Counting?
Card counting is one of the most common and popular strategies professional players implement to get an edge over the casino. The basic premise is that high cards (8s or higher) benefit the player, while low cards (7s and under) benefit the dealer. The goal of card counting is to make a mental check of the cards dealt with and determine whether the next card will be high or low. In doing so, the player increases their chance of winning the game.
Due to Hollywood’s influence on popular culture, many believe that counting cards are simple. However, learning card counting is quite simple if you understand the basics. The tricky part comes once you are already inside the casino. You see, casino owners need help with card counters. And though card counting is not illegal, a business can still ban players for card counting. Let’s go over a few ways casinos catch card counters.
Observation & Analysis
One of the most common ways casinos catch card counters is by employing pro-card counters. If a player exhibits some of the typical traits associated with card counting, the casino begins to observe them. Then, they will send out an employee who can count cards themselves. The casino’s counter will sit on the same table and follow the plays of the suspected card counter. If the plays work out, the casino will conclude that the person is counting cards. Often, the dealer can spot common traits associated with card counters. Common behaviors associated with card counting include the following:
- Betting huge amounts
- Sudden and drastic changes in betting
- Playing multiple hands at once
- Table hopping
The 21st century is often called the “digital age.” Computer science and tech have evolved drastically and have influenced most aspects of the world, including the gambling industry. Casinos can now utilize computer systems to analyze player behavior and determine whether or not they are counting cards. The necessary software is improving each year, meaning that casinos are getting better and better at snuffing out card counters. Additionally, with the recent development of AI technology, many casino operators are looking to combine the two technologies for an even more efficient system.
Of course, one of the most common ways to spot card counters is through surveillance cameras. Nowadays, most businesses are equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance systems, which undoubtedly play a huge role in helping casino operators spot card counters. For this to work, the camera operator must know the typical behavioral patterns associated with card counting. But, if you are card counting in a casino, and a camera is pointing at you, know it is time to change your strategy.
Legal and Ethical Considerations
Now that you know some of the ways casinos can catch players card counting, another thing to consider is the legal and ethical implications of counting cards. If you are learning to count cards, then you are already aware that the practice is not illegal. Unless you use software, you are not breaking the law when counting cards. So, why do casinos have such a problem?
Well, it’s obvious. Casinos don’t like to lose. The player odds on blackjack are already the highest out of any other casino game. Card counting further boosts those odds, making the game even more profitable for players. But, the more a player profits, the more a casino loses. So, most casinos make it a private rule that card counting is prohibited in their establishment.
So what happens if they catch you? Well, in the broader sense, nothing. Casinos can’t really press charges against card counters. The most they can do is temporarily or permanently ban you from their establishment. In this case, you can always find a different casino. Some people believe that casinos have no right to do this. However, most casinos are private businesses and retain the right to create rules for how they want to manage the business. In other words, they are entirely within their right to ban players they don’t like.
Card counting is an easy way to boost your chances. However, if you do it, you should be aware of how the casino can catch you. The best way to avoid being caught is by mixing up your plays, taking a few dives, and, most importantly, remaining calm.