counting cards

Thanks to Hollywood, everyone has an idea about counting cards at the casino. It’s a technique in blackjack that can bring the odds into your favor by a tiny percentage. But enough to make a difference over the long term. The payer needs to keep a real and a running count in his head at the same time. From this, he’ll know the type of cards left in the deck. Though counting cards is not illegal, and you’ll not get arrested, as you can imagine, the casinos are not enamored with card counters.

Can You Get Arrested For Counting Cards?

The great thing about the game of Blackjack is it’s not just reliant on luck. Provided you take some time to study basic blackjack strategy and learn card counting, you can swing the odds in your favor and increase your jackpot winning chances. When it comes to card counting, many non-gamblers imagine that it’s somehow illegal. Like it’s one of the secret blackjack winning tips. So today at, we thought we would take a look into the legality of card counting. As well as what might happen if the casino caught you. Does the casino security have the right to kick you out? Can they inform the police and have you arrested? Read on to find out more…

The Legality Of Blackjack Counting Cards 

If you’re going to be counting cards then it’s important to know that this will offer you a theoretical advantage up between 0.5% to 1.5% over the casino. Sometimes it’s possible to gain an even greater house edge. As a card counter, you’re going to be assigning values to sets of cards. In your mind, you’ll keep a running count, as well as a true count which estimates both the number of cards left in the deck. Along with how many have already been dealt out.

counting cards
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Essentially, card counting is not a form of cheating. Unless you bring an external device into the casino, like a mini-computer, then card counting is not illegal. This is true under both state and federal laws. This means to say that if you’re caught counting cards, you’ll not end up in jail. But having said that, you need to consider that the casino takes a very dim view of card counters. After all, you’re affecting their bottom line. So it’s going to look upon any activity that gives the player a greater advantage in a negative light.

Casinos will try their best to counter the effects of card counting. Over the last few years, they’ve introduced such things as continuous shuffling machines and the use of eight decks of cards. You may find yourself being backed off and asked to leave. Furthermore, you may be banned from the premises. But whatever happens, you cannot be arrested.

Why Casinos Don’t Like Card Counters?

First and foremost all casinos are businesses. Their job is to make a profit. For the owners whilst employing the employees. The counting of cards allows the player a higher percentage chance of winning against the casino. When counting cards, then the player will give a value to sets of cards whilst at the same time keeping a running count as the game progresses.

counting cards
Picture Source: MaxPixel

If he’s able to correctly execute this method, then he has an idea of the type of cards that will be left in the deck. This allows him to adjust his wager size accordingly. So if there’s a positive count, then the gambler will bet more. Conversely, if the count is negative, then they bet less. By doing so, the house edge of the casino can be reduced significantly. When coupled with perfect blackjack strategies, then it’s a recipe for success. Keep in mind that the system is long-term, as the gains are relatively small with each hand.

How Can Casinos Stop Counting Cards?

Not surprisingly, all casinos will do their best to ensure that card counting doesn’t happen on their premises. There are a number of different methods they can use to decrease the chances of being able to count cards profitably. We’ve listed some of them below.

Continuous Shuffling Machines

Better known by the initials of “CSMs”, these allow the dealer to put back the down cards into a shuffling machine where they will be reshuffled. By doing this, the deck penetration will be reduced to a large extent. And will make the counting of cards pretty much impossible.

counting cards
Picture Source: Pixabay

Keep in mind that there is no pausing during the game for this. This means that trying to assign values and keep it running count is going to be incredibly hard. One of the most infamous shuffling machines is the Shuffle Master.

RFID Chips

This is a technology that’s within the chips themselves. Within the table there are a number of sensors and the chips literally talk to these, allowing the casino to determine exactly how the player is betting. This will give the casino security real-time betting data so they can quickly spot any betting patterns which make them unhappy.

As you know, a card counter out will only bet on certain outcomes depending on the cards left in the deck. As they also have to bet for considerable periods of time, it becomes easier and easier to spot card counting betting patterns. The data will show whether those patterns are the ones in use by card counters. Once again, although nothing illegal has taken place, you will be backed off by the pit boss and asked to leave the premises.

Security Surveillance

As you’ll probably be aware, there are a huge number of security surveillance cameras installed everywhere around the casino. In fact, they are put in places you would never consider looking. Through these cameras, the management is looking to catch those using mechanical or technological cheating devices.

counting cards
Picture Source: Pixabay

Nevertheless, they can still check for such things as betting patterns and the gambler’s body language. If you choose to play online, then you don’t have to suffer these types of security measures. For the newest live dealer blackjack games, we suggest that you head over to King Billy Casino. They offer not just a fantastic selection of blackjack games, but also give all new players a welcome bonus of €1,000!

Are There Any Real Risks For Counting Cards?

There is no chance that you’re going to end up in prison by counting cards. But there are, nevertheless, some risks that go with it. Anyone found counting cards will be pretty much instantly banned from the casino. You have to remember that the casinos are private premises, not public ones. You are only allowed in the casino by invitation as such. Essentially, the casino is offering you entertainment and not the possibility of winning anything through gambling. In other words, they are meant to make the profits, not you! As a card counter, you’re going to be disrupting this mechanism. So if you’re going to try and count cards, just don’t get caught.

There’s a great scene in Martin Scorsese’s movie “Casino” where a couple of casino cheats have been spotted. They are dragged into a back room. Robert De Niro’s character produces a hammer. It doesn’t go so well for one of them. But the results are certainly effective! You can thank your lucky stars that those days are over. But don’t expect to be treated with anything but contempt if you are caught counting cards. Sometimes it might be safer to play at King Billy Casino, as this is without a doubt, the best gambling site for blackjack.

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