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We’ve all seen the movies where the fortunes of the characters are suddenly turned around with the discovery that one of them has the ability to count cards. In a matter of hours, they win a huge amount and break the bank. Unfortunately, this is just the fiction of Hollywood. And though it’s true that back in the day, real gamblers could make a decent living counting card, those days are now long gone. Today you have to contend with sophisticated casino security. And nothing gets past them.

How Do Casinos Stop People from Counting Cards?

If you’ve seen Paul Schrader’s excellent new movie, starring Oscar Isaacs as The Card Counter, you’ll realise that it’s not the glamorous occupation that it may first appear to be. In fact, if you talk to any card counters, they’ll tell you that it’s a grind. Nothing more than hard and laborious work. It’s true that by counting cards you’re able to almost reverse the house edge in the casino. Essentially the idea here is to remember the card’s previously dealt in order to build up a more accurate picture of those that still remain in the shoe. This information leads you to make better decisions when it comes to standing, doubling down or hitting. Before we get started, we should point out that counting cards online, at a casino like 22Bet Casino, is impossible as you’re playing against a computer. 

Some years ago, you would hear plenty of stories about how card counting had helped those utilising the system to pocket some serious winnings. But you have to keep in mind that for the vast majority of people who try counting cards, it simply doesn’t work. 

Why Card Counting Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

If we’re being perfectly honest, then we have to say that card counting certainly isn’t the winning system it used to be. There are three main reasons why anyone planning on investing their efforts into learning card counting might want to reconsider how to spend their time more constructively.

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  1. In spite of the huge amount of opinion telling you that card counting is easy, it’s really not. In fact, when you’re at the casino games table, playing against the dealer, card counting is extraordinary difficult. After all it’s difficult to remain focused and it quickly becomes very stressful. As your bankroll is at risk at all the time, then any enjoyment or even satisfaction, is lost.
  2. You can blame Hollywood for the idea the card counting it’s going to bring you huge prizes. The reality is that by counting cards you may be able to bring the edge into your favour to the region of 0.5% and to a maximum of 2% at the very most. That’s not a lot. In reality this means that your chances of winning will be 52% of the time. And when you’re not winning, then 48% of the time you’ll be losing. So actually turning a meaningful profit whilst utilising card counting is incredibly difficult. We would say it’s actually bordering on the impossible.
  3. In today’s casinos, card counting is almost impossible to get away with. Casino security are not fools. They have had years of experience watching people counting cards or attempting to do so. As a result, they know exactly what to look for. Because card counting relies on a fixed betting pattern, then it’s relatively easy to spot. This means that after just a few hands, when you’ve been counting cards, they will ask you to stop and leave the premises for good.

If you’re learning how to play blackjack at home or with your friends, then utilising how to count cards is great fun. Especially if you’re inquisitive and curious. Or if you want to know whether you can put it off or how it works. Then we suggest you put some time aside and learn how to count cards properly. If on the other hand, you believe that counting card is going to bring you a fortune at the blackjack table in the casino, well, we suggest that you don’t quit your day job!

Card Counting Countermeasures

You have to remember that the casinos have been watching their players for many decades. As a result, they’re able to spot all the tricks that a sneaky gambler might try to pull. And it’s because of all the security measures in place, that trying to cheat in a casino today is going to be pretty much impossible. As a result, the security against card counting has become more sophisticated. There are ways of spotting the card counter well before anybody at the blackjack table is aware of what’s happening.

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We can imagine that there will always be some cocky player who believes that they can pull the wool over the eyes of the casino and the casino’s security. But the universal nature of casino surveillance keeps an eye over all gambling activity taking place. Meaning it’s going to catch you out pretty much instantly. They should stick to playing online blackjack for fun, rather than risk being kicked out of a real casino.

Surveillance from All Angles

Though it sounds very much like Big Brother, keep in mind that from the moment you walk into the casino, you are being closely monitored at all times. Within the security system itself, there are clever algorithms running which are constantly interpreting your behaviour at the table. As well as how you interact with others. Even you facial expressions and your body language. As such, all gambler behaviour is being scrutinised. Unlike many other forms of security, which offer low pay and have a high employee turnover, casino security on the other hand, offers of career structure with good pay based around evolving skills and experience. That’s why a veteran casino security specialist is able to spot any signs of cheating from literally miles away. They have the experience and training to know exactly what to look for. So anyone counting cards really doesn’t stand a chance.

Casino Cheaters Gotta Pay

You probably remember the scene in Martin Scorsese’s movie “Casino”, where Robert De Niro’s character is informed by the pit boss of a pair of cheats at one of the gaming tables of his casino. Let’s say things don’t end well for the couple. And the punishment involves a hammer! If you’re caught counting cards at the casino, then luckily for you, any punishment will be much more gentle.

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In the beginning, you’ll probably receive a whisper in your ear, informing you that the casino knows what you’re doing. They will then escort to the door. This is the famous “backoff.” But don’t worry, security are not going to rough you up in a back alley. This is something that only happens in Hollywood movies.

Distractions and Misdirection

In truth, counting cards requires a high level of concentration. So one tactic that casinos use to discourage the counting of cards when they see it, is to simply place something distracting in front of the person breaking the rules. A common approach is to offer them comps, such as drinks or free meal vouchers. Another is the place an annoying player next to them. These are subtle checks that will certainly break the player’s concentration. Thus making sure that the card counter loses track of his count. One of the nicest distractions we’ve seen is the casino sending over a glass of champagne to congratulate the successful player. This achieves two things. It distracts the player from their count. But more importantly, it lets them know that they’re under the casino’s ever watchful eye. Gulp! That they are now on the casino’s security radar.

New Shoes, New Dealers

Gone are the days when many casino table card games were played from a single deck of cards. Today, all casinos will be constantly swapping out the shoes at the blackjack table. And at totally random times. Of course, with each hand supposedly to be 100% unique, then it really doesn’t matter if they are replacing or reshuffling the shoe with a machine after every hand. For those players considering counting cards online, this would be impossible. As the dealer is forever exchanging the shoe for a new one. Whatever perfect blackjack strategies you’re using for card counting simply won’t work.

On the whole, the purpose of counting cards is to see what remains in the shoe. Then swapping out the shoe on a regular basis is the surest way of ensuring that the use of card counting becomes totally redundant. If a casino spots a card counter, they can quickly put a stop to his activities by simply bringing in a new dealer. For the experienced card counter, this is a subtle sign that the casino security has seen them.

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In-House Actors

In the same way that many retail stores use undercover security who look like other shoppers, the casino uses the same practices. All casinos will hire security who act like regular customers, spending that days and nights gambling at the casino tables. These unassuming players are just another level of security keeping an eye on what’s going on at the gaming tables. They are all veterans at spotting any instances of cheating. And that includes counting cards.

Keep in mind that anyone you encounter whilst you’re at the casino could well be a paid employee of the casino itself. Their job is to keep an eye on players. Any suspicious activity and they will alert security in an instant. In gambling hubs like Macau and Las Vegas, they’re even groups of people who are employees in disguise. With laughter and banter they lull cheating players into a sense of security. We suggest that you forget about card counting. Simply head over to 22Bet Casino, which is one of the best online casinos for live dealer blackjack games, and aim to have a great time.