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Using a card counting system is a great way to win at blackjack. But if you want to maximize your winnings, learn how to exploit dealer error.

Blackjack is the best casino game out there because it gives the player opportunities to tip the advantage in their favor. Other games like roulette, slots and even baccarat have a house edge which can’t be altered. Blackjack is different because the use of advantage play techniques can actually move the edge from house to player.

The only problem is that even proper use of advantage play techniques like card counting systems will only the player an edge of about .2 percent. That means that one would have to wager large amounts on countless hands in order to take home a sizeable amount of money. Betting $1000 would net you only $2, all other things being equal.

How dealer’s screw up

For that reason many blackjack experts say that advantage play isn’t enough. The player must also recognize and capitalize when the dealer makes a mistake. Professional croupiers are highly trained and excellent at what they do, but it doesn’t mean they don’t screw up once in a while.

The most obvious examples of a dealer error are when they don’t tally totals correctly. Your hand is a 19 but they only count 17, for example. When this happens you point out that you think they made a mistake, then ask them to recount. If it is discovered that they made an error you’re entitled to a free bet.

Blackjack legend Don Johnson, the man who won $15 million playing blackjack at Atlantic City casinos in 2012, won in large part by distracting dealers into miscounting, then cashing in on the free bet. One of his favored techniques was to visit the casino with beautiful women, who would attempt to distract male dealers.

Another “error” which is encouraged by some players is waiting until the dealer becomes distracted then placing a bet just outside the circle. According to the rules, this amounts to asking for change.

If you receive a card which isn’t to their liking, then you can legitimately say that you were just asking for change and never intended to bet that amount. The best part about this is that they don’t have to lie, it’s completely true!

On the other hand, if the dealer thinks that your money is a wager and deals a new hand, you may decide that it is to your liking. The point is that the dealer most likely will see that your money is outside of the circle; but if they don’t, the ball is in your court.

Sometimes the dealer will accidentally expose a card during the dealing process. This information can be valuable to you, especially if they show you their hole card. For example, if you know that the dealer has a ten hiding under their, you’ll be much more likely to surrender.

How to exploit dealer error

Rather than attempting to influence the dealer to make errors (which is difficult and can sometimes result in getting the back-off from a pit boss), what you should attempt to do is find dealers which are inexperienced, sleep-deprived or noticeably unhappy with their jobs, as these are the ones most likely to make mistakes.

Look for newly-opened and recently expanded casinos. If they’ve recently added large numbers of blackjack tables that most likely means that they’re training in new dealers. If you do a little bit of scouting once you’ve walked onto the casino floor it isn’t difficult to tell who is experienced and who is in training.

Also look for dealers who are noticeably tired or irritable. Some blackjack strategy experts play only at night for this specific reason. The player can sleep during the day before going into the casino well-rested. And some dealers simply don’t enjoy their jobs or have problems getting along with managers and co-workers. For obvious reasons they’re more likely to make mistakes.

Maximizing your gains from dealer error can also be done by increasing your bets across the board. If your dealer is clearly incompetent or mistake-prone, you should bet more than the minimum on each hand. Of course they won’t make a mistake on every hand, but they will on enough that you’ll win a lot more over the course of the night.

Remember to be subtle

The casino can ask you to leave for any reason whatsoever, so you never want to draw much attention to yourself. Even if you are using techniques to distract the dealer make sure that they aren’t obvious. As for the abovementioned trick about putting money just outside the circle, don’t attempt that more than once per dealer. They’ll pick up on you very quickly.

Be friendly with the dealer in order to get him or her on your side. If they get a positive impression from you, they’ll respond in a more accommodating manner when you point out an error. Having good casino table manners is very important to sustainable winning.

We don’t recommend that you attempt to rely on dealer error to increase your bankroll every night, but it is a useful tool to keep in your arsenal. In addition to perfect strategy and card counting techniques, spotting and pouncing on dealer error can help you win a lot of money.