Ben Affleck is a skilled blackjack player but he has no understanding of hiding his card counting techniques. We can all learn from his mistakes.
Hollywood celebrity Ben Affleck has been in the news a lot lately for good and bad reasons. His 2012 film Argo won him an academy award for best director while it was announced earlier this year that he would be cast as Batman in the upcoming Marvel vs. DC film, Hollywood’s latest in a mind-numbingly endless line of comic book adaptations.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that he just can’t seem to avoid getting himself kicked out of Las Vegas casinos. Affleck is a known blackjack strategy expert who has made a name for himself winning large sums of money at high stakes tables. The first incident happened early this past May when he was caught counting cards at the Hard Rock Casino. He was booted from the premises(while counting cards isn’t illegal no casino will knowingly allow players to do it).
No longer welcome in his favorite Vegas casino the actor ventured north to Canada, following up his first awkward incident by being escorted off the premises of the Caesar’s Windsor Casino Hotel, again, for allegedly using a card counting system. Affleck is a skilled blackjack player but clearly no good at disguising his use of the technique. What can we learn from him?
Avoid making a name for yourself
Part of success with a card counting system is staying under the radar. You want to win money but do it in a fashion which prevents anyone on the casino staff from taking more than a passive glance at you. For aspiring pros out there, make sure to change tables several times throughout the evening to avoid getting too cozy with the dealer or pit boss. And don’t play at the same casino night after night. Anonymity is key.
Affleck is a Hollywood star, so when he walks onto the casino floor everyone knows who he is. Getting booted from the Hard Rock gave him a public reputation as a card counter, so you can bet that the pit boss at Caesar’s Windsor was paying special attention to him.
Blackjack legend Ken Uston was kicked out of every casino in Atlantic City back in the early 80s, but he managed to get back in to many of them by using elaborate disguises and Hollywood-esque acting ability. Perhaps Affleck should have done the same.
Try to disguise the fact that you’re counting
Winning at blackjack is harder these days because dealers and pit bosses are trained to sniff out counters. We all feel the temptation to immediately jump our bet from $25 to $250 when the count gets high, but that’s a dead giveaway that you’re counting.
You can get away with that technique once, but do that a couple times at the same table on the same night and you’re guaranteed to get a visit from the pit boss. A better strategy is to start off making fairly large bets and increase them incrementally so as to avoid detection.
Mr. Affleck got himself caught because he wasn’t taking enough care to make himself look like an ordinary basic strategy player. A surveillance officer at the Hard Rock told reporters that the actor’s play was “way too obvious.”
How so? He reportedly increased his wager to up to $20,000 several times throughout the game, which tipped off staff that he was counting. One Vegas blackjack expert told reporters: “putting out a spread of that much is absolutely unheard of and absurd.”
Don’t act like you’re invincible
While counting cards it’s important to on the lookout for signs that casino staff may be on to you. This is referred to as “heat,”unspoken warnings from the dealer or pit boss that they suspect you of counting and are politely asking you to stop before they make you stop.
If you feel the heat coming on act calmly and coolly, doing your best not to appear visibly nervous. If the pit boss comes over to you engage him or her in pleasant conversation. What you shouldn’t do is continue to count cards in an obvious manner. Play out the shoe using a blackjack strategy card and take a break before moving to another part of the casino floor.
Affleck’s response to the heat was pretty ridiculous, displaying the arrogance that only a Hollywood star would have. Reports say that several times throughout the evening at the Hard Rock it became very obvious to staff that he was counting and “Ben was politely asked repeatedly to stop card counting. However, he would not stop.”
To sum things up
When blackjack dealers are literally asking you to stop counting because they don’t want you to get kicked out the casino, you are doing everything wrong with regards to counting cards. Firstly, you’re being WAYYY too obvious! Take steps to disguise your card counting techniques, this article has some useful information.
Secondly, only a celebrity like Affleck will get the courtesy of such a polite request. For an average Joe like me or you, we’ll get the dreaded “back off,” likely in a less-than-polite manner. If staff members are making it clear that they’re wise to your act, start planning an exit strategy.