Once just an underground practice, the practice of card counting has gradually made its way into the mainstream consciousness over the past number of years. Thanks in a large part to hit movies such as 21 and books such as Bringing Down the House, most individuals are at least somewhat familiar with the MIT Blackjack Team and the card counting strategies that they used to beat casinos for big bucks all around the world.
However, how do casinos catch these card counters in real life? What happens when they are caught? While counting isn’t illegal per se (in most places), that doesn’t mean you’ll get off scot-free if you are suspected of doing so.
Tell-tale Signs Of Card Counting
In blackjack, if you are counting cards, it’s very easy to tell if other players are also counting. Counting cards alters your style of play in certain ways. For instance, you will tend to bet high when the “count” is high, and then bet lower when the “count” is lower.
Even with a number of different counting systems, counting cards always points in the same direction. If a person is betting high when the count is also high, and lowering the bet when it drops, then possibly he or she is counting. Is the person who is sitting out when you are sitting out? Might be a counter also. In order to a counter there are some clear signs. This is why a number of different casinos hire former counters to detect – as well as confirm – counters.
The Actions A Casino May Take Against Card Counters
After each shift, the dealer might approach the pit boss and tell him/her about their counting suspicions. This is why – when the dealer leaves – look for where he goes and if he attempts to point to your direction. The odds of your team working or being caught out can be determined by the dealer. They have to shout out things which are strange to the pit as well such as “splitting 10’s” in addition “making plays” (doubling prior bet which they say something such as “checks play”).
In addition, the pit boss observes play just by walking around. If he sees massive bet spreads (you begin with a one-unit bet, and then start playing two hands of four units, or one hand of eight units), he could take the discard tray and count cards backwards in order to see if your play is associated with the cards that have come out.
In addition, he may walk up to you, begin talking to you as well as acting too friendly. This is done to mess up your concentration. Thus, some people don’t always start out with one-unit bets. They could switch between one- and three-unit bets, or the last bet from the last shoe. In addition, this is why counters train their skills up so that counting is second nature. When they do get “harassed” nothing happens.
A common mistaken belief is that a card counter continually wins. They don’t always win. They are expected to win in the long run, however even while counting winning is nearly 50/50. The advantage gained from counting is around 1-2%.