November 18, 2018

Casinos Versus Card Counters

When the first card counting systems showed up back in the 60’s, casinos were caught completely off guard. Because of the huge losses they suffered in the hands of blackjack card counters, casinos have implemented a number of countermeasures to either catch or scare off card counters.

In a lot of instances, these steps are effective in nullifying or at least minimizing the advantages acquired by blackjack players who use card counting strategies.

One of the initial steps that the casinos put in place against card counting was to severely limit the players’ options in playing blackjack. The ability to split and double were sometimes restricted and oftentimes limited.

It was an ineffective and crude way to stop counters, and was instantly greeted with an overwhelming negative reply by blackjack players. The resulting sharp decline in the number of casino blackjack players eventually led to the rule being revoked.

The next rule implemented by the casinos was an incredibly effective countermeasure in stopping card counting. This step was the introduction of a multi-deck game. Before the arrival of card counting systems, casino held blackjack games were played very similar to how blackjack games were played at home. This was through the use of single deck cards.

The addition of a second deck — with both decks being shuffled together — ensured that the advantage of card counting was severely curbed. Today however, instead of a multi-deck game using two decks simultaneously, most casinos hold blackjack games using six or more decks in a single play.

It didn’t stop there. To further reduce the effects or prevent card counting, casinos opted to discard (commonly referred to as “burning”) cards at the end of every play. The discarded cards are then placed into the discard tray where the players won’t see or even get a glimpse of them. This is indeed, another brutally effective way for the casinos to minimize card counting.

Shuffling the deck is another way to reset the count — and blackjack dealers do this a lot. The moment they suspect a card counter is in play, the dealers would quickly shuffle the deck.

If however, despite all the counting countermeasures still doesn’t work, and a suspected counter still wins, the house may resort to another useful tactic. This time, a number of security personnel or the pit boss may be called in to carefully observe the player in question.

If this still doesn’t work and the casino has proven the player to be a counter, then the player may be told to leave the casino premises or even be escorted out of it. The counter may even be told not to return to the casino, and a picture of a repeating offender posted so casino employees can easily identify the counter.

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