It took less than a month for MGM Springfield (MA) to remove a blackjack player from the casino because he was counting cards. Noted professional blackjack player Tommy Hyland tells the Boston Globe that he was kicked out of MGM Springfield during the week of September 10th.
MGM Springfield opened on August 24, 2018. Hyland’s removal happened shortly after the casino celebrated two weeks of being open. Card counting in blackjack isn’t illegal, but it’s frowned upon by casino operators. Counting cards can take away the house edge in blackjack from casinos and flip the advantage to the player.
Hyland isn’t the first card counter to be caught at MGM Springfield. The President of MGM Springfield tells the Boston Globe that they had “a handful” of card counters since opening. The newspaper doesn’t mention if any of the other card counters were asked to leave the casino.
Ironically in his two visits to MGM Springfield, Tommy Hyland was down about $3,000. Being kicked out of a casino for counting cards isn’t something new for any professional blackjack player. Hyland has been kicked out of other MGM Resorts International casinos before. Hyland, like many professional gamblers, is an interesting person. This interview from 2002 on Blackjack Forum is a good and quick read.
Blackjack at MGM Springfield
Even when the casino is busy it shouldn’t be difficult to find card counters at MGM Springfield. There were about 54 blackjack tables at MGM Springfield during the first weekend of business. Only about 14 of the blackjack games at MGM Springfield pay 3:2 when a player is dealt a natural blackjack.
Only about 25% of the blackjack games at MGM Springfield are playable for any kind advantage player. Card counters looking for higher limits probably have even fewer tables to play at. It’s difficult for a known card counter to avoid the eyes of a security, surveillance, and pit bosses when they know who you are.
Massachusetts blackjack rules aren’t the best but they could be worse. Casinos may offer blackjack games that pay 6:5 when a player is dealt a natural blackjack. However, those blackjack games are limited to single and double deck blackjack. You can see more rules for Massachusetts blackjack here.
Counting Cards In Blackjack
Counting cards in blackjack isn’t for everyone. This skill involves much more work than just playing blackjack using basic strategy. Learning how to count cards in blackjack is important if you’re looking to take your game to the next level. This skill can take the house edge from the casino and move it to the player.
Earlier this year we wrote a primer on how to get started counting cards. Just remember the casino can kick you out if you use this skill.