Casinos don’t like blackjack players who are card counting even though the skill is legal. Knowing this makes experienced card counters especially careful when visiting a casino.
Card counters are always trying to find a casino where they can profit from using this skill. Unfortunately, a casino can ban any customer for any reason.
A player can be banned from a casino even if the personnel just think a player is counting. When a player uses their card counting prowess without getting caught they’re taking this skill to another level. Staying undetected in a casino is a skill in itself.
Experienced advantage players and card counters in blackjack tend to keep the secrets of their success to themselves. If they share their encounters it’s usually only with close friends and partners.
Keeping the best information to themselves makes sense. If a blackjack player has an edge over the casino, they don’t want to do anything to lose that advantage. Fair enough.
There are some advantage players who will share information well after they’ve moved on from that experience. This allows them clearance from their advantage from being used by others and potentially exposed.
While card counting isn’t for me, it may be good for you. I have not been able to come close to perfecting the skill so I’ve all bu given up on practicing.
However, card counting may be of interest to other recreational blackjack players looking for an advantage.
While pros look to card counting to always make money, a recreational blackjack player can use that information to have more fun by playing longer. Walking away from blackjack games with more money than starting is always the goal and part of the fun.
Here are a few things for recreational blackjack players to keep in mind if you want to start counting cards.
Pick The Right Games And Avoid 6:5 Blackjack
This should go without saying but I’m saying it just in case. The 6:5 payout for a natural blackjack makes it difficult, if not impossible, to turn the advantage from the casino to the player.
Casinos are also altering rules on doubling, splitting, and whether or not a dealer stays or hits on 17. There are plenty of blackjack games to avoid – especially in Las Vegas.
Find a game where taking the time to learn to count cards may pay off. If nothing else, anyone ready for counting cards should be able to use the basic strategy for blackjack to help lower the house edge.
Find A Game And Play Naturally
Most casinos nowadays don’t allow mid-shoe entry so this won’t be an issue as often as it used to be. However, there are still opportunities to jump into a game already taking place when the count is in your favor.
Moving in and out of games as the shoe is at a good or bad count is a sign that a player is counting. Recreational players can work around this.
New card counters can find a good blackjack game and just play like they normally would. Players should look to start at the beginning of a new shoe and then buy in like normal. This should keep the eyes in the sky and pit boss away.
Another way to keep the game natural is to keep bets within a reasonable spread. Experienced card counters may be able to avoid being caught for large bet spreads because they’ve been playing for a while.
New card counters are sometimes easy to spot because of their lack of bet spreading skill. Keeping the spread to a minimum should help avoid the surveillance teams.
Playing naturally also means looking and acting like normal. Experienced counters always looking to remain anonymous takes time, skill, and practice.
Players just looking for a fun time may not need the cover if they don’t look like they’re trying to take down the house.
Watch The Dealer
If a pit boss notices a player counting they’ll use some natural tactics to slow the game down. This could disincentivize a counter from sticking around.
One way a casino can slow the game down is to keep changing decks. The shuffling process for decks takes time. This makes the game slower and potentially less profitable.
The pit boss can also instruct the dealer to have more decks in play. If a player is at a single-deck game the pit boss could change the game to be a double-deck version. More cards in play the higher the house edge.
Switching to two decks is natural. In an extreme case, a pit boss could change a blackjack game from hand dealt to a shoe game. Not only is this game much slower but it’s also harder for new card counters. This also increases the house edge for the casino.
If using these tactics causes a card counter to play fewer hands, it can be seen as a win by the casino. Same if the counter leaves the casino altogether.