Most of us play blackjack in the casinos for two reasons. First, we want to have fun and second, we’d like to “take down the casino” and win all of the money. Learning basic strategy is a good way to minimize the house edge the casino has against the player. In theory, keeping the edge small will allow players to extend a bankroll longer and possibly win a few bucks in the short term.
Variance is all casino games that have a house edge will allow short term victories. Unfortunately, the edge over the casino won’t be long lived. In the long run, the only way to beat the casino in blackjack is to flip the edge from the house to the player. Beating the casino in blackjack isn’t for everyone and it’s not very easy (especially if you like a few drinks while you play). Flipping the edge from the house to you can be achieved by counting cards.
Counting cards isn’t illegal but it is certainly frowned upon by casino operators. Card counting is simply tracking cards and placing larger wagers when the advantage in the game is on your side. We have an entire page dedicated to learning how to count cards. You can read all about it here.
There are many ways to count cards and take the advantage over the casino. Unfortunately, if you’re caught counting cards you’ll probably be asked to leave the table. Having said that, it’s still possible to count cards when playing blackjack without getting caught. There’s no foolproof method to avoid being caught, but these tips should help.
1. Find the right game. Not every casino has a blackjack game that will be affected by counting cards. You can do research online to find the best games to play. In addition to looking for beneficial rules, you’ll be looking for a betting spread with limits that you’re comfortable playing.
2. Keep your spreads small. One of the biggest problems for card counters is spreading their bets to the limits. While this is the best way to make big money, it’s also an easy way to get noticed and caught. Avoid the spotlight by going for all or nothing. Don’t get lost in the money and enjoy smaller wins.
3. Keep the count to yourself. It’s easier for a casino to catch a card counter when they’re announcing the count out loud or visibly counting at the table. Like I said, counting cards isn’t easy. The skill takes a lot of perfect practice to master. You shouldn’t take your newfound card counting skills into a casino until you can keep it to yourself. Don’t let the dealer or pit bosses see you counting.
4. Don’t appear to be so smart. I’ve established that counting cards isn’t easy but it’s a good way to swing the edge in blackjack your way. Take some of your potential profits and make a bad bet every once in awhile. One way to throw the dealers and pit bosses off your scent is to make a mistake that a recreational player would make. You’ll know the count so do this when you make a smaller bet.
5. Enjoy some non-boozy drinks. I always need something to do with my hands when gambling and a drink usually helps keep me calm. However, drinking booze will hamper your ability to count. Drink a soft drink, coffee, or tea. Don’t try to mask like you’re drinking booze. That trick is old and will throw up a red flag to the casino that you’re counting.
6. Take a break during a good and bad count. Another reason to enjoy a few drinks is that it will give you an excuse to leave the table to use the restroom. If you can count cards you should assume that dealers and pit bosses can count too. Take a break when the count is high and they’ll be less likely to assume you’re counting. This should help distract the casino from your counting.
7. Don’t forget to tip. Tipping is a good way to distract a dealer from your counting. Share the wealth if you’re winning. Tipping is a good way to get the not only distract a dealer but to get them on your side. Don’t be afraid to engage the dealer and ask if they’d like the tip directly or if they’d like to play the tip. Playing the tip allows the dealer a chance to play with you and double the size of the tip.
A lot of the skills to get away with counting cards end up tying back to not being greedy. Ultimately all card counters want to make money. The smart counters understand that making a smaller profit is better than making no money at all.