Blackjack Card Counting
Card counting is the main technique and strategy used in an attempt to reduce the casino's advantage when playing blackjack. Although not illegal, card counting in casinos is strictly forbidden and players spotted using this strategy will be asked to leave the casino.
Regular shuffling of the cards by the dealer ensures that there is a reasonable house advantage, since this makes the game more unpredictable. However, times can arise when the player has a distinct advantage over the casino dealer.
For instance, if more high value cards remain in the dealers pile (the 'shoe'), the dealer is at a disadvantage, since the casino rules dictate that they always have to 'hit' when their blackjack hand totals 16 or less, meaning that the casino dealer has a greater chance of going bust. Blackjack players are allowed to stand on any hand, regardless of the total value, and so they are more likely to win when there are a large amount of high value cards, such as tens, remaining in the 'shoe'. This simple observation forms the basis for card counting when playing.
Expert blackjack card counting means that players have an advantage over the casino dealer, which is why casinos always actively discourage card counting during games. As cards are dealt, some players simply total the value of each card and when it exceeds a certain level, begin to increase their stake money, as they become more confident with their betting.
Detecting Blackjack Card Counting
Casino dealers and staff and trained to spot card counting and actively look for players noticeably increasing their bets when the second half of the 'shoe' pile is reached. When a player is suspected of card counting, they are immediately reported and discreetly scrutinised, often using the casino's video camera system.
Avoiding Card Counting
Blackjack card counting is easiest in larger casinos, particularly when they are extremely busy, with high stake money and bets. Also, by limiting the length of play, players are less likely to the remembered and overlooked in future games.
Also, to avoid possible detection when counting cards during blackjack, it is always sensible not to use casino chips of high value, which can quickly draw attention to your game. Remove winning chips from the table, so as not to draw attention to how well you are doing. Each table's overall float is checked at regular intervals, so once you have won a large amount of money, leave to table before you are detected for card counting.
If you become aware that the casino dealer or another member of casino staff is watching you, revert to playing with low stakes. Many professional blackjack card counters operate in small teams to avoid detection, entering the casino separately and treating each other as complete strangers.
One of the players starts playing blackjack and when they are confident that the casino dealer's 'shoe' pile contains high-value cards, they discreetly signal the other players, who begin playing with high stake money and bets. This type of professional operation cannot be done on a regular basis, as it will soon be spotted by the experienced casino blackjack dealers, who always observe those winning high money closely.