Is It Legal To Count Cards When Playing Blackjack In Land Casinos?

26 April 2017 3 minutes to read
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There’s seems to be a lot of debate going on specifically when it comes to counting cards at a Blackjack table. Movies like ”21” demonized the casinos and glorified the card players guilty of card counting. Then again this is a typical Hollywood film so anything is to be expected.

At the end of the day entertainment is not always based on fact. Over the years many land casinos have banned players that have the ability to count cards, one such player is none other than actor Ben Affleck. This article explores why Blackjack card counting is illegal.


Is It Illegal?

The question one has to ask is it illegal to cheat when playing any casino game, by mucking the cards (hiding them for future use), capping your bet (raising your wager after you see your cards), past-posting or capping your bet (reducing your been after you’ve seen your cards)? It’s illegal to use any device in a game that helps you track your cards from Let It Ride to Blackjack. Saying you didn’t know won’t help your case because it is illegal.

”Trying to count cards when playing blackjack is ill-advised. Experienced card counters still play by the basic strategy, those who attempt card counting without a firm foundation in the basic strategy are making a big mistake.” Wizard of Odds

To be good at card counting you must be able memorize numbers and be able to count fast. Taking today’s rules into account the counter will only have a success rate of 0.5% to 1.5%.

A deck laced with aces and tens is good for the card counting players while a deck with small cards favors the dealer. The card counter will up his bet if he knows the odds favor him by splitting, doubling or standing.

If a player is suspected of cheating he or she will be asked to leave the casino. According to their own internal controls most gaming jurisdictions in the United States allow the casinos to handle these issues. If you’re caught playing with a cheating device you’ll be arrested on the spot. Playing blackjack in any land-casino is a lot of fun. To be more specific it’s always been legal to use any type of betting strategy to try and increase your odds at the table.

‘When the dealer realizes you are counting, he will either shuffle the cards when you increase your bet, removing any advantage or ask you to leave.”

If you want to try the Martingale system (double-up until you win), the casino is more than happy to give you a chance. If you want to take the risk by doubling your bet on each hand, no problem-go for it! If you think you have an edge over the house, by all means bet more.

However, on rare occasions as evidenced by the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas it decided to limit Ben Affleck’s blackjack play simply because he’s a skilled blackjack player that counts cards. If you don’t know what card counting is it’s a mathematical formula used by gamblers to keep track of the cards removed from the deck. Let’s just circle back to Mr. Affleck, he’s a skilled player who has won major poker tournaments and beat the Hard Rock on the Las Vegas Strip for more than $750,000 until he was asked to stop playing blackjack.

In summary. When playing blackjack try and learn as much as possible about the game to improve your odds. Card counting is strictly against the casino’s rules, if a player is guilty of it he’ll be asked to leave the premises.

Further Reading


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