Card Counting at Blackjack – Is it Illegal?
This is a question that has been asked many times especially by those Blackjack players who are looking for a strategy to overcome the house advantage that the casinos have in all their table games. Any opportunity to reduce the house advantage is seen as a positive strategy to increasing the odds of winning in the game and increasing the profits to be made.
However with card counting this so called strategy is one that can be seen frequently in newspaper and news reports of Casinos removing players from their premises who have been caught counting cards. The most recent high profile case of card counting was concerning the actor and director Ben Affleck who was ‘asked to leave’ the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas back in May 2014 for allegedy counting cards. So is card counting illegal?
The answer to this question, certainly from a Nevada Law perspective is ‘no’, card counting is not illegal. However it is also not illegal for casinos to bar people from either their tables or even their premises
The basics of card counting is to reduce the house advantage and when you start the process you can increase the player advantage by around 1%. Although this does not seem high, over a long period of play it can add up and has in the past helped some players win big at casinos.
Nowadays though the casinos make sure their employees are specially trained to spot players trying to gain an advantage over the house especially with blackjack. They are taught to look out for what they call ‘tells’ and also how the player is spreading their bets during the game.
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The idea of card counting used to be something a seasoned professional player who knows the game inside out, would have previously attempted to use so they could use their skills to try and avoid detection. However nowadays more and more people are becoming familiar with the concept and there are plenty of articles and youtube videos abound that help want to be blackjack players learn the skill. The main skill to learn is obviously not to get caught.
There has actually been a fairly recent lawsuit placed against the Planet Hollywood casino by self confessed professional gambler Ross Miller due to them detaining him and taking chips away from him for being found to be card counting in their casino back in June 2013.
So basically, the answer to the main question, ‘is card counting illegal’, is ‘no’ and that card counting is perfectly legal. However it is extremely frowned upon by casinos. If you do learn the concept behind card counting and want to give it a try then make sure you do not get caught as you may be asked to leave.
However, do not try this strategy online as the main difference with most online casinos and blackjack is the cards are generally shuffled after every round which is not the case in a land based casino.
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