How Do Casinos Catch Card Counters?

Card counting is a fascinating Blackjack strategy. In 60s-70s, after Edward Thorp published “Beat the Dealer, the first card counting guide,  it was an underground thing, but it has spread over mainstream social currents and acquired a fair amount of fame thanks to Hollywood movies and popular books on the subject. In real life, there’s not as much drama about it, and even though card counters are considered rather skillful, they can easily get caught, especially if the casino venue has experienced staff and proper technology. But let’s look into this matter with closer attention – how do casinos manage to spot and remove card counters who, even though they aren’t doing anything illegal, are insulting the casino business with their skills?

There have been claims that casinos sometimes accuse players randomly of counting cards, or just because they’ve noticed a player placing an unusual bet. But this is far from the truth. A single unexpected bet won’t bring suspicion to your position at a blackjack table, but closely observing your betting patterns and your overall demeanor will.

Casinos Are Prepared

There isn’t an average casino venue without security surveillance, not to mention large casino chains and highly respectable gambling centers. Cameras are everywhere.  But surveillance isn’t all there is to it if one doesn’t know where to look. This is why casinos take necessary precautions and even go as far as to employ former card counters to act like supervisors and report any suspicious actions. They are out of reach for players, sitting in security booths and monitoring the play through the cameras. Being familiar with the technique, a former counter will catch a colleague sooner or later.

Casino’s reaction will be mild at first. Chances are more drinks will be sent at the suspected counter’s table, or a dealer will strike a conversation with the alleged counter in order to break his/her concentration. If the counter fails to get the hint and continues to act strangely, the next step would be asking the person to leave the blackjack table, leave the casino floor or leave the premises altogether. Depending on how strict the casino is, a counter could be banned from the venue permanently.

Another convenient method casinos use is face recognition software. This particular piece of software is quite advanced, and thanks to the database made out of different casinos’ contributions (something of a blacklist) the software can point out to individuals labeled as card-counting offenders.

In case the casino is not as well-equipped, making the dealer shuffle more frequently is an effective method to make the counter loose track. But if the counter keeps trying to impose his/hers controversial intentions, he will be penned as a counter and become persona non grata.

There’s more to Card Counting than Just Card Counting

Learning basic mathematic principles of card counting is one thing, but managing to blend in while applying it is totally another set of skills. And the thing is – a good card counter has to coordinate both of them to become successful.

Counters are mostly caught because they show signs of being counters and even the looks of a person can be suspicious enough for the cameras. If someone fits the profile, this person will be closely monitored. It’s important whether he or she talks to waiters, to the dealer, orders drinks, what kind of clothes has on, whether he or she is overly concentrated and looks like not having much fun. Considering the fact that a potential counter is usually being observed by one of their own, these signs are not hard to interpret and therefore helpful for the supervisor to come to a concussion that the character in question is or isn’t, in fact, a card counter.