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Catching those wicked card counters

8 June 2013

Casino management is always on the lookout for card counters. They look for certain behavior that fits the profile. If they think you are a counter (even if you are not), they can ask you to stop playing and leave the table or even the casino. In most states, but not all, they have the law on their side. The old English law that says “management has the right to refuse service” is what is used by the casino to stop card counters from playing. Floor persons could be alerted by various actions that are most common when related to card counting, but not common for the average player. If you want to count cards, try to prevent being identified as one by studying the actions below. If you were able to see a pit boss manual on how to identify card counters it might look like this:

• Watch for players who use a large bet variation while playing.
• Be alert when a player buys in for a large amount. ($200+)
• Observe players who appear to make extra efforts to see all the cards played during each round.
• Look for players with a deep concentration on the game.
• Watch for players taking insurance with a big bet, and not taking it with small bets.
• Counters will sometimes take insurance and other times not take it with the same combination of dealer and player cards.
• Observe players never making big bets at the beginning of the deck or shoe.
• Be alert to a player not drinking alcohol.
• Watch for players not talking to the dealer or other players.
• Be alert for players who don’t want to be rated. (Player doesn’t have or want a players tracking card.)
• Players making unusual plays; splitting tens, doubling soft 18 or 19, standing on 15/16 verses dealers’ 10, and surrendering on 13/14 when basic strategy says otherwise.
• Watch for a winning player who doesn’t tip the dealer.

It should be noted that card counting is not illegal. It's simply using one’s brain that allows players to determine when the remaining cards work to their advantage and when they do not. However, counters need to be careful when doing any of the above when being observed by casino staff.

Bet – You Didn’t Know

• When it comes to playing blackjack, experts report that you should estimate that each player at the table will receive 2.7 cards per round.

• Author Robert Louis Stevenson is quoted as saying “Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.”

• It’s the law in Globe, Arizona that playing cards may not be played in the street with a Native American.

• At one time it was the custom in some European countries, as well as in Korea, to deal the cards from the bottom of the deck. It seems it was a holdover from when crudely printed cards could be read too easily from the backs. Dealing was also to the right since it was easier when dealing from the bottom.

• Nevada has an anti-device provision on the law books that states it’s a felony "to use, or possess with the intent to use, any device to assist in keeping track of cards played." (Note: your brain is not a device, using it to count cards is not a felony)

• Most cards are manufactured for right-handed players. The pips or indexes are placed on the upper left hand and lower right corners. For left-handed players there are pips on all four corners.
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Best of John Marchel
John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

KISS Guide to Gambling

> More Books By John Marchel

John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

KISS Guide to Gambling

> More Books By John Marchel