Card Counting Tells and Detection
Card Counting Detection
Card counting is the bane of casinos. They look upon card counters as pests andand drive them away from their territory as soon as they're identified. But how can the casino identify card counters so they can get rid of them? Typically, they look for common signs in a player's behavior which might be indications of card counting. If you act like a card counter in their eyes, casinos can ban you. Some places prohibit the banning of card counters, but even so, they will harass a card counter and/or cripple the blackjack rules so much that it's useless to play there. Worse, the casinos keep a blacklist of identified card counters and their profiles so that other casinos around the world can recognize them if they try their luck elsewhere.
Too bad. There is nothing you can do once you are found out, short of having plastic surgery and changing your name. So the best cure here is prevention. Let us look at how casinos identify card counters and what you can do to avoid being discovered.
Card Counting Tells
Card counting detection at the table is done mostly by the dealer. No doubt the casino has schooled the dealer about card counters and how bad they are for business. So the dealer will look for signs of what he or she may think might be card counting.
The most obvious card counting tell is in the betting pattern. If a player has been betting the minimum amount for many hands and then suddenly raises their bet on the next hand, it sure looks like card counting. The dealer may suddenly shuffle the cards.
Another sign is if you raise your bets at fixed increments, like $5, $10, $15 and so on. The dealer may think that the count must be getting higher and higher and you are incrementing your bets as per a system.
Also, a player who stops raising bets at a certain level may also be suspect. Many card counters put a betting cap on their wagers so that they bet the same amount regardless of how high the count gets. This is another card counting tell.
The casino may also train a blackjack dealer to count cards and track shuffles in the same way you learned. Thus, a trained dealer will be as aware of the odds fluctuating as the player. When the dealer realizes that the count is in the player's favor, they may shuffle the deck(s). This is called "selective" or "preferential" shuffling. They don't even have to be able to count cards. If they see a lot of low cards being played, they may still shuffle.
How to Disguise Card Counting
The best advice is to vary your bets. From time to time, bet more when the count is negative. Two things can happen here: 1) you won't be suspected of counting, or 2) the dealer assumes the count must be high and shuffle immediately. Good for you if the latter occurs since the negative count will vanish! Also, bet low or average when the count is high. Make your betting decisions look like hunches as much as possible.
Also, don't be too quiet. Chat with the dealer and other players now and then. The key is to act naturally like an average gambler. Don't try to look smart. And make your bets look random. Be prepared to lose some money this way. It's better than being banned for life and losing it all.