Card Counting Is Changing Blackjack

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Modified by Daniel Hardman on March 03, 2021 in Industry News

Card and table games have been a favourite among casino players for many centuries.  

Blackjack is the king of card games as it is a game that requires skill and strategy to win.  

Over the years there have been many who developed card counting strategies to cheat the system.  

Card Counting has been frowned upon and many thought it illegal while in fact, this activity is actually legal.  

Legal Status of Card Counting 

Card counting is an activity that is heavily frowned upon as it is seen as cheating and wrongdoing. However, it has been proven that it is not illegal. In fact, it has been found that in some places it is legally protected.  

In 1979 the Blackjack Hall of Fame inductee, Ken Uston sued the Atlantic City casino Operator, Resorts International after they banned him for counting cards in their casinos. The case made its way to the New Jersey State Supreme Court where it ended with a ruling that card counting is legal and protected in the state of New Jersey.  

That being said, casinos in Atlantic City will still do their best to stop card counters and it remains legal for them to try and distract these card counters or shuffle after every hand. They can also use other methods such as suddenly reducing the maximum bet without giving a reason. In other places such as Vegas, casinos will throw a card counter out claiming the right to refuse service for any reason.  

Different Methods Used to Curb Card Counting 

While card counters cannot be outright banned from casinos there are many different ways to stop them or distract them. Many of the ways have been listed above but some casinos take it to the extremes as can be seen in some of Las Vegas’s biggest casinos.  

The Venetian, The Palazzo and the MGM Grand have all went the extra mile doing things such as changing their blackjack payout rules. These giant casinos have moved their payouts taking them from the traditional 3:2 payout to a 6:5 payout. For those new to Blackjack, the payout refers to the amount of money you can win per hand. If you hit Blackjack you generally get double back your money but with the new rules, you get less than double.  

It might seem like a small feature but for card counters, this means they have to play through thousands for their technique to have the same statistical edge as in normal Blackjack. With the payout change, many believe that it isn’t Blackjack at all, in essence, it is the same as playing roulette or any other casino game.  

The Result 

There is no real evidence stating that the payout decrease is in response to a rise in card counters. However, since the payout change has been made there has been a rapid decrease in Blackjack players. The change has also managed to bump the casino’s earnings but could result in even the most serious blackjack players losing interest. 

Blackjack is a fun game that requires strategy and skill and while card counting could lead to big wins it is also time-consuming and leading to plenty of restrictions. Pretty soon casinos could be changing the game entirely to curb card counters leaving genuine blackjack lovers at a loss.

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