Card Counting is not Illegal but is Considered Cheating in Casinos

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games. It is fun, challenging, and, most importantly, has incredible player odds. However, some players decide to boost their chances further by learning how to count cards. Many gamblers are familiar with the concept of card counting. For those who don’t know, card counting is a common tactic employed by professional and amateur blackjack players, wherein they count the cards in the deck to get a favorable outcome. In this article, we would like to explore the legality of card counting and talk about why casinos consider it cheating.

Is Card Counting Legal?

Yes. However, there are some caveats you should be aware of. First, you need to know that if you get caught card counting, you will not have any trouble with the law. The practice is not illegal in any state or country. The reason for this is simple; we can’t legislate how people think. And card counting is an active form of thinking.

There is an exception to the legality of card counting. While counting cards is not illegal, using any gadget or external mechanism is unlawful. In other words, learning the basics of card counting is perfectly fine. However, using a computer to count cards for you is illegal and could get you into legal trouble.

Are There Consequences?

So, if card counting is not illegal, what are the consequences of doing it? Well, in theory, there are no consequences. You can learn to count cards, go into a casino, and try to beat the system. However, most casinos look down on card counters and consider them cheating. This means that they reserve the right to kick you out of the casino or outright ban you from their establishment. Most gamblers learn how to cover up their card counting to avoid this. 

How to Avoid Getting Caught?

If you’ve decided to try card counting, the first thing you must learn after how to count cards is how to hide the fact you are doing it. After all, you don’t want to get banned from the casino and have all your time go down the drain. So, let’s review what you must do to avoid getting caught.

  1.     Keep it positive: Keeping a positive attitude cannot be understated. Nervous gamblers betray themselves. So, when you enter the casino, leave any feelings of anxiety or fear at the door. We realize gambling can be stressful, but hiding your stress is all part of the game.
  2.     Don’t get greedy: Greed is the absolute worst sin for a gambler. The way that most casinos catch on to card counters is thanks to greed. Players will win too much, and the casino will test whether or not they are cheating. So, be mindful of how much you win.
  3.     Be mindful: One of the most common ways a casino tests card counters is by employing card counters of their own. So, if a suspicious new player sits at the same table as you, leave or take a few dives to divert suspicion from yourself. 

Can You Count Cards Online?

With the rise of iGaming, many are interested in card counting as it applies to online gambling. The truth is, you can’t count cards online. There are two ways to play blackjack online. Web blackjack usually involves an AI dealer, and live blackjack has a live dealer. And while card counting is possible in live blackjack, just as in land-based casinos, it is impossible when the dealer is an AI. Luckily, all of the best online casinos for blackjack do have a live option. So, if you want to try your luck online, you can always join the live stream.  

There are a few benefits of playing online. Anonymity is one of the biggest, of course. Online casinos are the way to go if you prefer to keep your identity a secret. Another benefit is the various payment methods available. For example, online gamblers often use e-wallets like PayPal when playing online. So, if you are interested in iGaming and want to test your card counting skills, live blackjack is likely your safest option.

Famous Card Counters

Instead of a conclusion, we would like to list some of the most famous/infamous card counters in the history of gambling. If you are an aspiring blackjack player, look at the names on this list for inspiration. 

  •       The MIT Blackjack Team: The team that inspired the film 21, MIT’s famous group of students and graduates who cracked the code for defeating Las Vegas.
  •       Edward Thorp: In the 60s, Thorp wrote the hit non-fiction book, Beat the Dealer. Within its pages, he proved that blackjack is a game that can be beaten and outlined several ways to do so. In many ways, Mr. Thorp is the godfather of card counting.
  •       James Grosjean: Best known for his 2000 book Beyond Counting, which details different ways to beat the casino.