If you have any idea about card games, you might have come across the game blackjack and the term card counting. Even if you do not go to the casino and have little interest in doing so, the card counter’s presence is so prevalent in pop culture that it is impossible not to have some idea about it.
Why Is It Illegal to Count Cards?
Here’s a shocker: it’s not illegal to count cards. Unless you are using a computer or some kind of physical device for doing so, you cannot be arrested for counting cards because you are technically not breaking any laws. It actually doesn’t make sense for counting cards to be termed illegal when you think about it. You are merely thinking strategically about the game as you are playing. So why do casinos term card counting illegal?
How Do Casinos Prevent Card Counting?
Casinos prevent card counting by using several countermeasures. One of the easiest measures for a casino to prevent card counters is to use a continuous shuffling machine. This creates a situation where the player is facing independent events on every hand. The cards that have already been dealt are fed back into the shuffling machine.
This removal of the cards from the deck has no effect on the odds for the next hand. Raising and lowering the size of the bets has no impact all of a sudden. Even casinos that do not use continuous shuffling machines shuffle the decks often. If they feel that a player is counting cards, they will start shuffling the deck even more often to eliminate any potential advantage the card counter may have. However, those are not the only countermeasures that casinos use. If they suspect that a player is counting cards, they may simply back off the player from the game.
They will ask him to stick to the other games in the casino. Some casinos may even go to the extent of even asking them to leave the casino and never return. Coming back to a casino after having been asked to leave is trespassing, and even though counting cards is not illegal, trespassing is.
Who Are the Most Famous Card Counters?
Arguably the most famous card countering was pulled off by the MIT Blackjack Team whose exploits were detailed in a movie, 21, which was based on a book written by Ben Mezrich about them titled ‘Bringing Down the House’. However, the individuals who were part of the MIT Blackjack Team are not that famous. One of the ways card counters demonstrate how good they are is by staying anonymous. This is also because once you become famous, casinos would obviously not want to play blackjack with them anymore.
There are plenty of blackjack authors who are believed to be renowned card counters. Ed Thorp is one among them and is even considered the father of card counting. Sanford Wong is another famous legend in the card counting community.