Can You Effectively Cheat at Blackjack?

Man Holding His Hands Together In Front of his Face And a Closeup of a Blackjack Table

Since the first humans began playing games of chance for money, there have been those who wish to gain an advantage. These players have crossed the line between skirting the edges and blatant cheating in some cases.

Over the years, many casino games have been targeted by cheats one way or another. Perhaps the largest bullseye rests on the game of blackjack.

There are enough willing participants and hair-brained schemes to keep casino security personnel on their toes. However, some of the cheating methods can prove to be quite lucrative.

Still, even if you don’t have a moral disposition to honesty, there are consequences for cheating in a casino. Can you effectively cheat at blackjack?

Possibly, but I’m going to prove that you shouldn’t.

Blackjack Is Bred for Deception

Blackjack is one casino game that appears to be bred for deception. Players who gain the slightest advantage must disguise their behavior in ways that never allow the casino to catch on to their play.

Many card counters and other advantage gamblers will often change their appearance or work in teams to throw the casino off their scent. Holding the edge puts players in the casino’s position, which is essentially a license to print money.

However, when the casino sees that you have a system for making a profit, they’ll give you the boot. That adds to the preexisting distrust between many gamblers and the casino.

Many gamblers believe the casinos are out to get them. But the reality is the casinos don’t need to do anything but play by the rules to get your money.

The casinos add to this deception in blackjack by keeping the dealer’s cards hidden until you’ve acted. That’s a tremendous benefit to the casino, but there are ways to level the playing field.

Still, just because you can cheat at blackjack doesn’t mean you should. Cheating in most casinos is considered a felony.

That means you’re going to face severe legal penalties, including fines and possible jail time. Plus, you’ll be forced to pay back all of the money you “won.”

You might think you’re smart enough to get away with cheating. I don’t doubt that you are, but a more critical factor that leads to most players getting caught; is greed.

Counting Cards Isn’t Cheating

It’s surprising how many novice gamblers believe counting cards fall under the umbrella of cheating. Card counting is not cheating; you’re merely using the information available to make the best decisions on playing the game.

This knowledge of the cards remaining in the deck allows players to gain a long-term mathematical edge over the casino. Most of you are undoubtedly familiar with the extraordinary lengths, and insane profits gained when card counters work as a team, like the MIT blackjack team.

Sadly, just because something is legal doesn’t mean the casinos have to tolerate it. If you’ve ever seen a casino suspect someone of card counting, you are familiar with the drill.

The pit boss will speak to the player a few times, trying to back them off. The pit boss will pull a player aside to chat when a player persists.

Multiple Blackjack Hands on a Table

They’ll do this under the guise of not interrupting other players, but the reality is different. Casinos hate playing the bad guy; they’ll bend over backward in most cases to keep players happy.

So, they don’t want to see the average gambler watch as they shut down someone that’s beating the system. The casino may flat bet the suspected counter, ban them from the blackjack tables, or ban them from the casino.

These options are on a case-by-case basis, but usually, a player gets the chance to stop before getting eighty-sixed from the property.

Regardless of how much the casino wants you to believe there are legal ramifications for card counting, you’re not going to get in any real trouble by taking the reins and becoming profitable.

Dealer Collusion Is a Worry for Casinos

I bump into gamblers who are convinced that the casino dealers are out to get them from time to time. They accuse the dealers of cheating or making plays that otherwise tip the advantage further into the casino’s favor.

That’s an improbable scenario. Dealers have nothing to gain and everything to lose from cheating the casino’s guests.

However, if the dealer is working in unison with a player, the casino stands to lose in a big way. Dealer collusion is such a concern for casinos that they’ll put in-house rewards out for information on cheaters.

The proof will be in the numbers, and casinos have security watching everything that happens. That makes defending your actions all but impossible.

Dealers begin colluding with players for many reasons, but they all boil down to greed. When one of the partners takes it too far, the entire scam comes crashing down like a house of cards.

Protesting Decisions Will Get You Booted

Novice gamblers are a steady stream of revenue for casinos. The entire industry relies on newbies and recreational gamblers to stay afloat.

So, it’s not uncommon for players to protest that the dealer acted in opposition to what the player wanted. Casino cheats know that the casinos will defer to players in the vast majority of incidents.

Blackjack Table With Dealer and Players

That causes some cheats to make a play and subsequently protest when it doesn’t go their way. This tactic leaves little to gain, and your reputation will quickly suffer.

When you consistently exhibit this behavior in the casino, eventually, you’re going to get booted for good. Casinos have curbed a lot of this behavior by demanding players hit or stand with clear hand signals, but cheaters will still argue their ignorance as an excuse.

Marking the Cards Comes with Significant Risk

One of the most abundant methods for cheating involves marking the cards. Merely marking the high-value cards in a deck can prove advantageous for players.

The methods for marking cards are as widespread as they are ingenious. Some players are content with merely scratching a small mark on the back of cards.

However, other players have been caught using invisible ink to mark cards and wearing special glasses to see the ink. Whether they use a fingernail or clandestine ink to scratch the surface, these players all have one thing in common.

When they inevitably get caught, the litany of felony charges is anything but aces. Casinos dedicate a ton of resources to spotting and catching cheats in the act. So, it’s only a matter of time before your profit becomes a tremendous loss.

Hole Carding Is a Grey Area That Leads to Big Profits

Hole carding is the simple act of spotting the dealer’s hole card as it’s dealt. This tiny bit of information may seem inconsequential, but it slides the favor to the player.

The easiest way to catch a glimpse of the dealer’s hole card is to sit directly in front of the dealer or opposite the hand, they are dealing with in the game.

Several old-school advantage gamblers made careers by spotting sloppy dealers and capitalizing on their mistakes. This method of gaining an edge is entirely legal, as long as the dealer isn’t colluding with the player.

Closeup of Blackjack Table

However, it would be best to show extreme discretion and restraint when you find a suitable target. The casinos will notice if you continually make plays that oppose basic strategy but always get the break you need to win.

If you consider working as a team with a player from another table signaling to you, it may be best to reconsider. That’s introducing a can of worms that could lead to problems with the casino and the law.

Hole carding on its own is a perfectly legal but challenging method for advantage gamblers to take the edge.

You Can’t Make Late Betting Work Long-Term

One of the most elementary forms of blackjack betting involves players trying to alter their bet after their hand has been dealt.

Players with a strong hand may try to slide additional money onto the table without the dealer noticing. When they get a weak hand, the same players attempt to steal a few chips back into their stack.

Ultimately, these players are caught and banned from the casino. I’ve watched drunks beg and plead as they were escorted from the casino they were staying at for their vacation.

The old saying goes, “Cheaters never win, and winners never cheat.” I bet Bill Belichick has a thing or two to say about that. But in the casino, everyone gets caught eventually.

Cheating Is Useless in a Game with Profit Potential

Blackjack is among the dumbest games in the casino to risk cheating for one simple reason. Players can dedicate less time learning to count cards and are guaranteed to make a long-term profit from gambling.

So, start studying how to count cards instead of scheming on the latest ways to get one over on the casino and commit a felony in the process. Then you can legally walk into the casino and leave with honest money.

Can You Effectively Cheat at Blackjack?

No, you’re eventually going to get caught and face serious problems. The biggest problem with cheating is that it shows an utter lack of honor.

Eventually, players get greedy, overstay their welcome, and the casino catches on to the scam. Be smarter and safer by gaining the edge by legal means.