General Question

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

What is counting cards, and why is it illegal?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (24442points) December 31st, 2019
26 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

Just wondering.

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Answers

Darth_Algar's avatar

It’s basically a method of assigning a certain point value to the cards and tallying those points to decide whether the odds in a particular hand favor the player or the dealer. Mostly used in blackjack (it’s much less effective in other card games, such as poker) It’s not illegal (provided you aren’t using some kind of device to aid you), but it is frowned upon by many players and pretty much all casinos.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I had a friend that could “count cards” and was also a magician! His picture was reported to be in all the major casinos in Nevada. He bought his first wive a new car while in Las Vegas in 1970’s from winnings on blackjack tables at a couple of casinos.

ragingloli's avatar

It is not illegal, but casinos, being the greedy addiction-mongering fucks that they are, frown upon any method that diminishes their ability to part a fool of his money.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Everyone in a casino is driven by greed.

YARNLADY's avatar

It is a method where players have a very good memory of what cards are already played and which ones are left. My husband can nearly always wins at blackjack because of his ability. It is not illegal, but when the casino detects it (too many wins) they ask the player to refrain from playing. We were given a complimentary room for our stay, and free tickets to Blue Man Group, with his promise not to play there.

jca2's avatar

This is why the casino does not use only one deck of cards. Casinos will use six to eight decks of cards, excluding Jokers.

LostInParadise's avatar

To understand card counting you have to have some knowledge of blackjack. The basic idea is that you want the cards in your hand to add up to be as close as possible to 21 without going over 21. Face cards count as 10 and the ace can count as either 1 or 11. Everyone is initially dealt two cards and you can request as many additional cards as you want.

Everyone plays against the dealer. If you are closer to 21 than the dealer without going over then you win. If you are over 21 then you lose. Otherwise the dealer loses if over 21. The dealer deals themselves another card if and only if the total is less than 17.

The basic idea of card counting is to keep track of the number of 10’s and face cards in the deck. If there are a lot remaining in the deck then the odds favor the player over the dealer, because the best strategy under these conditions is to not ask for additional cards even with low counts and hope that the dealer goes over, which is fairly likely. When the count is in your favor you make a high bet and when the odds are against you, you make a minimum bet.

jca2's avatar

@LostInParadise‘s explanation is the reason why casinos use multiple decks. So the people gambling can’t calculate how many 10’s and face cards remain in the deck.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It really is important to understand that counting cards is NOT ILLEGAL. But casinos have the right to exclude players for whatever reason they choose as long as that reason does not violate civil rights mandates. And a really big reason can be defined as being “too lucky too often”.

LadyMarissa's avatar

By law, counting cards is NOT illegal; however, the casinos can lose money when a player knows the odds against them & play smarter. So by casino standards, it is considered illegal & they reserve the right to break your fingers or kick you to the curb for said card counting!!! You can also be banned from entering any casino that catches you counting cards & they share your info with ALL the other casinos so they know to watch you close when you enter another casino & they can “catch” you as well thereby kicking you out of that casino as well!!!

Darth_Algar's avatar

” So by casino standards, it is considered illegal &they reserve the right to break your fingers or kick you to the curb for said card counting!!!”

Sure, try arguing that one in court.

Brian1946's avatar

I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned that it’s not illegal. ;-o

YARNLADY's avatar

@Brian1946 I mentioned, as did several other posts. I’m surprised you didn’t read them.

LostInParadise's avatar

If the casinos were really worried about card counters, they could train the dealers to count cards. When the count became disadvantageous to the dealer, the cards would be reshuffled. Maybe someone could design a device to do card counting. The dealer would just pass the cards over the device as they were dealt.

LadyMarissa's avatar

@Brian1946 Just above your surprise I said By law, counting cards is NOT illegal & I then pointed out that it is casino rules that says it’s illegal. IF there was a law saying it was illegal, the casinos would have those breaking the law arrested Since it’s NOT illegal in the eyes of the law, they can only kick you out & ban you from returning!!!

Darth_Algar's avatar

Did anyone point out that it’s not illegal? I might have missed that.

Brian1946's avatar

@Darth_Algar

I don’t think anyone has yet. Lettuce be the first to declare that it’s NOT illegal!

LostInParadise's avatar

There are about a half dozen posts that point out that card counting is not illegal, including @Darth_Algar ‘s first one at the very top.

Brian1946's avatar

Actually, this is the dozenth post that includes the phrase “not illegal”.

Brian1946's avatar

In addition to what @Darth_Algar said in his first post, it’s also illegal IF the card-counting player uses a person or people to assist them in counting cards.

LostInParadise's avatar

What law would be violated? Do states where gambling is legal have laws that specifically state that you can’t receive assistance from a person or machine?

jca2's avatar

Casino has the right to say gtfo.

ragingloli's avatar

And I have the right to cheat until I get caught.

Brian1946's avatar

Here’s what I’ve found so far:

You can be arrested for counting cards if you use an electronic or mechanical means to help you. Nevada state laws prohibit keeping track of cards using electronic or mechanical capacity, such as smartphone apps.

LostInParadise's avatar

There is a good reason why card counting without a device is legal. The casinos and the states they are in would like to stop card counters, but consider the consequences of making it illegal. How do you prove someone is a card counter? Because they can beat the odds? Think of the message that would send to other gamblers.

There are not that many card counters. It takes some practice to be able to do it and you have to spend a fair amount of time in the casino to make money from it. I have seen some card counters describe it as a full time job. And of course once you get caught the casinos will put an end to it.

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