For some players, getting a fair advantage against the house just isn’t enough. Sure, you could work hard, learn a tough counting system and push every edge you can find, and come out with a small edge over the casino. But many players want more, and they often resort to cheating.
Of course, we don’t condone cheating on blackjack in any way. And even if you don’t think there’s anything wrong with cheating, the fact of the matter is that your chances for making money through cheating aren’t very good; in fact, you’re much, much more likely to get caught than to fool the casino.
That said, stories of cheating the casino are often entertaining, even if they’re not something you should try to emulate. There are many ways to attempt to cheat at blackjack, some of which have been more creative and successful than others. Here’s a rundown on some of the more common methods of blackjack cheating.
The Friendly Dealer
The biggest obstacle to cheating is the man on the front lines: the dealer. The dealer is right there watching your every move, and if you’re trying to get away with something at the table, he’s likely to spot it and call his superiors.
So what better way to get around this problem than by getting the dealer in on the scam? Dealer collusion is a very effective form of blackjack cheating. The dealer can make sure the player who is in on it gets a peak at the hole card, or perhaps even stack the deck for them on certain hands where the player bets big. In fact, there’s probably no better way to get an advantage than to have the dealer in your corner.
Unfortunately, this isn’t usually a realistic situation. Dealers may be the casino personnel that the players interact with most often, but they’re far from the only people watching out for fishiness at the tables. A pit boss or the security cameras are likely to notice if the dealer isn’t following normal procedure during a game. This means that dealers are unlikely to engage in collusion with players, since they risk losing their job, or even facing criminal prosecution.
Here’s another lucrative form of blackjack cheating that, in practice, isn’t likely to happen at any reputable casino. The concept is simple: using well-developed slight of hand tricks, a player takes any momentary lapse of concentration from the dealer as an opportunity to switch out one of the cards he was dealt with one hidden on him or one from another hand he is playing at the same table.
This is slightly less ridiculous than it sounds on the surface because a great magician could easily get away with this without being detected – once or twice. Of course, in a game where the scores of hands are so easy to remember, it’s likely that the dealer will, at the very least, be suspicious when the switch happens once, and downright certain there’s cheating going on after a second attempt. If there’s any doubt, the cameras won’t lie, meaning that while you might successfully switch cards without being noticed immediately, you’re unlikely to leave the table with any money you’ve “earned” from this trick.
Marking or Bending Cards
Now we’re talking about a form of cheating that can, under the right circumstances, actually work without immediately being detected. Marking or bending cards allows you to know the value of face-down cards. Specifically, if the dealer’s down card is marked, you can play with absolute knowledge of what the dealer holds, which is a big advantage. Players can attempt to create notches in the cards by using their fingernails, or bend them just slightly when picking them up (in games where the players are dealt cards face down).
Of course, there are a number of problems with this method of blackjack cheating. For one thing, anything but the most subtle marks or bends will be seen by the dealer or other casino workers sooner or later. But even if you come up with a completely undetectable form of card marking, you’ll only have access to a small percentage of the cards, limiting exactly how much of an advantage you’ll be able to gain from trying to mark the cards.
Past posting is the process of making a bet after bets are no longer supposed to be taken. The idea here is to slip extra money onto the table when the situation begins to look favorable to the player, thus gaining an advantage. The term originates from horse racing, where gamblers could sometimes find ways to get bets taken on races that had already been run. This strategy can be used in many casino games, and usually requires one or more players to distract the dealer while the cheater posts a bet.
Many of the most infamous blackjack cheaters have specialized in past posting, as – since it doesn’t require the manipulation of cards or any bribery – is perhaps the most realistic way of cheating the casino. Perhaps the best-known team of blackjack cheaters was led by Joe Classon, who used past posting to win at roulette, craps and blackjack.
When Does Blackjack Cheating Work?
In modern casinos, cheating methods such as the ones above are difficult to pull off. The all-seeing cameras make it easy to detect blackjack cheating after the fact, and most methods leave the casino feeling suspicious even if they can’t immediately be certain that any cheating has occurred. Inevitably, they’ll go to the tapes and be able to see exactly what happened.
Do not Cheat – It is illegal!
Again, do not cheat! This article was written as entertainment and to let people know what ways people have tried to cheat while playing blackjack. They are known for a reason…the players got caught!