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Blackjack Card Counters - Part of the History of Las Vegas

Author: Neha Agrawal

One of the more dramatic aspects of gambling in Las Vegas involved the game of Blackjack and the fights that went on between the hotels and the card counters.

Casinos in Las Vegas decided that players who counted cards at the Blackjack table had an unfair advantage and they barred them from their facilities. These players developed a system which, by the time the deck of cards got down to the last several cards - and sometimes before that - allowed them to know what cards were very likely coming and they adjusted their bets accordingly.

There were stories of a player hitting consecutively on 18 and 19, which is not the normal play. But he did so because he knew the dealer had a 9 under his ace. Once the players were barred from their profitable activity, they took the next step, which was to adapt disguises so they could still come in to play and make more money.

Nowadays, casinos offering Blackjack have come up with other solutions to the problems of card counting. They now play the game with many more decks, usually eight, which make card counting less useful. There are more than 400 cards in a game with eight decks and with that high number, it's less likely and in any case, far less frequent that an advantage to counting the cards will come up.

Also, with so many decks, the odds of a small card coming up at any time are greater, and usually, the lower cards help the house, since they must hit until they have 17. There are also a lot more cards that are not ten, so if the dealer has an ace and you make the insurance bet, there's a better chance of you losing your money. There are also not as many chances for you to make a Blackjack of your own, with its 3-2 payoff.

Even so, with all these modifications that casinos have made to deal with card counters, if they suspect someone is card counting, most casinos can still bar them from playing. There have been some changes to that rule, however, and in some locations, the government has moved in and created laws that prohibit casinos from ejecting card counters. Actually, there have been whole books written on the subject of card counters and the law.

Besides extra decks, there have been other moves made to give the edge back to the house. In some online games, the machine resets the deck after every hand. Another move that was made was to take cards out of play before the large deck is used and putting a stop to the deck well before the last card is dealt.

Since Blackjack is a very popular game in all casinos, players will always try to find ways to beat it, while Las Vegas casinos, as well as all the other gambling locations, will always be looking for ways to keep it profitable.