Every so often I like to report on news of people being caught cheating at blackjack. I do it for a reason: There isn’t a lot of blackjack news and it gives me something to write…No, not that. I do it because for some people, cheating at blackjack can be pretty tempting. With card counting, you can gain an advantage over the dealer, but if you play in such a way that you actually know which cards are coming, that tilts the odds even more in your favor.
I know there are reasons people cheat and I have even written about the psychology of cheating. There are two reasons you should not cheat at blackjack, though: First, cheating is wrong, no matter how you feel about the casino. Second, if you cheat you will most likely be caught. The penalty for cheating in a casino is pretty stiff.
That brings me to the news of three people arrested for allegedly cheating at blackjack in a California casino. According to authorities, they were caught marking cards and using those cards to win $24,000 after only playing for 30 minutes.
On July 12 at the Turlock Poker Room near San Francisco, Gabriel Urbieta Rodriguez started off the day by losing thousands at the blackjack table. Then his luck suddenly changed. He began playing three hands at a time and won almost every hand he played during a half-hour span. As you can imagine, the dealer became suspicious, so he switched to a new deck. Shortly thereafter, Rodriguez then got up from the table and left with his winnings.
A check of the security footage revealed that the 꽁머니사이트 cards in the original deck had been marked with “grease spots.” All cards worth 10 points had a grease mark on the outer edge of the cards and all other cards had a mark in the middle. Security footage also revealed that an individual named Cha Say also helped him, as did Robert Younan, the card room supervisor.
According to the casino, Younan made sure the marked deck was used at Rodriguez’s blackjack table. The casino has since confiscated the money won at the table and the three cheaters face felony charges and up to three months in prison. That sentence is actually pretty light, as cheating in a casino often carries a sentence of several years in prison.
So what is the moral of the story? Again, don’t cheat.
IN Supreme Court rules against card counters
You probably remember the case from 2006 when the Grand Victoria Casino banned Thomas Donovan because he was caught counting cards. Donovan took the case to court, suing over what he said was discrimination against players practicing a legal strategy. Eventually the case made its way to the Indiana state Supreme Court. Last week, that court made a ruling in the case that favors the state’s casinos.
Last week, in a 3-1 ruling with one justice abstaining from the case, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld a casino’s right to ban card counters from its blackjack tables. As the casino’s supporters – and even me – pointed out, businesses have a common-law right to exclude customers who they feel are detrimental to their business. The Court agreed with that assessment, stating that as long as civil rights are not violated, business (including casinos) have the right to refuse service whenever they deem it necessary.
Justice Frank Sullivan, Jr. wrote that the right of exclusion for “private property owners” includes any casino “that wishes to exclude a patron for employing strategies designed to give the patron a statistical advantage over the casino.”
Not everyone agreed, though. The lone dissenting vote was by Justice Brent Dickson. He feels that casinos, because they’re so highly regulated by the government, do not have the same rights and privileges as other private businesses. In essence, he argues that casinos should have to follow the rules of government or government-sponsored enterprises, which requires them to serve the “general public.”
In Dickson’s dissenting vote, he wrote that allowing a casino to “restrict its patrons only to those customers who lack the skill and ability to play such games well intrudes upon the principles of fair and equal competition and provides unfair financial advantages” to the casinos.
Though the ruling has no direct impact on anyone outside of Indiana, it carries a message that I have been preaching to all blackjack players for some time: If you’re going to count cards, don’t get caught! The casinos frown upon it and will likely ban you. In the state of Indiana, that practice of banning has been upheld as constitutional. Meanwhile, adhering to blackjack basic strategy does not have to be a secret. You can even hold a strategy card while you play if you want.