‘Lucky fools’ are a bigger threat than card counters to the casino

Casino owners who worry about card counting at blackjack may be focusing on the wrong type of “advantage gambler,” according to gambling specialist Eliot Jacobson.

Instead, they should focus more on the “lucky fools” who, with poor play, manage to rake in huge winnings just the same. Jacobson is the owner of Jacobson Gaming and operator of alpheat.net, which analyzes casino games, side bets and methods of “advantage play.

Luck is often more dangerous for the casino

The lucky fool may be part of a team that uses advantage play techniques that are more profitable than card counters, and harder for the casino (employees and executives) to identify. Generally, advantage play is involved with methods that give the player, not the house, an advantage in a given casino game.

We do want to emphasize that card counting and most other advantage play techniques are legal. However, casinos do everything in their power to limit the advantage play of players as much as possible. The payouts and specific applied game rules determine how much chance you have.

On average, an experienced card counter with a maximum bet of 100 euros can make about 20 euros profit, says Jacobson, a former advantage gambler who says he gave up because his stomach could no longer handle the high stakes and time commitment to be successful. Unlike the advantage gamblers who are known for edge sorting, for example (Phil Ivey).

Below we describe some of the techniques used by advantage gamblers, and which, according to Eliot Jacobson, pose a greater threat to the casino. Advantage gambling techniques are usually performed by a team, where a “spotter” plays near the minimum bet and signals to the “big player,” who often sits in the middle of the table and places large bets.

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Hole carding

Players using the hole-carding technique look at the bottom of the card in a flash. Then the spotter relays to the larger player, and the larger player adjusts his play if necessary. As an example, if the face-up card is a 10, but the spotter saw that the face-down card is a 4, this gives the dealer a total an 14. If the larger player has a total of 12 to 16, the player passes instead of taking a card as basic strategy advises in the case of the dealer’s face-up 10.

The “lucky fool” eventually wins the bet if the dealer goes over 21. Jacobson says the spotter can signal through how the chips are placed. In some cases, a team can take up an entire table and use subtle moves to make it difficult for the dealer to keep the bottom of the card hidden.

As an example, all players push their bets forward, leaving the dealer with less room to move. As a result, the dealer has to pull the hole card over the standard viewing device and lift it.

At a glance, this allows a spotter to see the bottom of the card. Dealers with long fingernails are especially vulnerable to accidentally revealing the card. Not only is this a useful technique to employ in blackjack, but in many other card games in the casino.

Edge sorting

Professional poker player Phil Ivey made the edge sorting technique more familiar to the public through a lawsuit where he was sued by a British casino for winning $12 million at Baccarat. An edge sorter can take advantage of design flaws in the back of a deck.

As an example, the lines and circles may end up with a full circle on one side and a half circle on the opposite edge. By rotating the cards, Aces get the full circles on the top of the edge of the card. Low cards in this case have the full circle on the bottom edge of the card. Knowing whether the next card dealt is an Ace or 10 gives the player a 21% advantage.

In blackjack, edge-sorters have turned to playing the double-deck variant, where players handle the cards. Three Card Poker is the game after blackjack that is most popular among edge-sorters.

Ace Sequencing

This is one of the techniques used to identify the location of cards after shuffling. This technique requires you to memorize two or three cards placed in the slipper on top of one or more Aces. Especially when the hand is shuffled, the cards you have memorized are often still close to the Ace, and if this is the case, the advantage gambler can increase the bet for more chance.

These advantage gambling techniques are very difficult to detect, even if you know and see the person doing it. Furthermore, it is difficult to spot an advantage gambler because there are plenty of players who make bad decisions at the blackjack table.

Many people place crazy bets and play in a crazy way. Players even seem to get worse at the game over time. The casino staff and dealers see so many bad players that it is hard to say that a bad bet corresponds to any type of advantage game.