Can Casino Hurt Card Counters? - Blackjack Apprenticeship

Question from Katie: Can Casinos Hurt You?


This week I got this letter from our friend and member Katie:

“When you count cards at a casino, are the casino employers (Backroom people, ect.) allowed to use physical force against you if they find you counting? I’m not talking throwing you out kind of force, but like breaking your hands, cutting off your fingers, leaving you in a hole in the desert to die force. My father said they still do this in places like Vegas but I told him that they were probably not allowed to use that sort of force against anyone, even if it is on private property. My mother said the same thing. I would like to know what they would do to you if you were caught and the options available as a punishment (Barred from the casino, Backroom, ect.) Thank you for your time.”

Well Katie, I’m glad you asked. First of all let’s get some perspective here. Most casino surveillance look like this:


Instead of being armed with baseball bats and brass knuckles they are armed with betamax VCRs and donuts.

Now there two things I’m going to do to explain this little concept. The first is to talk about the nature of giant corporations.

A long time ago Vegas (and all other casinos) were run by mobsters and crime families. Nowadays they are owned by big giant corporations. Now in the “good ol days” the mob was the law. If you were counting cards or cheating or ate at the wrong pizza parlor you would find yourself buried in the desert or wearing concrete shoes at the bottom of the river. Well, the times have changed. Now we have the equivalent of Home Depot, Disney and MGM owning casinos.

So what does this mean? If word gets out that they are breaking in people’s faces or chopping off their fingers, or hell, segregating people in wheelchairs, the ACLU and association of handicapped card counters will sue their asses and they will be in the newspapers and everyone will stop buying frappuccinos or going to Disneyland or whatever the company is trying to sell and they will lose hundreds of millions of $dollars$. All for what? Some card counter that cost them 2 or 20k? Doesn’t really add up.

So, more likely, what you will get is some guy in some corporate suit that is much more scared of you than you are of him saying “…uhhh excuse me sir/mam…c..c…c…cccould you please stop playing blackjack cause if you don’t I could lose my job.”

Here’s the second thing to think about. A casino security guard has no more power than the checker at Walmart. These people are not God, they are not the president, they’re not even cops . So imagine me walking up to you at Walmart and saying “Show me your ID, follow me to some backroom or I’m going to punch you in the face and put handcuffs on you.” You would (or at least you should) say “Shut up you idiot, I’m an American Citizen and this isn’t the wild west. If you look at me again I’m going to sue you for sexual harassment or emotionally scarring me!!!”

Whatever, you get the idea. A lot of people think that because they have some shiny piece of metal that the casino gives them and call it a badge you have to listen to what they say or obey them. Keep in mind you are an American citizen and they are too. Nothing more, nothing less. You have as many rights to punch them in the face and break their knee caps as they do, which, unless it is self-defense, is nil.

A few final notes. Believe it or not, not all security guards are screened for their IQ, and there are even security guards that have not passed the bar exam, which means the 10 cent legal rundown that I just gave you might seem like foreign policy Al Qaeda nonsense to them. Awesome, let them handcuff you and take you to the ground. Just make sure it is on video camera and let your lawyer explain to the judge why his client does not like to be assaulted and detained and physically and emotionally abused in public (but for 100k his client is willing to forget it ever happened).

Also, watch out on Indian Reservations. Technically they are what is called a “sovereign nation”, which means you are no longer in America. So, you are subject to their laws or lack of them. I always take extra care when in these situation, but remember that these places are still not run by the mob, and they are still the equivalent of giant corporations. Newspaper headlines showing them chopping off customers fingers is not good for business. In all my years of card counting I have had one “bad” experience and I wrote about it here.

Finally, what should you to do to avoid situations like this? If you are approached by security, declare “I am going to cash out my chips and leave the property.” If they ask you to follow them declare again very loudly “I want to leave the property.” Unless they are accusing you of cheating (which you can sue them for later) they are not allowed to detain you.

Then you, (now listen carefully), you put your hands by your side and you walk towards the cage or exit in full site of all video cameras. The last thing you need is to give them an excuse where they can say we handcuffed him in self-defense because he pushed us or whatever.

So, Katie, tell your parents to rest assured that card counting is really quite safe. You are much more likely to get a hex put on you by the degenerate Asian lady sitting next to you for stealing her blackjack then getting your fingers cut off.

Next week, I will post on how to defend and counter-spell against the hex.