My Uncle is a professional card counter in Atlantic City. His days usually start with a bloody mary and scrambled eggs, followed by a hot bath wherein he finishes the New York Times crossword puzzle in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee. He then hops in his White Caddie and goes to Trump Plaza, Showboat or Tropicana where he plays a coupla hours of blackjack. Just before dinner he meets up with some of the other guys in his crew where they divvy up the winnings between them then he goes home. This has been his “job” since the mid 1980s.
The casinos know that he is a card counter. Nearly all of the casinos have at one time or another waved him off the 21 tables, and always with a friendly admonition from a pit boss that goes something like this: “Sir, you’re too good for us at blackjack, but we welcome you to play any of our other games.” He’s learned that as long as he doesn’t press too hard when the count is in the players favor, the casinos will let him keep playing. As long as they don’t “fish out” the watering hole, they’ll still be allowed to go fishing.
Indiana casinos REALLY hate card counters. To the point of petitioning the Indiana State Supreme Court to allow Indiana’s 12 casinos the right to remove suspected card counters. Currently, Indiana statues state that counting cards is NOT illegal, the same holds true in Nevada, New Jersey and elsewhere.
Donovan said he usually wins $75 to $100 in a five- to six-hour session. When he’s hot, he’s won as much as $2,500, but he said he’s had about the same number of nights where he’s lost a couple of thousand dollars or more.
Casinos need to encourage card counting, possibly by selling a card counting tip sheet next to the laminated basic strategy cards in the gift shop. Sure, there will be the occasional card counting savant who rakes $10k out of the casino, but there will be thousands of fools who lose $100-$1k per session trying to count cards.
If you’re in the business of gambling, then let people friggin play the goddamn games. When people feel that they actually might win, they are gonna come gamble more money more often. The converse – tightening up games, tightening up slots and turning down the excitement level in the casino – is a surefire way of alienating gamblers from your gambling hall.