Cheating At Blackjack

Blackjack has long been one of the most popular casino games out there – it’s present at every online and land-based gambling venue on the planet. Part of this popularity stems from its reputation as the one game where it’s possible to beat the casino.

No casino is of the mind to discourage this reputation, because the lure of possibly breaking the house brings the punters in in droves. But the reality is that while Blackjack is a clean, entertaining chance game with a strong element of skill, there really isn’t any way to get one up on the house without cheating.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the more common methods that casino players use to try to cheat at Blackjack – and they all require playing in a live casino.

Card Switching

This is old school card-palming: slipping a card off the table and replacing it with one from up your sleeve or some other unmentionable area. This works in theory, but remember that your cards are usually dealt face up, so you’ll have to be exceptionally cunning about this because everyone can see your initial set.

Additionally, most dealers are hawks, and while they obviously let you handle your cards, they’ll yell “Card down!” if you drop one below the level of the table, whereupon security goons will lay their hand on you, and bad things will follow.

Card Marking

The idea behind card marking is that you somehow make a small mark on the backs of cards that are valuable. That way, when the deck finally comes around and gets reshuffled, you’ll be able to spot the high value cards either in the dealer’s hand, or on top of the card shoe.

You’re being watched like a hawk by casino security, so it’s quite difficult to pull this off, particularly if you want to try and use a marker pen. We’ve read about people using invisible ink to mark cards with a small sponge on their fingertip, which is only viewable through special glasses. Frankly, card marking is just too much bother, and is most likely to lead to a severe beating in the back room of a casino.


Collusion is the only successful way to cheat at Blackjack – it requires a partner in crime. One way is to have a partner sitting on the other end of the table behaving just poorly enough not to get thrown out, but sufficiently to distract the dealer so that you can pull off the moves described earlier in the article. Video surveillance being what it is, if you aren’t instantly killed by goons, you should leave town immediately.

The most effective way of cheating at Blackjack is to collude with the dealer. Since they control the deck and thus have the power to cheat most effectively, working out a kick back deal is the most lucrative approach. It’s also completely illegal and likely to put both of you behind bars.

Funnily enough, most people think that the most common forms of cheating in blackjack are card counting and shuffle tracking. However, the legality of card counting is something that has been disputed on numerous occasions. It is only considered cheating if a blackjack player is using some form of aid to help in the card counting process. A skilled card counter is not doing anything illegal, but the casinos reserve the right to evict anyone they think is counting cards.