Blackjack Counting Missing Cards

gambling mathsThere are always some players who complain that certain cards have been missing from the deck in some traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. As a matter of fact, this is a cheating method that may sometimes be hard to be detected.

Actually, there is an invaluable remedy against cheating by using the missing cards method, which is called card counting. Some experts also confess that land-based casinos could be tempted to remove certain cards such as 10s or Aces from the shoe in order to cheat on the player. This is usually done after a few rounds have been dealt and the dealer has shuffled the decks several times.

This technique of cheating is done by the dealer who places their palm over the cards while shuffling them and hides them. After that, dealers simply dispose of the cards taken. Still, this cheating technique is not limited to the land-based casinos only. Some players are also known for removing cards with small value from the pack in an attempt to boost their advantage against the house.

Of course, this could be noticed by the casino easily, by simply taking the pack and counting the number of cards, so players should consider using statistical methods to deal with the house edge of the casino.

One of the greatest ironies in the short shoe cheating method is that the dealer themselves do not have to necessarily know that the shoe is missing some cards, so they could even not be aware of the fact that they are cheating.

According to some reports, the short shoe method is one of the most frequent methods used by casinos to cheat at the game of blackjack when playing with more than one deck.

The Short Shoe Cheating Method

This cheating method is also known as the “Short Shoe”. As already mentioned, casinos prefer to remove certain cards only. Usually, these are the 10-valued cards. Casinos actually rarely remove the the Aces, especially because of the fact that Aces are among the most-counted cards in the game of blackjack.

This method is also quite preferred when blackjack is played with four decks of cards, consistent of 52 cards each. In every standard card deck there are 16 cards with the value of 10 – the 10s, Jacks, Queens and Kings. So, in a shoe of a total of 208 cards, there should be 64 ten-valued cards. If supposedly, the pit boss removes a total of 10 such cards from the shoe, some of each kind, the shoe would be shortened from 64 to 54 tens, and the total number of cards in the deck – from 208 to 198.

If the pack is reduced by ten 10s, this will shift the advantage from the player to the casino, as the ratio of others to tens changes from 2.25 to 2.67. The ratio of others to 10s in a four-deck shoe with all cards present is 144/64 = 2.25. In comparison, the ratio of others to 10s in a four-deck shoe reduced by ten 10s would be 144/54 = 2.67, which gains a little over 1% for the casino.

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Rumours say that some casinos’ shift bosses prefer removing exactly ten 10-valued cards from a four-deck shoe. The most efficient, and thus the most preferred way to detect if there are some cards missing from the deck is the card-counting method, which means that players should be very careful when playing the game of blackjack. Counting the cards remains the most suitable strategy for detecting the missing ten cards due to the fact that the dealer does not show the cards’ faces but places them face down on top of the discarded cards stack.

The truth is that running count of the cards is not easy, especially for the inexperienced players who play at regular brick-and-mortar casinos. Estimating the approximate number of cards that are left behind the cut card after the shoe has been dealt is another problem that comes along with the card-counting strategy.

Card-counting should be done from the very beginning of a freshly-shuffled complete shoe in order to be efficient. The player should pay attention at the shoe until the last card is seen and it is time to reshuffle it. Then, they should subtract the number of 10s seen from the total number of 10s that are supposed to be in the four-deck shoe. This would give them the number of the 10-valued cards that have remained unseen.

If the player has managed to see 54 cards of the value of 10, then another ten 10s should be among the unused cards. What is important for the player to do is estimate the number of the unseen cards and consider if there could be a remarkably large number of unseen 10-valued cards. If the answer of this question is positive, then there is a serious possibility for the shoe to be missing some cards. For example, if the number of the unseen cards is 15, it is greatly unlikely for 10 of them to be with a value of 10.

More experienced blackjack players can improve the card-counting method by keeping track on both the 10- and non-10-valued cards. This is probably the only way for them to know exactly how many unseen cards there are, as well as the number of the unseen 10-valued cards.

As a matter of fact, blackjack players do not have to count cards through a shoe while betting in order to find out that the casino is cheating on players. Customers of land-based casinos could be present at the blackjack table without being forced to place a bet in case they do not interrupt the gameplay. Customers who suspect that the casino is cheating can stand behind the player to the dealer’s right.

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