How to Cheat at Blackjack


Cheating is certainly not recommended, not legal, and in no way endorsed by RealOnlineGambling. But, for the sake of education, this course will deal with ways for a player to cheat at blackjack and the methods that a blackjack dealer may use to cheat the players.

There are very few options available for a solitary player to cheat at blackjack. The old snatch and run technique of grabbing some chips and running like hell is still done but it lacks originality.

Common Cheating Methods

One popular method of cheating is to mark the cards. High value cards such as Tens are the usual marking targets. “The Daub” technique is done by applying a substance that leaves an almost invisible smudge on the card. One scam involved the use of a special paint that was only visible to specially made contact lenses.

The “hold out” method requires the palming of a card and substituting a better one. One of the risks to this method is when the deck is changed the pit boss always scrutinizes the decks after they are taken out of play. If you try to switch cards off the table the dealer will usually call “Card down” the instant a card moves below the table line. Another similar method entails playing two hands and switching cards from one had to the other.

A two-man team can gain an advantage if a dealer is careless when looking at their hole card for a blackjack. A person behind the dealer on the other side of the pit may be able to discern the card. The value is then signaled to a player at the table. Wireless signaling devices have been used for various purposes but some casinos have new electronic detection systems that monitor certain frequencies for activity.

The use of counterfeited casino chips is another cheating route. In another technique, if a dealer isn’t paying much attention to your initial bet, you may be able to add chips before a winning hand is paid.

Because of video surveillance, it is nearly impossible to successfully employ any of these systems. If you do get away with something, it’s best to get out of Dodge fast, before anyone notices what you’ve done.

Working with the dealer can open a world of new blackjack cheating opportunities. A skilled dealer can stack the deck, deal whichever cards they want, and decide exactly who will win and who will lose at the table. The single deck hand-held blackjack game is quite a bit more susceptible to cheating by both the dealer and the player than games dealt from a shoe.

The preferred method of dealer cheating is called the “second deal”. The dealer pretends to deal the top card but instead deals the card that is immediately underneath the top card. If someone is going to deal seconds, they must know what the second card is if he or she is to benefit. One way to determine the second card is by peeking at the card. A more risky method is pegging. A device called a pegger is used to put indentations in the cards that the dealer can feel. Pegging all the ten value cards has obvious benefits.

It is highly uncommon for a dealer to cheat the players at their table, but it can happen. It’s more likely at unregulated casinos such as those on cruise ships. As mentioned in the previous lesson, stacking the deck and second dealing are popular methods used by dealers.

Another method is the “high-low pickup”. It’s easy for a novice to do, especially in a place where there are a lot of distractions for the players. After every hand, the dealer picks up the cards in a high-low alternating order. The dealer then proceeds with the “false shuffle” in which the deck is thought to have been shuffled but in reality the cards remain in the same order as before the shuffle. The high-low-high-low arrangement of the cards is death to the blackjack players. Get dealt a ten and then a 5, you have to hit, so get another ten. Since the dealer doesn’t lose until he busts, all the players who bust before lose. Bottom dealing and switching hole cards are other techniques that may be used to cheat blackjack players.

For shoe games, there is a device called a “holdout shoe” that essentially second deals for the dealer. Discrete mirrors and prisms may be contained in the holdout shoe, which allow the dealer to see what card is next. Shorting a regular shoe of ten cards will also obviously have a detrimental effect on the blackjack players.

Also keep an eye on your payouts. I’ve seen several occasions where a dealer has taken a winning bet or shortchanged on a payout. Sometimes this is not cheating, just sloppiness on the dealers part. Tell the dealer if this happens or call over a pit boss to rectify the situation. Don’t expect to be cheated when you sit down at a blackjack table, just be aware that it could happen.