Card counting is one of the few ways to make guaranteed profits through gambling. Contrary to popular belief, it’s also completely legal too.
However, counting cards in land-based casinos can be unnerving. If you get caught, you’ll have to deal with the pit boss and security.
That said, you might look towards an online alternative. Live dealer blackjack is seemingly the best alternative because it does leave open the possibility of card counting.
But will live dealer casinos also ban you for counting cards? I’ll answer this question below while discussing how realistic it is to count at live gaming sites.
Yes, a Live Dealer Casino Will Ban You for Successful Card Counting
Like any other type of casino, live dealer gaming sites are in the business to make profits. They have the right to ban any player whom they deem to be a risk.
That said, live dealer casinos will ban you for card counting. They have software running algorithms that can detect when you’re a highly profitable player.
As I’ll discuss later, though, live dealer blackjack card counting is difficult. You need to combine enough deck penetration with a technique called “wonging in.”
Wonging in refers to when you count cards while not seated at the table. You then jump into the middle of a shoe when the count becomes highly favorable.
In short, live dealer blackjack is beatable under perfect circumstances. You can make long-term profits in this case, but you also risk being banned from a live dealer casino.
What Happens When You Get Banned?
When a live dealer gaming site bans you, they’ll send an email detailing their decision. They normally offer a chance to withdraw your funds, provided you haven’t cheated in any way.
You’ll likely only be prohibited from the live dealer casino where you’re counting cards. However, you could also be banned from all products offered by the live dealer studio that’s serving the casino.
You can always try signing up at the gaming site where you’re banned under a different alias and IP address. But by doing so, you risk violating the casino’s terms and conditions and having your funds confiscated.
I certainly don’t recommend re-signing up at the same casino where you’re prohibited. You may personally consider doing so, though, for one reason or another.
Live Dealer Blackjack Card Counting Is Difficult
Again, yes, you can get kicked off a live dealer gaming site for counting cards. The odds of this happening, however, are low. Successfully counting cards in live dealer casinos is very difficult for the following reasons.
Low Deck Penetration
You need adequate deck penetration to become a successful card counter. Deck penetration is determined by how far the dealer goes into the shoe before shuffling.
More penetration ensures that more cards are dealt and your count will be accurate. When you start increasing bets towards the end of a shoe, you’re more likely to capitalize on a positive count.
Some land-based casinos allow up to 75% deck penetration or more. This percentage is enough to make long-term profits as a skilled counter.
Live dealer casinos, on the other hand, only allow between 35% and 50% penetration. They do this for the very reason of stopping card counters.
As I covered earlier, you can still beat live blackjack by wonging in with around 50% penetration. The latter technique helps you overcome the lack of deck penetration.
Software Can Detect You
Assume, for a moment, that you become a winning card counter through the combination of 50% deck penetration and wonging in. You’re now in the clear to make solid profits through live dealer blackjack, right?
Actually, live gaming sites employ advanced algorithms to identify winning players. These programs offer insight into how players are winning.
Live dealer casinos don’t care if somebody is just getting lucky. After all, the site will still win profits over the average player.
What they’re concerned about, though, is somebody who’s winning through skill alone. They usually ban any such players.
Is It Worth Wonging in at Live Dealer Casinos?
Wonging in is obsolete at brick-and-mortar casinos. All land-based gambling establishments feature a “no mid-shoe entry” rule.
This rule prevents you from sitting down and gambling in the middle of the shoe. It’s specifically designed to counteract wonging in.
Live dealer casinos, on the other hand, are different in this regard. Some don’t enforce the no-mid-shoe-entry rule because they’ve already reduced deck penetration.
You can target these gaming sites by wonging in. As explained earlier, though, you also risk getting banned when doing so.
Therefore, you need to decide if it’s worth risking your standing at one or more live casinos. Assuming you’re willing to take the plunge, you can try wonging in online.
Should You Just Count Cards at Land-Based Casinos?
Based on everything covered so far, you might feel like brick-and-mortar casinos are the best places to count cards. Here are the considerations behind counting at land-based venues.
No Wonging In
Wonging in used to be a highly popular advantage play technique in casinos. It’s based on the gambling author Stanford Wong, who popularized this concept.
However, casinos eventually caught on to wonging in and made up the no-mid-shoe-entry rule. As a result, you can’t wong in at land-based casinos.
More Deck Penetration
The upside to counting in brick-and-mortar venues is that you’ll enjoy more deck penetration. In the best-case scenario, a casino will allow over 75% penetration.
However, this percentage isn’t a given. Some casinos only go up to 60% or 65% deck penetration, at which point you’ll have little chance to make long-term profits. That said, you should seek out casinos that allow up to 75% penetration or more.
Uncomfortable Conversations With the Pit Boss
Everybody from the dealer to the pit boss is watching out for card counters. The latter is especially concerned with catching counters.
If the pit boss feels that you’re counting, they may come up and start watching your play more closely. They might even spark up a conversation to rattle you.
When the pit boss is perfectly comfortable deeming you as a card counter, they may call security over. The next step involves asking for an ID and kicking you out of the casino.
Could Get Banned from Entire Line of Casinos
Continuing off the last point, you don’t have to show your ID to a casino employee. After all, casino staff members aren’t law enforcement officers.
If you do make the mistake of showing them identification, they might ban you for life from the casino. You’ll also be prohibited from all associated properties that the company owns in this situation.
Again, though, you can refuse to show your ID and simply leave. In this case, the pit boss and security will only have a mental image by which to identify you.
Most Realistic Way to Make Blackjack Profits
The thought of making hundreds or even thousands of dollars a day through live dealer blackjack is exciting. However, it’s not a realistic path for long-term profits.
The combination of low deck penetration and software that monitors your winnings is powerful. It greatly reduces the chances that you’ll make much money from live dealer blackjack, even when wonging in.
Realistically speaking, land-based casinos still provide the best chance to win with blackjack. Some of them offer the type of deck penetration you need for consistent profits.
Technically, you can get banned from live dealer casinos for counting cards. However, this scenario doesn’t happen very often.
Live dealer gaming sites purposely keep deck penetration lower to prevent card counting. They also use software to detect anyone that can still beat their games by adding wonging in into the mix.
You might still be able to make some money by counting in live dealer blackjack. Eventually, though, you’re probably going to get caught and not make much, if anything.
If you aspire to be a serious card counter, your best bet is to hit up land-based casinos. Here, you can find enough deck penetration to make consistent long-term profits.