Carpcounting

One of the first discoveries I made during my experiments was realizing that I would usually win if low cards had been removed from the deck. Conversely, if high cards (10s, court cards, and aces) had been removed, the bank won the majority of hands.

By keeping a constant check or tally on which cards had been dealt, I was able to judge, at any stage during the game, whether or not the conditions were favourable. If they were good (lots of low cards removed), I would stake large bets; if they were poor (lots of high removed), I would place the minimum bet.

This strategy is known as 'card-counting'. Card-counters are rife throughout the casino world. They are the scourge of club managers, even though they are not doing anything illegal. Most of them are small-time gamblers who nibble away at clubs' profits. They never win large amounts, but they still annoy the management. If they are spotted (most tables these days are monitored by sophisticated closed-circuit TV), they are usually asked to leave, and politely told never to darken the doors again. (Casinos are private clubs, allowing the management to reserve the right of entry or to rescind membership.)

Known card-counters are also likely to feature in the Griffin Book, a three-

volume tome compiled by a Las Vegas detective agency. It is circulated worldwide among casino managers, and lists a variety of undesirables, everyone from trouble-makers to card-counters. I have never seen a copy, but I gather it includes photographs, stills taken from the security cameras.

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