All blackjack card counters should be familiar with the authority structure of the casino, the responsibilities of each member, and how to recognize them when playing blackjack. These are the individuals you could encounter during any session of live blackjack. of course, this does not apply to online blackjack.
Why is this important? Being branded as a card counter can get you banned from a casino. The way you get branded is by being identified as a counter by one or more of these individuals. They have the power to alert authorities higher up the change of command and have you watched more closely. We want to state this again, even though we have said it many times on the Counting Edge website: if you are caught counting cards in a casino the chances are very good that you will be banned. A smart card counter knows who his enemies are when he plays blackjack.
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The Security Guards
If you have ever been to a live casino you have seen these men and women. They are everywhere. All of them will be wearing a standard uniform that is common to all casino security personnel. They constantly walk the floor, observing everything. Well, almost everything.
The truth is, as a card counter you have little to fear from these guys. None of them are specifically trained in how to spot a card counter. They have bigger fish to fry. The uniformed security guards on the casino floor are there to keep the patrons of the casino safe. They are there to maintain order and deal with troublemakers. Security guards are the ones who throw out the drunks when they get unruly, help the little old lady find the jacket she left by a slot machine, and otherwise keep things running smoothly.
One of the primary responsibilities of a security guard is to oversee the payouts of large jackpots. When someone wins a big prize on a slot machine, the security guard must stand by and observe as the player completes the necessary paperwork required to claim their winnings.
The Pit Boss
In a live casino the blackjack tables are all grouped together in a single area which is known as the blackjack pit. The blackjack pit has only blackjack tables. Other table games may be nearby, but all of the blackjack tables are grouped together.
The pit boss is charged with the responsibility of overseeing all of the action in the blackjack pit. This individual can be a man or a woman, and there are a few ways to identify them right away. First, they are dressed differently than the dealers and other employees of the casino. A pit boss will be wearing a very nice suit or dress. They will walk with an air of authority. Secondly, the pit boss is the person who most often returns your player’s card and welcomes you to the game. Most live casinos have a card program which is promoted as a way to reward loyal players. Whenever you sit down to play blackjack, the dealer will ask if you have your player’s card. This card is passed to the pit boss who then logs you into a computer in the blackjack pit under the premise of rewarding you for the time you spend playing. If you do not have a player’s card many casinos will ask for your driver’s license when you sit down to play blackjack.
The truth of the matter is that collecting your player’s card or ID and entering you into a computer has very little to do with giving you a reward. The casino really wants to see how much you play, the table limits you choose, how much you buy-in with, and how much you cash out. This process is called rating and it can help the casino identify card counters.
The pit boss is charged with rating all of the blackjack players during his or her shift. This person knows everything that is happening in the pit. If you are ever suspected of being a card counter, the pit boss will likely be the one who discovers it or is told about it first.
The Shift Supervisor
Unlike a pit boss, the shift supervisor is tasked with overseeing all of the games on a certain shift. Depending on the size of the casino there may be three or even four shift supervisors per shift. The shift supervisor is the next on the ladder after the pit boss in the chain of command.
Shift supervisors dress similarly to pit bosses. They will be very well-groomed and well-dressed. Whereas the pit bosses confine themselves to the pit, the shift supervisor will do a lot of walking around the entire floor of the casino while they are on duty. You usually won’t even notice that they are around. When you do see them, they are usually standing alone and observing the action. In most casinos, all employees wear a badge. At least this makes them easier to identify.
A shift supervisor has many responsibilities. One of them is identifying card counters and cheaters. They are very well trained in spotting individuals who may be up to no good. It is unlikely, however, that a shift supervisor would ever confront you about card counting. They will most likely pass the information on to someone higher on the chain of command.
The Table Games Supervisor
This is a casino employee that you will rarely ever see. They have an office located somewhere discreet on the casino floor and spend most of their time going over figures for the various table games. The table games supervisor is in charge of ALL the table games in the casino. This is the person who all of the other authority figures answer to.
If word gets back to a table games supervisor that you are a card counter, you have crossed the line. Pit bosses and shift supervisors always try to resolve issues before the table games supervisor becomes aware of them. The only time a table games supervisor will get involved is when the employees beneath him have failed to take action or cannot get the evidence they need to ban a card counter.
Dealing With Casino Authority Figures
The best things you can do as a card counter when it comes to dealing with the bosses in the casino is to avoid them as much as possible. You do not want to become a familiar face in their memory. When the pit boss welcomes you to the blackjack table, smile and thank them and leave it at that. There is no reason you should ever have an occasion to speak to the other members of the team unless you are being accused of counting. By that time it is too late to do anything about it.
The best blackjack players and card counters have always been those who fly under the casino’s radar. You can read more about how to avoid getting caught in one of the numerous articles on Counting Edge. The best rule of thumb when card counting is to behave and act in a way that attracts no attention. Play your game, win your money, and leave as quietly as you came.