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Live casinos do not like advantage players. Casinos have developed methods over time to deal with card counters and blackjack experts. These methods are often referred to as a blackjack backoff. You should know how to spot a backoff in case you become the target. These measures are often the casino’s polite way of letting you know it’s time to leave. Refuse, and you could be banned.

Blackjack Card Counters and Casinos

Blackjack is an amazing casino game. It is a game that rewards the use of skill and strategy. It is also a game that is vulnerable to mathematical systems known as card counting. Counting has been used for decades to help blackjack professionals make millions.

The live casinos realized many years ago that card counting was a problem. They knew that these counters had the potential to win thousands. It was the advent of team play that really troubled the casinos. A blackjack team like the one from MIT was able to score wins of more than one million dollars. No one wins that amount of money without receiving casino scrutiny.

How Casinos Deal With Card Counters

There has been a change in the way that live casinos deal with card counters. In the old days of Las Vegas, casino justice was swift and brutal. It often involved a trip to a windowless room where a group of goons were waiting. In those days the police in Las Vegas were often in on the harsh methods, looking the other way in exchange for favors and payoffs.

In the 1990s a new era began to take shape in Las Vegas. It often took the shape of a family-friendly makeover. The city wanted to encourage family vacations, targeting a whole new demographic. In the kinder, gentler Vegas there was no room for the mob tactics of the past.

Around the same time there were legal challenges being posed to the casinos by card counters in Atlantic City. The counters were claiming that card counting was not illegal. In time, the courts mostly agreed. Casinos were forced to find new ways to spot and eliminate card counters.

The Casino Blackjack Backoff

The casino could not make legal arguments against card counting. That did not mean it had no recourse. Banning players at its discretion was still an option, so casinos only needed to identify and warn suspected counters that they were not welcome. This is when the casino backoff was invented.

There are some YouTube blackjack backoff videos that demonstrate how the process is often done. It varies from casino to casino, but this is the general way in which a backoff proceeds. The first step is that a casino executive will approach the player and ask them to step away from the table for a chat.

The casino boss will usually explain up front that the player is suspected of being a card counter or an advantage player. This is necessary for the casino to enact a legally-effective ban. Examples of the player’s behavior are usually cited, specifically the raising or lowering of bets at certain times. The player is then asked to stop the counting. If they refuse, the blackjack backoff begins.

Blackjack Backoff Methods

If you are ever the target of a blackjack backoff, you may want to consider the option of simply leaving the game. Consider yourself lucky to fight another day. Maybe you should think about employing some methods of camouflage in your blackjack betting.

When you are given a backoff, numerous tactics can be used. In the video we shared above, the casino boss threatens to flat bet the player. This is one of the most effective ways to stop a card counter. A flat bet means that the player is restricted to making bets of a certain size. They cannot raise or lower the bet…ever.

As you can imagine, this tactic virtually cripples advantage play. If there were no ability to raise and lower ones bets at blackjack, there would be no purpose for counting.

A more benevolent form of a backoff is to offer the player a hotel room or a free buffet for the night. This can sometimes get the player off the table. It is an effective move for novice card counters who are also benefiting from luck when they play.

There are probably many more methods, but all of them boil down to one single thing. Intimidation is the goal of the casino. They want you to think that you are being watched. They want you to be uninformed of the laws regarding card counting. If you are concerned about a backoff, you will probably leave the casino and not return.

How to Avoid a Blackjack Backoff

The very name of this website should tell you that we are advocates of card counting. We encourage live blackjack players to use it for profit. We also know that it has become harder today for the card counter to thrive. Better detection methods and facial recognition are helping casinos spot counters.

If you want to avoid a blackjack backoff the most effective thing you can do is start playing blackjack online. We know what you are thinking. Card counting is almost impossible at online casinos, so why play online. The answer is that you can still use basic blackjack strategy, and you can also now find live dealer games at online casinos. Counting may be possible in a live dealer game.

There is a type of backoff that is sometimes used in an online casino. Basically, it involves restricting your account so that you cannot withdraw winnings or continue to play. This is rare and isn’t something you should be worried about. The bottom line is that you can still make plenty of money playing online blackjack when you follow the basic strategies of the game.

Do you still want to play in a live casino? We would suggest spending some time perfecting the art of camouflage betting. If you are able to hide your abilities as a card counter, there is a lower chance that you will be caught.


  1. What is a blackjack backoff?
    • A backoff is when casino personnel approach a player and ask them to stop playing blackjack. This usually happens because they suspect the player is card counting or using some strategy to gain an advantage.
  2. Is getting backed off from a blackjack table an admission of cheating?
    • No. Card counting, which is the most common reason for backoffs, is not cheating; it’s a skillful way to play. Casinos, however, have the right to refuse service to anyone, so they can ask skilled players to stop playing.
  3. What happens during a backoff?
    • Typically, a casino employee, often a pit boss or security, will approach the player and inform them they are no longer welcome to play blackjack. They might be allowed to play other games in the casino.
  4. Are casinos allowed to confiscate a card counter’s winnings during a backoff?
    • No, casinos cannot confiscate a player’s winnings just because they suspect card counting. However, if they have evidence of cheating, which is different from card counting, they might take further action.
  5. Can players be banned permanently from a casino due to a backoff?
    • Yes, casinos can and often do issue bans to players they suspect of card counting or using advanced play strategies.
  6. How do casinos identify players who might warrant a backoff?
    • Casinos look for players who vary their bets significantly, especially in correlation with the count if a single deck or double deck game is being played. They might also notice players who seem too focused on keeping track of cards or who avoid making decisions typical of recreational players.
  7. Is it illegal for a casino to back off a player?
    • In most jurisdictions, casinos are private properties and have the right to refuse service as long as they don’t discriminate based on race, gender, religion, etc. Asking someone to stop playing blackjack due to suspected card counting is typically within their rights.
  8. How can players avoid backoffs?
    • While there’s no surefire way, players can employ measures like reducing bet spread, camouflaging their play by making occasional “mistake” bets, or not staying at a table for too long. Some players also employ team strategies to avoid detection.
  9. What should a player do if backed off?
    • It’s generally advised to stay calm, acknowledge the request, and either leave the casino or engage in other non-blackjack games. Making a scene or arguing can escalate the situation.
  10. Is getting backed off a badge of honor among card counters?
    • Some card counters view it as a rite of passage or an indication that their skills are effective enough to be noticed. However, frequent backoffs can limit profitable playing opportunities, so it’s a mixed blessing.

While backoffs can be intimidating or frustrating for the player, understanding the reasons and the casino’s perspective can help manage the situation more effectively. Remember, card counting is about skill and strategy, not deception or cheating. Ready to win at online blackjack? You can read our Casino Max review, Miami Club casino review , High Country casino review, Cherry Jackpot casino review, or Roaring 21 review to name a few. You can also deposit using bitcoin at the casinos.

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