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How Casinos Prevent Cheating at Cards

Updated on September 9, 2013

Globally, casino revenues reach an amount of around one hundred billion dollars each year. And when it comes to cards, the odds always favor the house. But there is one game that casinos really fear. It’s called cheating. Cheating at poker could net the cheater millions, and the casinos are acutely away of this. In fact, stopping card sharks is a multi-million dollar business for casinos. But how is it done?

You Are Always Being Watched

Depending on the size of the casino, there can be a hundred or more cameras set up to watch the gaming floor. Some cameras are fixed in place, and some are rovers that can pan, tilt, and zoom. There are no blind spots left over after the cameras are put in place. And there are no fake cameras set up.

The people watching behind these cameras are experts in casino fraud. They are constantly on the lookout for suspicious behavior, such as distracting the dealer or using computers to count cards. They are an essential part to the casinos security.

Casinos Do Not Use Ordinary Cards

Cameras and the people behind them are only one part of the casino’s arsenal against cheaters. The cards themselves are also a part of the security measures taken.

Casinos use special cards with large characters so that the cameras can clearly pick up what cards are being played. All of these special cards start out from a brand new, sealed pack directly before play. The new cards are spread out and checked before play starts to ensure that they have not been marked in some way.

Some cheaters will try to mark the cards while playing. This can be done by attaching a sharp, but tiny, pin on their nail to make a small hole on their cards. It can also be done by marking the cards with dull latex so that the light reflects differently on those cards than the other cards. And sometimes, a cheater will try to bend the cards a little. Marking cards is quite a complicated thing to do and, for that reason, not many people try to do it.

Even though it is difficult, there is still a chance of the cards being marked, so the cards lifespan at the casino is only about 12 hours. After they have been used for the day, each one of the packs of cards that the casino uses is checked, counted and put into a sealed security. Then the cards are sent to the shredder.

The Dealers Part in Security

The dealer, also called a croupier, is more than just the person who take bets and deals the cards. They are an additional, and crucial, part of the casinos security against card cheating. They are up close and personal with the players and are trained to watch for suspicious behavior. But they only have one set of eyes and cannot always watch every player at the table with detailed scrutiny.

An easier way for people to cheat at cards is to take advantage of the fact that the dealer cannot keep their eyes on everyone, and slyly swap cards when the dealer is not looking. For example, in one instance a person not playing distracted the dealer at one corner of the table for a very short period of time while two players quickly moved cards under the table and swapped them. The exchange was made almost invisibly, and both players replaced their cards in their hand just as slyly. Even when the cameras were played back in slow motion, it was hard to see this quick swap of cards, but a trained eye caught these subtle moves. In this case, the players were successfully prosecuted and are now playing cards in jail.

The next time you play at the casino, keep in mind that you are always being watched. Between the cameras and the people behind them, the carefully watched deck of cards, and the dealer who is keeping a closer eye on you than you think, your chances of cheating and getting away with it are very slim.


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    • bingo spelpunt profile image

      Tim 2 years ago from Netherlands

      You Are Always Being Watched, hehe WOW more then 100 camera's.

      I didn't know that