Just to be clear, it's not illegal to count cards. If you start taking too much of the casino's money, they will toss you, however. What is illegal (a felony), at least in Nevada, is counting cards with the aid of technology. Despite that obvious deterrent, Nevada casinos have been warned about a pretty sophisticated iPhone card counting app.
Yep, it's even in the App Store. The warning comes from the Nevada Gaming Commission (.PDF
) after they were warned by the California Bureau of Gambling Control, who were themselves tipped off by an Indian casino.
We have to tell the Nevada Gaming Commission: it's not I-Phone, and it's not Ipod Touch. It's iPhone and iPod Touch, OK?
Anyway, the Nevada Gaming Commission doesn't, for some reason, tell us what the app is. There are a few card counting apps, but the mention of a "stealth mode" narrows it down to this one
($3.99 in the App Store).
Here are excerpts of the app's description (just in case you have some degree of intellectual curiousity):
Blackjack Card Counter is a unique application for the iPhone and iPod touch.
It allows any blackjack player, professional or amateur to keep track of their Blackjack card count.
** New Addition Count Vibrate **
When Count Vibrate is turned on your iPhone or iPod will vibrate when the true count reaches the value you specify. The default value is +6 and can be changed in the info section. This is particularly useful when using stealth mode.
** True Count **
Card counters rarely use the unadjusted "Running Count" for making their decisions. They adjust the count based on the number of decks left in the shoe to give a "True Count".
Blackjack Card Counter calculates the "True Count" for you and does it more accurately than manual methods. As buttons are pressed in the app the total counted cards are recorded. This is then adjusted to take into account cards that aren't recorded, such as 7, 8, 9 and depending on the count method sometimes A and 2 as well. A “total cards dealt” number is determined which is then divided by 52 to represent total decks dealt. This number is then used in the "True Count" calculation.
You can adjust the number of decks in the shoe by going to the info screen. The default is 6 decks which is standard in most casinos.
** Card Counting Methods **
This card counter uses a choice of 4 popular card counting strategies. For each strategy press the button that contains the face value of the cards as they are drawn from the deck. Depending on the strategy and on the value of the card the button will either add or subtract 1 or 2 from the "Running Count".
Hi-Lo - Low cards 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 (add 1 to total). High cards 10, J, Q, K and A (subtract 1 from total).
Hi-Op I - Low cards 3, 4, 5, and 6 (add 1 to total). High cards 10, J, Q and K (subtract 1 from total).
Hi-Op II - Low cards 2, 3, 6 and 7 (add 1 to total) 4 and 5 (add 2 to total). High cards 10, J, Q and K (subtract 2 from total).
Omega II - Low cards 2 and 3 (add 1 to total) 4, 5 and 6 (add 2 to total). High cards 10, J, Q and K (subtract 2 from total).
After a shuffle a new deck is started. The new deck button should be pressed to set the tally back to 0.
** Stealth Mode **
When you press the stealth button the screen goes black. You can continue to press the "+1", "+2", "-1", "-2" and "new deck" buttons as normal. You just need to remember where they are. The total continues to go up and down according to the hidden buttons that you press. To get back out of stealth mode simply press the top half of the screen.
Just remember, they're on the lookout, so considering it's a felony, it's probably not a good idea to try this in Nevada.