Rigged Casinos – The Truth

By their nature, gamblers seem to be a suspicious lot. If Lady Luck isn't against you, chances are the casinos are. Rigged Casinos Guide icon

For every casino, there are a dozen conspiracy theories about decks being rigged, croupiers on the take, and the cards being marked.

But does any of it hold water, and how can you really trust those hundreds of online blackjack casinos?

Let's take a look at the ways casinos have rigged blackjack through history and how players can protect themselves from disreputable websites.

Why Would Online Blackjack Games Be Rigged?

It's happened to everyone. You spot a dealer holding an ace up-card in a game of European and you opt against insurance. Naturally, the dealer then flips over a 10 to make a blackjack.

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And when you decide to stand on 17 the dealer always makes that 18.

It's frustrating, and the anonymity of the whole game makes some Canadian players suspicious. How do we really know that the casino game isn't fixed?

Cases of rigging in online poker have been known (the infamous POTRIPPER scandal, for example, where the site's owner could see opponents' hands) but cases of impropriety in casinos are far scarcer.

It's just not in the interest of online casinos to rig games. The bad reputation they would get if they got caught would be devastating, and anyway, as 'the house' they're always statistically ahead of the player.

How Could Blackjack Be Rigged?

Cases of players rigging games in land-based casinos have been around as long as blackjack itself.

Marking cards to spot 10s and picture cards is an easy way, but casinos and croupiers are highly-trained to spot markers.

Similarly, card counting - although not 'rigging' in the classic sense - is easy to spot and frowned upon. Card counters will usually be caught and banned across every casino in the area.

Not all online casinos are alike, and some of them are downright dastardly, in their day to day dealings and that is why our reviewers identify the rogues for you.

The "second deal" is a famous method of cheating where the croupier deals the card right beneath the top card (easy to do by a skilled operator). This can only work if the dealer is working with the player he's dealing to, and the second deal is very hard to spot.

Similarly, "pegging" is a system of marking cards so that the dealer himself can tell what the next card he is dealing will be.

Understand Your Losing Edge

One key problem with conspiracy theorists is that by its nature Blackjack is skewed towards the house.

With a house edge that can range between anything from 0.89% and 0.65%, Blackjack long-term is a difficult game to win.

The odds are also in the dealer's favour. The 1/1-3/2 payout (depending on what online variant you're playing) for a blackjack doesn't represent the true odds of hitting the hand, so you're always fighting against the house.

Of course, there's nothing to say casino games like blackjack aren't worth playing for this reason (nor is roulette worth avoiding because the croupier has spun 10 #32s in a row, killing your bankroll in the process); you just have to accept the edge they have over you.

Online Blackjack Licensing and Security

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Good Canadian blackjack sites will have proper licensing in place to guarantee a fair game.

The Random Number Generators (RNGs) governing the shuffle and deal of the cards will be fair, and more importantly, independently and routinely audited to ensure they're above board.

Similarly, casino payouts from all blackjack games are checked by testing labs working on behalf of the casinos. If any mistakes or software glitches are made, they will be picked up by the auditors.

Online Cheating

But online, things get a bit murkier. Of course, hackers could get into a site's software to change the program to deal out a disproportionate number of high or low cards.

Collusion with a Live Dealer could be possible too, although Live Dealer staff - as in an offline casino - are rigorously checked before they are allowed to work in a virtual casino.

With greater licensing and security in place, however, it's harder than ever to fix online casino games and get away with it. Just roll with the punches and accept that you're always fighting uphill to beat the house.