Just like in the movies…
There are many Hollywood movies to choose from, if you want to watch a film about Las Vegas, gambling and large casinos.
Take for example the movie ’21’ which was mainly inspired by a group of people counting cards, from MIT. In the movie you follow six students from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) who trained long and hard to become experts at counting cards for the casino game blackjack. The group of young people managed to scam their way through a series of Las Vegas' largest casinos, taking home millions, before they were caught.
Whether or not Ben Affleck got a bit of inspiration from the movie ’21’ isn't known, but the Hard Rock Casino has recently decided to permanently cut him off from playing blackjack at their casino, ever since the security department caught the celebrity counting cards whilst playing blackjack.
The basic idea of counting cards is remembering which cards have been played and therefore knowing which cards are still in the deck. This gives you a higher chance of predicting what the outcome of the later games (a significant advantage) and with this knowledge you can also bet more aggressively when the chances are in your favour.
Fundamentally, it's not illegal to be able to count cards, but in many casinos it's strictly forbidden as it lessens the gambling-element of the game. More often than not this act will lead to an immediate and permanent ban if you are caught counting cards, just like in Ben Affleck's case.
Actor and high roller
Ben Affleck is well-known for several Hollywood blockbusters like: Pearl Harbour, Good Will Hunting, Argo and Daredevil. Apart from his acting career, he is also a renowned movie script writer, director and in his spare time he has shown a large interest in poker and gambling. In 2013 he appeared in the movie Runner Runner, which revolves around poker and the dark side of the casino industry.
Affleck was in this case in Las Vegas along with his wife Jennifer Garner and all they wanted was a nice, relaxing and romantic weekend together before shooting started for the new Batman movie, where he will be playing the lead as Bruce Wayne and his alter ego: Batman. Unfortunately, the weekend had a rather unfortunate ending as he was awarded a lifetime ban from playing at the blackjack tables at any of the Hard Rock Casinos in the world.
The superstar was playing blackjack at a high rollers table with obscene bets and he was doing quite well up until the casino's manager addressed him personally and requested that he ceased playing blackjack.
”You are more than welcome to play anything else here at Hard Rock, but you are banned from playing blackjack at our casino” Affleck was told by the casino's manager.
The actor immediately left the table, a limo was called, of which Affleck and his lovely wife left in shortly thereafter heading straight back to their hotel.
Has won 800,000 dollars
Sitting at the high roller tables isn't exactly a new experience for Mr. Affleck, as he has recently been playing the big boys in the industry. Back in 2001 he allegedly won no less than $800,000 at the Hard Rock casino. He did that by playing for $60,000 per game, divided over three separate blackjack hands.
And blackjack isn't the actor's only interest; alongside one of his best friends and colleague Matt Damon, they both entered the poker tournament WSOP and Affleck has also won the California State Poker Championship with a purse of more than $350,000.
As a side mark, it's not exactly a lack of money that's the driving force behind Ben Affleck's quest for poker and blackjack winnings. Currently, the superstar is estimated to be worth a staggering 60 million dollars. About 43.6 million euros, or 35,6 million pounds sterling!
So what does counting cards entail?
Do you know the game 21? Essentially the same as blackjack. The goal of the game is to gain a hand that has a higher total value of the dealer, however, that value cannot surpass 21, if it does then you lose.
You start out by wagering an amount first and then you receive two cards face up after the buy-in. Everyone can see your cards, but only one of the dealer's cards are shown (i.e.. face up) You now have to choose whether or not you wish to receive another card, or whether you want to stand. You can continue for as long as you wish, until you either reach 21 or you go bust.
If someone at the table is counting cards, then he/she will most likely start out with very low bets. He will continue doing so until he has an overview of the cards and until he is certain that the cards are just right for him. When the counter reaches this point he will be placing high and very aggressive bets! What the counter does is keeping an eye on how many high and low cards there are left in the deck.
When a lot of the low cards have been played, it's time to start playing aggressively. A high amount of 10's and aces in the deck is always to the advantage of the player's and not the dealer's. A skilled card counter will always know exactly how many low cards have been played.
Posted at: 07. May 2014