Over the years, blackjack players have reported time and again that they were mistreated by casino employees after being accused of card counting. One such story that made it to press occurred in June of 2013 when Ross Miller sued Caesars Entertainment for illegal detainment and theft of $5,000 worth of casino chips stemming from card counting allegations at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas. Now, blackjack aficionado Colin Jones is speaking out on the matter.
Jones wrote an Op Ed in response to an article that appeared on Casino.org in which the blackjack pro explained why casinos should value card counters, rather than treating them like criminals. Colin Jones, a former card counter himself who previously managed the highly successful card counting group , ‘The Church Team’, and co-founder of BlackjackApprenticeship.com, said, “it’s not just the player who suffers when casinos mistreat card counters.”
The blackjack guru first addressed his understanding that blackjack card counters are a “nuisance to casinos”. They have an advantage, and will most often leave with more chips than what they started. But Jones compared these players to “extreme couponers” or budget meal shoppers with 5 kids in tow who visit a restaurant for the first time because it’s promoting “Kids Eat Free” night.
The restaurant does not tell the family to leave because they aren’t regulars, nor does the store demand the shopper provide identification, lest they confiscate their groceries (as was the alleged case for Miller in 2013). “We cost casinos money, but that does not give casinos the right to violate someone’s civil rights,” said Jones.
Colin says it’s the way card counters are treated that needs to change, and that in too many case, the casino staff displays a blatant disregard for humans rights. “If Ross Miller’s story is correct, the casino treated a law-abiding citizen like a criminal, then stole his money, all because he played their blackjack game according to their rules.”
Jones goes on to express his belief that casinos don’t have to like card counters, but they should respect them. “Did you know that blackjack wasn’t a very popular game before Ed Thorpe’s book Beat the Dealer outlined how to beat blackjack with card counting?,” Jones asks. Simply knowing that the game can be beaten has brought blackjack players to the tables in droves for more than 50 years thanks to the publication of one card counting blackjack pro.
He then estimates that only 5% of his website’s members actually achieve the level of discipline (along with possessing the intelligence and bankroll size required), to become “any real threat to casinos”. Jones compares that to approximately 0.1% of a casino’s blackjack players. Thus, he asks if it’s really worth discriminating against card counters, when the other 99.9% of players are contributing much more profits to the establishment than what the card counters are taking away from it?
The former card counting pro stated that some incidents could actually be good press for the casinos, if they wanted it to be. Ben Affleck’s perma-ban from blackjack tables at Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas was one example. “How much of a threat was Affleck relative to the positive marketing they could have gotten out of the situation?” posed Jones. “I’m continually baffled that casinos choose to bring negative attention on themselves, rather than spin these situations to their advantage.”
In the same token, Colin Jones turned the tables on the average card counter, as well. If they want respect from casinos, they must be willing to give it. He said that “dehumanizing” goes both ways, and that it wasn’t until he started treating casino employees with the same “love, dignity and respect that I want to treat all people”, that his subsequent trips to the casino became much more enjoyable.
After being hand cuffed, cursed at, lied to, held against his will and treated with contempt, Jones said the fact is, “people are people”, and there must be a mutual respect between card counters and casinos.