For many players, live dealer games are the ultimate way of enjoying mobile and online casinos. They offer a far more realistic experience, and allow you to chat with dealers and often other players as you play. However, as a video that surfaced this week demonstrates, playing at live dealer tables comes with its own pitfalls.
In a game of blackjack on the US based BetOnline Casino, it appears that a dealer intentionally cheated, making the player (who was recording the game) lose the hand. This is raising a number of questions in people’s minds about the integrity of live dealers and whether there might be a more endemic issue with cheating that we realise.
The Alleged Cheating
The video – which comes from blackjack pro and Youtuber Michael Morgenstern – purports to show the dealer in a live dealer blackjack game dealing the second card in the shoe to Michael, before dealing the front card (which should have been Morgenstern’s) to himself. This switch causes Morgenstern to lose the hand, and has ultimately led him to accuse the dealer of having intentionally switched the cards in his favour.
The dealer’s motives are unclear and it’s still up for debate whether his actions were intentional. While it’s clear the cards got switched, there’s every possibility it was nothing more than an honest mistake. However, many commenters have been quick to denounce his actions as cheating and have suggested that in order to have known what the next card was likely to be, the dealer would have to have had information being fed to him (suggesting a broader conspiracy).
Why Video Blackjack Is Safe
You might wonder why only live dealer tables are in a position to be taken advantage of in such a way. After all, wouldn’t it be just as easy to rig video blackjack and other table games and slots to work in the house’s favour. Well, this is why you should always be playing at licensed online and mobile casinos, as you’re protected against this kind of cheating.
To gain a casino license, an operator must submit its games for third party testing. These tests are aimed at finding out how random the random number generators which decide the outcome off card deals/slot spins are. This means that, provided that you’re playing at a licensed site, you can rest assured that the games you’re playing carry the exact house edge as advertised.
So is the lesson here that you can’t trust live dealers? Well, not really. There’s no evidence to suggest that there’s a widespread problem with live dealers cheating. This seems to be an isolated incident which first, may well have been an honest mistake with a slip of the fingers – the video isn’t 100% conclusive – and second, this is big news!
If this is cheating, the guy hasn’t got away with it, and having been called out, this could seriously risk the brand’s image. It seems so unlikely a legitimate casino would repeated try and get away with this kind of behaviour.