Cheating by the dealer at blackjack is only a small problem in legal casinos in the United States, but stay alert. You should be aware of ways that dealers can cheat and know what to look for. If you are cheated, you will lose quickly. It will take you a week of laying against honest dealers to earn back what you can be cheated out of in an hour.
From the reports I get, I am sure cheating still exists. But I have not knowingly been cheated in a long time. I am still always alert to the possibility of being cheated. No matter how friendly the dealer or how long I have been playing in that same casino, I always watch for cheating.
I never cheat. I have had instances where a dealer gives me a sly or knowing look and flashes the next card to be dealt or the hole card. I always get up and walk away. I want to win, but I want to win honestly. I do not mind profiting from dealer errors or dealer sloppiness, but I refuse to be a partner with any dealer in a scheme to steal from a casino.
There will always be accusations of cheating whether or not cheating actually exists. Whenever anything unusual happens and you lose, you are likely to claim that you were cheated. You will occasionally lose ten hands in a row just by chance alone; losing ten hands in a row is not prima facie evidence of cheating. Some card counters incorrectly think that winning is due to skill and losing is due to being cheated. The truth is that winning and losing are both chance events.
Keep your eyes on the cards at all times. Occasionally watching the pack will make a dealer nervous, but you will not lose to a particular cheater more than once. Play only in bigger casinos. Do not play in single-table holes in the wall. Bigger casinos have more to lose than to gain by cheating and consequently should not tolerate it. If you see a cheating dealer, quietly inform the pit boss. The pit boss will not believe you, but will watch the dealer closely. An honest casino owner will fire and prosecute a dealer caught cheating.
Another option is to notify whatever agency regulates gambling at that casino. In Nevada, it’s the Gaming Control Board. Don’t wait; call right away. You want to register your complaint while evidence still exists. Casinos videotape every table, but the tapes are preserved only upon demand from the regulatory agency. Casino regulators are supposed to impose stiff penalties against cheaters. If gaming commission agents spot cheating at a casino, they can close that casino. Cheating managers are not supposed to be allowed to manage casinos any more. Cheating owners are not supposed to be allowed to own casinos any more. All of this makes it unlikely that you will encounter a legal casino where cheating is house policy. Unfortunately, most casino regulators fall far short of their duty of assessing meaningful penalties to casinos that do engage in cheating. It is usually just a slap on the wrist.