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A "crimper" puts a very slight bend on the corners of cards he wants to remember for the purposes of future recognition. Players tend to mangle cards anyway without any malicious intent. For this reason, and to prevent the use of the above methods, many casinos will introduce new cards at the beginning of every shoe.

"Peeking" involves collusion between a dealer and player when the dealer pulls the first card halfway out of the shoe and flashes the corner to a player across the table, who bets accordingly. Sometimes the dealer is sloppy and does this without realizing it. With or without dealer compliance, the player has only a split second to get his bet down.

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Games of Chance and Contests of Skill
That's why if Venus bet on blackjack, she would be a sucker. But if she could get an amateur player to put up money against her in a tennis match, she would be a genius.

The difference lies in the fact that blackjack is not a contest between two opponents, but a game of chance that merely presents the player with certain options for dealing with those chances. Is it possible to be skilled at the game? Yes, but that skill is never matched against another person as it is in tennis; it is matched against a probability-driven game.

As every gambler knows, that game is designed to slowly bankrupt the player over the long run. Many of us enjoyed reading about the crack squad of MIT students who beat casino blackjack' with elaborate operations more reminiscent of a Mission Impossible episode than gambling, and card counting can yield occasional statistical advantages to a player. But when a person plays blackjack or any other table game the way the house allows him to, the best he can hope to do is hold down the house's advantage by playing perfectly.
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