The best teacher in matters of casino longevity for advantage players is experience. Be observant of the pit crew. Learn to tell the difference between their normal routine, which includes phone calls and huddles with other pit staff, and unwanted attention to your play. If you are playing for low stakes, where your max bet is less than $300, you will probably have plenty of time to do this, since most places will leave you alone at these stakes, as long as you don't camp out and rub it in their faces. Use this "grace period" while you are playing at low stakes to learn the lay of the land.
The best experience will come when you have actually received a backoff or barring. If you have been observant, you will pick up on what was happening in the pit immediately prior to the action against you and be able to apply it to future situations. You will also discover that you lived through the experience and it probably wasn't as bad as you thought it would be.
You also have to make a decision about your goals. If you want to make the maximum amount of money in the least amount of time, backoffs, barrings or other countermeasures such as being half-shoed or flat-betted will be a simple fact of life. One problem that we have today is that so many stores are connected. This makes avoiding countermeasures more important than it might have been a few years ago. So, there is some middle ground that you have to find where you can reduce your risk of countermeasures being taken but still get in decent playing time.
I'm not a big fan of cover plays. In the end, they look at how much money you are making and how consistently you can earn. The plays that draw the most attention are too valuable to discard for cover purposes. That would include insurance and most of the plays in the Illustrious 18. I don't split 10s, and that's about the only cover play I make. I'm also not a big fan of verbal excuses for plays. The typical gambler doesn't make excuses for his plays and imitating typical gamblers is what you want to do if you can.
Betting cover may have some value, although there is a cost to it. Start the shoe with a medium sized bet. If you are playing a good game with a low house advantage, you may even want to start with a medium bet and go from there as the count dictates. You don't need to do this with every shoe, but if you do it right after your buy-in while the pit boss is observing your bet, it could have some cover value and some comp value. Another related method is to do the "set-up" in a store, where you play a session or two using medium sized bets and a small spread. Once they have observed this play, they may pay less attention to you in future sessions.
You may want to divide the casinos in which you play between those where you want to maximize comps and those you don't. If you aren't worried about comps in a particular casino, then play anonymously as an unrated player. Another alternative is to find another game, such as video poker, where you can use your rating card to earn comps, cashback and bounceback, but still play unrated at the tables.
The best cover is to keep your sessions short at 30 to 45 minutes. This is no guarantee against backoffs or barrings, but if you do this as an unrated player, you can usually put in a lot of play over time.
The use of alternate identities is one way to approach the problem, but with tighter laws concerning IDs, there is some risk to this approach as well. More than one player has wound up with his bankroll and other possessions being confiscated and criminal charges being filed when alternate IDs have been discovered on his person or in his luggage during airport searches or police stops. Learn your rights in these situations and have a plan worked out in your mind for how you will handle these things should they occur.
There is no easy way to avoid countermeasures. If you are making a profit, they will notice it sooner or later and they will take action against it. There is a learning curve that goes with this, and each player will have unique experiences. There is no cookie cutter approach to this, and I would be suspicious of anything that claims there is such an approach. As I said above, experience is the best teacher.
Originally published on bj21.com Green Chip