Solo play vs. team play
If you are considering a switch from solo blackjack (or other advantage games) to team play, expect to pay a heavy price in terms of your exposure to casino people. Playing with a team unquestionably heightens your notoriety in the casino industry, at least if the team is playing a huge unit, as many teams do. There is no question that my extensive exposure from team play has limited my options as a solo player. I was fortunate that I found some good solo opportunities to play outside of the casino areas where my former team tended to concentrate its efforts.
During the past several years of my team involvement, I almost never played in a major casino without being barred within two hours. Therefore, I was obliged to contribute in other ways, outside the casino.
This, I believe, is the normal evolution of a team player's life:
- In the beginning, you accumulate serious casino hours with modest heat levels, and it is not unusual for you to escape a session while other, better-known members of the team are getting barred.
- Within a matter of weeks or (if you're really good and fortunate) months after you become active with the team, OSN and/or Biometrica and others realize you are a new recruit, and issue alerts about you.
- You become less active in major casino areas because of the heat risk you now create, and begin to concentrate your play in more-remote casinos.
- Within a longer period of time, you get kicked out of the remote casinos, too.
- You now must resort to heavy disguise to play anywhere. If you hate disguise, or if the disguises eventually become ineffective because the casinos just know you too well, you are out of playing options altogether.
- Now you either get off the team (because you are of no use to the team) or, if the leaders of the team like you, they might invite you to assume some management responsibilities.
- If you like the management responsibilities and perform them well, you are afforded an opportunity to make considerable blackjack income purely as an investor, but if you hate the management responsibilities or aren’t a good manager, you either go back to solo play (and hope you stumble upon some casinos that don't know you) or you quit blackjack and perhaps ask yourself why you ever got involved with a team to begin with.
I mostly ignored bj21.com Green Chip for my first several years as a team player, because if I needed a technical answer or guidance on other aspects of the game, some member of the team was always there to provide it to me. I became more active on Green Chip after the end of my involvement with the team, and I found the site to be an excellent replacement for their wisdom.
You ask whether you could be of use to a team: Possibly.
When I was a team player, I prefered to recruit players with significant experience and low heat levels. The raw recruits were totally clean, but training them in the technical aspects of the game involved a lot of time and drudgery. Also, the raw recruits tended to be a higher risk (at least in the early stages of their play) in terms of getting the play blown by making some rookie mistake in front of a pit critter. On the other hand, experienced recruits sometimes had their own ideas of how to play, and divesting them of these ideas could be difficult. They also tended to protect their anonymity, whereas the raw recruits would go into a session like kamikazes if you asked them to. If you don't like being a kamikaze, you should think twice about joining a team. Some of the most notorious players in our midst (myself included) sometimes took a perverse delight in getting barred. In my opinion, you have to have a bit of that attitude to be an effective team player.
Originally published on bj21.com Green Chip, edited for this format.