Winning without getting kicked out
Most winning blackjack players rely exclusively on, or at least started their playing careers, counting cards. But counting is not enough. A card counter has to be able to get away with it in a casino. That’s what this article is about.
You probably are trying to win as much money at blackjack as possible. You want to win as much per hour as possible, and you want to keep open the option of playing more hours.
One thing that is important is to develop your own style. Be a one of a kind. This forces casino bosses to figure out what you are doing by watching you in action, which gives you more playing time than if they know what you are doing before you win your first bet.
Every casino has employees who know that blackjack can be beaten, but few casino employees actually know how to beat the game. Playing blackjack is like a war in which the casino employees are the enemy, while you are a spy behind enemy lines who must hide your true identity at all times. Some of the enemy are on the lookout for card counters. They think that they know what a card counter looks like: The garden-variety card counter wins and does so with varying bet sizes. A person who exhibits this behavior is observed intently.
When casino personnel are positive that they have spot ted a card counter, they will take an action to your disadvantage, such as ordering the dealer to shuffle more often than normal.
Of course you must hide your ability. Do not look like you are counting cards. Do not look like you are trying to recall a number from a table. Do not carry any written tables with you. In many jurisdictions, most notably Nevada, you may be barred from play if you are identified as a proficient player. Elsewhere you might find the shuffle point moved up on you. Some casino employees become belligerent, abusive and may even physically harm you. Yes, casino patron abuse still occurs. Some employees might wrongfully accuse you of cheating!
Bet size makes little difference. A $25 bettor who is recognized as a card counter will be subjected to countermeasures, while the careful $100 bettor can continue to play indefinitely.
Keep the dealers and pit critters ignorant of your ability and they will be happy. Never, never let on that you are playing any sort of a winning method. You will be asked in a conversational way if you count cards or have read any books on blackjack. Do not admit to anyone that you are counting cards. (You might pretend that you think counting means adding the indexes to find the hand total.) Do not admit to having understood any book on blackjack. You can act stupid, lucky, un lucky, drunk, sleepy, or whatever, but do not act like you know that you are playing a winning method or you will find the welcome mat withdrawn.
Casino personnel notice small bettors who are big winners and big bettors whether they win or lose. This exposure is unavoidable but relatively harmless because many gamblers bet big and many gamblers have winning streaks. Casino owners who are inhospitable to all winners and big bettors lose more by turning away gamblers than they gain by turning away professional blackjack players.
Except for winning more often than losing, you must look like a gambler if you want to preserve your potential for income from playing blackjack. A gambler who plays blackjack daily for week after week eventually runs out of money. If you play daily in the same casino for week after week, you will eventually lose your credibility in that casino. If you want to play fifteen hours per month in one casino, it will look more natural to cram all of those hours into a two-day period than to play thirty minutes every day for thirty consecutive days. Try to spread your playing among all three shifts -- casino staff put in eight hours a day just like most other working people.
Excerpted with permission from the e-book version of Professional Blackjack by Stanford Wong.
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