Generally, a casino is more considered with your results(or expectation) than your bet spread. Think about it. If a casino's policy is to bar or give heat to every counter that they see, they will do so if you count, and your spread will have virtually nothing to do with it. Personally, I use the Kelly criterion to determine my bet sizing in a shoe game, and the only way that I am underbetting is if I have reached the table limit. This is especially crucial if you are forced to play most of the hands(eg. wong out at -3 hilo). I have used spreads like 20 to 1 for hours on end while seeming invisible to the pit. The key is a good act in the right casino. For double deck, I couldn't imagine going any lower than 1-8, unless they game has good rules and the cut is very favourable(75%+). I also give up at most 10% of my total expected win in camouflage. My advice is not to play with total impunity, but to show healthy spreads. If they back you off, there are plenty of other good games out there that will tolerate a zealous approach to blackjack.
You wrote: "Generally, a casino is more considered with your results(or expectation) than your bet spread. Think about it. If a casino's policy is to bar or give heat to every counter that they see, they will do so if you count, and your spread will have virtually nothing to do with it."
I take issue with this statement: instead, generally, the pit crew is more concerned with your _potential_ results--and the way they gauge your potential is by watching your bet spread. If your spreads jumps when the count does, you will be fingered as a counter. In short, it _is_, in fact, your spread (more precisely: the correlation between your spread and the count) that brings heat.
Spreads are 90% of what casinos use to separate probable counters from other players and the other 9% is the extent to which you are winning vs losing (yes, winning big does attract some attention to your play).
Playing your hands perfectly comprises about 1% of what a casino uses to identify a probable counter by my estimate but it comprises some
98% of what they use to CONFIRM you are a counter.
Of course, if you're in their DB or on a flyer, they won't BOTHER to see how you play your hands.
Youngster It would be too diffcult and a waste of time for the pit to determine if players are counting even though they are only flat betting. I'm not sure I understand your comment, but how do you determine if a gambler is counting cards if they are only flat betting? Well I guess it's possible if the pit boss keeps an index of count systems and what indices they use or perhaps relay the count to the eye and fax a copy of indices to them,,,"Hey, watch that guy,he's flat betting but he might be counting those damn cards!!"
A pitboss has other responsibilities to cater to rather than tracking someone who may be trying to count the cards. However large bet spreads may awaken a sleepy eye. The idea is not to "show a healthy bet spread" as you would call it, but to rather "hide a healthy spread". Many casinos dont sweat action as much as others do.
Thank goodness for the progression playing ploppies.
A lot of people use 1-4 spread on single deck, and 1-6 or 1-8 on double deck, for instance.
That wouldn't be confined to single-deck. Abdul Jalib M'Hall for instance, thought shoes were a waste of time without a humungous spread of 1-30 or more. Many people think this insane, but then Abdul probably has made more money than them!
I've violated the 2x rule myself, it is just a good principle to fall back on when unsure. It is much more important however, never to underbet 2x than never overbet. One of the main reasons new counters fail is inadequate spread.
Personally, my target winrate is 2 units per hour. This is possible if you play good games. I play heavy green to light black, and I am willing to do whatever is necessary to acheive this goal. I do acknowledge that it better to use a large spread with EFFECTIVE CAMOUFLAGE than a small spread with no camouflage. Examples of good of camouflage are to misplay soft hands and pairs, with a small bet(split 3,3 vs. 9). Bad camouflage is in my opinion to never more than doubling your previous bet. In a double deck game this would absolutely kill your winrate, especially if you are not heads up. A very good way of playing blackjack is to Wong tables. Your SCORE's will be much higher, and your spread does not have to be as large. I would even wong for double deck, but it is too hectic. I will say that I have been backed off for using a 1-7 spread in double deck(25-175). The pen was 60-65%(mediocre), and I was not using a large spread. Do you think that it would matter if I would only spread 5 to 1 or 4 to 1? It wouldn't. Some casinos will bar you if they KNOW that you are playing a count strategy. They will do the favour of tossing you even if you are a losing counter.