20 ways to force a negative-count shuffle at double deck
Originally published on bj21.com Green Chip
It's happened to many. While playing a double-deck game heads-up (or the few single decks that still exist), you take a restroom break to avoid a -4 true count (“TC”) and when you return the very next deck goes sour again! Your count says to step away (like backcounters at a shoe), but your cover strategy can't afford so many suspicious table departures. What to do?
Shuffle intimidation is a solution. When at the 50% penetration mark, what I try to do is convince the dealer that I'll be preoccupied for the next 15-30 seconds. I start by getting the dealer into a rhythm; play fast and she deals fast. Then, when the TC is -2 or worse, I break that rhythm with an interruption. The interruption leaves the dealer with nothing to do other than shuffle the cards; if only just to keep her hands moving.
But what's key for me is to have a menu of interruptions to draw from. This reduces suspicion and can even earn appreciation from the dealer. Following are 20 measures/excuses for stepping or facing away from the table and forcing a dealer to shuffle away a strong negative count. No doubt, others can make up some of their own:
- Complain about the slow cocktail service as you grab your empty glass and chase down a waitress for a new fill.
- With used sportsbook tickets in front pocket, and casino TV's showing sports highlights, rise from your chair and check a score. Look at your tickets and make jubilant or sour reaction to a game's results. Good cover, too -- it lets the house know you don't play only blackjack.
- Have your wife/friend at a nearby slot machine where the reels are not visible to the pit, but you are visible to her. Make a prearranged signal for her to say, "Oh honey, come look at this one." As you leave the table, she then shows you a bogus near-jackpot ("we came that close to $4,000!"). You can do this a dozen times an hour.
- Ogle a cocktail waitress behind you and pretend to completely ignore there's a blackjack game going on. Don't do this with female dealers (and don't do #3 and #4 simultaneously).
- Drop a chip on the floor, preferably where it's hard to reach.
- When you see three aces on the same round, announce, "well there go all my blackjacks." Then turn away on your seat in disgust and stand up to stretch. Don't face the table again until you hear riffles. Overt or not, the dealer should get the hint.
- Color up as if you're leaving. Some dealers put the remaining deck in the discard tray to do the chip change. When you remain seated and she looks puzzled, just tell her you wanted to refill her tray, or say, "I'll go when my wife shows up."
- Upon losing a hand, ask the pitboss for new cards. Then turn away as if you'll have nothing to do with the current ones.
- Grab your chips and announce you're switching tables, then return immediately with a complaint about "that table has a higher limit" (or a different card game, etc.).
- Complain about the smoke odor as you rise from your seat to step outside for some fresh air.
- For smokers: complain about the fresh air as you rise to step outside for a smoke. (Non-smoking dealers appreciate this.)
- Announce that you need to wake your wife from her nap. Female dealers melt over this one.
- Set your cell phone to ring on cue.
- Pretend to recognize and greet a common tourist far from the table. Even yell a name from ten yards away and approach this poor soul who has no clue who you are. Apologize for the misunderstanding and return to the table.
- When you only have a few chips in front of you, announce an ATM visit.
- Look at your watch and announce that you have a ___ o'clock appointment with a casino host. Return two minutes later, explaining that your watch is set for your home state's time zone.
- Pull out some keno tickets and tell the dealer you need to go check if any are winners.
- Ask the dealer/pitboss for a tissue and then step away for a blow. If she still doesn't shuffle, tell her you should probably go wash your hands, and then do so. She'll appreciate it.
- Ask for a suggestion card when you sit down (some casinos still use them). When a sour count arrives, grab a pen and tell the dealer to take a break as you fill it out. If she doesn't shuffle, tell her you need a hard surface like a bar's countertop as you step away.
- Yes, of course, the restroom break. But keep it to no more than two trips per hour.