Fifteen card-counting cover methods
- Know your enemy, keep top bets below the radar or at least within the context of the casino you are playing. Casinos do not like card counters.
- Rathole your EV discreetly.
- If betting serious money keep sessions short and get out. Make sure your sessions don't cross shift changes unless you're losing big.
- Stick to the shoes at sharp places that offer only a few double-deck games. They probably aren't watching the shoes as closely. The better rules, faster speed, and ability to sit out negative counts often makes up for the extra decks.
- Spread out your play between casinos and shifts. Fewer games are playable at each casino today, but there are many many more casinos everywhere.
- Don't look like you're counting. Work on your act and make sure your table image doesn't work against you.
- Don't be memorable. When you chit-chat with the dealers and pit crews you are making it harder for yourself to recycle the casino later on.
- If you aren't playing at stakes high enough to generate comps or be perceived as a threat, play unrated.
- Delay getting rated until you're either ready to walk as a loser for the session or until you're so far behind that it's unlikely you'll dig out.
- Walk with your winnings before you're cornered for a players card. If you play the same place too often as an unrated player you might as well get a players card as they've created a dummy players account for you anyway as a Refusal.
- Don't increase/decrease your bets in perfect lockstep with the count. Keep your bet relatively flat or random until you've got a good edge then fling the money. You'll give a computer evaluation fewer decisions to look at and force the casino to take more time to figure out what you are doing.
- Buy insurance for less when you have a good hand and the count doesn't call for insurance. It really confuses computer evaluations. Always stand on 16 vs 10 unless you can surrender. Otherwise, don't waste your time on a lot of play cover -- if the computer is looking at your play you can't hide and you never know for sure when the computer is looking.
- If you KNOW you're being evaluated you should flat bet and put on a show with play cover. If you're being watched you should never move your bets around (not even randomly) as the first time your bet increases with the count accidentally you're likely to get backed off because you're already suspect. Make some bad plays such as taking even money in a negative count, stand on A7 vs Ace, stand on 16 vs 7, etc. The heat will melt away and you could be good to go for the rest of the trip and maybe the next.
- Never ask for or meet a host. Do all business with hosts by telephone or e-mail. Never do business by telephone with a host you've met unless you are sure they really won't remember who you are. Just ask for the host on duty. Hosts present real problems when it becomes time to trash a name. It's also a real problem with you're known as Willard White at Bellagio and your host moves to Caesars and you're known as Peter Franks. If your host doesn't know what you look like there is no problem.
- If you abuse the casino on comps (really abuse them) you're increasing the likelihood that management is going to attempt to decide whether or not they want your continued business.
Keep in mind, the most paranoid casinos can and do back off anyone who is winning regardless of whether they are actually counting. Most casinos don't report mid-level counters to outside databases, but they do keep their own corporate-wide database. Small-market casinos often email photos to their nearby competitors and this is the biggest problem facing today's player. If your name is clean in the various databases, it won't get dirty unless you are betting big, using advanced techniques, or get caught associating with known players already in the database.
Originally published on bj21.com Green Chip, edited for this format.