Blackjack Card Counting - Camouflage
25 ways to hide card counting
How can you avoid becoming a persona non grata? With camouflage. I play three or four times a week, twelve months a year. Without camouflage I wouldn't last three days. Learning to win is simple. Learning to win undetected makes you a pro.
The following 25 tips should help you create the illusion of being a harmless, non-counter. These are my favourite, most successful ploys. The possibilities are endless. Hopefully, they will inspire you to develop your own variations.
(1) Wear modest to low income clothes. Leave all expensive jewellery at home. Dress like the slot players arriving by bus. Wear nothing expensive, flashy or memorable that gives the impression you can afford a big bankroll. Customers with limited bankrolls are no threat to a casino.
(2) Practice palming chips. Nothing brings down the security faster than a big stack of greens in front of a winner. Make your moves when shielded from the pit boss' view. Breath mints in one pocket, lighter in another, cigarettes in another can provide visual distractions as you exchange chips for mints, lighter, etc. You must "appear" to be constantly losing. Smooth palming will keep your pile small. Small adverse runs will seemingly break you and provide opportunities to buy more chips. Nobody will watch you play as you constantly dig for money.
(3) How you leave the game is important. Slowly palm down your chips to three or four. Now play a three time parlay. Don't worry about the count. Your objective is to lose these last few chips and leave the table empty handed. Most times this will happen. Should you win your parlay or if, after an exceptional winning streak, you must leave with a sizable stack, get up and go directly to the nearest craps table. Be sure the pit boss sees you.
Play the line. Take odds. Relax. Playing the line will cost about one percent of the amount wagered. With a very small investment, you can convince the pit boss you are just another gambler soon to return his winnings to the club. In a half hour you can leave with 99% of your winnings and everyone's happy.
(4) Another great exit (or entrance) is to change some of your winnings into nickels and play slots in view of the pit. Or bring a big cup of quarters to the table. Counters don't play slots! Try it. If you're any kind of a blackjack player, you'll actually feel embarrassed walking around with your cup of quarters. Proof of how good this camouflage is.
(5) Before starting play, fill out three keno tickets. Stuff them in your shirt pocket so they show. When you begin to win, call for a keno runner. Stop play and make your bet. Get dealt out when numbers are flashed. No counter plays keno!
(6) Don't play in any one casino for more than one hour. It will be difficult to catch on to your play in that time. You should also leave any time you win or lose one-quarter of your daily bankroll. This will also minimize any cheating you might encounter.
(7) Don't order 7-Ups. Counters order 7-Up. Before play order a bourbon on the rocks at the bar. Take it to the Men's Room, pour some on your handkerchief. Wipe it on your neck, hands, arms. Take the half empty glass to the tables. You'll smell half soused. Order a second drink just prior to quitting. Take it with you to the craps table, slots, etc. Counters don't drink!
(8) After successive wins, let a big bet ride into a newly shuffled deck. The first hand is an even money bet-done at random, this can't hurt you. Counters make minimum first hand bets.
(9) Keep a notebook and record all playing sessions. Note the date, pit bosses, dealers, camera positions, rules, time of play, wins, losses, etc. Casinos generally change personnel at 11:00 a.m., 7:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. If you were limited to four casinos, by varying othe shifts played you could play three times a week and not be seen by the same crew more than once a month.
(10) Don't be the high roller at the table. High rollers attract attention. Whatever level you play, look for a table where your top bet will not constantly be the largest.
(11) Don't play head-to-head. True, you are dealt more hands per hour and consequently should earn more. But since most system publishers recommend such play, you will come under closer scrutiny when playing alone. There is also some evidence that head-to-head play may not be as profitable as originally thought. Two other players, one a good third base man, is ideal.
(12) Never forget the "eye in the sky." Sooner or later they'll spot you pocketing chips. To confuse them, remove a few chips every so often. Some amateurs put all then-chips in their pockets, removing one or two for each bet. Don't be afraid to look like an amateur.
(13) Play dumb. Hesitate. Study your cards. Occasionally ask for advice from dealer and players. Don't split 10s (even with high counts) but ask if you should. Be careful about insurance. Don't get too clever. Under heavy surveillance give it up completely. Don't double soft 13, 14 or 15. The gain is too small to risk an obvious pro move.
(14) Your eyes can give you away. After all, you must look at the cards to count them. Take a break every 5th or 6th round or when the deck is especially poor. Obviously, turn to watch another game, point to your keno numbers, ogle the girls . . . Remember, eye in the sky is watching too.
(15) Talk to everyone, make eye contact. Get excited when you win. Show dismay when you lose. Counters don't talk or smile.
(16) When you do lose a session (and we all do), make a big thing of it. Be sure the dealer thinks you lost at least twice as much as you did. Clubs love a loser.
(17) Bet like an amateur. Many non-counters double up after a win or loss. Pattern your betting after them. For example, start a new deal with a two unit bet. If you win the first hand and the count is plus, let the 4 units ride. If you lose the first hand and the count is good, stick to a 2 unit bet. If the count is poor, cut back to one unit.
Basically, you should double up on wins when the count is good, drop back after any loss or when the count is poor.
(18) Another very fine betting method is what I call the one, two, three system. When the count is minus to plus 1, bet one unit. Plus 2 to plus 4, bet two units. Plus 5 and over, bet three units. This assumes a single deck game, count adjusted for aces and number of cards played. Every system assigns different values to each card. You may have to modify the above counts to fit your system.
This method has a surprisingly good win rate, the minor bet fluctuations rarely raise an eyebrow. It's a great plan for small bankrolls because win and loss fluctuations are kept quite low.
If you are playing online I prefer the Vegas-like live online blackjack tables. You can see the action take place in front of you via video streaming. You are not playing blackjack software, instead you are in the real game as you would get in any land based casino.
(19) Play the busy weekends and holidays. Get overlooked in the crowds. I know your earnings per hour drop slightly at crowded tables, but our goal is longevity. Better to play an extra 1/2 hour than sit at home barred forever.
(20) Never, but never, cash in your own chips. Have your lady, friends or mother collect for you. I sometimes play months before cashing in. There's no hurry. Just never be seen with the person doing the converting.
(21) Don't sit at third base (unless you're good enough to play a flat bet game). Counters sit at third.
(22) If you're serious, grow a beard, shave your head, wear a wig, change your glasses, get a nose job.
(23) Another super trick to disguise your genius, one even the cameras won't spot, is to play two games in one. Base your betting on any good parlay system.
I prefer Oscar's Grind described in Wilson's fine book. This system has you increase your bet by one unit after each win but only to an amount required to win one unit for the series. A loss has you hold at last bet level. No betting system, including Oscar's, will put you ahead in an even game. However, a conservative parlay system will allow you to make bets no counter would ever make.
Now, use your count to slip in a large bet when the deck is excellent or better. The parlay system will break even but the hidden large bets will pay off handsomely.
(24) I believe it is easier to remain undetected as a modest bettor than a high roller. The camouflage discussed here is for the one to ten dollar bettor. Playing the green or black tables requires very sophisticated camouflage involving markers, credit, junkets, comps, and an elaborate double identity I personally find exhausting to maintain.
Make no mistake, for the right personality, the effort can be well \ worth it. Just remember, once you make $100 and over bets, you're a marked man. Your income, business, bank accounts, associates will all come under surveillance. Make sure none of them give you away.
(25) Finally, if you spot a brother counter, do him a favour. Meet him after his play and tell him how you tumbled to his act. Who knows, he may have spotted you too. Learn from each other. Camouflage is the only weapon you have against detection. Keep it sharp and your days as a counter will be long and profitable.