How to Stay Welcome

It is usually in your best interest not to make it obvious that you are counting cards.  Although it is not likely you can be barred from a Las Vegas casino.  What is more likely is that they will shuffle up on you, removing any possible advantage.  Your goal should be to look natural and avoid the stereotypes of the typical counter.  If you are a player that looks serious, that doesn’t talk much, that looks at all the cards, that doesn’t drink, or that is either young, collegiate or professional looking, the chances are greater that you will attract suspicion from the pit .  Generally, you should be dressed appropriately for the dollar level that you are betting.  Its not a bad idea if you avoid attention by dressing to try to blend into the crowd.  If in doubt, dress like a tourist.

Today, even if the casinos know you are counting, your action is tolerated at low bet amounts, especially if you are a part-time player.  For every good counter, there are a lot of marginal ones that may not have all the tools mastered to win.  We usually avoid betting over $100 on one betting square.  Whenever you bet $100 or more, the dealer will usually alert the pit of the black action.  The floor person will become more suspicious if he or she remembers that you had a small bet out at the beginning of the round. 

You should disguise your betting whenever possible.  You should not increase your bets too much at once.  You should try to parlay your bets when you win, that is, let your winnings ride if the count has increased to an amount that justifies the bet.

When not parleying your bet, you should try not to let your betting appear too methodical.  Conversely, you can try to make it look like your money is being thrown out at random.  The dealer will sometimes surprise you by reshuffling while you have a very large bet out.  You should try to avoid pulling back the bet, especially if you are being watched.  The pit or dealer may be reshuffling early because of your large bet variations and may be curious as to your reaction.

You should try to keep your sessions short, especially if you are winning.  Never try to show up the casino people by showing arrogance or superiority when you are winning money.  Remember, the number one goal is to be able to come back and play another day, especially if the rules offered are very good.  If you are not playing in your favorite casino, you may decide to take more chances.

What to Watch For

This section should not be a priority in your blackjack education because it is not a big problem.  I have included this section to complete your knowledge of the game.  The hand held, single and double deck, games in Las Vegas give the player a bigger advantage over the house but there are a couple of things that a player should watch out for.

Preferential shuffling is a method of increasing the house’s edge by reshuffling when the remaining cards are good and dealing deeper into the deck whenever the remaining cards are bad.  Some dealers may count but they would more often look for a high concentration of high or low cards played.  If you notice that the dealing less rounds whenever the count is high or more rounds whenever the count is low, it is time to change dealer or maybe change casino.  This method of shuffling will greatly decrease the player’s chance of winning, whether the player is counting or not.  Some dealers may preferential shuffle without knowing it, because of the natural way that more cards are required whenever a high proportion of low cards are being played.

Dealers that cheat are probably very rare today, especially in the big casinos.  The South African casinos, mostly large corporations, would not risk their reputation and their legitimate profits.  Casinos watch their dealers very closely.  Some dealers can peak at the first card and deal the second without being seen.  I have trouble seeing it slow motion. The plan would be for the dealer to allow an accomplice to win large amounts of money.  Since the wins/losses are monitored for each table, the dealer would usually try to make up some of the money by cheating other players, thus keeping the shift results within an acceptable range.  I am not mentioning these things to scare you, but to inform you about what is possible.  If you suspect something, it doesn’t hurt to change tables or even casinos.