For card counters, back offs can get really aggressive. If you’re repeatedly pushed out of the table for your card counting practice, the pit boss may book your actions and have you banned in the casino for specific period. As much as you have an added edge on the table, being banned or backed off doesn’t spell a good thing on your bankroll. Some pit bosses won’t even allow you to cash out unless you agree to play in a fixed bet.
But with a little practice and some hacks, you can disguise your card counting tricks on your sleeves. Although you still stand the chance of being caught, the odds are lower than usual.
Let me clarify this: card counting isn’t illegal together with the likes of hole carding and spooking. However, casinos hate players who practice this. Why? Because it’s guaranteed to bring the house down.
What happens when a card counter gets caught?
Card counters fear being caught. It’s a strategy killer and a bad record, especially if they plan to gamble in the same casino for long. Movies like Rain Man and 21 would probably make you think that card counting is easy-peasy. But it only takes one long session for the pit boss to take notice of your tactics. As you know, the casino isn’t blind to players’ tricks.
Closed-circuit cameras, pit bosses roaming the area, waiters serving the drinks, and even undercover players. Here’s what happens when you get caught card counting:
Casinos always keep a close eye:
🃏The pit boss will force you to play in a fixed bet
In card counting, you win big by using betting deviations when the shoe is rich. So when a pit boss catches you and asks you to leave the table, you only have one way to continue playing – that is to gamble in a fixed unit.
Doing so is guaranteed to defeat the benefits of card counting. Most card counters just walk away at this point to stop losing money.
🃏The dealer shuffles the cards
Even if the pit boss won’t notice your ways, the dealer might probably do. At this point, the dealer will make a random shuffle of the cards to ruin your running count. No card counting trainer can prepare you for this.
Remember, casinos don’t like you to use logic when playing. They want you to stick to a bookish strategy and follow it religiously. And with a certain house edge, they are sure to rake money from dozens of players at a time.
🃏Your action will be booked
For card counters, this is the worst possible scenario. When a pit boss books your action, you’ll be banned or monitored every time you play in the casino. And if they caught you card counting multiple times, they might ban you from the house for good.
If you’re curious as to how actual back-offs happen, here’s the first-hand experience of Colin Jones, a professional card counter:
Take note that even though the pit boss that backed you off isn’t around, there is face recognition software that can alert the casino.
How to disguise your card counting skills
If you’re going to be in the shoes of pit bosses, it’s pretty easy to spot a card counter. If a player keeps on making abrupt playing deviations and winning at the same time, that’s surely something. Another determiner is a player who doesn’t leave the table for breaks. If you keep on winning big while deviating from the usual strategy charts, you’re a subject for suspicion.
Screwing up some hands intentionally isn’t always a good choice. It will cost you money and it may affect your strategy at some point. So here, we’re going to teach you a card counting practice camouflage that won’t cost any betting unit.
So how do you disguise your skills? We’ll take advantage of some card counter stereotypes and trick the casino. Card counters are usually…
🃏Caucasian. This stereotype sucks, but most pit bosses tend to eye Caucasian dudes who are keeping a very serious game. This is just one of the usual factors and we can’t do anything about this part. But fret not, there are more tricks that follow.
🃏Young. Based on the experience of casinos, the most skilled card counters are young. A younger player can be easily suspected of card counting compared to an older player. My suggestion? Dress for the part. Don’t arrive with your usual hoodie that makes you look like a high school senior. Groom yourself to look more mature than usual.
🃏Introverted. There’s a pretty good explanation why card counters tend to be introverted: they need to focus on the cards being dealt. Although it’s quite difficult to do, strike a conversation and smile more. This way, you can blend in with the bubbly player beside you and the pit boss won’t give you too much heat.
🃏Dressed casually. Most card counters dress to impress as the stereotypes dictate. Since they’re in the casino to make money, they will dress properly for the job. But if you want to keep a low profile, try to be less classy, but not too shabby either. This is a matter of dressing acceptably without looking too young.
This is just a simple rundown on the stereotypes. It doesn’t always work but it won’t hurt to change something, especially if you keep getting caught on the same outfit style and behavior. Practice using a card counting trainer and hope for the best.
Table tips in camouflaging your card counting skills
The previous tips are theoretical, and if you’re in an actual table, your outer appearance may not always save you. So for added disguise, here are some tips that you can follow while playing.
♦️Palm your chips
A towering stack of chips attracts the attention of a pit boss. They’ll want to know why you’re winning and what they can do to stop that. Palming the chips mean you’re going to pocket some to prevent it from accumulating on the table. It’s not that you’re going to steal the chips; you’re just going to hide it one by one.
Some dealers won’t mind this as some players usually control their bankroll by collecting a few chips they earned. Make sure that the pit boss isn’t around before you sneak that one grand chip to your pocket. Also, it will help to grab something in exchange, like mint or a cigarette from your pocket.
♦️Play Keno on the side
Before you start the card counting practice and gambling on the table, get some Keno tickets. When the shoe is starting to get rich, you can ask a Keno runner to check the tickets for you. Although this may not send the pit boss away, it’s still a distraction. Also, you’ll look less concentrated than a usual card counter.
Just make sure that you won’t lose much money when betting on Keno. As you know, this has a high house edge and not worth lots of money.
♦️Don’t play at a single casino
No matter how hard you disguise your skills, it will show if you keep on playing on the same casino. Try to alternate between three to four houses in different tables so you won’t brew familiarity. Also, opt for shorter game sessions so the pit boss won’t suspect you for card counting. Exploit the shoe while it’s rich then take the money and walk away. However, don’t use a card counting app while playing or the casino will ban you.
The rule of thumb is to have a stop-loss rule. If you already won or lost a quarter of your bankroll, it’s time to go. This way, you won’t be backed off for milking lots of chips on the table.
♦️Plan your exit
If palming your chips isn’t possible, you need to plan your exit. Once the chips are stacked lavishly, retrieve it then head straight to the roulette table. This will make the pit boss think you’re still in the casino to gamble and lose the money. As much as possible, choose a game with the highest house edge to dampen the suspicion of the pit boss. Make sure that the pit boss sees this.
Play a hand or two then make the grand exit when the pit boss isn’t around. Cash out and you’re finally golden with your winnings.
♦️Don’t play with the high rollers
The staff of the casino always pays more attention to the tables where large bets are made. So to stay low-key, bet with moderate unit value and try not to burn the shoe in one shot. Be patient and strike whilst the iron is hot with reasonable bets. If the pit boss starts noticing you, try to screw a hand or lower your bets.
♦️Act like a beginner
Remember that there are tons of cameras inside a casino. If your sleight of hand isn’t good enough, pocket all the chips like a beginner then retrieve it for every bet. Also, give tips and try to act distraught when ugly hands are dealt with you.
Playing sloppy will also pay off but make sure that you won’t annoy other players. Ask for advice from the dealer or other players. Also, take a little more time making decisions. This way, the staff won’t suspect you of card counting. Mostly, those who use the card counting practice want to play as many hands per hour possible so don’t indulge in the luxury of dragging the rounds.
♦️Don’t stick your eyes on the table
Look interested in the other affairs of the casino. However, don’t act as if you’re trying to spot the pit boss before doing something shady. It will also help if you can take breaks after a few hands. And if you can, grab some drinks and do what sucker players do while playing. However, this may compromise your concentration. Proceed with caution and don’t use a card counting app.
Also, try chatting or celebrating whenever you win hands. This is so the staff won’t think that you’re already anticipating the win.
♦️Tie up with a card counter
If you’re afraid you can’t hide your card counting skills, team up with a card counter. You play, the other person counts. This way, you can act like a sucker player while winning hands at the same time. However, the card counting person should be low-key or the pit boss will notice the hand signals.
Although card counting and teaming up with another person isn’t federally illegal, the casino can still take action to ban or limit your access in the house.
♦️Tip the dealer
This doesn’t work all the time, but it pays to try. By tipping the dealer whenever you win, they’ll less likely to shuffle the cards when they notice your tricks. Your card counting becomes a win-win situation for both of you. However, make sure that your tip won’t hurt your income per hand.
However, watch out for dealers who will shuffle once they get a substantial amount of tips.
♦️Don’t go table hopping
Regardless if you’re having a losing or winning streak, don’t hop tables. This will attract the attention of the pit boss as you’re likely looking for the richest shoe. Catching the attention of the staff at the very start of your game isn’t a good footing.
Be patient with your chosen table and strategize your play. Most card counters know how to use playing deviations to survive bad hands and then make big money when the true count is in their favor.
♦️Play at live casinos
If you opt for online live dealers, make sure that there’s no automatic shuffler. When you find one, you can card count to your heart’s content. However, once you’re winning big, the dealer may shuffle the cards to stymie your streak.
♦️Order bourbon on the rocks and not soda
This will make you look like a typical player who’s there to have fun. However, don’t drink too much or you’ll be too tipsy to keep counting. If you really want to take it to another level, go to the men’s room first and wipe a little bourbon on your neck and clothes. Once you smell drunk, take the remaining alcohol with you and make sure that the pit boss smells you.
The card counting practice is loathed by casinos. But with the right tactics, you can win money without being suspected of something shady.