View RSS Feed

Tips From the Inside

Tips from the Inside

Rate this Entry
Tips from the Inside
by Nicholas Colon

There are many card counting systems available to players. Each is more advanced than the previous. A level one system is basic. Level two systems are more advanced and level 3 and 4 systems are even more complex. Level 4 systems are Ultimate Count Systems. So as you can see there’s a lot out there for you to research.
If you want to learn how to be an excellent card counter you need to learn a system that is easy for you to understand and use and execute it flawlessly. If you’re going to be playing multiple deck games dealt from shoes than learn a simple level one +/-. If you want more accuracy playing your hands based on the count then learn Hi-Op II, Omega II, Revere APC-73 or Uston APC. The latter all have excellent indices but it will take you a very long time to master these systems. If you are a novice counter, a pro tip is to keep it simple at first and learn a level one system with the Illustrious 18 indices. And as you progress move to more efficient count system.
Below is a Count System Efficiency Chart, for your information. The Betting Efficiency is how close the counting system is to a perfect betting count. The Playing Efficiency is how close the system is to a perfect playing system.

DHM (Gordon) 1 0.860 0.574 1.434
Brawn +/- 1 0.970 0.510 1.480
Hi Op I 1 0.880 0.615 1.495
ITA Systems 1 0.960 0.532 1.492
Revere Advanced +/- 1 0.890 0.592 1.482
Hi Op II 2 0.960 0.671 1.631
Omega II 2 0.920 0.670 1.590
Revere PC 2 0.980 0.523 1.503
Uston APC 3 0.990 0.690 1.680
Revere APC - 71 4 0.920 0.527 1.447
Revere APC - 73 4 0.995 0.657 1.652
Thorp Ultimate 11 0.996 0.525 1.521

Learning to Play
The first thing you should do is learn the basic blackjack rules. Next you decide which system is best for you, you need to practice and master counting at home with a deck of cards. When you start practicing, have as many distractions as possible. Loud music, TV blaring, kid’s screaming, whatever annoys you. When you practice in this environment it prepares you for what you will face in a live casino environment. Once you are consistently able to count down a deck accurately and quickly (less than 30 seconds) you are ready to for the live casino environment.

Watch a live streamed game, and try to count as well implement basic strategy. Start with short sessions and only use basic strategy. This is called back counting. You need to get used to the surroundings and to get comfortable with your counting system. Start on a double or single deck game (if you can, find a single deck it doesn’t matter if the blackjack pays 3 to 2 or 6 TO 5 because you are not playing). Analyze the subsequent hands and compare to the count you had. If you had a big plus count and nothing but small cards came out the next hand you may be off track with your count and need more practice.
Becoming a good card counter takes a lot of work, it’s not for those who is lazy or looking for short cuts to beat blackjack. Like anything you get out of it what you put into it. Once you feel comfortable on a live game start mentally calculating your bets. If you feel you know basic strategy well enough then start implementing some of the18 indices.
Don’t make the beginner counter mistake of going 1 to 20 units and then freeze because you don’t know how to play the hand. You don’t always get a BJ or 20 on a big plus count. Just learn to vary your bets with the count and within your comfort level. As you become more comfortable with betting it will become second nature for you.
One thing that gives up counters is that they look like they are working because they are. They are focused and do not interact with others. They sit at a table with a wardrobe and hat that doesn’t fit with the surroundings. Start dressing like a tourist and start acting like a tourist. Scout the casino and observe how tourists dress. For example, if you’re at the Hard Rock dress like the young crowd even if you are over 40, when at Caesars dress like the rich, in crowd, look like you belong. And it’s important to take it one step at a time.

The Illustrious 18

The illustrious 18 are the hands the casinos teach their pit personnel first. The Floor, Pit Managers and Shift Managers are tested on Basic Strategy and the proper way to play these18 hands with the count. If you play these hands according to the indices of your count system and the casino has sharp pit personnel, you will definitely be given yourself up.

There are many ways to camouflage your play. Floor supervisors are looking for specific plays because they do not always have time to count down the games. They know basic strategy and know to report when someone is deviating from basic strategy. They watch how many units you are betting and report whatever their casinos criteria may be.

Every casino will tolerate a little movement but they all have different criteria. Most common triggering points are; 1 to 6 units for $5 checks, 1 to 4 units for $25 checks, 1 to 3 units for $100 checks. Use this as a guide to keep you under most casinos radar. If you are moving more units than this they will observe how well you can play the hands with the count. If you are perfect with the count you will get backed off.
Casinos will look for playing errors and betting errors. Here is where you can fool them with camouflage plays that if used consistently will not cost you. For the blackjack camouflage plays listed below, always use the basic strategy play regardless of the count (i.e. don’t deviate from your indices). The cost to you is only -0.0442% by never varying from the basic playing strategy. The hands that you should always deviate from basic strategy are the ones listed below the Positive Indices. You will gain close to 0.098% by using your count indices to vary your playing strategy with these hands. Overall, for the Camo Plays and Positive Indices Plays you will gain about 0.0538%, which is negligible.

Betting Tips

Casinos believe if you make a good size bet off the top that you are giving them the edge. So my suggestion, is to come off the top with two hands and when the deck goes minus drop to one hand or leave your bet alone, and if the deck goes plus up your units on both hands.
Example: $10 minimum game: Bet off the top with 2 hands at $20 each, when the deck goes to plus up your units, when the deck goes to minus leave the 2 hands at $20 if a floor is paying attention to you and if you believe they are not, go down to one hand. If you are risking even small amounts into minus decks, verses leaving or sitting out on minus decks, casinos will usually give you the benefit of the doubt especially if your spread into the plus isn’t greedy. In fact this move usually fools the Floor since most do not have enough experience to figure out what you are doing. As for Pit Managers most will not get it, but there are some out there who will. This all comes hand in hand with knowing where you are playing and how much the Floor pay attention to you.

Your units are very important to longevity. If you plan on being able to play somewhere for a long time don’t get greedy, and don’t wear out your welcome by playing every day and getting comps. Find several places to play. If longevity is not what you’re looking for than fire away and push the envelope until you are asked to leave. You can always wait 6 months to a year, change your look and go back.

These are some of the valuable tips I’ve learned over the years.

If you implement them early then you will greatly increase your blackjack life.

Submit "Tips from the Inside" to Google Submit "Tips from the Inside" to Digg Submit "Tips from the Inside" to Submit "Tips from the Inside" to StumbleUpon

Updated 06-27-2022 at 03:13 AM by Norm

Tags: None Add / Edit Tags


About Blackjack: The Forum

BJTF is an advantage player site based on the principles of comity. That is, civil and considerate behavior for the mutual benefit of all involved. The goal of advantage play is the legal extraction of funds from gaming establishments by gaining a mathematic advantage and developing the skills required to use that advantage. To maximize our success, it is important to understand that we are all on the same side. Personal conflicts simply get in the way of our goals.