Backcount without looking obvious
  • Any ideas about how to backcount without looking obvious? I'm a friendly guy and I always end up making eye contact with the pit boss or dealer, and they always ask, "would you like a seat?".

    (For those of you who don't know what "backcounting" is, here goes: It's also called "Wonging" after Stanford Wong, who would wait until he had an advantage, and then place a $500 bet. When you backcount, you stand in back of the players and count the cards. Why would you do this? Most of the time, the house has the advantage. If you could literally bet zero when the house has the advantage, your advantage would be much bigger. So you backcount, and then only play when you have the advantage. Variations on this are to wait until you have a BIG advantage, or to wait until you have only a small disadvantage. You can also play higher min tables than your unit size suggests. If your unit size is $10, but the smallest table min is $25, you could back count until a $25 bet was justified - at a true count just over +1.)
  • I define "backcounting" differently. I sit down and play and after a while I "count" my chips. If I am getting hammered I go "back" to my room.
  • Mr. Ed said:
    Any ideas about how to backcount without looking obvious? I'm a friendly guy and I always end up making eye contact with the pit boss or dealer, and they always ask, "would you like a seat?".

    (For those of you who don't know what "backcounting" is, here goes: It's also called "Wonging" after Stanford Wong, who would wait until he had an advantage, and then place a $500 bet. When you backcount, you stand in back of the players and count the cards. Why would you do this? Most of the time, the house has the advantage. If you could literally bet zero when the house has the advantage, your advantage would be much bigger. So you backcount, and then only play when you have the advantage. Variations on this are to wait until you have a BIG advantage, or to wait until you have only a small disadvantage. You can also play higher min tables than your unit size suggests. If your unit size is $10, but the smallest table min is $25, you could back count until a $25 bet was justified - at a true count just over +1.)


    Not that I have any idea if this really works, but one technique that I've read about and tried myself: When the dealer loads a new shoe, turn your back on the table or walk a short distance away, then time your return for when the full set of two cards has been dealt to every player, take a count and casually keep watching while the players take their hits doubles stands etc as though you're interested in what they're doing rather than their cards. Glance away a lot. Get the final count for the hand when the dealer turns his cards over, then fake that you're watching the big screen TV's (if any), or looking for the cocktail waitress, or whatever, again until all the cards are dealt for the next round. It may work long enough to let you slide into a seat without suspicion when the count gets high. Or it may be laughably obvious. I suppose if you really wanted to lay it on thick you could ask one of the players showing two 10's "why wouldn't you want to split those?"
  • I think one of the best methods of backcounting is to go to the casino with a friend, and pretend to be watching him play. Or you could ask a stranger if he (she) minds if you stand behind him and watch him play, since your are "new at the game and just trying to learn." Most players are flattered that someone would think that they know what they are doing, and the pit will ignore you if you decide to sit down and play a few hands.
  • Mr. Ed, Some ideas are under my "Money" post. Most of us have the
    same problem you have in some way or another. You'll need to skip
    through the various replies.

    Ray
  • BACKCOUNTING: It depends upon how good your distance vision is. I never stand at the table I'm backcounting. I rarely stand at any blackjack table when I'm backcounting. I usually do it from a slot machine, or from a roulette table, or from a craps table, etc, etc. If none of these are in close enough proximity, then I walk past the B/J table in question after all the initial hands are dealt and get a count, never stopping and trying not to even slow down. I keep moving totally out of range to a diversion point such as a machine or something, then turn around and pass by again to update with the hit cards. At the end of the round, if the dealer beats most players, I know a new hand will be coming out in 5 seconds. If the dealer busted, it'll take maybe 15 seconds for her to pay every body. I time my return for the next round according to this, being for the most part, away from that table.
    It's not that tough. You learn to recognize the cards from a distance of 10 to 15 feet strictly by their pips, not the index number. Aces, deuces and paints are a snap, 7's are the ones with a middle pip up or down at one end, 9's have a middle pip right in the center, etc. The toughest read is between that of an 8 and a 10 pip. You have to be able to tell whether there are 4 pips on each side or only three.
    Also, note that after all the cards are turned up, the dealer's hole card is always at the extreme first base end and his up-card is next to that. So if you've taken an initial count while walking by and return to the scene after everything's exposed, you already counted the second card from the first base end. You'll become aware of other constants as you go.
  • I didn't know the hearts, clubs etc marks on cards were called "pips." And if anyone had asked me, I would have guessed that the middle pip on a 7 was right in the center, not closer to one end. And that a ten had five pips along each side, not 4-2-4. I'm not as observant as I thought. But these markings are definitely larger than the numbers in the corners of the cards, so it stands to reason that you could backcount from a little further away. Still, it can't be easy to get a good line of sight of the entire table from a slot machine.
  • DOG: The fuller a table is, the less likely you want to backcount it. That's because if you get the count you need, there won't be many rounds left before the shuffle.
    Also, if you're spreading say, $10-to-$100, backcounting a less crowded $25 table is no problem since you'll gladly make $25+ bets at your required count.
  • Good points. I'll look for a $25 min table with only 1-3 thin players who don't block the view, near a row of slot machines, and jump in when the count gets favorable. The hardest part will be finding thin players.
  • Dog, Most Casinos have tables back to back in the middle of the floor.
    Slots are back to back and point toward the tables(Casino max visability).
    Pick any table you like, 25's are better. Then go to the slot, either side,
    with the best view. Stay in that position as long as you can and count.
    Table make-up changes or your view is blocked.....Make a half moon
    out toward the table so you can see and back to the other side(slots are
    back to back). If its people standing in your line of sight, thats good,
    stand along side them as a shield and hope they stay there for a while.
    This works!!, and you can see the numbers. Be aware that the first card
    many times is covered by the second and it may be hard to see the
    pips.

    If you like, carry the coin bucket with you and put an occasional coin
    in the slot. I won 40 bucks in Tunica at a half dollar slot by accident.

    Ray

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