Expert Gambling Tips by Ralph Stricker . April 2000

Free Listings

Discount Travel


In the News


Expert Gambling Tips by Ralph Stricker

Most casinos allow a player to be able to bet $25 on each 2 hands if the minimum bet is $25.00. The Paris and Luxor casinos make the player double the bet if they play 2 hands. Therefore if you want to bet $25.00 on 2 hands, play at a $10.00 table.

The perks for being a "senior citizen" are enormous when going to casinos. Almost every casino in the United States offers perks/discounts for senior citizens. If you are over the age of 52 you are entitled to discounts on room rates and other deals.

Ask for the casinos bonus /coupon book. It has savings for almost every thing that the casino has to offer. There are $1, 2, 5 playing coupons which can be used at the tables. A little tip, avoid playing the megabuck machines. In Las Vegas the payoff on most machines is 95%, except the megabuck machines which are 87%.

The Bellagio is now dealing the cards "face up" at some of their DD games. The reason that they give is that there is a team that are marking cards. Therefore in a face up game the players do not handle the cards thus making it difficult to mark cards. Some people view it as a way for the casino to film card counters who might now flock to this type of dealing. Another theory is that it is an experiment by the casino to see if they can get more hands per hour thus raising their take.

Casinos are contemplating using a new software called S.C.A.M.S. It will detect a direct relationship between individuals. It is a database which is based on address, phone numbers, credit cards, social security numbers, driver's licenses, credit reports, property ownership records etc. It claims to be able to match up phony credit cards in different names along with any other information the person has given in the past.

I have always recommended that people do not give any information in order to get comps. The benefit you receive from comps will cost you much more in the long run.

Atlantis Casino in Nassau, Bahamas is now using computer tracking software. The software is used to define a player's betting and determine if that player is using a count or shuffle tracking system. It is the same software used by the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and Resorts International in Atlantic City. All 3 casinos are owned and or managed by the same company.

Caesars Palace is now offering excellent deck penetration in it's games. I believe this is due to the competition from the opening of the Bellagio Casino.

With the opening of the Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, playing conditions may be excellent at the other hotels such as the Mirage, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace etc. The crowds are expected to fill the new casino thereby taking business away from the other casinos.

Before sitting down to play, you should do what is called "due dilligence." This means to observe where the dealer/s are placing the cut card. In multiple deck games if you are not getting at least 75% deck penetration, you should not play at that table.

Make a list of dealers that routinely give good deck penetration. This saves you a lot of time each time you go to that particular casino/s. Dealer's name/badge number, pit, shift, casino.

CASINO SCRUTINY PROCEDURES This is a list of procedures recommended for casino supervisors in the detection of card counters. It is not any one of these actions that will or may trigger a response by the personnel, but rather a combination of any two or more. You should always remember that by playing too long in any one casino, pit, table will always make you susceptible to casino scrutiny.

LISTEN: While watching one table, listen to the goings on at other tables.

Never let a player become aware that he/she is being watched. While discussing a player with other casino personnel, avoidlooking at the player you are discussing.

Watch the players' playing styles. Develop an awareness for agitated or nervous people. Cheats and counters very often broadcast their feeling of guilt.

Watch for the player's eyes. Is the player watching you? If so, why?

Be suspicious of overly friendly players. Counters are sometimes too friendly and overdoing their act.

Try to distract a counter during a plus count. Draw him/her into a conversation. Does he/she look startled or agitated? Notice if he/she is flustered.

Watch a player who increases or decreases the bets or who varies bets considerably.

See if the players go to a bar or restaurant after appearing not to know each other at the table. They may be consorting with each other (team play).

Look for disguises on players (wigs, fake beards, fake glasses, hats pulled low over the face).

Certain plays are tipoffs: Soft 19 & 20 double downs; Insurance on stiff hands; Standing on Hard 15 & 16 vs 10, Ace; Standing on 12 versus dealer's 2 & 3, after playing perfect basic strategy.

Watch for players who come up to the game in progress and make a big bet. They may have been back counting or called into the game by a confederate.

Watch for players ducking chips.

Watch for players who are always looking around and seem to be nervous

The Rio casino in Las Vegas does not reshuffle the cards left in the shoe after all the players have left the table. They will deal from that spot in the shoe when a new player/s enters the game. Therefore do not start playing unless a new shuffle is done.

Wait for other players to complete the shoe. There are 2 reasons for this.

1.They believe it saves time.

2.If you ask for a new shuffle, they suspect you as a counter.

Many card counters "spread" from 1 to 2 hands when the count is in their favor. Although this gives the player more money in play at favorable times, it can also be detrimental to the counters cover. Pit personnel look for various ways to detect a counters play and to be able to confirm them as counters. This is one of the things that can confirm that a person is counting besides raising bets at positive counts. It would be better to back count and enter the game playing 2 hands, than to go from 1 to 2 hands during play.

The Rio offers an excellent 6 deck game. I found dealers who gave as much as 80% deck penetration. You must be aware that the Rio uses a plastic/acrylic enclosure over the discard tray. This makes it difficult for less than experienced players to determine True Counts. I advise watching and seeing if it is a problem before playing.

Try to avoid games where the dealer hits Soft 17. This adds to the negative expectancy of the game. For example:

Single deck -.190

Double deck -.205

Four decks -.213

Six decks-.215

Many card counters look for dimly lit areas of the casinos so as to avoid being spotted by the overhead surveillance cameras.

Now there is a new device that illuminates areas and uses a small hidden cameras. The action now can be recorded wothout the menacing presence of camera in plain view. "Subtle Casino Lighting and Surveillance" is the new weapon being used by casinos. Primarily it is used to detect cheating by players with electronic devises. The trade name is Paravision System and upgrades a previous patent. It is in the form of a stylish aluminum and brass tube which contains small spotlights that can be adjusted for intensity and direction. It hangs from the ceiling and is flexible being able to adapt to changes in floor plan of casinos. It incorporates the latest micro-cameras, which work even in dim light. They also have color cameras so as to be able to see the color of the chips on the table or tell a diamond from a spade. The gambler is not offended or made to feel uncomfortable in the presence of a camera because it is hidden.

"Initial Bet Advantage" is the percentage obtained by dividing the total win by the amount bet on all initial hands (before doubling, splitting, or insurance wagers are made). "Advantage per Total Bets" is the percentage obtained by dividing the total win by the total amount bet on all hands, including doubles, splits, and insurance wagers. Naturally the latter percentage will be smaller than the former. The factor is approximately 1.14

When playing multiple deck games, do not increase bets in the sequence that is outlined in most card counting systems. (Including mine) The conventional betting sequence in multiple deck is: 1,3,5,10 units. The bets of 1,3,5 are not so highly profiled sequences to the casino. It is that last jump of 5 units to 10 that alerts the casinos of a card counter betting. I suggest that when you have 5 units up and you win the hand and assuming that the count calls for a 10 unit bet, increase your increments 1 or 2 units at a time. Once you have achieved the 10 unit plateau, you can continue betting that amount. This scenario makes it look like you are a progressive bettor. I also recommend that if you have lost a 5 unit bet and the count calls for a 10 unit bet, do not raise the bet. Continue to bet the same bet until you win a hand. Never raise a bet on a losing hand.

Every situation in the casino is a case of its own. You must be able to judge how much attention your betting/playing is arousing.

When playing early in the morning, do not look refreshed, shaven etc. No one gets up 4 or 5 am to play BJ (rarely). It is better to look "hung over" and sleepy-eyed, as if you were up all night. There is a new site for complete information on Las Vegas. Hotels, entertainment, weather, surrounding areas etc.

Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut does not use computer software to track card counters. They will tolerate counters as long as they do not play on a daily basis and win large amounts of money. Mohegan Sun uses software for tracking purposes and will be prone to bar frequent counters who bet large amounts.

When betting "green" or "black" chips, place one or two "red" chips on top so as to disguise your large bets. Make sure when the dealer pays off after a win, that he/she pays the correct amount. Sometimes they assume that you have bet all red.

Ralph Stricker, also known as the Silver Fox, is an expert gambler selling books and tapes called the Silver Fox Blackjack System.