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Assessing the Table Conditions in Blackjack

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Introduction

Your assessment of table conditions in any individual casino depends on many factors, not just the game itself. Imagine this game of Blackjack. The true count just hit +4 and suddenly a pair of college kids are splashing black action on your table, eating the tens and aces you worked so hard to get to. Welcome to the world of mid-shoe entry. They may or may not be counters, though you can probably determine this in the next few minutes by the way they play their hands, and especially if they leave the table as soon as the count nose-dives.

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Advice: If you don't start table-hopping yourself, you will come to hate many Nevada counters.

For NV counters heading to AC

The true count just hit +4 and suddenly the pair of college kids sitting beside you start discussing the number of aces left in the shoe and the proper index for standing on 15 vs. 10, right out loud. You leave quickly when one of them asks you what system you're using. Are they imbeciles? Shills? House dicks? No, they're college kids. Since casinos can't bar counters, many amateurs and wannabes discuss count strategies right at the table. Although the AC casinos can restrict them to a flat bet, this countermeasure simply gives them bragging rights. If they're half-shoed or bet-restricted, nothing can stop them from getting up and walking over to a table in the next pit, where they are again free to spread their bets until they're caught again.

Advice: If you are trying to make money at the tables and not just brag to your friends about being labeled a pro, you will come to hate many AC counters.

The game has great rules, deep penetration, and no heat. Unfortunately, although you're currently stuck about eight thousand due to bad cards, the "friendly" pit boss just told you to take a hike and don't come back. At least, not to the blackjack tables—ever. Can he do that?

Advice: Yes. Go back to AC where the games are better.

For NV counters heading to AC

You're stuck eight thousand bucks and the boss just told you you're being restricted to a $100 flat bet. How are you going to dig out? Should you sneak over to the next pit where those college kids are playing? Can the boss do that?

Advice: Yes. Go back to Nevada where the games are better.

In other words, your assessment of the table conditions in a casino depends on many things, not just the game as such. One counter's dream game may be another counter's nightmare. This will become even clearer to you in the upcoming chapters, as we discuss the all-important money issues. How much money do you need? How much should you bet? We'll also touch on casino surveillance, countermeasures, legal issues, and so on. Blackjack may be just a card game, but you'd better take it as seriously as the casinos do if you expect to beat them. And believe me, they are dead serious about beating you.

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