As far as known counting systems go, the chart above about covers it. But there are a few other practices we should probably cue you in on before you put your nuts on the proverbial chopping block. First of all, if you remember, we mentioned something called “wonging” back in Section I. This is the method the “21” team was using when one of them would sit down and bet the lower limit, then flag down Ben when the count was in the players’ favor. Originally, it was intended for the days when one man could go it alone and simply watch the table until it was time to insert himself. But casinos, as we mentioned before, have since wisened up, and “21” is pretty realistic insomuch as the best way around their defenses is to use a team spotter so they can invite you in mid-shoe.
Also, you need to remember that the 2.5 percent max advantage over the house is only gotten through using both counting AND Basic Strategy (hence we covered it), and the reason you get better odds counting is because you know when to bet big. For instance, it’s not worth your while to simply sit there and win 5:6 wagers. Eventually the house will still gobble you up simply because they have unlimited funds to press you with. Instead, what you need to do is double down and split when you know the next card is in your favor. That way you’ll actually get so far ahead that the casinos will have a reason to be suspicious.
Finally, as this article’s big bold CAVEAT, do keep in mind that casinos are looking for counters and that while it’s not illegal to do so, in some states (particularly Nevada) violating the private property rights of a casino will not only land you a broken nose—or worse—but also a possible lawsuit for trespassing. The best way around this, of course, is to simply not get caught, and the secret to doing that is to lose. A-L-O-T.
Most modern casinos now sport computer programs jacked in to their eye-in-the-sky systems that can follow the count and match the regularity of your wins to an ideal count over time. This means that what you’ll really want to do is follow the count and seemingly lose most of the time, then bet big enough at the right moment to make up your losses and haul away some extra for mamma. This might not be the fairy-tale scenario you were dreaming of when you watched Ben and the gang weasel the casinos, but it’s the one that will make you rich and keep you out of the hospital.