What spreads do you find bring no heat?


Active Member
I first got into reading about and practicing counting about 6 months ago though due to time constrictions so far have not tested myself in a casino environment.

What spreads do you find bring the least amount of heat? Prior to this, I was a $25-$50 unit bettor, all basic strategy, and would vary upwards as I got ahead and flattened out if I was behind. I would say usually my hands varried from $25 at the beginning to $200 to close out a run, though never from one hand to the next.

Is there a rule you try to stick by to attract the least attention?

The Mayor

Well-Known Member
If you have never tested out counting in a casino, you would not know this, but it is almost impossible to give a "universal" answer to this question.

At the El Cortez, a 3-1 spread in single-deck will get you booted.

There are many places I have successfully spread 20-1 in single deck.

In most shoe games, 10-1 or 12-1 can be sustained forever without a problem, and there are some who do not hesitiate to spread table min to table max at these games.

Experience is the only way to really know: the ability to read the subtle "heat", to know when to leave before you cross the threshold that gets you backed-off.

Test the waters at a few places, start with a small spread and move upwards until you get noticed.

If you want your first experience of heat cheap, play at the "Barbary Coast."



Active Member
Thanks Mayor.

Typically I stick to all 6 deck games. No mathematical reasons, just these are the games my friends enjoy so I always play with them. Lucky for me they have two things going for them. 1 - they are all BS players and if they dont know will always ask me for advice. No rebels here, splitting 10s or shite like that. 2 - They tend to play nice and slow. I think this gives me an advantage in terms of counting and being able to keep up.

I have played a great deal of 1D and DD but I just dont enjoy them as much, I really dont know why. And while I do want to make money doing this, the bottom line is that BJ has to be fun for me, or else I just wont play.

Right now I am using a program I got for my Visor called BJ Counter. It so far has been a most excellent training program and has a wide variety of features.

Thanks again for your advice.
El Cortez, and the 'art' of 1D play...

Speaking of the El Cortez, the following communique between a well known counter and I emphasized a combination of tactics that I have succesfully used for MANY hours of EC 1D play - the "xxxx casino" referred to in the communique IS the EC and I regulary play to win/lose $1000+ there - I have previously stated that IF you can play green at EC you can play black anywhere. zg


The 'ART' of 1D PLAY...

bbbb wrote:

Mr. Grifter Hows things been going. I keep wondering when Barfakel is gonna have another Ratpack dinner...but in the meantime I'm planning a trip to [LV] right now for early May and have never played at your xxxx hangout. If my usual max bet is $200 bucks what approach would you suggest that I use for playing thatgame (or is that too rich for playing there a first time?)

Hey bbbb!

You CAN pull it off, and its a good test for anyone's act-strategy. Here's some suggestions -

1. Days and grave have the best pene, whereas swing is crowded and shorter pen regardless. Start with early day shift - arrive near the end of grave looking grubby and 'up all nite.' Start small with greens 1-4 posi-progresion (non-count-related) with an occasional 100 bill 'money plays' (count-related) - order drinks, Malibu rocks is good because it looks hard but it isn't.

2. 15-30 minutes of progression play as the shift changes will get you into position - move tables a couple of times, demonstrating that you want to be left alone -

3. (Grifter's Gambit) Heads up'' compulsively' throw out 3 hands of $50 off the top, if the count tanks south bet the 3x $50 again and again oblivious to the neg-count. If the count goes posi, bet 1x $125, win bet $150, etc., lose bet $200 'steaming.'

4. (Sklanksy's Gambit) Bet $150 off the top, win bet $150 again regardless if count tanks, and again, etc. Lose and count tanks bet $50, win bet $75, then $100, etc.

5. (Opposition Gambit) Bet $75 off the top and count soars bet $100, count tumbles (still posi) bet $200.

6. Ask for a $25 min game (you may or may not be granted) - Alternate between 3-4-5 above. (3 is strongest)

7. IMPORTANT - Make some incorrect plays - mostly stand on A7 v T/A, stand 16v T in neg count, split TTv 7 (neg count, small bet), etc.

8. IMPORTANT - Place an occasional $25 RMatch bet - xxxx has the better 3-10 payoff so you wont lose much by it - and if the 1st round or two passes without a particular suit showing up the RM is probably a posi-expectation.

9. You will feel that the PCs are sweating the action at first - they are NOT (they are sweating the dealers) - they watch the dealers very carefully because they are mostly break-ins - if the dealer makes an error that hurts you, pretend not to notice until the PC fixes it, then thank the PC. On days the main boss is wwww (bald, very sharp and likable), #2 guy is cccc. Once you're in with wwww on days you are in on grave too.

10. Lastly, when you are down to your last round or two you can "force" the shuffle by spreading again to 3hands.

Have fun with this and you can get a pretty wide spread with 66%-85% pene. xxxx typically gives the boot to $5 counters within 15 min, whereas you can play as described above for hours (best to limited your play to 2 hr with a meal break in the middle). Return in 24-48 hours on mid-grave and repeat performance ending shortly AFTER shift change into days. Use sparingly.

I will be in in early May as well, let me know dates and maybe we can hook up.

Regards, G
some heat observations

Playing for fun is different then playing for money. If you are at a intelligent casino (a bit of an oxymoron), then they will recognize you as a recreational player, and not consider you a threat.

1. The bet levels you are talking about (1-12 spread in red) is not a big enough amount for a quality casino to worry about.
2. You are probably playing in "play-all" mode, which makes your hourly earnings even lower.
3. Your table full of friends are giving you cover. They won't back you off and risk offending the others in your party. If they are smart, your potential profits are being weighed against the potential losses of the people with you.
4. If they peg you as a "recreational" player, then they realize you are probably under-bankrolled. Even if you spread wider, they will just sit back and smile, knowing standard deviation wipe you out eventually.

Of course, in the wrong place, or with the wrong pit boss, all bets are off and none of the above holds true.

Learn to hide your winnings. Repeated buy-ins for more chips (even when you have lots of chips stashed in your pocket), etc. can also lengthen your welcome. Big winners get backed off quicker than what appears to be losers. Be polite. Obnoxious people get barred faster than friendly types.

What they are watching for are team players, or people seriously wonging the shoes. Someone who is betting $10 to $25 a hand, and then the next time they turn around, has spread to multiple hands at $500 per spot, maybe even going to another table before that shoe is finished. This behavior will get you the boot, as there are several advantage techniques that could explain this behavior (besides winning a lot of loot).


Well-Known Member
I was playing single deck last night at a local casino. They've had single deck for only about 2 months now and it was the first time I played it there. I was spreading only 1 to 3 and would occasionally make a larger than normal bet on the first round to look like a ploppy. I never received any heat at all. I played for about an hour and was ahead by about 7 units. I colored up, walked around to find my wife, then cashed in. As I was leaving I noticed the pit boss eye balling me with a serious look on his face. I'm sure it was only a coincidence, but I'll wait a few weeks before going back there. When I do go back I'll increase my spread to 1 to 4 or maybe 5. At one point we had a running count of 11 with about half a deck remaining, man it was tough not to load up. But I knew if I did I would probably get caught.
Re: some heat observations

2 cents worth:

I'd be careful "hiding your winnings", as personal experience dictates, this may be the one massively obvious cover that will get you tossed in some places.

For shoe games, How about

6 deck spread 1-12 play all doesn't cut it, period.

You have to wong, unless you are exploiting a weak shuffle.

So for a recreational player to worry about heat is not necessary in the shoe game. It is very rare for a 'recreational' player to have the 20-30Gs required for a larger spread or bigger betting unit. If you are trying to limit your losses or even grind out a few bucks profit, count and spread away. Only the lowest sawdust burn joint is going to give that action any heat.

As I said, for a weak shoe game counter to get bounced, bad attitude or bad manners will get you the tap quicker than your counting skills. If this is a local joint, and you start camping out and becoming a fixture there, after several months they might get tired of the constant grinding of their profits, and will seek an excuse to get you out of the game. Hence, my advice of concealing winnings. This assumes you are adequately bankrolled and do play a highly skilled game. Of course, if you play small stakes frequently, you could consider a break even game, or slightly less than break even game, cheap lessons and practice to get to the highly skilled point.

You can't find very many other hobbies or games where you actually have a good chance of getting paid while you practice at becoming better. Most pasttimes become more expensive the more you decide to play and compete. For example, look at all the cost in golf clubs, golf lessons, greens fees, etc. one would have to pay to compete at a high level in golf (and practically zero chance of turning pro).

Just watch out for the standard deviation roller coaster, it is a wild ride.