Camouflage means blending into one’s surroundings so as not to be noticeable. A polar bear blends into the white snow, as a deer blends into the forest. Likewise, the professional blackjack gambler wants to blend in among the amateurs. He wants to look like them and to speak like them and to act like them. He doesn’t mind winning more than they do, as long as he appears to be a lucky amateur and not a skilled professional.
Until Uston’s book was published, team play was a good camouflage and, even afterward, it remained the best way to beat the system. A solo card counter is easy to spot and many a lone card counter has been ushered out of Vegas casinos.
Teams played in such a way that the big bettor — the Big Player — was not the one actually doing the card counting; that was the job of another, less noticeable player. The counter himself would give signals to the big player, indicating when it was time to raise his bet and when it was time to sit back. This system of subterfuge worked for years and there are still teams of blackjack players out there that successfully camouflage their actions in this way.
Card-counting teams have encountered great opposition over the years. Casino owners who fell prey to the teams’ wily camouflaging ways hired detective to flush out the counters and expose them. And all the while, these brilliant teams were winning at the blackjack tables, using super-sly methods to hide their techniques and their talents.
The Griffin Book — a photo album featuring pictures of suspected card counters — put a damper on the success of these teams, but it didn’t stop them. There is simply too much money to be won at the blackjack tables and camouflaging — along with basic blackjack strategy and card counting — is the way to win it.
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