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What are the Best Strategies Counters Use at Crowded Blackjack Tables?

Richard Marcus 10/03/2016 Blog 711 views

Before we get into them, let’s first confirm the real positive and negative aspects of counters playing on crowded tables and debunk a lot of false information floating around online about the subject.

What’s out there.

I have read online accounts that some card counters actually prefer sitting down at full tables rather than playing with just a few people or going heads up against the dealer. One of the reasons stated is that crowded tables are better because more players lend counters better camouflage and thus a much less chance of being detected by casino personnel.

Although this is somewhat true, any casino supervisor worth his weight in salt could pluck out a counter from the crowd at a Super Bowl game, at least within a certain period of time.

Another claim is that the counter will see more hands and more cards each round and therefore have more time to count those cards and make the conversion from the running count to true count, all this by taking advantage of an overall slower deal at a full table.

Again, this is partially true, but capable card counters learn to count the cards and convert to the true count a lot faster than any dealer can deal the cards. And by lightning-quick mental groupings of identically valued cards, they can count four, five or even six or more cards in slightly more time than it takes to count one card.

Should card counters play at crowded tables if they’re the only game in the casino?

The answer is no, but if they’re the only game in town, then the answer is yes because counting at crowded tables is still more profitable than sitting in front of a TV watching a ball game.

The reason why counting cards at full seated tables is never as good as a less crowded table or playing heads up is simply that you cannot take full advantage of a positive situation. Counters generally spread to multiple hands when conditions allow it to both get more money on the layout and see more cards. This scenario also reduces the amount of good positive cards taken by other players.

It must be noted, however, that when the counter is playing heads up or at a table with few players, he must take special care to not do anything that would be noticed by casino personnel. This is the major drawback of playing heads up. Pit personnel will pick up on counters faster when they have no one else at the table to watch.

So what is the best strategy for counting cards when you’re at a crowded table?

I have read online that counters should reduce their bet spread when playing on crowded tables. I do not see the validity of that. The fundamentals of successful card counting at blackjack do not change due to how many players are at the table.

The main fundamental of card counting is to get as much money on the layout in positive situations as you safely can, whether by playing a single hand or multiple hands. Since the counter is obviously going to see less favorable hands during his stay at a crowded table, he must take advantage of each and every one he does see.


This article was written by former professional casino cheater, Richard Marcus. Richard Marcus is also the author of American Roulette, a controversial book that reveals how he and other professional cheaters ripped off casinos.

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Also read our section about various methods and strategies of Card Counting.

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