What is ‘Back Off’?
If a player is asked to back off, they have been asked not to play blackjack in a specific casino. It is normally the decision of casino management to ask a player to back off and no longer play the game in their establishment.
More generally, the term back off can be used to limit a player’s betting habits or spreads (that is, their betting range).
‘Back Off’ Explained
In blackjack, if a player has been backed off or asked to back off by a member of casino management, they have usually been asked not to play that specific game in that specific casino any more. Sometimes they are allowed to play other games at the establishment, but other times they will receive a total ban from the casino.
A player may be asked to back off because they have been caught counting cards – that is to say, they have been found employing a strategy that weighs up their odds of success (or others’ misfortune) by literally keeping a score of the cars they have already seen dealt. At many casinos and gambling establishment, this strategy is either highly frowned upon or considered illegal. If they are found employing this technique, the player runs the risk of being asked to back off.
A more lenient punishment for the player caught card-counting is simply a restriction from entering the game in the middle of a shoe (half way through the game proceedings), because they may have been able to watch the game from afar and may have begun their tally of the cards already dealt.
Another kinder alternative to being backed off is being required to place a flat bet, meaning that any previous workings-out that could benefit the player would be futile.
Therefore, some advice to the player of blackjack is to not count cards and avoid all frowned upon or unlawful strategies for success – otherwise, risk being backed off!