What is ‘Cover Play’?
Cover play is a term that refers to blackjack card counters. Since card counting is outlawed in casinos, expert card counters have to resort to tactics to make sure that their counting remains undetected else they’ll risk being removed from the blackjack table and banned from the casino. These tactics are referred to as ‘cover play’ as they allow the players to carry out their counting without alerting the suspicions of the blackjack dealer or the casino staff.
‘Cover Play’ Explained
Cover play can take on a range of forms. The general advice from experienced card counters is that if a player is betting relatively low stakes in casino terms (having a top bet of under $100) then there is not really a need to employ any cover play. The casinos are unlikely to pay much attention to any player that isn’t worth a lot to them in terms of earnings. They also don’t stand to lose too much to them either.
Cover play tends to become more of a necessity on higher stakes tables, even with bets of up to $200. If a player uses too much cover play tactics they will find it eating into their advantage so much that they can only counteract the loss by making large bets. One of the most common cover plays is when a card counter opts to not split tens despite the count suggesting that they should. Another tactic is when the player will choose to stand on a hard 16 if they’re going up against a dealer showing ten. These cover plays are well known and are frequently used because they can be executed quickly and with little effort which, considering that the ultimate aim is to disguise their card counting from the casino, makes them invaluable.
Experienced card counters also suggest that players should consider taking insurance if a player has their minimum bet out. This particular tactic should only be done occasionally otherwise it would seem suspicious. By taking out insurance now and again, the player is showing the dealer that they don’t just take insurance when a big bet is on the line.
Other cover play tactics are much more simple and straightforward, nearly all experienced card counters are well behaved at the blackjack table. If they are rude or aggressive to the dealer then they can expect to be chucked out swiftly by the casino. Additionally, nearly all expert card counters advise to not stay at a blackjack table for too long. Staying at the table for hours at a time is generally considered to be pushing the card counter’s luck, so the idea is to win what they can in a limited time period before moving on.
Overall, there are no cover play tactics that are going to work all of the time. The best a card counter can do is employ a few cover play tactics and hope to not get detected for as long as possible.