We’ve talked about some basics of creating a ‘blackjack persona’ and now we’ll turn our attention to some more advanced cases. The most successful ‘gambling personas’ are ones that a player can ‘assume’ easily and where ‘staying in character’ becomes second nature. For that reason, many players like to take a unique skill or other aspect of their personality and build around that. This means different things for different people. One of the most obvious examples is a very attractive woman–she has a variety of ways to ‘distract’ dealers and other players at a blackjack table. This can make her an effective decoy or in some cases help minimize suspicion. As sexist as it sounds, few dealers would suspect a sexy woman of being a skilled card counter and particularly if she plays something of an ‘airhead’ role.

Some people might not have a skill or personality characteristic that they can leverage in this manner while other people might have several. You don’t need to become a ‘master of disguise’ but it can be helpful to a player if they can assume different ‘roles’ in different circumstances. Likewise, most high level blackjack teams are very specialized but they also emphasize the desirability of each player being able to ‘play different positions’ within their setup.


Advanced acting skills aren’t necessary but they sure don’t hurt. One skill that sounds easier than it really is is ‘pretending to be drunk’. It’s no secret that casinos love drunks and particularly players that become financially reckless when inebriated. Most blackjack teams use a ‘big player’ (or ‘BP’) to maximize the bets they can make when they find a favorable situation. One very successful ‘persona’ for this role within a team is the ‘reckless drunk’. You can also use it ‘solo’ but it does require some work–you have to be a convincing drunk without actually being drunk. At the same time, you have to pay attention to everything that is going on around you all the while acting like you’re not giving the cards or your betting patterns a second thought.

Another valuable component of ‘pretending to be drunk’ is the angry drunk. Sometimes a blackjack team will want to create a ‘diversion’ that either allows team members to ‘cash out’ with minimal attention or to deflect attention from a player’s counting or betting activities. The ‘angry drunk’ requires even more acting skill and there’s a fine line between ‘creating a diversion’ and ‘causing trouble for yourself’.


Another very valuable skill is fluency in a foreign language and/or an ethnic background (or at least features than can pass for ethnic). Being fluent in a second language has a variety of uses. You can look like a tourist in many situations, create diversions and definitely not fit any preconceived ‘profile’ of a card counter. Furthermore, it gives you a lot more options in terms of creating a persona. Before 9/11 the ‘sheik’ persona was a good one but not any more. Many teams like to have one or more Asian players since at present they’re among the most sought after casino clientele.

By now you’re probably figuring out that the basic concept is to take something that might otherwise make you ‘stand out’ and make it work in your favor. One gentleman I’ve met is confined to a wheelchair due to an accident as a teenager. He loves gambling and is welcome at every casino he enters. Most don’t realize that he’s one of the most dangerous blackjack players on the planet whether alone or in a team. He uses the wheelchair to get ‘access’ to favorable sight lines at tables and wears thick ‘Coke bottle’ glasses to magnify hole cards and conceal where his eyes are looking. He says that he is partially blind due to diabetes but he actually has great eyesight and specializes in reading hole cards.