If you were a flat bettor, you'd probably never have to worry about being spotted as a card counter. Since all kinds of goofs play their hands all kinds of goofy ways, even your expert plays of doubling down with 10 against an Ace wouldn't draw much attention. No it's that uncharacteristically big bet in conjunction with the unusual play that causes both the pit and surveillance to do a double-take.

So how are you going to get the big bets out there when you need to and make the key plays in the right spots? If you're a $10-to-$100 bettor in a shoe game, you usually won't have to worry about it. But if you're spreading $25-to-$250 or bigger, it'll eventually boil down to a matter of trade-offs. Now and then, you'll have to make a slightly bad play for a small wager in order to preserve the green light on a key custom play for the serious money. The trick is to;

Poker Lore
In his wonderful book The Biggest Game in Town, A. Alvarez tells the story of the half million-dollar pot that johnny Moss, the first three-time winner of the main event of the World Series of Poker, lost to Nick "The Greek" Dandalos in 1949. In that game the Greek, as a huge underdog, paired the jack he'd started with in the hole-his only way to win. Luck like that doesn't hold forever. Moss had to get more ammunition from his backer, Benny Binion, but went on to win millions from the Greek. That heads-up game was the precursor to the World Series of Poker.
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