Learning to count first
  • I'm just curious about this.
    Using a really simple BJ strategy such as MGM,which one can learn on the plane to Vegas,gives a player about a 98% return,as oppossed to BS's 99.5 return.But it takes most people many,many hours to memorize every single aspect of it,and many people(including myself)
    still don't play 100%.
    A very simple cardcounting system ,such as KISS or OPP can be learned in a few hours,and pretty much mastered in a week or so,I'd guess.
    Is there any way someone could run a simulation and see how such a pairing(MGM+KISS) would makeout as oppossed to simple BS. It would seem that the combination of the two would be easier to learn,and at least as effective.
    Would the results be a positive expectation?
    My thoughts are that by making entry level play easier,it would lead to the player then taking the additional time to learn the extra steps of BS and adding KISS 2 and 3 down the road.
    I know many people who give up because they just can't memorize the final 10 or so combos of BS,and don't want to play a game that they are told they can't win at.Some of the hands that people get so discouraged about pop up so infrequently that they really are punishing themselves over nothing,imho.Every book I've read seems to stress you must first learn BS perfectly before you attempt to learn to count. Yet ,it seems that learning even a simple CC system gives a player a better edge than BS.
    Thoughts?
  • NYB - Nothing wrong with your thinking, but maybe you didn't take it far enough. Here's a couple thoughts, then you decide for yourself.

    Although that MGM strategy is better than nothing, it is too weak for even a semi-serious player to use. It appears it would increase the negative EV of a typical 6 deck game from -0.50 to about -0.90 (ouch).....Isn't that too much to give up when with just a tad more work you can learn true basic strategy? Now your counting method has to make up about twice as much ground just to get even!

    Could you link MGM and KISS?.....Sure, up to a certain point, but you would have to make some assumptions and guesses to sim it. KISS has indices which are derivitives of basic strategy that aren't applicable to the MGM. IMHO, any sim would be bastardized at best........But my best SWAG would be an EV of somewhere between +0.10 and -0.10......In other words, basically even.

    So my second question would be "why do it"? Why not just take the extra time to learn full basic strategy, and then learn a simple count. Just Basic Strategy plus KISS will give you about a +0.50 EV.

    Hope this helps a tad.......Grifter
  • Here's my thoughts on why to do it. I'm going to Vegas Feb 6th with a friend who has never really played BJ. I gave him Blackjack Bluebook but he got discouraged,figuring he'd never get it down pat in a month.
    As a test I gave him the article on MGM and witin an hour,he aced a quiz.I'm thinking he will enjoy playing more if he could vary his bets a little based on the count.I'd guess that he will have about 90% of BS done,and many of the tougher hands come up very infrequently.Being able to up your bets,and know when to take insurance seems like it would be easier to learn,and more fun than trying to remember "should I hit this 8vs.5 or double down".
    Obviously this is just an entry level play.I know that anyone seious about the game must know both BS and CCing.But I'm thinking knowing a little of both might make for a more enjoyable beginning.

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