Best Counting System For Each Situation
  • Is there a guide somewhere to the pros and cons of each counting system? I think that would be helpful. The question comes up so much.

    I seem to remember a webpage I found once that gives you a series of questions and then tells you the best counting system for you. It asked you things such as: how good at you of estimating the amount of cards left in a deck; how often do you play; how good are you with negative numbers; etc.

    On this board, the advice seems to be if you want to do a true count conversion, do hi-low. If not, KISS or KO (although I'm still amazed by the simplicity of OPP).

    A table with the PE, BE, ROR (and along with that necesssary bank roll), difficulty, etc. would be very helpful.
  • In the book, Blackjack Blue Book II, I remember seeing a table which compared several systems as to PE and BE. You may be asking for more detail than this, however. Also, I'm sure the experts and authors on this forum will gladly reply.
  • go to Norm has a link to compare counting systems in the three areas of interest: (1) betting correlation (how accurately does the count predict your advantage over the house?) (2) Playing efficiency (how accurately does the count plus basic strategy departure indices tell you when to hit, stand, double, split to optimize your win rate?) (3) Insurance Correlation (how accurately does the count tell you when to take/decline insurance?). Look at the bottom of that page, left-hand side and follow the link to compare counting strategies.

    For shoe games, BC (1) is the most imporant by far. For SD/DD, a good BC + good PE are good. Better PE lets you beat a SD/DD game with a narrower spread, but good PE counting systems are often very difficult to use without a lot of practice, because they are harder to count with multiple tag values for cards, not to mention requiring side-counts which really adds to the mental fatigue and accuracy considerations.

    That's why almost everyone would suggest you start on a good level-1 counting system (counts cards -1, 0 or 1) before going on to something more difficult...

    Most important thing is to use the counting system of your choice accurately. If you make too many errors, a L2 count will be far worse than a L1 count.
  • Its funny -- I can answer almost anyway on his site in my ability to do X, and I usually get KO as the recommended counting system.

    And BC is only the most important for shoe games if you spread a certain amount I'm assuming. Let's say I am only confortable spreading 1-4 or the likes. Granted, I can't even "beat" the game, but for lower spreads, I take it that I should then go with a higher PE since my spreads won't take full advantage of the BC.
  • The problem with PE is that in a single-deck game, the EoR for a single card is significant, because you only have 52 to start with. But in a shoe, there are 6x-8x as many cards, and playing decisions are not as critical... If the spread is too small, your EV will be too small (or even negative). Playing efficiency won't get that back in shoes. There are still a very few SD games around that can be beaten by counting with no spread at all, just following the playing decisions correctly. I don't know that Hi-Lo can pull this off with any SD game I have played in recent years, but a good L2 or better count can certainly do it. But for shoe games, the name of the game is getting the chips out at the right time...
  • Funky that is one of the better questions that we have had in some time.
    PE just want get much in shoe games, but there are other ways to be
    able to get by with a smaller spread. One example is Renzeys A/10 and
    with only a .25 advantage at that. The basic idea is to shorten the game,
    your disadvantage playing time. If you have read the book, backcounting/
    frontcounting is the way to go. His spread is 1-4 and sometimes 6. One
    thing that makes this strategy work is that he forces you to be consistent
    because you stop counting after two decks. You end up with a 4-6 unit flat
    bet for 2.25 decks in a 75% pen 6 deck shoe. In those cases where you
    don't backcount you're risking one unit while you look for an advantage.

    You can play shoes games in a similar manner with any count system and
    with a few more options/choices.
  • The nice thing about back-counting and wonging in is that you can actually get by with no spread. Since your bets are zero until the count reaches some threshold value, and assuming you flat-bet after that point, your spread is essientially infinite because of that zero denominator.

    There is a down-side. NMSE games stop this in its tracks. You will play less hands per hour. If tables are crowded, the shoe might go hot, but with no place to sit down and play, you just get to watch..

    Not much of a problem with crowds at high-limit tables, but I play those _very_ rarely. A $25 min table is about as far as I normally go, and the lower-limit tables are generally the most crowded.
  • When sitting down and playing at a $10 table, I spread my bets up to $100. But I also try to sit out about half of the negative counts, essentially making it a 1 to 20 spread.

    If I'm strictly backcounting, I'll do it at a $25 table where there are usually more open seats and my (flat) bet will be more than that anyway.
  • Ray/Funky - For what it's worth. I found Renzey's A-10 to be more accurate if you follow his instructions and bet per his count at the end of two decks played,.....but then keep the count going and re-evaluate your bet at the end of three decks, then ramp up/down/same if the equivalent TC changes (easy to calculate).

    I have no idea why Fred didn't suggest this in his book, but I imagine it was because he wanted to keep the A-10 very simple.

  • In my world you can't backc $25 and up. No-mid-deck or no-mid-shoe. At
    least we have a few more DD games and all are $25 and up with good rules.
    The count system I use is just a tad better than H/L, but about 9 points
    short for DD compared to the better systems.
  • Grif -- in BJBBK copies printed after 8/04, there are recommendations for maintaining the A/10 count throughout the shoe and readjusting the bets at the 3 and 4 dealt deck marks. Adhering to the same walking strategy thru the first two decks and the same betting spread, this was found to improve the net EV from +0.25% up to just about +0.40%. I can e-mail you that page (squeezed into pg 128) if your book issue doesn't have it.

    The 2006 edition will also allow you to play front counts of "42" (rather than walk), but still walk at "43" and worse. By taking Insurance if your front count was "32" or lower, you can maintain the same overall EV, while playing a few more shoes out. In that way, you don't have to bob and weave "Wong out" quite so much.
  • I hope you meant "good" sarcastically?

    It's a complete load of crapola...
  • Grifter-I think he wanted to keep it as simple as possible. I don't know if A/10
    not being a true balanced count had anything to do with it or not. He
    gives a relative value (.6) to cards that he don't count. At 36 with 4 decks
    remaining you have 4 excess 10's, for a plus 1 + .6 value of the cards not
    counted. This may be the reason that he stops the count at 2 decks.

    I wondered about that .6, but if you consider player double rules, the 6,7,8,9
    have added value. Just my half-ass opinion.
  • Fred - No, my copy is from the first printing and doesn't include those additions. I incorporated them on my own just because it made sense to do so, and believe it or not my "guess" was it kicked the EV up to about 0.40.

    Thanks, I would appreciate it if you would send that data in a PM. I am confident my numbers are correct for both the three and four decks played points, but it would be great to be sure.

    To All - Fred's A-10 method is (1) A great way for new players to get a feel for counting, and (2) A great little method for experienced players/counrters to use when you are playing more or less socially but still want to have that 'edge'.....I have had very good success with it under those conditions.


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