Counting vs Progressions
  • Counting is pretty much the same every time. Wait for a plus count and increase your bet, as you now have a slight mathematical edge. While some counters may use some form of a progression, as cover, they dislike progressions in general.

    Progressions come in quite a variety. Postive : increase bet on a win. Negative : increase bet on a lose. (Some even try both, at the same time.) How you go about raising the bet, can be quite simple or very complex.
    Progressions are "all" lumped together. Some are better than others. Two players with a $300 bankroll, for example. One is using a Martingale and one is using Walter's method. The player using the Martingale is the odds on favorite....to go busted first.
    Both can win and both can lose. What is right for you, only you can decide.
  • Okay... were you wondering about something, Midnite? Or was it solely to inform us of the differences between the 2? Cuz your post seemed to be informal ONLY...

    Staying on this subject, though, why is it that hardcore COUNTERS are the only ones who HAVE THE UPPERHAND and are the ones who indeed have the edge at BJ, as opposed to Progressions?

    And, using the Ace-Five count in a 6-deck shoe game, how high would the count have to be for me to have some sort of "edge" and thus increase my bet x units?
  • Bug -- Counters have the upper hand because they know when to increase or decrease their bets because they know something about the remaining cards in the shoe because they have been counting. A disproportionately high number of remaining 10s and Aces favor the player and a disproportionately high number of 2-6's favor the dealer. If the dealer has 12 through 16 s/he has to hit while player wouldn't if dealer upcard is 2 or 3 through 6. If the odds of getting a ten have increased due to the remaining shoe having more than 31% of its remaining cards tens then dealer is more likely to bust. This is why counters have the upper hand. (Elsewhere under another topic I said I was going to leave it to Fred to explain this but since you asked, Bug, here's an answer.)

    There are no guarantees with counting. It still can go into a negative fluctuation where dealer wins, such as on a mainly high deal eg dealer 10-10, player one 10-8, player two 10-7 and player three Ace-8, where five of eight cards played were high but dealer wins. To add insult to injury the running count has just been reduced by five. Which really bites. And can make a guy think progressions are the way to go for a whole lot less headache.

    Simple logic says that a shoe rich in Ace-10's is going to help the player more often. There is NO logic to expecting that just because you won a hand, you're more likely to win the next. But there's also the fact that of the 102 shoes played in Walter Thomason's test, only 15 didn't have streaks of four or more and to anyone who has played this game, this comes as no surprise. Meaning: sure you may not know what the next hand is going to be, but streaks happen, period. So maybe that means use them by increasing your bet after the win that could be the first of a streak, and dropping back as soon as the winning streak ends. (Not getting into discussion of negative progressions here.)

    The ultimate question in this debate boils down to this: unless a player skilled at counting is adequately bankrolled, is the slim advantage counting offers sufficient? Or should a player without a deep bankroll expect, for the monetary league he is in, that streaks, which undeniably seem to happen a lot, will happen enough to create more dollars won than lost on the long term expectation of 43% wins, 48% losses, and 9% pushes.

    (Can't answer your question about Ace-5.)
  • Nicely explained, DD, but I knew half that stuff you told me about the high count etc. :)

    I was just wondering how 2 BJ authors had varying opinions on this... seems that one should be better than another!! PERIOD!! I'd love to hear Walter's explanation of his Progressions.

    But than, if card counting isn't 100% concrete then how are there BLACKJACK EXPERTS WHO WIN A HUGEASS AMOUNT OF MONEY FROM THE CASINO'S EVERYTIME THEY GO THERE?! What are they doing that's evidently much better than just simply counting/progressive play besides the fact that they're already playing FLAWLESS BS?! Are they SUPER card-counters?! What's up... how are they able to basically totally destroy casino's in this game?

    (I'm talking about HARDCORE PROFESSIONAL BJ players)
  • There positively are no Super Card Counters who win big dough every time they play. It is utterly impossible to play a gambling game and take the gamble out of it. That's why card counters need deep pockets. They have a small edge for sure, but winning is merely probable. The longer they enforce that small edge though, the more probable a bottom line net profit becomes. Beating blackjack for a card counter is a "grinding out" process, much the same as the house will eventually grind out a perfect basic strategy player. It's the same for poker experts. They grind out there edge over the other players in the long run. Professional gamblers take some horrible beatings at their livelihood. I estimate that about one blackjack player in 500 is a card counter.
    As for progression players? There are zillions of them, yet the house still earns a satisfactory net profit at blackjack. Let me ask this question about streaks. After you've won four in a row, what's your chance of winning the fifth? It's 43% -- the same as before your first win. So which hand would you have been better to bet more money on -- the first or the fifth?
  • No wait... I thought after winning more hands in a row (or losing), your chances of continuing that streak get LESSER and LESSER... you know, Bernulli's Formula, which indicates your odds of winning or losing x times in a row. Losing 3 in a row is 12.5%, so winning 3 in a row is also 1:8 so winning 4 or losing 4 in a row would be less than that. Renzey, in your example, you asked what's the probability of winning that 5th one. Well, according to Bernulli's Formula, it would be about 1:38, which is obviously much less than 43%, since the longer a streak you have, the lesser the chance that is going to increase.
  • Bug, your odds of winning or losing the next hand are independent of what has happened in the past. Same goes for roulette. Black can come up 20 times in a row and your odds of a black on the next spin are the same as in the first spin - slightly less than 50% (due to 0 and/or 00). Same goes for flipping a coin, etc.

    The odds of a streak happening are what you say, but that has nothing to do with the odds on the next hand. Let's look at the coin toss for an easy example:

    The odds of heads is 50%, or 1 in 2. The odds of 2 heads in a row is .50x.50, or 25% (1 in 4). The odds of 3 in a row are .50x.50x.50, or 12.5% (1 in 8 ). But the odds of heads coming up the next flip are still 50%. Even if you've gone 20 flips concecutively of heads, the odds on the next flip are still 50% (the odds of getting 20 heads in a row are .0001%, however). Does that make sense?
  • Okay, then would you mind explaining Bernulli's Formula to me, which states everything COMPLETELY contradictory to you and Renzey as I last posted?
  • BuGhOu§eMASTER said:
    Okay, then would you mind explaining Bernulli's Formula to me, which states everything COMPLETELY contradictory to you and Renzey as I last posted?


    I edited my previous post. Please read it again and it may shed some light on this for you.
  • :idea: Man, I am way out of my league in this discussion, but I think I understand the disagreement. The odds on any streak, winning or losing, diminish as the the streak continues. But, in a given hand, you have a 43% chance of winning that hand regardless of whether you are in the midst of a streak or not. The streak % is not related to the odds of a given hand.
  • Ted said:
    :idea: Man, I am way out of my league in this discussion, but I think I understand the disagreement. The odds on any streak, winning or losing, diminish as the the streak continues. But, in a given hand, you have a 43% chance of winning that hand regardless of whether you are in the midst of a streak or not. The streak % is not related to the odds of a given hand.


    Correct. Doesn't sound like you're out of your league at all, Ted. :wink:
  • Bernoulli's theorem is misinterpreted by most gamblers. Let me shed some light on this "streak" thing and try to show how it all ties in with a couple of logical examples. Buffarino is quite correct, and here's why. Example #1: It's a fact that in poker, your odds of being dealt a flush on the first five cards are 505-to-1 against. But suppose that after looking at your first four cards, they're all spades. What are your odds of being dealt a flush now? They're only 4.2-to-1 against! The odds were 505-to-1 at the start, but at this point, the "flush" question is is simply, "What are my chances of being dealt a flush on my first five cards when I already have the first four?" Now, let's go to the "streak" question in blackjack. Your'e just sitting down to play and you know that your chance of winning that first hand is 43%. So your chance of winning your first five hands are 43% x 43% x 43% x 43% x 43%, or 67-to-1 against. But suppose that after your first four hands, you've won them all. What are your chances of completing a five hand streak now? They're 43%, or just 1.3-to-1 against! In both cases, prolonged statistical record keeping has shown this to be true. When you flip a coin and get a streak of four heads in a row, half of those "four" streaks become a streak of five, and the other half break off right there. Of those that do progress to five, half progress further to six, and the other half break off, etc, etc. Since your chance of winning the next blackjack hand is always the same as at any other time (unless you know something about the remaining cards, which do influence those chances), there is no advantageous time to bet more. Don't be mislead by the fact that you'll sometimes bet a streak and show an impressive gain. That was a matter of blind chance. The real question is, how much do I win during all my winning streaks vs. how much do I lose during my losing streaks combined with those small losses I incur during the "chops". Thorough mathematical analysis shows that if the chance of a "W" and and "L" were both 50%, the whole progression (no matter what type) cancels itself out. When an "L" is more likely than a "W", the progressionist must lose an amount that is exactly equal to his disadvantage in the game. The only thing that can change this is if the streaks somehow appear more often than they're supposed to. I examined an admittedly limited sample size of 10,000 hands, and found the streaks to occur as often as mathematical probability predicted.
  • Fred - It seems to me that although the chance of losing the next hand is 48% and the chance of winning is only 43%, the increase in bet on a positive progression (ie. 50% increase in bet size) would make up for the 5% excess of chance of losing in the long run? Does this make sense? Where am I going wrong?

    Walter - Is this why you believe your 2,3,4,5 system works? Because of the value added by the increase in bet size over the increase in likelihood of a losing hand?

    P.S. I've used a Dahl progression in the past with a fair amount of success and I agree with Bug...it is more fun than flat betting :lol: :lol: :lol:
  • To BJ Fan: How can that make up for anything? If you increase your bet from $20 to $30 on a certain step of the progression and win that $30 bet 43% of the time (losing 48% and pushing 9%), then you'll positively be behind on all your $30 bets. Now let's put all those $30 bets aside for a moment. There will also be a bunch of times you'll bet $20 on another prescribed step of your progression. If you win 43% of all those, you'll be down on all your $20 bets combined. And then there are all those times you'll bet just $10, perhaps at the start of your progression. If you win 43% of all those, you'll be down on all your $10 bets combined. With those results, where is your combined net profit supposed to come from? Admittedly, there will be those times when you win your $10 bet, your $20 bet, your $30 bet and maybe even a slew of your max. bets during one particular progression. That will look and feel mighty good when it happens and will be a lot of fun too. Realize though, that they were just a cluster of 43% shots squeezed back to back, and part of the ever-oscillating big picture. But if at the end of your blackjack life, if all you've done is win 43% of each specific sized bet, there's nowhere for you to be but behind!
  • I never saw a "counter" play. I understand the concept though. But, I need to get a "sense" of exactly what a counter does, How he thinks etc.
    Someone answer this for me without getting too involved. A counter sits down in Atlantic City in an 8 deck game. It's a $25 table. The dealer cuts the deck and leaves about 6 decks to play with. I think they call that penetration. Jesus, somebody could have come up with a better word. There are 7 players, and the counter sits at 3rd base. At this point the shoe has 96 10's. Forget the lowbies for the moment. There are 312 cards to be dealt. I guess there would be about 25-26 cards dealt in the average hand with 7 players and the dealer. I figure there would be between 12 to 15 hands dealt in that shoe. The counter's first bet is $25. He bets the minimum because he is waiting to pick his spot. OK? When exactly is his spot. How many hands would have to be played before a counter feels the deck is rich in 10's. How many 10's would have to left so that a counter would consider the shoe "rich" in 10's? How many times in a given shoe would a counter make his big move?
  • Ted said:
    When exactly is his spot. How many hands would have to be played before a counter feels the deck is rich in 10's. How many 10's would have to left so that a counter would consider the shoe "rich" in 10's? How many times in a given shoe would a counter make his big move?


    Alright, I am not a hardcore counter myself (not YET, at least) but I occasionally use the Ace-Five count (a very simple count, maybe THE simplest) while playing. Basically, if the counter is using the popular count (+1 for every 2-6 appearing, -1 for every 10-A, 7-8-9 are 0) which I forgot the name of right now, he waits til the count to be ~2 or 3 before he starts raising his bets because that would be enough to merit an edge on his part. The higher the count gets, the more advantage the counter has because that would mean that the deck is more richer in 10-Aces than LOWBIES. If howeve the count is negative, it's against the player, and if the count gets too negative (i.e. -6 or beyond) counters usually a) DONT play or b) Wait til the count gets back up than "Wongs" back in the game, which means jumps in while a series is already in session.

    As far as how many times he'd make a big bet, it all depends on the count. If it's ~+10 or so, the counter would most likely bet several units his minimum because at that kind of count it's very much in his favor.

    I hope this info helps you, and others that are more familiar with counting would be able to assist you as well.
  • Thanks Bug, but you lost me. Let me try the question again. I am looking for one word answers to each question. I understand it's an oversimplification, but this is what will help me most for the time being.

    Eight decks, Atlantic City, 7 players. Figuring that there ar no more than 15 hands to each shoe after penetration.

    Question 1. How many times during a given shoe will a counter make his "move"?

    Question 2. How many 10's must a shoe hold for it to be considered "rich" in 10's?

    Question 3. If a counter is at a $25 minimum table, what kind of a bet would the average counter make when he feels the shoe is rich in 10's?
  • Okay. What lost you? I tried to make it sound understandable.

    Question 1: Again, this depends totally on how often the count is in his favor. No one knows ahead of time the distribution of high and low cards.

    Question 2: The count must be +2 or more for it to be somewhat of an advantage, 10/Aces will be more abundant and thus the counter would have the advantage. Of course, the higher the count, the MORE the advantage he has.

    Question 3: This again depends on HOW RICH the shoe is of 10-Aces. If the count it +1 or +2 (meaning that there are MORE high cards in the deck, but not a significant amount to give you a favorable advantage), than the counter would only raise his bet by 1 unit, or even leave it at the table minimum. Conversely, if the count reaches at least +3 or more, this is when he would raise it more, about 2 or 3 units. Only if the count is VERY POSITIVE would the counter want to significantly raise his bets, and also, remember: Just because the count is very positive does not mean you will automatically win. It just gives you a much BETTER chance at winning because unless you're playing heads up (1-1 against dealer), there are more players at a table and therefore the players have the odds of getting the high cards remaining to make very good hands.

    All cool?
  • Ted; I can't think of any one word answers to your three questions, but I'll keep them as short as possible. Answer #1) Only 30% of the shoes ever develop a player edge, and they retain that edge for about 70% of their hands. Thus, the player has an edge about 20% of the time overall -- even if he's not a counter and doesn't realize an edge has developed. Answer #2) First, I need to straighten something out. With an eight deck shoe, even though they cut off two decks, the shoe still contains 128 Tens, since they all could come out. The same is true with those 128 Babies (2's thru 5's). Placing a cut card somewhere in the shoe doesn't reduce the number of cards you have to consider as available. The only ones you can "eliminate" from contention are those you have seen. Okay, let's move forward. The shoe is rich enough in high cards to eliminate the house edge and supplant it with a workable player edge when there is at least 1 surplus high card (10's and Aces) for every deck that is left at that moment. Here's an example: When you get two decks into that eight deck shoe, if you had seen 40 Tens and Aces (combined) that would be perfectly normal, since each complete deck contains 20 of them. That would leave 120 Ace/10's still in the shoe -- a perfectly normal allotment for that many cards. But if those remaining six decks contained 126 Ace/10's, the player would now have a bettable edge. This event you could be aware of by simply tallying up all the Ace/10's that come out in the first two dealt decks. If 34 or fewer popped out, you'd know you're there. Later on, when there are only say, three decks left, the player needs just a three card surplus, or 63 remaining Ace/10's to have the same edge. Answer #3) A minimum edge is worth a 2 to 3 unit wager. A big edge, such as with 3 extra Ace/10's per remaining deck is worth a 12 unit bet in an eight deck game.
  • Bug, I really appreciate your helping me with this problem. I am a complete novice to the idea of counting. What I do understand is that there are many, many variables to my 3 questions. I already understand that. Let me repeat that. I already understand that everything depends on everything else. But, the variables are for another time. First, for me, I need to get an answer to my 3 questions. Just my first question for now. Would a counter be most likely to make his move 8 times during a shoe or 2 times? Would it be unusual for a counter not to make any moves at all during a shoe because the shoe was never rich in 10's?

    If I sat next to Renzey in a game how many times during a given shoe would I expect him to make a move. For the time being I have no interest in his reasons.
  • Fred, OK, if a player had an edge 20% of the time overall wouldnt that mean if a shoe held on average 15 "hands" that a counter would make his move 3 times. on average during a given shoe? Better yet, how many times might you expect to make a 12 unit bet during the course of a shoe?
  • Ted: as an averaged cross-section that's true. But he'll make his move in clusters, staying at his minimum bet for a few shoes running, then pumping it up for most of an entire positive shoe.
  • Fred, I absolutely guarantee you that there are one word answers to all 3 of my questions. Without any shadow of any doubt there are one word answers. This is what I need to know. I don't need to know about "clusters" and "pumping it up". These words mean nothing to me right now. They are for another time. I am going to assume that when you make your move, you bet 12 units. Even if you don't, for the time being assume that you do. You then proceed to play 100 shoes of 8 decks. The 100 shoes turn out to be what you expected. Some good shoes some bad. Now, my question is, during the course of those 100 shoes how many times might you expect to make a 12 unit bet?
  • There is a site on the internet called "The Gamemaster". On this site is a Blackjack School. 16 Lessons. The instructor says you must learn to count cards. Otherwise, you can't win. He proceeds to describe the "Hi-Lo" system which I will call HL from hereon out. He says it is a "very simple system". He uses 3 different numbers. The first number he uses is a "zero" or "0". Then he uses what he calls "-1". Lastly he uses a "+1".

    Now he tells you how to apply these numbers. He says, "assign the value of +1 to the following cards. Deuces, treys, fours, fives and sixes.

    Now he says assign the value of "0" to sevens, eights and nines.

    Lastly he says for each 10, jack, queen, king and ace assign the number
    -1.

    He then proceeds to deal out a hand. 7 players plus the dealer.
    He deals a 7, 2, 10, 5, 9, 10, 3 to the players. The dealers card is down.
    He then proceeds to describe the "running count". So he says, 0, +1, -1, +1, 0, -1, +1. Now he tells you that the count at this point is +1. What he did was to add up all those plusses and minuses and zeroes to come up with that total of +1.

    Now, my first observation is, what kind of a mind do you have to have to be able to do that kind of computing so quickly. The dealer hasn't even dealt the second card to the players and my head is swimming trying to add up the first set of cards. My IQ is about 115. I was never any good in math and I don't know if it was because I simply didn't have the ability or just didn't want to put the effort in to learning.

    I am beginning to believe that counting may very well give a player an advantage over the house, but the counter himself must have an extraordinary mind. You gotta be a "Rainman" type guy. I hate to admit it but I am more of "Drizzleman".
  • Ted - It does not take an 'extraordinary mind' to count. What it does take is practice, practice, practice.

    And it is not as difficult as it appears, especially the 'running count' portion. You use a cancellation method to make it simpler (i.e. look at two cards at a time, say each player's up cards. Let's say player 1 has a K and a 3....they cancel. One quick look and go to the next player. Say he has a Q and 4...they cancel. Your own hand has a 6 and a 5....+2, etc., etc.)

    Try it yourself with a single deck. Turn the cards over two at a time and add/subtract them in groups of two.

    You asked for brevity in an earlier post.....That's about as brief as I can make it.
  • Ted,

    We're trying to answer your questions as best as we can... sure there are 1-word answers, but they wont be very accurate as it would always depend on HOW MANY of your favorable cards come out. With no one knowing this, we can only give you approximations.

    What's the site to that GameMaster that teaches you to count cards?

    Yeah, Grifter's right, just keep practicing practicing practicing and you'll eventually get it.

    Ted said:
    Just my first question for now. Would a counter be most likely to make his move 8 times during a shoe or 2 times? Would it be unusual for a counter not to make any moves at all during a shoe because the shoe was never rich in 10's?


    1st question: He'd be more likely to make his move 8 times IF AND ONLY IF the count skyrocketed and stayed at a nice count (+5 and >)therefore giving him the advantage throughout the entire shoe. If the count only hovered at +2 or +3 and after went negative than he would only do it about 2 times.

    2nd question: No, not at all. [endshortanswer] If the count doesn't call for raising his bet at all, or if it swings wild in the negative direction, he would never up his bet.
  • Ted: You will end up making a 12 unit bet on 4% to 5% of all your hands. If you're just starting out, there are many simpler counting systems than the "Hi/Lo" you mentioned if that seems too daunting. There are also simpler ways to apply or keep track of your count. Using these newer, more streamlined methods, I can tell you that there are people who couldn't cut the mustard with the traditional Hi/Lo that are now winners at the game.
  • Ted - Renzey is correct.....There are simpler counting methods than Hi-Lo. In fact, he has two or three in his latest book. However, these simpler methods will not be quite as efficient as Hi-Lo. Renzey has good tables in his book that show this. So it is a matter of 'give and take', and what you are comfortable with.

    Secondly, and I imagine Renzey is going to disagree with me. If you are only going to be playing eight deck, I personally would NOT bother to learn to count......."Pain" vs "Gain" simply isn't worth it in my opinion. I have never played a hand of eight deck blackjack in my life, and probably never will.
  • Fred Renzey has said that I will wind up making a 12 unit bet on from 4 to 5% of my hands. This is exactly the kind of answer I was looking for. If I play 100 hands, maybe 6 or 7 shoes in an 8 deck game, I will only "send it in" somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 times. I didn't mean to wear you guys out with this. I was under the impression that a counter who bet $25 a hand waiting for his spot would send in a 10 to 12x bet when the time was right.
  • Grifter said:
    ... And it is not as difficult as it appears, especially the 'running count' portion. You use a cancellation method to make it simpler (i.e. look at two cards at a time, say each player's up cards. Let's say player 1 has a K and a 3....they cancel. One quick look and go to the next player. Say he has a Q and 4...they cancel. Your own hand has a 6 and a 5....+2, etc., etc.)

    Try it yourself with a single deck. Turn the cards over two at a time and add/subtract them in groups of two.

    Easy enough when you're dealing from a deck by yourself. In the casino I always stumble on what "two card sets" to look at, and there ain't no time for dithering. Grifter, when everyone gets their first two cards, do you do an interim count then with the two card "sets" that you look at being the two cards in front of each player? And then when the hit round begins, say everyone takes one card and doesn't bust, do you group the hit cards of player A and B, then player C and D? If someone takes two hits, I guess it's those two you focus on together. Also you better look fast at the players who bust, because their cards are gone in an instant. What I'm saying is you need a fixed pattern of when and how you group the cards into twos, because you don't have time to change your mind back and forth on that in the heat of battle.
  • Ted said:

    I am beginning to believe that counting may very well give a player an advantage over the house, but the counter himself must have an extraordinary mind....


    ... or a mind not too cluttered with the cares and concerns of everyday life. Picture this. A friend planning a trip to Vegas asks me if I'll teach her basic strategy. So she, and my wife, and my oldest and youngest sons, sit around the dining room table and I play the role of dealer. (A heartwarming family scene, just like the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving painting.) Two decks. We've been playing about 5-10 minutes and the players are getting clobbered. Then my youngest son, age 12, says "Dad, the count is now up to plus 10." And sure enough the tide turned and the players started winning. Makes a father proud.
  • That is the way I count 6D on the rare occasions that I do it (my game has always been 1D or 2D). Count the up cards as you say for an "interim count" and then add/subtract the others as they fall. This also lets you make a "table read" and determine if you want to adjust BS on your hand.

    There are two or three ways to do it, but this works best for me. Renzey posted this morning there are "simpler ways to keep the count" , but I don't have a clue what he meant.

    Obviously in a pitch game, you reverse the process, and then, Dawg, is when you have to be really quick.

    Grif'
  • Thanks, Grif! Another question just popped into my mind: when counting cards, what is the burn card assumed to be? And I can't recall, is there a burn card in 1D and 2D?
  • You can find out yourself what that burn card is by asking the dealer.
  • Desert dog- the burn card is just like the cards behind the cut card. It is of unknowen value. While some places may show it if you ask, most will not. I hardly ever, even hear anyone ask to see it. (a counter won't ask to see it) A few places even use a Baccarat burn.
  • Huh? Cards behind the cut card? Or the first card in the deck that they "burn"?? The latter is what I thought the burn card was all along.
  • This new system is WAY too complicated for me. But, in the interest of the game I give this reply. Blackjack is the one game where the outcome of one hand DOES change the outcome of the next hand. It is not independent, as most games of chance (e.g. craps, roulette), but rather dependent, so what happens on one hand will affect the outcome of the next hand. I am a progressive bettor and have a 63% success rate using a modified Dahl progression I call the 007 progression (x,x,2x,2x,3x,3x,4x,4x, and back to x). I tried counting but (a) it gave me a headache, (b) with a six deck shoe and moderate penetration it made little difference and (c) I won more with the progression! I listen to Walter Thomason as well as he is the one prominent author who is not afraid to advocate progressive betting vs. counting. Most others are labled as pariahs--too bad. Using this dependent analysis, a good counter, with a one deck or two deck shoe with 75% or better penetration might make a difference, the problem is that even with a deck rich in tens and aces there is no guarantee that you are going to get them! Better to play a safe guerilla like game with a 1 to 4 spread so you don't get hammered. Anyway, I'm taking the limo down from Dallas to the Horseshoe tomorrow, so I'll let you guys know if I'm full of it or not!
  • SLD 007- Glad to see you made to the new forum. Could you please explain how a hand is dependant on the previous hand?
  • Eight deck blackjack is an inferior game if you just want to sit down and "play". But if it's "the only game in town", counting is still very worthwhile if you come into a shoe only after you've "back counted" and found a favorable count. Once these eight deck shoes go "positive", they last a long while compared to fewer decks. At the end of the shoe, it's okay to stay for the next one, but on any shoe where the count goes negative, you need to leave since those too, last quite a while. That's the time to go find another positive count. And Ted, although you will bet 12 units only 4 or 5% of the time, you will bet between 3 and 10 units another 15% of the time, or so.
  • SLD007 commented that your chance to win the next hand is dependent upon what happened the last hand. This is true! Now read this next line very carefully. Those chances vary, NOT according to whether you won or lost that last hand (which is virtually incidental), but according to THE CARDS THAT WERE USED UP IN THE PROCESS! That's the whole reason why blackjack is a beatable game.
  • SLD, good to see you here, complicated or not. The new board is a little over whelming but I think it will settle into a more consistant pattern.
  • On counting: I've done a simulation on Palm Pilot, two decks, heads up play, where I am counting using hi-low, base bet $10, increasing to $20 when count is +2, to $30 when it is +3, to $80 when it is +8, etc., and not quitting even if it gets way down to numbers like -10. After 344 hands, winning 144 (41%), losing 159 (46%), the rest being pushes, I am up $212 on an original buy in of $500, ie I now have $712. And this is losing fifteen more hands than I won! What's great is the feeling that when that count is high, seeing two tens or an ace-10 dealt to you comes as no surprise, or if you lose a hand at a high count, if the count still stays high, the hand after is an even more likely winner. Too bad the speed at which I am counting wouldn't cut it in real life.
  • While practicing, you need to be able to count down a full single deck in 30 seconds to be quick enough for live action. If the full Hi/Lo Count is stopping you from achieving this, then lop off some cards for now. Just go with the 4's, 5's and 6's against the Jacks, Queens and Kings. It's not as strong, but will still yield you a net edge. Later, if you get real comfortable with that you can then add the 3 and the 10-spot to your count structure. For some further simplifications presented in clear detail, see "the KISS Count" chapters in B/J Bluebook II. KISS stands for "Keep It Simple, Stupid".
  • Renzey said:
    While practicing, you need to be able to count down a full single deck in 30 seconds to be quick enough for live action. If the full Hi/Lo Count is stopping you from achieving this, then lop off some cards for now. Just go with the 4's, 5's and 6's against the Jacks, Queens and Kings. It's not as strong, but will still yield you a net edge. Later, if you get real comfortable with that you can then add the 3 and the 10-spot to your count structure. For some further simplifications presented in clear detail, see "the KISS Count" chapters in B/J Bluebook II. KISS stands for "Keep It Simple, Stupid".


    Fred -- Would I lose much accuracy if I ignore the black deuces (p.140-143)? Not having to think about them makes this much easier. Also, what pattern do you recommend for grouping two at a time to count faster?
  • I just tried that counting website BJ Fan referred us to.

    http://www.robtougher.com/servlet/web.games.blackjack.counting.index

    It gives you five panels of 10 cards to count and then tells you what the count was and how long it took you. My best time was 44 seconds, using Hi-Lo. Fred says gotta do it in under 30. I'll get there. It doesn't offer any of Fred's abbreviated count systems, but I think the webmaster will put them in if asked.
  • DOG; You won't lose much at all in the way of potency by dropping out the black deuces, but that will create a lot more work for you -- namely, the need to convert your running count to the true count. Unbalancing your count with those black deuces forces the running count to perform a built in calculation that causes the running count to run close to the true count at all deck depths.
    So, starting out at "10" then (to eliminate the occurance of negative running counts), a running count of "22" will always be "+2 true" no matter where in the six deck shoe you are. "19" will fall pretty close to "+1 true" at all depths. "25" will always be pretty close to "+3 true" etc. Thus, you do everything by the running count with no need for any converting -- or even having to pay attention to how deep into the shoe you are. It makes true blue card counting about as streamlined as it can get. Begin with an abbreviated count (like the Stage I KISS) first, then add more cards if and when you're ready.
  • Dawg, you ask if you could "ignore the black deuces". To someone like me who has no clue about counting, and I assume you are talking about counting, that you are asking Fred if it would be OK to ignore the black deuces. So, in my blissful ignorance I say to myself that Dawg doesn't want to include the black deuces while he is counting for whatever reasons. So I ask myself what difference it could possibly make if he didn't count the "red deuces" instead. As usual I probably have this whole thing screwed up.
  • Ted - I'll let Dog or Fred give you a full explanation, but a quick answer is "no, it would make no difference is you counted red deuces instead of black."
  • Ted said:
    Dawg, you ask if you could "ignore the black deuces". To someone like me who has no clue about counting, and I assume you are talking about counting, that you are asking Fred if it would be OK to ignore the black deuces. So, in my blissful ignorance I say to myself that Dawg doesn't want to include the black deuces while he is counting for whatever reasons. So I ask myself what difference it could possibly make if he didn't count the "red deuces" instead. As usual I probably have this whole thing screwed up.


    Fred recommends some simpler counting methods for beginners. Stage I is count only 4,5 and 6 and black deuces as +1, and J, Q, K as -1, (Ie more cards you can ignore) and start the count at the number 10. For reasons that I still have to absorb, somehow counting only half of the deuces helps offset two things: Not counting the 3's, the red 2's, or the 10's and Aces, and not doing a calculation to convert running count to true count.
  • Gotcha Dawg. It's that simple? To each his own but, the last thing that would occur to me is to eliminate the suit of a card. I would rather eliminate the whole card altogether until I made progress in learning.
    Just a rookie's observation.
  • DOG: Blending an extra half rank of low cards into your count does only one HUGE thing. It eliminates the necessity to convert your running count to a true count, or "count per deck" before sizing your bets or playing your hand. This "converting" is the one confusing obstacle that usually knocks most would-be card counters out of the box.
    With a "balanced" count like the Hi/Lo, a running count of +10 would equal a true count of +2 if there were still five decks left in the shoe -- but it would equal a +5 true count if only two decks were left.
    Now with the unbalanced KISS count, a running count of "22" is always +2 true no matter how far into the shoe you are. Here's why.
    You start out at "10" and because you're counting those two extra deuces in each deck, your count will normally rise by two points with each deck that goes by. So after the first deck has come out of the shoe, the count would still be "even" if you were at "12". But if it's at "22", the count is really "+10" divided by five remaining decks -- or "+2 true".
    After three decks have come out you would normally be at "16". But if you're at "22", the shoe is actually "+6" divided by three remaining decks -- or "+2 true".
    After 4.5 decks have come out you would normally be at "19". But if it's "22", the shoe is actually "+3" with 1.5 decks left -- or "+2" true".
    Hope that sheds the light on it.

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