I'm hopeless at maths
  • But I really like this game. Does this mean I'll never be able to card count effectively? I've only been getting to know the game for a couple of months or so but one day I aim to be able to card count etc. My maths is really bad, ie if I'm dealt ie if I'm dealt a 4 and a 7 it would take me about 4 seconds to work out this is 11 rather than instantly. Can someone tell me, does this mean I'm forever doomed to be unable to card count? Thanks.
  • can you count by 1 from 1 to 32 and back to zero? Can you count by -1 down to -32 and back up again? Can you do very simple math like divide 15 (running count) by 3 (decks remaining) to get 5? (and you can even eliminate this step if you use an unbalanced count like KO or KISS, etc).

    It isn't hard. It takes some practice, which means some time commitment. If you can commit some time, you can learn to count easily enough.
  • Vegasmonkey-
    get Fred Renzeys book "Blackjack Bluebook II"(available on this very site) and you'll be counting in no time.............and by the way his counts work!
    best of luck-
    Prog
  • my 2 cents

    It's doubtful you'll be a successful card counter any time soon. Counting doesn't require very much math, but I think someone that has a mind for math will just have a better chance (because they are smarter).

    I've been playing perfect basic strategy for 15 years and I've been counting for 5 and I'm 29 years old. I have a computer science degree and an obsession for advantage gambling in blackjack and poker. I just figured out counting this past year. It takes a lot of practice and experience.

    I hope that didn't sound too high and mighty. I'm not the brightest bulb in the bunch myself, and I suck at math too. But after seeing so many insanely bad players out there, I'm beginning to think that only a select few are cut out to be counters.
  • Counting is just a redirect of what you and your brain do everyday. It's not
    a question of can you. Rather, it comes down to do you have "little willy".
  • [QUOTE=datalore]my 2 cents

    Counting doesn't require very much math, but I think someone that has a mind for math will just have a better chance (because they are smarter).
    QUOTE]

    OK. first of all I take it you mean mathematically more intelligent rather than just generally. The last time I checked having a mind for maths didn't generally make you a more intelligent person. I'm admiting I'm hopeless at maths, not that I'm an idiot.

    Well I can count up and down, as in plus and minus etc no problem, does that help?

    Also, another question, with some tables, such as the one presumably used by the game on this site, I can't help feeling sometimes you should just go with your gut. For example when it says you should stand on 12 when the dealer has 6. It just seems I get shafted more often than win if I stand in this situation. What u lot think?
  • I think basic strategy is not a matter of opinion.
  • forget the gut. Go with BS and the math. It is always right. The gut is not.
  • I thought Vegasmonkey was talking about his ability to quickly total the cards in his own hand. When I first started playing BJ, I was also slow about determining my own hand, especially when it contained aces. After several months of casino play, it was almost automatic after seeing just about every combination possible. The more time and concentration spent in any activity will make it much easier.
  • I'm probably just being impatient. I'm much quicker than I was when I started 2 months ago so I guess it will come in time then.

    I see the point about the gut not being always right, but does anyone know what the odds of winning are when hitting say, a 16, when the dealer is showing 10. Surely the odds of being sucessful when hitting in this situation are quite close to being the same as standing in this situation.

    If that makes any sense. See, my mind is like a bloody maze. This is why I can't count.
  • go to www.wizardofodds.com, click on "blackjack" then go down to the bottom and click on "appendix I". This will give your EV for any hand combination vs the dealer, for each playing option. You are correct that 16 vs 10 is a very borderline case when the count == 0. I personally always stand because this is one of a well-known group of "counter tells" that casinos recognize. I want to play accurately when I have big bets out, which means + counts, and there stand is correct by a significant margin. I'm willing to take a small hit on small bets to get the big ones right. This is sometimes known as "counter's basic strategy" and is derived by modifying the normal basic strategy by pretending the count is +2, and modifying BS by using all the +2 and lower index plays as well...
  • That wizard of odds is excellent. Thanks for the referral.

    Concerning counting, I'm not sure that being "smart" is
    the key trait, here. There's an old golf story, the moral
    of which is that being a little on the dumb side never
    hurt anybody's game.

    While having a problem adding 8 + 3 may seem a little
    extreme, the fact that the player recognizes the
    situation means there is hope. There is a certain
    genius to the game on this site. Since we play
    basic strategy most of the time, and especially
    since we are reluctant to vary the bets with the
    count, the best advice for Vegas would be to play
    this site until he or she can make every basic play.

    As far as being a professional blackjack player goes,
    if that is the goal, there are several factors that need
    to be taken into account before considering the
    career change.
  • ess said:

    As far as being a professional blackjack player goes,
    if that is the goal, there are several factors that need
    to be taken into account before considering the
    career change.


    Which are? I've been told;- a considerable bank roll, nerves of steel, acting ability, dedication.

    Thanks for the link stainless steel rat. That's a damn useful site.
  • Well, VR, there are two initial factors:
    1) When Thorp et. al. devised the system, it
    was predicated on varying the bet with the
    count. The eyes in the sky aren't blind, but
    a half-blind observer could keep track of the deck
    and see who's varying. So, the original excitement
    and publicity of the Thorp trials sooned turned
    to a scramble to accomodate the operators.
    Don't think for a moment that counters don't
    hurt the operators.
    2) While the six deck game still exhibits the
    ebb and flow of favorable and unfavorable
    circumstances, the days of a countdown to
    an occasional field day for the players came to
    an end with the six deck shoe. The genius of
    Wong and others who developed the hi-lo
    was that they reasoned that the dealer could
    be challenged by varying the play as well as
    the bet. If you recall, the Thorp system took
    an Einstein to play, which, incidentally, he was
    pretty close to being.
  • Take a look at www.wizardofodds.com. It has tables with every possible decision you could make and shows what your EV (expected value) will be. If you think you are psychic, go with your gut. Otherwise, you can't beat the math and people have worked for decades perfecting basic strategy.
  • vegasmonkey said:
    But I really like this game. Does this mean I'll never be able to card count effectively? I've only been getting to know the game for a couple of months or so but one day I aim to be able to card count etc. My maths is really bad, ie if I'm dealt ie if I'm dealt a 4 and a 7 it would take me about 4 seconds to work out this is 11 rather than instantly. Can someone tell me, does this mean I'm forever doomed to be unable to card count? Thanks.


    You're going thru all the dilemas I went thru when I first was introduced to counting. These arent complex numbers we are working with here. You gotta worry about learning one thing at a time. I was so overwhelmed about counting at first that I just decided to put it off till I mastered my BS. Then I worried about counting next. After I bought a counting book and read it. I became more confident because the book simplifies everything for you.

    First learn basic strategy and play the hit or stand game on this website daily till you can score 30 or more in the bonus round. That overcame my insecurity I once had on adding my cards and make the right move on my hand. Once I reached 30 in the bonus round on that game I just made it a goal to beat that number and get myself quicker.

    Next, after you master BS, research a card counting method that you think you would be most comfortable with, then buy a book on it. Read the book and understand what they are talking about. Do card drills with real cards for practice or get a black jack counting program like Casino Verite. I went old school with dealing my self actual cards before I went to the program. Now I use the program and also still deal my self simulated games with actual playing cards.

    Important! If you don't undersomething ASK! Use the kind people in this forum to help answer you your questions. I have had quite a few people in here help me overcome things I have had problems with before by suggesting techniques to try.

    Other tips that helped me fine tune my skills was making BS flash cards. The players hand printed on one side. And the correct move written on the other side. That helped me bigtime. Now I don't have to think twice about what to do on my soft totals.

    Once you learn all this then you can try the cheap tables at the casinos for beginners just to get use to the casino environment. Once you start playing in the casino you'll probably find you'll have to fine tune more things and come up with game plans. Knowing what black jack games to play is also very important too. You want to make sure you are playing at a table with the most fair rules offered (if you can be fortunate to find any hahaha).
  • Yes,the percentages for hitting 16 or standing against a 10 are quite close.Butbeing close and being the same are not the same thing.If you were playing a single hand,the difference won't matter, but over a lifetime of playing,it would add up.Even if you win only 1 out of 50 hands extra by using correct BS,that comes out to about a hand an hour.On a $10 bet,assuming 5 hours a day and 5 days playing in Vegas,thats an extra $500 you've won.
    Sometimes moving things from abstract percentage points to potential real money tends to clarify the situation,for me.
  • A little math work. 1 hand per hour, 5 hours per day, 5 days per week, $10 per hand, turns into $250 for the week. :)
  • stainless steel rat said:
    A little math work. 1 hand per hour, 5 hours per day, 5 days per week, $10 per hand, turns into $250 for the week. :)



    Winning 1 extra hand per 50 means just that. You win a hand you would have lost. So not only are you winning $250 for the week,you are also not losing $250.You are $500 ahead of where you be without winning those extra hands.
    Sample-typical gut player; win 24,lose 26 hands for$20 an hour negative cashflow.Next trip he reads a book and becomes a typical BS player wins 25,loses 25 for zero cashflow.
    At the end of the week(25 hours) the gut player is down $500,the BS player is even.
    While neither is up money for the week,the BS player goes home with an extra $500.For winning one extra hand in fifty.
  • OK, although even that might not be correct. There are splits and doubles, not to mention pushes. An incorrect (non-BS) split (saw someone split 5's against a dealer's 6 for example) can be a bigger swing than the basic bet unit. The split cost him two units, where the double would have won him 2.

    If you had said "$500 ahead" it wouldn't have caught my eye. But "extra $500 you had won" did, because you didn't "win" an extra $500, you won an extra $250 and then didn't lose $250 you would have lost...

    Mostly semantics of course..
  • The biggest thing I see amongst non-BS players is the failure to DD on soft hands,and splitting on wrong hands.
    I would guess that the average player would gain more than one hand for every fifty played,so a ten dollar bettor would see more than a few hundred dollar swing the first few weeks he used it.Last week,I played with a player who never hit with 14 or above,another who doubled down anytime the dealer had a 6,and one that split tens most of the time.Players in that class would gain mucho dinero over the short run.
  • Card counting requires a lot of practice. Superior math skills are not a requirement. The only requirement is to be able add and subtract quiclky and also estimate the number of decks used to get the true count. I learned by using BJ simulation software by SAGE. There are endless options and tutorials. I still use it to practice and test different betting strategies.

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