Advantage/Disadvantage in Shoe Games
  • In shoe games, backcounting to eliminate part of unfavorable play is
    standard procedure. Also, leaving a table when the shoe turns negative
    is another and not playing at any table (start of shoe) without an
    advantage is still another, Several months back, when I first read Renzey's
    book, I used it as a guide and adopted all of the above and have used
    these methods for sometime now(about 3-4 months). In an effort to
    further extend and/or understand other possibilities along these lines, I
    devised, what some would judge as an ill advised experiment, and from
    a logical point of view, at least at first glance, they were correct and I
    went into the effort with the very same reservations. Like any other
    discovery process, things are never completely as expected and in many
    cases what is learned ,if anything, may not be related to the original
    objective. For Example: If you have backcounted a shoe, entered the
    game with an advantage after one deck, and now your playing into the
    the second deck. What do you do if the deck turns neutral? Like most
    payers I will reduce to one unit and continue to play. But, how long I
    will play this neutral shoe has changed in the last two weeks. After
    three decks, if the shoes is still neutral or negative, I'll walk... I want
    sit there and play thru the remaining 1-1/4 decks that in the great majorty
    of cases will remain unfavorable. Observations in the experiment and
    only realized several days later pointed me in this direction.

    In summary, I've added a fourth element to my playing style and I
    believe the effect of all four have a long term positive impact on win/loss
    expectations. The overall effect is to maximize the time that you have an advantage by minimizing unfavorable times at the front and back of the
    shoe.

    P.S. In the experiment, I won some money because I played good basic
    strategy and had some luck as well. As for counting...too,too much
    uncertainty...

    Ray
  • Don Schlessinger talks about this extensively in Chapter 12 of Blackjack Attack II. His surprising conclusion is that you should leave at about the same count no matter how many decks are remaining. He analyzes wong out points based on the question, "What will maximize my win rate per hour?". The answer depends on how many decks and playing conditions and varies between 0 and -1.

    My advice to you: Definitely wong out at some predetermined point. Personally, I enjoy "camping out" at a table, and it is very crowded where I play. I wong out at -1 and it seems to work well. Keep in mind there are several ways to wong out:

    1. Color up and leave
    2. Go to the bathroom
    3. Sit out a hand or two

    Don't use 3. more than once every 5 shoes or so - you'll get caught. You can really push number 2, call it a "cell phone' break, "talk to my wife break" or "smoke a cigarette" break.

    If you leave too early (e.g. in a positive count), it will actually hurt your win rate since you will loose out on situations where you have an advantage.
  • Mr Ed, My strategy is to play one table at a time and this tends to
    eliminate trips to the john, etc. My objective is to maximize edge
    by eliminating unfavorable conditions and if this means playing 5-6
    hands at a table so be it. One thing that I've observed during a short
    vacation may be of interest to you. Backcounting is possible at every
    table in the house even when you may think otherwise. If you look at
    some of the busy tables you will discover that they are not as busy as
    they appear and will have one or two open spots. Friends watching friends
    play is quite common and this will aid your effort by providing additional
    cover.

    Table hopping has two other advantages that I think may be of interest
    depending on your situation and outlook. Less heat because your not
    in one place long enough to be noticed. Base unit increase is possible
    because you are not sitting there playing thru shoe after shoe looking
    for that elusive +1,+2, etc. I don't think that the accepted session stake
    and base unit determination applies to this method of play. I've increased
    my base unit over the last two months and am considering a further
    increase when I play again...........

    Ray
  • Thanks for the advice, Ray. Unfortunately when I say "full table" I mean that every circle has a bet in it and if someone's playing two spots, I've already asked them if they would give me one of their spots.

    Good for you for being such a dilligent Wonger. Personally, I just don't like backcounting all the time.

    At my playing level, I've never received heat and I don't worry about cover. (Although I 'm not stupid about it.)

    What do you mean when you say, the accepted session stake and base unit determination do not apply to backcounting? Your base unit is the same size, you just average more units per hand.
  • Hi guys,

    Reading up on your discussion about Wonging and backcounting, I was wondering from a non-counters POV how high the count has to be in your favor in order for you to have a good chance at getting the high cards (20-21). Also, even if the count is heavily in your favor (i.e. +8 ), what's the guarantee YOU will get those high cards and not the dealer, or your buddy Bill right next to you? There isn't, is there? It would just give you better ODDS at getting dealt the 20 or BJ, right?

    One more thing, let's say the count is +8 and you bet x units above the table min., and WON with a 20 but the problem is on that hand EVERYONE got 18-21 and the dealer got 19 as well. Now with all those biggies, the count is neutral-negative now... do you still continue to play after that one time? What makes it worse is what if you LOSE that bet!!! So, would [/i]that[/i] be part-luck as well, because just because you count cards so well, etc. the cards that you get dealt STILL have a strong determining factor on whether you win or lose!!!

    Am I not right?
  • Say you're playing an 8 deck shoe, 4 decks have been dealt out, and the running count is +8. This equals a true count of 8/(8-4)=+2. This is a good count, but even so, you advantage is maybe 0.5%. It's not much. If you play 100 hands, win 50 times, surrender 1 and loose 49, your advantage is 0.5%.

    A count of +2, with 4 decks left means there are 208 cards left: a reasonable distribution is: 84 big cards, 76 small cards, and 48 medium cards.

    You are more likely to get two big cards, but so is the dealer, and so is Bill. It's also perfectly reasonable for Bill to get 10,10, you get 6,9 and the dealer gets A,10. Tough cookies for you and for Bill. It's also reasonable (but not as likely) for six small cards to come out.

    So if there are now 8 big cards on the table and zero small cards, the count is now 0. You go back to your minimum bet. Oh well, maybe next time.

    So, yes, whether you win or not depends more on what cards you get than what the count is!

    Counting gives you a very small advantage, but a very large variance.
  • So even the BEST card-counters MUST also get good cards in order to reap the benefits, no? What's the highest a TRUE COUNT has been (that you've seen) in a 6-deck game? Also, it's dependent on the TRUE COUNT to up or low your bets, NOT the Running Count, right? Any advantage on JUST the RC?
  • Yes. Card counters must get good hands to win (at least better than the dealer). Normally, card counters spend ABOUT 97% of their time using Basic Strategy, so they get the same hands that non-counters get. It's just that when a counter has a better chance of winning, he bets more money, and he'll walk when his odds are really bad.

    I've only played 8 deck. I don't keep track above +5, but I've seen it a few times, maybe once every 20 shoes.

    The more accurate betting ramps are based on the true count, but there are plenty of systems based on the Running Count. (sorry, I don't use then and I don't know their names) But when I started playing 8 deck shoes, I would just divide the running count by 5 to estimate the True Count. (it's easy: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25)
  • well see the messed up thing about THAT is that you could like i said be the best card counter yet get the gayest cards and STILL lose!!! NOTHING you can do about that!!! :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
  • Bug, your comments also interest me because I am a basic strategy player. During my practice on the Ace-10 front count I've noticed, even when the first two decks counted down to 36 or 35, the dealer seemed to get most of the remaining high cards and I didn't! By the end of the shoe I found myself in worse shape even though supposedly having the advantage. But I understand eventually, after playing enough of those "good shoes", I will get my share.
  • PJ

    You can have the advantage with the A-10 front count, but if you don't get the cards you still lose. The advantage comes because you have a better chance to get the good cards. And in particular to have a better chance on your double downs. I used the A-10 front count today on a boat in Illinois. Had good luck with it today, but don't always. Also if your spread is not wide enough the A-10 front count will hold your losses to less than the house advantage over time, but you will still not be a long term winner.

    Charles
  • Tuffy88

    Don't you mean, "if your spread IS wide enough..."? or did I miss your point somewhat?
  • Yeah, so even the BEST counters still need to get the high cards to win. Luck STILL has a very huge factor in overall success in BJ!!!

    Counting may not all be worth it, eh???

    Also, how about explaning what the "A-10 FRONT LOAD COUNT" is?
  • GUYS, I just got back from the Casino and I can tell you from this nights
    experience that nothing is for certain in BJ. I played two sessions and the first went very well....BUT, the second session was enough to rattle my
    bones to the quick. It seemed like the dealers had my number from
    start to finish and it made no difference how good my cards were. How
    many times can you push or loose with 20 and how can you not win
    with a bunch of 21's, doubles,good hits or blackjacks? Two or three times
    when I had a blackjack, so did the dealer. This was at every table and
    all dealers. I don't think I'll play again this year. I lost what I won in
    the first session and another 16 units on top of that. Deflating to say the
    least.

    Mr Ed,,, Yes I agree your average bet is higher but what about all those
    single unit bets that you have not eliminated if you did not backcount or
    set exit points for the neutral decks. If one unit = $10 and we use a
    1-10 bet spread then our average bet is approx. $20. I've seen numbers
    like 40 x 20 0r 60 x 20 for an average 4 hour session. It seems to me
    that there is considerable difference in actual playing time(exposure) and
    number of bets even if in the one case your bet amount is greater.

    I don't know any way to evaluate two very different types of 4 hour
    sessions. In one case your playing most of the time and in the other
    your playing less than half the time. I'm using my old session stake
    and I've increased my base unit without any indication of a problem.

    Maybe its all so much BS......Does anyone calculate their session requirements before going to the Casino and not go as a result?


    Ray
  • Bug and others, Yes, luck is a big part of the game and my experience
    at the Casino last night is an example of extreme "BAD" luck. If my post
    in the wee hours made no sense, I apologize. I had not seen anything
    like that in years; like going thru a meat grinder and I felt like hamburger
    all the way home.

    Bug, you ask about A/10 and I remember giving a brief description in a
    post sometime back. Renzey added something to the post regarding
    True count. I think he was talking about the average true count over
    the remaining cards to be played(1.6 or 2). I can't be sure of that. I
    think it was "Drew" who ask the question.

    Ray
  • BUG: Three quick points.
    1) A basic strategy player has a small disadvantage and needs GOOD cards to win. A card counter has a small advantage and needs AVERAGE cards to win. If both run into BAD cards, both will lose. In the combined long term however, it's extremely likely that both will end up with AVERAGE cards overall. Thus, the basic strategy player will be a loser and the card counter will be a winner.

    2) When lots of high cards remain, both the dealer and player have exactly the same chance of getting them. But the player makes more money with high cards than the dealer. That's in fact why it's said that high cards favor the player. The clearest example of this is when somebody gets a blackjack. If you've bet $20 and the dealer gets blackjack to your 19, she wins your $20. If it's the other way around, you win $30. Other less obvious examples are hard double downs, splitting Aces, being able to stand on your stiffs and taking insurance.

    3) The Ace/10 Front Count is a super-simple, recreational counting system designed for six decks, but is adaptable to other configurations. You simply add together all the 10's thru Aces that come out in the first two decks of a six deck shoe (using the discard tray as your visual gauge to recognize two dealt decks). YOU DO NOT NEED TO COUNT BEYOND THAT POINT. On average, you will have seen 40 Ace/10's by then. But whenever you've seen 36 or fewer, the remaining shoe will possess a player advantage (+1.6 true at "36", +2.0 true @ "35", etc.) and you should increase your bets substantially for the rest of the shoe -- WIN OR LOSE. If your front count is "42" or higher, you should walk. If it's "37" to "41", stay and continue to bet one unit. This is a "poor man's" counting system and will net an edge only about one third that of a full blown card count, but it beat's the snot out of playing with a disadvantage.
  • PJ

    What I ment was if your spread is not wide enough ($10-$60) wou will not be betting enough when you have the advantage to overcome the house edge.

    Charles
  • 3) The Ace/10 Front Count is a super-simple, recreational counting system designed for six decks, but is adaptable to other configurations. You simply add together all the 10's thru Aces that come out in the first two decks of a six deck shoe (using the discard tray as your visual gauge to recognize two dealt decks). YOU DO NOT NEED TO COUNT BEYOND THAT POINT. On average, you will have seen 40 Ace/10's by then. But whenever you've seen 36 or fewer, the remaining shoe will possess a player advantage (+1.6 true at "36", +2.0 true @ "35", etc.) and you should increase your bets substantially for the rest of the shoe -- WIN OR LOSE. If your front count is "42" or higher, you should walk. If it's "37" to "41", stay and continue to bet one unit. This is a "poor man's" counting system and will net an edge only about one third that of a full blown card count, but it beat's the snot out of playing with a disadvantage.


    Nice. But how can I know EXACTLY when 2 decks are in the discard tray? Can you give me an EXACT breakdown of if the amount of 10/Aces are <36 how much I should bet? Like what if I only counted 20, 25 of them or 30? Bet the TABLE MAX?? hahaha.

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