After looking at many 5 star and 1 star reviews on amazon.com I became interested in the book Gregorian Strategy for Multiple Deck Blackjack. First, I would like to say that the author doesn't talk down to you as bad as they say, but I am not a sissy, and as such, am not easily offended. After all, if he talks down to me through out the book, I don't feel bad when I burst into laughter at the end of the book and call him a friggin idiot as I would if the author was in front of me. Anyways, I sat down today and loaded up on my 13.5% Final Absolution (beer) so I could judge what he had to say w/ a clear mind ( not thinking about what the "correct" play would be ). I have to say that he DOES make alot of sence. In 6 & 8 deck games, the cards that favor the player are in fact "diluted" making it easyer to draw a greater amount of non-pat hands, which means more hitting, which means more busting. Also, if small cards favored the dealer w/ a single deck, they REALLY favor the dealer in MULTI DECK! Now that your, hiting MORE and Busting MORE, and when your not they ARE OUTDRAWING YOU because of a greater concentration of small cards (A's tipping the hat in favor of the dealer drawing to a pat hand when you stand on a hand non-pat hand)
Maybe it is my drunken state of "clearity," but i believe that what this guy has to say has some merit......no matter what sims say.
5-8 vs 2-A: HIT ( Basic says HIT ) 9 vs 2-7: DOUBLE, else HIT ( Basic Hits 2 & 7 )
Dealer has a 2 vs Your 9: Pat 66% vs ~77%. Bust 34% vs 23%. NOT AT ALL AN UNREASONABLE PLAY! Dealer has a 7 vs 9: Pat 72% vs 77%. Bust 28% vs 23% STILL NOT AT ALL AN UNREASONABLE PLAY!
TEN vs 2-9: DOUBLE, else HIT ( Basic is the same ) 11 vs 2-9: DOUBLE, else HIT ( Basic doubles vs a TEN )
Dealer has 10 vs your 11: Pat 78% vs 81%. Bust 22% vs 19%. It is ~4% worse than doubling against a 9 and ~8% worse than doubling against an 8. So, you can see that it is not unreasonable to just HIT vs a TEN!
12 or 13: HIT (Basic says to STAND on 12 vs 4-6 & STAND on 13 vs 2-6 )
If you hit your 12 until pat or bust, you will go pat 53% of the time. If the dealer has a 4 up, he will go pat 60% of the time....which means that 60% of the time you stand w/ a 12 vs 4 you will lose. I'm gunna HIT, you do whatever you want. If the dealer has a 6 up, he will go pat 54% of the time, which means that YOU WILL LOSE if you stand anyway. So take that 53% shot to deny him victory! (REMEMBER that in 6-8 decks there is a LARGER pool of weak cards to get lucky with....the same pool the casino uses to get lucky when you don't bust!). If you hit your hard 13 until pat or bust, you will go pat 45% of the time. This is still very good. If the dealer has a 2 up, he will go pat ~66% of the time. Take your 45% chance to deny him a WIN. Again, If the dealer has a 6 up, he will go pat 54% of the time.
14 vs 4-6: STAND, else HIT ( Basic says to stand vs 2 & 3...you know, the hands that go pat 66% & 62% of the time? Is it so unreasonable to hit a hand when the dealer has a 12-16% edge over you? )
If you hit a 14 until pat or bust, you will go pat 39% of the time and bust 61%. Dealer has a 2: There is a 34% chance that i will win if i stand, but a 39% chance to improve a hand that WILL LOSE ~66% of the time IF I STAND. Dealer has a 3: There is a 38% chance that i will win if i stand, but a 39% chance to improve a hand that WILL LOSE 62% of the time IF I STAND.
Anyways, the above was just to show you that in a 6-8 deck game (because of a higher amount of weak cards) it is not unreasonable to TRY TO IMPROVE hand that WILL LOSE ANYWAY IF YOU STAND!
So now is where I get lazy and just give you the rest of the GREGORIAN STRATEGY FOR MULTIPLE DECK BLACKJACK ( If you want the book, you can get it on Amazon.com for 1$ plus shiping, as i did ).
GREGORIAN STRATEGY: Take advantage of the dealer when he is weak, and use the LARGE POOL of WEAK cards in a 6-INFINATE DECK (CSM) to get lucky when the dealer is STRONG. Also use a shoes BIAS (check out my new counting strategy which pinpoints a shoes BIAS) to decide if you should even sit down ( or stay in the game if they shuffle for new players ).
5-8 vs 2-A: HIT 9 vs 2-7: DOUBLE, else HIT TEN vs 2-9: DOUBLE, else HIT 11 vs 2-9: DOUBLE, else HIT 12 or 13: HIT 14 vs 4-6: STAND, else HIT -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 15 vs 3-6: STAND, else HIT ---> unless SURRENDER, 9-ACE. 16 vs 2-6: STAND, else HIT ---> unless SURRENDER, 8-ACE. 17-21: You better fuggin STAND! Lets not get carried away! A/2 or 3: DOUBLE vs 5 & 6, else HIT. A/4 or 5: DOUBLE vs 4, 5, & 6, else HIT. A/6: DOUBLE vs 3-6, else HIT. A/7: DOUBLE vs 3-6, STAND vs 7 & 8, else HIT. A/8 or 9: STAND! ! !
2/2 or 3/3: SPLIT vs 4-6, else HIT. 4/4: SPLIT vs 4-6, else HIT. 5/5: DOUBLE vs 2-9, else HIT. 6/6: SPLIT vs 4-6, else HIT. 7/7: SPLIT vs 2-7, else HIT. 8/8: SPLIT vs 2-8, else HIT ---> unless SURRENDER, 9-ACE. 9/9: STAND vs 7, 10, & ACE, else SPLIT. 10/10: STAND! ! ! A/A: HIT vs 10 & ACE, else SPLIT.
M/Joe -- Forgive me for flashing a few numbers here to start with.
With single deck blackjack, your chance of being dealt 10/2, 10/3, 10/4, 10/5 or 10/6 collectively is 24.1%. With six decks it is 23.7%.
In single deck, your chance of being dealt 10/10 is 9.0% With six decks it's 9.4%.
With single deck, your chance of being dealt a blackjack is 4.8%. With six decks it's 4.7%.
In single deck, your chance of being dealt a doubling hand of 11 is 4.8% and your chance to hit it with a 10 is 32.0%. With six decks, those numbers are 4.7% and 31.0% respectively.
These subtle differences between single and multiple deck blackjack were analyzed by computers thirty years ago and the optimal basic strategy was derived back then. It contains 14 revisions from single deck basic strategy (on the marginal plays).
Now for some practical observations. Being the type of person who has to see things for myself, I went ahead and tested one of Gregorian's basic strategy plays - hitting 13 vs. 5. Using six hand shuffled decks, I stood 1000 times and recorded the W,L,P results. Then I hit it 1000 times and recorded those. This I did more than two years ago and no longer have the test results, but did considerably better by standing than hitting. If I remember correctly, standing turned out better by around 2.5 standard deviations. That means if you ran the same experiment a second time, there would be about 1 chance in 160 that hitting would turn out better this time. But don't take my experiment as the be all/end all to the Gregorian strategy. I urge you to perform the same experiment with other plays exclusive to this strategy, such as hitting 14 against a 3, or hitting 15 against a 2. My experiment took about two hours. I'd love to see more results.
For those of you who like to stick out their chest and brag about how easily they can convert a running count to a true count, this is the strategy changes to the Gregorian based on the OMEGA 2 count. I removed plays that were Gregorian NO-NO's....there were only a few.
CHANGES TO GREGORIAN w/ +6 STRATEGY
8 vs 5 & 6: DOUBLE, else HIT. 12-14 vs 2-6: STAND, else HIT 15 vs 2-6: STAND, else HIT ---> unless SURRENDER 9-A.
A/A: SPLIT A/2 or 3 vs 4: DOUBLE. A/8 vs 4-6: DOUBLE, else STAND.
2/2 & 3/3 vs 3-7: SPLIT, else HIT. (3 & 7 added) 4/4 vs 5 & 6: DOUBLE, else HIT. ( 4 removed ) 7/7 vs 10: STAND 8/8: SPLIT.
So what you are saying is that single deck and SIX DECK blackjack is only diff. by tenths of a percent? If this were the case, then why would EVERY(?) blackjack book say that your edge suffers in MULTI DECK? I mean, your chances of getting 2 tens are only off by a tenth or so of a percent! I know! It's the added number of cards that you have to count through to gain a mathematical advantage! Well, if that is the case, then you are saying that, ALL THOSE CARDS you have to count through to get to you mathematical advantage are weak cards? But geting a 10/10 is just as easy (w/ in 10ths of a %) as it is in single deck?
Remember that the long run is nothing more than a theoretical construct & from now until then it will always be more advantageous to they that hit.
That said, when the count is significantly plus I will alter (suprisingly the changes are few) my play to the +6 omega 2 strategy.
Are you saying that a dealers 5 up card will go pat less than 50% of the time? If not, then just standing on 13 I WILL LOSE! Yes, hiting a 13 I will bust ~55% of the time. But if a stand i will lose ~55% of the time. So the question here is ----> If your fighting in a war and your the only man standing, do you pull the trigger or wait to get shot? In the end it will have the same result.
Joe, Joe! -- When you have 13 against anything, you will lose more often than you will win no matter how you play the hand! With that 13 against a 5, the overall odds are that you will win 37% of the time if you hit (counting pushes as a half win and a half loss), and 42% of the time if you stand (since the dealer breaks 42% of the time with a 5 up). Why argue the point? Wouldn't it be more productive to put together six decks of cards and play out the hand 1000 times each way? Bear in mind that there's no need to shuffle the pack after each hand. Just run right through the entire shoe while keeping a tally. That will bring about the same overall result as shuffling every hand. With that, we'd be getting somewhere.
Joe -- The main reason why it's harder to gain an edge with six decks (as opposed to one) is because six times as many excess low cards have to come out to affect the remaining cards as much.
Sure, I'll put together the decks & run right through the entire shoe.......... And your numbers will be most likley be right on.
But, the Gregorian Strategy is based mostly on "equality in large numbers" What I mean by that is that if the shoe isn't too positive or too negative, ie the deck is close to neutral then you can take advantage of this---------->
"Joe -- The main reason why it's harder to gain an edge with six decks (as opposed to one) is because ---> SIX TIMES AS MANY EXCESS LOW CARDS HAVE TO COME OUT <--- to affect the remaining cards as much."<br /> Let us pretend that SIX TIMES & EXCESS LOW CARDS are double underlined.
Now when neutrality or "normality (excess low cards)" is no longer the case, then sure follow basic strategy when in a nagative count and make changes in a positive count, but close to neutral I still believe Gregorian is best.
So you see, in order for me to run through a shoe i will have to shuffle up every time or when the deck is no longer close to neutral. Barring neutrality, yes, follow basic strategy and its variations.
I am not trying to be pig headed, or dismiss what you have to say Renzy. I just think that you are too quick to over look a system because it might not be the best play for a some what negative or positive count.
You say,"When you have 13 against anything, you will lose more often than you will win no matter how you play the hand!"
I said,"Yes, hiting a 13 I will bust ~55% of the time. "
You say,"the overall odds are that you will win 37% of the time if you hit (counting pushes as a half win and a half loss)"
Half win half loss? You are taking YOUR MONEY, they are takeing THEIR MONEY----> Half of nothing is NOTHING! It is like you never bet!
You say,"the dealer breaks 42% of the time with a 5 up." which (barring pushes because we know better now), is the same as saying that he will have a pat hand 58% of the time."
That is close to what I said,"But if a stand i will lose ~55% of the time."
So Renzy, when you say,"Why argue the point?"
I say,"I am saying the same thing, maybe in a diff. dialect."
Joe -- I honestly believe in your sincerity on these matters. Please believe in mine, and give this stuff a chance. The reason for counting pushes as a half win and half loss is that it accurately represents the proportional results of the entire sample, including pushes.
Example: With multi-decks, when you stand with 13 against a 5 one thousand times, mathematically you should win 419 times and lose 581 -- a net loss of 162 bets. There will be no pushes because you cannot push on 13. Nice and simple. But if you hit, you should win 349, lose 605 and push the other 46 -- a net loss of 256 bets. You can tell which way is better by subtracting the wins from the losses, but in the case of hitting, the wins and losses don't add up to 100%. In closer situations, that can be confusing/misleading. So the right thing to do is count pushes as a half win and half loss so that your overall gain or loss is not corrupted and the results add up to 100%. That's why I simply stated that hitting should win 37% of the time -- counting pushes as a half win and half loss.
Joking aside, I: love your books, the Mentor Count, and hand interaction. Concerning hand interaction, I did wonder if I would ever be taking the worst of it should the count go significantly plus or minus............... and is there ever a time when offering the player next to you a surrender ( you give them half(?) their bet for a full bet) a good bet? What about in a positive or negative count?
I guess I am hell bent on leaving no stone unturned when it comes to finding an edge ( probably why i own more poker, bj, & VP books than i do clothes ).
I think ppl are confused w/ my above post, so I will clarify.
I agree that hiting 13 vs 5 until PAT is a bad play.
But, I don't agree that it is a bad play to hit once as--->
4, 5, 6, 7, & 8 improve the hand vs 9 & 10 busting it.
That is 5 to 3 in favor of luck over math (or did you think that blackjack was all math?).
Anyways, I ended the discussion because I said all that I had to say & Renzy said all that he could say to sway my thinking (which he did to some degree and I thank him for taking the time to post).