Is BJ still beatable given contemporary conditions?
  • Given the lousy rules and conditions plus the higher table minimums, do you guys think the shoe game is still beatable? Most casinos these days do not allow midshoe entry so team play and wonging go out the window.

    In the book Bringing Down the House, the protagonist writes an essay included in the back of the book where he concludes that the "Golden Age" of counting is over due to deteriorating conditions and higher table minimums.

    MJ
  • Higher table minimums will not affect your ability to win if you have the supporting BR. However, higher min does limit your ability to wong-in as you described. In my world, you can still backcount 5,10,15 and 20 dollar tables.
    DD is another alternative when casino conditions are poor.

    There are alternatives to backcounting at the higher limits, but that is a longer story.
  • Your post is really two different questions. In my opinion the "Golden Age" of counting is over, but most of the games I see are still very beatable. Things may be different in other parts of the country.

    -Sonny-
  • MJ1,
    Where I play here in the south, the 6-deck games offer:

    - Mid-shoe entry
    - $10 to $2,500 limits
    - Dealer S17
    - DAS
    - DOA
    - RSA
    - 75% pen
    - No surrender

    The DD pitch games have all same rules except mid-shoe entry not allowed and pen being only 50%.

    Do you consider these beatable and playable games?
  • The rules of blackjack change from casino to casino and if you are stuck with bad rules it will make you much more likely to fail than if you find a casino with good rules. I would always play at the casino that offers you the best rules and you must hunt down these casinos and compare rules. With the higher minimums if you don't have a very big bankroll to work with that will hurt you as well!
  • MJ1 said:
    Given the lousy rules and conditions plus the higher table minimums, do you guys think the shoe game is still beatable? Most casinos these days do not allow midshoe entry so team play and wonging go out the window.

    In the book Bringing Down the House, the protagonist writes an essay included in the back of the book where he concludes that the "Golden Age" of counting is over due to deteriorating conditions and higher table minimums.

    MJ


    Although there are more casinos with lousy rules out there now, the ones with good rules are basically the same as was years ago. The only place no mid shoe entry has become an issue for the most part has been at the higher stakes tables. But most peoples bankrolls don't notice the difference as most don't play table max even at the lower limit tables. And if you are playing slightly higher, say at a $25 table the max's can be as high as $3000 if you want to lay out bigger money. The only thing that is gone are the days of wonging in for multi thousands, or conventional big player team play with $1000 units. But that effects very little of the AP population and those who it has effected have adapted nicely for the most part to the changes.
  • chxplay said:
    MJ1,
    Where I play here in the south, the 6-deck games offer:

    - Mid-shoe entry
    - $10 to $2,500 limits
    - Dealer S17
    - DAS
    - DOA
    - RSA
    - 75% pen
    - No surrender

    The DD pitch games have all same rules except mid-shoe entry not allowed and pen being only 50%.

    Do you consider these beatable and playable games?


    Rules are OK, particularly for DD. Penetration is marginal at best on the DD game. You can beat a 50% game with a good spread, but the variance is high. The 75% on a shoe game will slow things down since the + counts usually come at the end of the shoe, and you will stop playing at 1.5 decks left.

    Used to be able to find dealers in the Beau (which also had LS) that would cut off just one deck, for a really good game.
  • Its pretty hard to find better than 75% penetration on 6 deck games. A crowded 6-deck table is not worth playing under and conditions, IMO.

    I agree that the 50% penetration on DD is dicey. However, at Argosy Cinci they allow mid-shoe entry on just such a game. But there is no DAS and you can only double on 10 or 11, not very good rules. I am thinking about standing there and wonging in with $100 bets next time. There was a guy who entered midshoe for the table max of $2000 and lost. He was just sitting at the table most of the time watching but not playing. There was only one drunk guy there playing. I played some hands and was doing ok. Then the dealer started giving 40% penetration and I gave up and left.

    The $2000 guy drew little attention from the pit boss. They have been careful to craft their games to be almost impossible to beat, so they appear arrogant. I think I can get away with most anything there, and if they caught me it would not be a great loss.

    I know the $2000 guy was not counting because of the timing of his bets. He place some other large bets ($500-$1000), but there was no correlation to the count. He also questioned my taking insurance when the count dictated it.
  • Knox said:
    Its pretty hard to find better than 75% penetration on 6 deck games. A crowded 6-deck table is not worth playing under and conditions, IMO.

    I agree that the 50% penetration on DD is dicey. However, at Argosy Cinci they allow mid-shoe entry on just such a game. But there is no DAS and you can only double on 10 or 11, not very good rules. I am thinking about standing there and wonging in with $100 bets next time. There was a guy who entered midshoe for the table max of $2000 and lost. He was just sitting at the table most of the time watching but not playing. There was only one drunk guy there playing. I played some hands and was doing ok. Then the dealer started giving 40% penetration and I gave up and left.

    The $2000 guy drew little attention from the pit boss. They have been careful to craft their games to be almost impossible to beat, so they appear arrogant. I think I can get away with most anything there, and if they caught me it would not be a great loss.

    I know the $2000 guy was not counting because of the timing of his bets. He place some other large bets ($500-$1000), but there was no correlation to the count. He also questioned my taking insurance when the count dictated it.



    You can't really conclude anything about his play because counting is not the only advantage play he might try to employ. Sounds more likely that he was shuffle-tracking. That doesn't correlate with the count at all and is an excellent ploy to conceal advantage play. However, DD games are not particularly trackable unless the dealer is sloppy/lazy, and if it is an automatic shuffler game, it is even less likely.

    You never know who/what you are sitting beside in this game unless he/she is a true counter, which is a signal to leave quickly.
  • [QUOTE
    You never know who/what you are sitting beside in this game unless he/she is a true counter, which is a signal to leave quickly.[/QUOTE]


    Could you explain further? (I am a novice.) Is this because your table is being watched more? Could you be suspected as a "co-conspirator"?
  • chxplay said:
    Could you explain further? (I am a novice.) Is this because your table is being watched more? Could you be suspected as a "co-conspirator"?


    First, two counters will mimic each other's betting and playing, drawing attention more quickly. It just makes the pit's job easier as the first step is to recognize that something is going on, before anyone takes the next step of doing a "skills check" thru video.

    Second, you can get zapped (although I would not worry about it) as looking like the two of you are somehow in cahoots...

    Thirdly, and mainly, you don't know what has happened previously, and the other guy at the table might have already been under observation due to prior play, and now you are sitting in the spotlight with him and they'll notice you by accident, but you will stand out when they are evaluating his play.

    If I suspect someone is counting, I just bail out unless there are two of us together, and there we come and go reasonably close in time so we don't worry about the prior actions problem. But one does have to be careful to avoid looking like a pair of clones when pushing big/small bets out. The more of us that do the same thing, the more noticeable we become, and that's to be avoided whenever possible. Being noticed is but a step or two away from being backed-off.

    I most often do this with my wife, and that can look pretty natural for her to sit out, then play, etc. All the while playing only when in a + count. If you can find a place where it is possible to do that, two can do pretty well.

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