Casino Brantford trip report
  • I went with three friends to Casino Brantford on Sunday morning, planning to try Hi-Lo under real conditions for the first time. There were only 2 $5 tables, which is what we were hoping to play. The others planned to play with about $100 bankrolls; I had $200, so generally played at the $10 tables instead of waiting for a spot at the packed $5 ones. The games were all 8D/DAS/S17, with about 70% penetration.

    In my first session, I bought in for $100 and got scared off after losing $40 (I know I should've stayed in, but I was still getting used to counting). I played $5 with my friends for a couple of shoes, joining after the shuffle and counting through both shoes. Unfortunately, it wasn't much use, since the count got up to +2 only for about 3 hands, at which point I doubled my bets to $10. The rest of the time, it was negative. I probably should've wonged out, right? I didn't because I figured I'd have to wait ages for a seat at that table again, and it was fun to play with all my friends at once. I lost another $35 at this table, then we broke for lunch.

    After lunch, I scouted the tables for one nearing the shuffle, sitting down at a different $10 one. It felt like I raised a red flag a couple of times:
    -at the $5 table, I was looking at (i.e. counting) the cards of the players ahead of me while it was my turn. Having looked at my cards already, I waved my hand to stand while still looking at the other players' cards;
    -at the second $10 table, third base had a marker, and I asked to play on it. The dealer said I could, but also offered me the open spot two seats over, which I declined without a good reason (because I couldn't think of one other than that I was counting!);
    -at a count of something like -5 I hit a hard 10 against the dealer's 6, instead of doubling, drawing a 4 and standing. I mistakenly thought this was a warranted variation from BS given the negative count. It worked in my favor, however, when I lost the hand, but it looked mighty suspicious to hit on a hand that was a clean double.

    I counted through three shoes at this $10 table, gradually gaining confidence in my ability to count accurately and put up some cover at the same time. Once, the guy beside me told me I should have insured my 20 (which I didn't because the count was highly negative), and I said I refused it because "I never take insurance--it's too complicated!" Mostly I managed to talk with the dealer and joke with other players a little without losing the count, even when a slightly faster dealer came in on the third shoe.

    One problem I experienced at third base that I didn't experience at other positions was that when the player at first base hit his hand, the dealer's right arm sometimes obscured the drawn card. If the card busted the hand, the dealer scooped up the cards immediately, and I had to guess (from any partial view I could get) whether it was a -1, 0, or +1 for the count.

    The count never got to +2, so I never bet above the table minimum. I lost another $15 in the first two shoes, then hit a good run despite the negative count, winnning back $160 by the end of the shoe. Since this put me up $70--a lot more than counting was statistically supposed to get me--I quit.

    Overall, counting didn't really help me win money, since the count was negative virtually every hand, but I guess it helped me NOT LOSE money, since it enabled me to know not to increase my bets.

  • Well, you had a good day, and a learning experience. Though not a Hi/Lo player, most people do not play negative counts lower than -1 if any. Is there a time you can play when not so crowded? Most of the unwise play occurs on the weekend. If you can play mid-week, that would ease the crowding.It was noticed by you and you pretty much said it influenced a decision or two.... that is the Psychological House Advantage rearing its ugly head. Just play the right way, and leave when you should. Thats the discipline needed that many people have a tough time perfecting, and it can be costly.

    good cards,
  • Crowded casinos are one of the more vexing obstacles I encounter whenever I go on a blackjack trip. I usually go with relatives, and am the one who pushes for the trip in the first place, so I try to play, too. Often there will be no seats open at the affordable tables, and as soon as one frees up--first base, fast dealer, mid-shoe entry notwithstanding--I feel obliged to take it and play even though conditions are less than ideal. It seems somehow ungrateful of me to drag relatives out to a casino for my sake (where my relatives lose money on the slots, the only game they understand how to play), and then to turn around and try to explain to them that I'm not playing because the conditions--which they don't understand, not being hardcore--aren't in my favor.

    I'm going to try going more with my friends, who I've been schooling in the art of blackjack (they're just mastering BS), and who better understand the vagaries of casino operations. And who can more frequently get away from work on weekday mornings.

  • My main problem with crowded tables or with other players even is when they get annoyed with me. For example I have a twelve and the dealer has a 3 up I hit everyone groans saying I should have stood. This also applys to having a soft 18 and I double against a 3 to 6. The dealer always announces when I make this move. They get really ticked when I fool with my twelve VS 4.

    It seems like every player has this constant paranoria that bad players hurt good players. This has little to do with anything and as far as I'm concerned alot of these so called 'good players' should buy a basic strategy chart. First off going wiht the 10 in the hole theory is a bad strategy all together. I've seen players play this way and they really get burned than wonder why. Like double on an 8 agains't a 2 because 'the dealer has 'twelve' snicker.

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