hi-lo unbalanced option
  • newbie counter here. Practicing, practicing, practicing.

    I'm heading to vegas in a couple weeks and most of the time I will be flat betting. Will try counting simply to find out points to wong out of a shoe or to increase my bets slightly. Probably won't spread much past 1-5.

    Now I realize this probably wont give me an advantage but I'm new to counting so I don't expect a huge change in fortunes. Play BS and slowly trying to improve my game.

    Here's the question I have. When I flip through a couple decks thowing 1-4 cards out at a time trying to keep up with a real fast deal I sometimes get tripped up at the crossover points from -1 to +1. What if I modified the count by doing an unbalanced count and starting at say +10. less likely to get tripped up and if the count ever got to 0 I'd be long gone from that shoe anyway.

    I don't plan on modifying my play based on the count (except possibly taking insurance/even money at a very high count) just looking for a guide for bet levels (for now)

    Granted it would be harder to figure the true count (subtract 10 divide by decks left..) but remember I am just trying to get a relative count value for now.

  • Loren- What you are suggesting will work just fine, but why don't you
    start your count at 50 and drop the +/- thing altogether. For the small
    cards, just count backward, 49,48,47,46,45. With one deck gone, the
    count would be +1 at 45. large cards just count up,51,52,53,54,55 and
    at 55 you have a -1. Consider the following sequence: A,2,K,6,5,5,10,J.
    Your count would go like so: 51,50,51,50,49,48,49,50/neutral.
    (all this assumes a 6 deck shoe)

  • Ray,

    I understand why it would be good to start at 50 instead of 10 (remove all possibility of the +/- things coming into play, but why would I want to switch things around and have low cards be -1 and high cards to be +1. Seems counter-intuitive.
  • Loren- It works both ways...take your pick...I like to think of little
    as going down, big as going up.................but it's up to you. One
    thing is for sure, you want have to worry about the +1, 0, -1 problem
    again because 49 and 51 are very different.
  • My suggestion Loren,

    Count Hi-Lo as you would normally but substitute 0 with 100. If you start with 100 you can still just count 1,2,3... in the positive without saying 101, 102. But instead of counting -1, -2... just think 99, 98, 97.

  • Ray said:
    Loren- What you are suggesting will work just fine, but why don't you
    start your count at 50 and drop the +/- thing altogether. For the small
    cards, just count backward, 49,48,47,46,45.........

    I suppose the above would work, but it is totally bass-ackwards to the rest of the blackjack AP world, and I would strongly recommend against it. It might be o.k. for a recreational counter who only wants a 'lite count', but I see all kinds of obstacles if you want to get serious with your counting/playing.......Indices, keys, and pivots come to mind immediately.

    If you are planning to stay with Hi-Lo, just "hang in there" with the +/-/0. I guarantee you it will not be long until the shift from plus to minus becomes automatic. It just takes a little time......And, as opposed to the above, the +/-/0 leads you right into your next step with of using indices with no "re-learning" of anything (and I would start learning/using them immediately.)

  • Grif- What I suggest and pretty much what Leon is suggesting is very
    much like Renzeys mentor count. The only difference is I stick with
    sequential numbers for plus or minus counts without droping the high
    order 1 as in 100. I don't use anything other than +1 and -1, but had
    I thought of it years ago, well maybe. The problem occurs, when you
    pass from +1 thru 0 to -1 and back and forth. The dealer makes an error
    and the situation at the table gets to the new counter. Which was it 1 or
    -1? In both situations (mine, Leons/ Renzeys) you still must know what the numbers mean below/above 100 or 50 regarding running count.....

  • In fact, now that we're on the subject....I wish Renzey had made his pivot point something higher, like 50 or 100. Often one's count is 15-19, which is also the total of most of the hands. It can be confusing. For example, was the count 19, or was my last hand total 19???? I don't know if anyone else has this problem, or if more experience will change my mind.
  • what is Renzey's mentor count?

    and does anyone have any good practice techniques?

    I kinda feel like simply going thorugh a deck one card at a time is a bit unrealistic so what I have been doing in shuffling 2 decks and flipping 1-4 cards over at a time, trying to go with 2-3 cards then 1 card (simulating how cards would hit the table) I always leave one card out so at the end when I am hopefully only at +1/0/ or -1 I guess the last card. Satisfying to go quickly through the decks and get to the last card knowing the value of the card I left out.

    I have seen a couple online practice tutorials but they don't seem to work as well as seeing real cards.

    So far my problem has been exactly as Leon describes "was I at +1 or -1?" Hopefully Grifter, you are right and this will come naturally with more practice. I want this to work because I do see the advantage of later mixing in the real count calcuations, and BS variations based on the count. I'm nowhere near that yet though. Just don't want to relearn things later
  • Ray - My criticism was specifically aimed at your suggestion of reversing the plus/minus values of low/high cards.....My advice to all is do not even think about it, especially if you are just beginning and trying to learn counting. Every resource you use is geared to "low is plus" and "high is minus".

    Ray - Fred's Mentor count actually has nothing to do with using "100" as a starting point......That is only a suggestion of the way he uses it (or I assume any other count). Much the same as Fuchs/Ventura's "customized count", where they change the IRC.

    Ray/All - Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying there is anything "wrong" with changing the IRC if that makes you more comfortable, but if you do this you need to establish a system that allows you have a static number for keys/pivots when you change from say 2D to 6D. (Like the KO and the KISS methods).......And I would be very curious how you handle indices (if you use them).

    D - If that "magic number" of 19 with the KISS bothers you, simply add a 10 or 20 to the IRC and to everything else......Won't make a bit of difference.

  • Loren- The mentor count is a level 2 balanced count that is more
    powerful and much harder to learn. It uses the method described
    by Leon for getting around the +/- problem.

    You may want to take Grifters advice and just struggle thru it. That's
    what I did because I didn't know anything else.............
  • Grifter- I don't believe we are on the same page. I'll explain and you be
    the judge. Starting at 100 for any balanced system regardless of the
    variations and/or the weight given to each card, but lets use High/Low
    as an example. Above 100 we count the small cards 2,4,2,3,5 as 1,2,3,4,5
    and if we stop right there and see that one deck is in the tray we know
    for a fact that we have a + five running count and a true count of +1 and
    all basic strategy variations that need a +1 apply. Now comes these cards,
    K,J,A,10,10,Q,Q,10,A and the count proceeds as follows 4,3,2,1,100,99,98
    97,96,95 and we have a running count of -5 which gives a little over -1
    true and we should walk. Running count relation to 100 is the same as it
    is to 0 and so is the true count and all basic strategy variations. There is
    no difficulty using this method for any balanced system. I don't think that
    I would recommend such for unbalanced counts because I don't study
    them. (all the above assumes a 6 deck game but the counting method is
    valid for any number of decks)

  • D-
    Confusion when the count resembles a hand total... You are not alone. I have no magic solution for this, I just try to concentrate a little more when the count is in that area.
  • Sounds like two KISS players......I'll bet that is a problem. By the way I
    need another 10 in my post above.
  • Ray - We are on exactly the same page. Sure it will work. It will work with any IRC you choose......But why go to the extra step of adding or subtracting to get your actual RC so you can get your TC to begin with??.....With +/-/0 you already have it.

    I just mentioned unbalanced counts because you can use the same principal with them if you "think them through".

    Esarem51 - See my note to D above. If you are using KISS, simply add 10, 20, 30 whatever to your IRC, key, pivot and all other numbers. It won't make a bit of difference.

  • Grif - Yes and it's an example of the simplest method is the hardest to
    learn, but better in the long run. I can still remember the first dealer I
    ever had that called a 22 a 21. The table exploded. Count, what count,
    give me a break!!!!!!!
  • Loren, I came to the same conclusion and practiced by throwing down several cards at a time (I think Grifter told me to do this,) That way you can cancel out cards and not count them at all. For example, K-8-4 equals zero and you can skip all three. It's VERY usable in real play, and if I EVER get to Vegas to play a double deck game, I think it will be even more useful.
  • Ray's message got me thinking about something. Fred Renzey had listed a modified easy way to start with counting for a six deck shoe. If I remember right it was count the tens and aces for the first two decks if you are under 40 then the remainder of the shoe would be in your favor and you could bet larger from then on.

    In thinking about that more I think that could be modified to be a better intro to counting (I realize it's sacrilige to have a newbie counter here suggesting a modification to Renzey, but....) Wouldn't it be better if you counted down from 40? That way you would get used to ten's and aces being a negative count?

    I looked briefly at that ace-ten front count but decided to try to use hi-lo instead.
  • Grifter-

    Thanks for thinking of me, but I'm a fighter, not a lover. (KO, not KISS!) Since I tend to play both 4D & 6D shoes I don't want to adjust my IRC, for reasons you've mentioned a couple of times.

    For me if the count is -17 and the dealer says "18" I sometimes start to wonder what the count really is. Not a huge problem, but it did happen last weekend. So when D mentioned the confusion I thought, yeah, I can relate to that.

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