How can I improve my counting ability?
  • Hey all,

    I have been trying to practice card counting by just taking a deck and just running through it and counting using the standard -1 for 9, and any ten-value card, -2 for aces, +1 for 2-7, excluding 5, and 5 is +2.

    It takes me maybe a minute to go through that, and i'll admit i have brain farts at times in there too. I know this won't pass to meet the dealer's speed.

    What are ways that can help me improve this system or how can I use this system for counting and make it easier on myself?

    another method i know if is knowing that every 2.6 hands a face card will show up, and just know the ratio of tens to the cards out. But this is a much less accurate way. What do you guys suggest? I'm not in any real hurry to go, planning on going in june. What else can I do to become more proficent?

    I also just looked down this page not to see too much on this particular topic, although I saw something called the Renzey Kiss III? what's that if anyone can give me an insight.
  • Go to www.qfit.com and look at the free download CVBJ. It has counting drills and the like. If you like it, and you will, you can buy it and get a key to unlock the "hack" so that it works as it really should.

    This is as good as it gets for learning to count. Drills. Basic strategy,
    counting, full-table counting, indices testing, remaining decks estimation, plus actual play with CVBJ watching your betting and playing to confirm that you are counting accurately and using this correctly in your betting and playing decisions.

    It will make a world of difference.
  • Sorry, not familiar with that one... Has this got a name? and do you have to start with a score thats NOT zero?
  • This system is a balanced one, which means you do start at zero. It was introduced to me in the book BlackJack for a living, if you put that in google you can find that website.
  • The best way to improve your card counting is get the dealer to throw away the cut card and put the remaining 25% or more of the unplayed cards back into play!!!...LOL...

    Here's the BIG QUESTION: HOW can there EVER be a "TRUE COUNT", when at least 25% to 33% of the cards are deliberately "CUT" out of play???...

    Hey, I'm just being sarcastic here...lol...but, even in high counts, when Aces & Faces are "due", the dealer has just as good of a "chance" of getting a Winning Hand of 20 or 21/BJ as we do...

    If you are really interested in an in-depth understanding of Card Counting, an excellent book imo, is Blackjack Attack by Don S., 3rd Edition...

    Article : Gambling Mathematics Applied to Blackjack: The Myth Of Card Counting...Posted by Ion Saliu on August 19, 2000.

    In Reply to: BEING THERE posted by Mr. T on August 15, 2000.

    • My emphasis has been on MATHEMATICS IN GAMBLING. If there is a gambling system, I analyze it mathematically, first and foremost. It includes COUNTING CARDS, the most talked about gambling system. Many gamblers fall in love with one or more systems. Sometimes they go beyond that and worship their system. Card counting has become a religion for at least two decades.

    Mathematically, the card counting system has a minor influence today, if any. I showed in a previous post the only impact counting can have in a single deck game, Player against Dealer. A +2 count, generously translated into a 2% Player’s advantage results in a 0.01% better chance to get a blackjack (a “natural”). Such a chance increases, at best, from 4.77% to 4.78%.

    The main mathematical aspect is the SEQUENCE of the remaining cards. Card counting does NOT even attempt to “predict” the card sequence. In reality it is impossible to “detect” the sequence of the remaining cards. The number of sequences is staggering. They are calculated by the FACTORIAL operator (N!). Let’s exemplify briefly in an ideal situation. Before Edward E. Thorp’s “Beat the Dealer” book, the Dealer dealt all the cards in a single deck. Therefore, the penetration was 100%. A card counter would wait up until the last quarter of the deck or so. Let’s say the counter estimated that around 13 cards were remaining in the 52-card deck. The legend has it that many struck it big at the blackjack tables simply by betting huge amounts towards the end of the deck. Mathematics, however, does not confirm such claim. To calculate the number of possible sequences of 13 cards, we use 13! = 1x2x3x…x12x13. The result is: 6,227,020,800 (over 6 trillion sequences). Let’s be fair. There would be only 10 unique cards among 13, since 10=J=Q=K. In this case, 10! = 3,628,800 (over 6 million possible sequences)! Imagine an even better situation for Player, that the count is +3 and that there are no “neutral” cards remaining (e.g. 7 , 8). We can use software to generate 13-card sequences. The composition would be 8 high cards (H) and 5 low cards (L). I used my software for the task (SHUF-5.EXE or SHUF-6.EXE). The program generated thousands of sequences, from card 1 to card 13. I considered 1-5 as L and 6-13 as H. Here are the three final sequences of the run:
    L, H, L, H, H, H, L, H, L, H, H, L, L
    H, L, H, H, H, L, L, H, H, H, H, L, L
    H, H, L, L, L, H, H, H, L, H, L, H, H
    Let’s play the first sequence now, between one Player and the Dealer.
    Player gets L, Dealer gets H. Player gets H, Dealer gets H. Player stands, Dealer stands. Dealer wins one hand. Player gets H, Dealer gets H. Player gets L and stands, Dealer gets H and wins the 2nd hand. Player gets L, Dealer gets H, Player gets H, Dealer gets L and draws L; more probably, Dealer wins the hand.
    In the 2nd sequence, Player gets H, Dealer gets L, Player gets H and stands, Dealer draws L, and must draw to LH, gets an H and busts. Player wins the 1st hand. Player gets L, Dealer gets L, Player gets H and stands, Dealer gets H and draws another H (bust). Player wins the 2nd hand.

    It is very, very complicated. We are dealing with over three and a half million sequences. The matters are a lot more complicated when we consider the neutral cards and multiple players. The impact of card counting appears to be near negligible. I count cards sometimes up to the latest card. I call it the “real running count”. At the end of a round the count is positive, for example. When it is my turn to make a decision after my first two cards, the count turns out to be very negative. A card counter would have bet bigger at the beginning of the round. When it was his/her turn to make a decision, the count would be clearly negative. The player might expect a low card. Quite often, Player gets the opposite, a busting high card. I noticed frequently such sequences. They seem to be totally random. If you are a faithful card counter, you should expect to lose serious money for a significant number of rounds (hands). Sometimes, but rarely, card counting might help in hitting or double-down decisions. Once, I shocked the audience when I doubled-down on 12 against dealer’s 6. The dealer announced his pitboss my play. Curiously, I won! The count was very negative. I did it more for showmanship…

    The personal side of my previous posts on Thorp and Uston relied on books I have read. I have never claimed I experienced first hand Thorp’s or Uston’s casino playing. First of all, I praise the two computer programmers who took on a very difficult challenge. Trying to discover rules in random events such as gambling represents an enormous task. Yes, the casinos did change the rules after Thorp published his book. The simple fact that the casinos added “penetration” to the deck diminished the effect of counting to fractions of a percentage point. One problem I have with the two authors is the fact that they reached a point of worshipping card counting. I am sure they did a large number of computer simulations. I am sure they noticed the negligible effect of the system. Yet they continued to influence a large number of players that card counting was the road to the riches. I would like to present a few more excerpts on Thorp and Uston. Carl Sifakis writes in his 1990 “Encyclopedia of Gambling” (pg. 36-37). “Dr. Thorp is still in computerized mathematical research, but he is now concerned with looking for values in stocks… The late Ken Uston, author of numerous books on counting, was at the end of his life involved in computer work in the Middle East, helping Kuwait track billions of dollars in investments. He was not playing blackjack in Atlantic City, although he had won a court case that barred casinos in New Jersey from refusing to let counters play. In fact, Uston, upon winning that case, didn’t hit the blackjack tables in Atlantic City but signed up to do TV commercials for Resorts International, the very target of his suit… One long time gambler, Murray Friedkin, says of Thorp in ‘Big Julie of Vegas’ by Edward Linn: ‘Thorp is the smartest man in the world; if you don’t believe me, ask him…Whatever Thorp may say, I can tell you that if he has made any money on blackjack he made it by writing a book.’ The late gambling expert John Scarne derided the counters and challenged Thorp to a $100,000 match at blackjack. He later extended the challenge to other leading counting advocates. There were some nos, then yeses, then considerably more backing and filling; the blackjack contest never came off.”
    Edward O. Thorp is associated with another gambling “system”: the “Big Toe Method” of beating the “Wheel of Fortune” (“Big Six”). Says Carl Sifakis in the same book I quoted above: “Is the Thorp Big Toe Method still in use? The bottom line is that the money wheels of all kinds are still in place in the casinos, something that would not be the case if there was a way they were being beaten considerably.” (pg. 31).

    Why this aura of legend surrounding card counting at blackjack? Even more mystique is added when considering that Las Vegas is still barring card counters from playing blackjack. Says Carl Sifakis: “And what of the casinos today? Blackjack is a much bigger game today than it was before ‘Beat the Dealer’ appeared. More people than ever patronize the tables and casinos today make more money from the game than ever before. That’s a significant bottom line.” Roger Gros, senior editor of “Casino Player” magazine writes in his 1996 “Casino Gambling the Ultimate Play-To-Win Guide”: “After all, casinos make most of the money they make at the table games via blackjack. It’s great advertising when someone reports a big win at the blackjack tables. Players have been encouraged for many years to believe that blackjack can be beaten, and the casinos don’t want to do anything to disrupt that message.” (pg.30).
    I think the legend of card counting plays as the most successful means of advertising for the casinos. It certainly attracts a large number of players who believe counting at blackjack is a road to riches. There are also other ways that the card counting legend favors the casinos. Read any book on card counting and virtually all of them contain the same cliché. “If you are a card counter, make some bonehead plays so that the pitboss won’t ban you!” I think many card counters take the advice seriously. They do make bonehead, stupid plays from time to time just to hide their card-counting skills. What a stupid strategy for the player! What a profitable play for the casino! It is admitted that counting cards offers no more than a 2% advantage for the player. That’s a slim margin by all standards. Making bonehead plays can easily wipe out the slim, potential 2% advantage. The casinos owe big time to all authors of card-counting books. Then, in places where it is legal to ban skilled players from the blackjack action, the casinos commit downright robbery. From what I have read, the casinos show a strong bias towards barring a player when he/she is at a serious LOSS! I read once that a known card counter was losing some $14,000. Exactly at that point, the pitboss approached the counter and asked him to leave the blackjack game! Get it? The $14,000 went immediately to the casino bottom line. Meanwhile, the player was deprived of a reasonable chance to recuperate his loss. After all, blackjack is almost an even-odds game for a player using the basic strategy. It is fair to expect swings in the winning and losing columns of the player. Of course, the banned player is allowed to play blackjack again. The pitbosses pretend to have forgotten him/her, until another significant loss for the player. The player is thrown out again! If the known counter is winning, the rationale is that a swing in the fortune will follow. Sooner or later, the player will encounter a severe loss. That’s when you ask a counter to get out! What casino would be happy if a winner takes the money and run?

    In conclusion, mathematics must offer the main perspective when gambling is concerned.

    Ion Saliu
  • Ion, I missed your point. Would you be kind enough to explain that one more time.

    Thanks, and good cards, Jim
  • Marty, I would suggest you start with Hi-Lo. (2-6=+1, 10,A=-1). When you can count down 2 decks in 1 minute perfectly 90% of the time, then practice with distractions. Watch TV AND talk with your wife while counting and shoot for the same 90% accuracy, but give yourself 2 minutes.

    Experts, I'm sure, will say you need 100% accuracy, but I say if you're only off by 1, you're ok.
  • jimpenn said:
    Ion, I missed your point. Would you be kind enough to explain that one more time.
    Jim


    Maybe you should read his post again, it's all there in writing. He makes some good points.
  • Thanks Chud.
  • Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but isn't the real benefit of counting not from the increased chance of acquiring a blackjack (in which case, an ace count is probably more important than the hi-lo TC), but rather the advantage when doubling?

    As far as I understood the real deal breaker is the fact that a high count makes you lose less from the fact you are giving up the right to take more than one hit when doubling, as well as increasing the chances of a dealer bust on stiff?

    [/code]
  • Ion don't know what he is talking about, math or no-math. " How can
    there ever be a true count"? The true count is "true" because we are
    talking about all the remaining cards, including those behind the cut
    card.

    At the higher counts, when you see your cards and the dealer card, you
    are smarter than he is. You may have 8-12 double possibilities that are
    not available otherwise. You can hit or not with increased knowledge,
    the dealer can not. Insurence and surrender are a couple of other
    options. When you combine all these advantages you have the edge.

    The edge is small and it is still gambling......you must play a lot of hands
    and yes, it is a long-term expectation and risky business at that.
  • CHECK OUT FRED RENZEYS BLACJACK BLUEBOOK II-HE PRESENTS AN UNBALANCED COUNT-THE KISS COUNT(KISS IS FOR KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID)
  • Why do casinos have the "no mid-shoe entry" signs? Why do they have
    the "eye in the sky"? Why to they have the "list" world-wide? Was the
    MIT folks just lucky? Does Ion think that Corporate America is just a
    bunch of nit-wits? Who would you believe, some half-ass writer with
    something to sell or the facts? I can sssure you that somewhere some
    how he has something to sell................................
  • "Mathematically, the card counting system has a minor influence today, if any. I showed in a previous post the only impact counting can have in a single deck game, Player against Dealer. A +2 count, generously translated into a 2% Player’s advantage results in a 0.01% better chance to get a blackjack (a “natural”). Such a chance increases, at best, from 4.77% to 4.78%. "---Ion Saliu

    I respectfully disagree with the BlackJack occurance claim. Running any modern count smethod through a simulator will show an increse way beyond the claim. In fact the WORST method A5, indicates that at a +5 running count that BJ occurs 6.2% about 1 in 16 as compared to about 1 in 21 for a neutral shoe of SIX decks. Mr. Saliu's point for single deck, overlooks the main thrust of counting... to take advantage of the house rules with a LARGE population of cards. The point made DOES NOT EXTEND to multi-deck games... Even 2 deck games. Keep this in mind when reading such articles.
  • What spread was the BJ occurence refer to in the calculation?
    Obviously the count is not going to have much effect if you flat bet. The difference is not the number of Blackjacks but what you have out there...
  • It doesn't matter what the spread is as long as its flat or a positive spread. When BJ occurs more frequently, your chances of being dealt one increases, thus the 3:2 pays off more frequently. Likewise, an increase of the wager also helps to magnify the effect.

    The point is frequency of occurance, and how to $$$ manage it.
  • Nickels_n_Bullets said:
    It doesn't matter what the spread is as long as its flat or a positive spread. When BJ occurs more frequently, your chances of being dealt one increases, thus the 3:2 pays off more frequently. Likewise, an increase of the wager also helps to magnify the effect.

    The point is frequency of occurance, and how to $$$ manage it.


    Isn't that part of the point of the spread? Increase your bet when successful doubles and blackjacks are more likely, and reduce it when they are less likely ?
  • "No Mid-shoe Entry". Casinos like it because it hurts counters and it is tolerated, no encouraged, by ignorant ploppies.
  • Hi everyone,
    Im a real newbie to BJ, in fact, I still havn't played at a table yet! Anyway, I have been reading this mb and after following a few red herrings, have come to the conclusion that there isn't really a easy way to beat the house. I have looked at a website with a bit of info about Thorp:

    http://ri.essortment.com/cardgamerules_rynd.htm

    But I hear talk about a Hi-low techinque, so I went to this site:

    http://www.homepokergames.com/cardcounting.php

    I was wondering if one of u gurus could confirm for me that the info on these sites are accurate. I hate to ask, but there is so much sh*t on the web, u can't be sure, especially on forums...

    Thanks in advance

    T
  • This site will tell you much of what you need to know. Just follow the blackjack link:

    http://www.gamemasteronline.com/indexa.shtml

    Also try Fred Renzey's Blackjack Bluebook II and Arnold Snyder's Blackbelt in Blackjack if you are willing to spend a few dollars on books.
  • Skunk said:
    This site will tell you much of what you need to know. Just follow the blackjack link:

    http://www.gamemasteronline.com/indexa.shtml

    Also try Fred Renzey's Blackjack Bluebook II and Arnold Snyder's Blackbelt in Blackjack if you are willing to spend a few dollars on books.


    Thanks for the pointers Skunk.

    T

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