Hi-Opt questions
  • Dear forum, here are some issues i would like your input and insight upon:

    I have been playing professional BJ for over a year now. 8 deck games in Ontario casinos. Started with BS, moved on to counting and wagering variations according to hi-low count and now am implementing modifications to basic strategy while counting according to Hi-Opt1. The results are satisfactory.
    In total i have played 19 sessions, totaling 55hours, i am up a few hundred dollars. I have only been playing the min $5 tables so far, on average 3 hour sessions. Is all this normal ?

    Here are some things that are bothering me.

    A.Is it even worth while to count with 8 decks, it happens once or twice during a 3 hour session that the count is highly positive. Still that doesn't guarantee a win.

    B.While the dealers are slower, which is good for counting, the players are terrible which is bad for one's nerves. When should i move up to a higher bet table, say $10. I have been using a min bet x20 bankroll which seems to be working.

    C.Can you direct me to hi-opt1 modifications for an 8 deck game +-3.
    I am using modifications for 4 deck which are probably off slightly.

    D.I have an urge to play every week, sometimes twice every weekend.
    Although i am very disciplined I am worried about getting hooked, addicted.
    What is your approach on the issue of going over board with this hobby ?

    Pls share your thoughts openly.


  • ANY CC method thats fairly accurate such as HiOpt1 is MUCH better than not keeping score at all. Its not a waste of time if all you have availible is an 8 decker. If theres a 6 decker S17 anywhere within 2 hrs, go for it. But if your 8 decker is S17, don't bother. Dotting i's and crossing t's with 4 deck HiOpt1 used as 8 deck version isn't bad. If lucky, you might squeeze 0.01% out of it. BUT playing the Insurance game is worth it when you do have a large bet.

    Essentially, one needs the dynamics of RC variance to alter Basic.

    However, I note that you're up say $4 an hour on a $5 base bet... maybe even $5 or $6 an hour. Time for the $15 base bet. 15-30-50-80 ramp. Keep workin on the positive cash-flow.
  • I'm less experienced than you are (no casinos here in PA, just horseracing) but a few comments:

    First, I think 5$ tables are great if you're not trying to make a limit. There are usually multiple 5$ tables (except in Atlantic City...) and most recreational (read: unpredictable) players are there. I think they offer the most opportunities if you're not trying to make a living in blackjack.

    For example, you'll frequently see a guy playing even 100$ a hand at a 5$ table (often to impress everyone rather than sit alone in a high-roller table). That's a good chance to join in and start spreading 'em.
    Also, the pits are oftne less watchful, the dealers less experienced (you know they can't shuffle up on you by tracking the cards because knows they often have trouble summing hands). I haven't had the courage to spread yet, but I'm gaining it...

    As for 8 decks: I think there is quite a point in counting them. For one, because there are often so many 5$ tables, you can easily wong, by moving around from an "unlucky" table to a "lucky table". A lot of dealers find it acceptable when you "wait till the end of the shoe" (which you make sure to do only at bad counts), etc. With an HA of little more than half a percent, avoiding playing at negative counts or going to minimum makes more of a different than those rare times when the count gets up higher.

    Personally, I love terrible players at my table, and I love weird characters since it makes it more entertaining and draws the pit's attention away. I am below 30 and a foreigner, so I often attract attention otherwise. It's also a chance to find the Martingaler's who attract the pit's attention.Also, bad players mean that your strategy variation don't cause an alarm. And 5$ means that the pit boss or dealer will not be counting with you because it's not worth the effort.

    For example, when I played in St. Louis there was a guy from the `hood who kept doing pistol noises every time the dealer made a hand and trying to impress the two girls at his side. (If you can call them girls. One of them was obese to an extent I was glad that the riverboat was docked and on sturdy ground, and she sucked about seven strawberry-cream drinks when I was there). He played so bad that the pit boss came to watch (actually, his eyes were glued to the girl's cleavages). I started doing weird betting patterns and the pit boss didn't even notice.

    So overall, my preference is, when playing 10$ a hand, to do it at a 5$ table so I can wong or reduce the bets on negative counts. But if you just can't get used to the other players, play higher-limit tables, but be aware that it'll cost you (for example by playing 10$ on negative counts).

    As for BJ being addictive: any form of gambling is, and pretty much any game is. I'm lucky there are no casinos in PA, I keep trying to make plans to go to vegas or to places with casinos. Then again, as long as you minimize the amount it costs you, it's a harmless (though time-consuming hobby). I believe that the problem starts not when you play every week, but when 5$ or 10$ don't "make it exciting enough for you" and you need to play bigger sums. That's the piece of self control to exercise. Luckily(?) for me, I've left my career for graduate schoo, so now 5$ looks like a lot of money...
  • yet another stab at your questions:

    (1) counting works just fine for 8D games. The problem is, as you have found, that the count won't be good nearly as often as for 2D/SD games. You either Wong or play thru lots of non-advantage rounds and spread big to make up the difference.

    (2) first rule of AP is to play the best game you can find, period. This means to ignore the other players around you, as they have no influence on your EV unless they are simply slow. A slow dealer is _not_ a good thing for a counter. Your ev is multiplied by hands per hour to produce your hourly win rate. Play 2x the hands per hour heads-up, as opposed to a full table, and your hourly win rate doubles. Important...

    (3) I would use Hi-Lo in the 8D games. Hi-lo has a better betting correlation than Hi-opt1 (.97 to .88). That is important to get the big bets out at the right time. Playing efficiency for 8D games is just about irrelevant, and you can consider the various counting systems as "very close" there. And this is assuming you are doing hi-opt1 with the ace side-count...

    (4) Each person is different. I take it seriously, but I don't obsess about it. I play when I can, and when I should. I don't play with money that I can't lose to wreck my finances.

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