JoelDeze
JoelDeze
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February 27th, 2017 at 9:12:41 AM permalink
As the title states, I'm looking for some advice.

Game Rules:

6D or 8D (rules are the same)
3:2 payout
Shoes (no shuffler machines)
Penetration 70-90% (depending on the dealer)
Min Bet is $15-$25 on 8D
Min Bet is $50 - $200 on 6D
Dealer stands on Soft 17
Early Surrender
Even Money accepted
Split to only 2 hands on Aces, one card only after split
Split to only 3 hands max, double allowed

Blackjack is the game I've been shifting a majority of my casino time towards. Most of you know I am normally a craps player but I've been practicing blackjack now for approx. 9 months. I've mastered Hi-LO and KO counting. I know up to 4 deviations.

Here's a scenario that happened to me on two different shoes this weekend (one was an 8D and the other was a 6D).

I started with small bets on the 8D first. The RC was up to 22 and the TC was at 5. I started increasing and working on deviations (standing on 12s against 2/3 since the count was high). The RC quickly went up to 29 and TC at 6. I increased a bit more, losing on every hand.

My first question is should I wait on increasing when I see a drop in the count once it peaks? I felt like I was losing because the count was still increasing. If I should wait until the count drops, should I wait a couple of hands to confirm? What is the optimal strategy on handling this type of event.

The same thing happened on the 6D shoe as well. Normally I do well but this weekend everything seemed odd and out of place, almost like all of the high cards were hiding in the back of the shoe behind the yellow card.

I went through both shoes and came out at a loss on both so stopped playing immediately since I knew that A) I'm doing something wrong here, or B) I'm just hitting a bad bit of distribution.

I would appreciate any advice on TC strategy betting. I had thought I was doing fairly well but now I'm losing a bit of confidence.
“Know where to find information and how to use it; that is the secret of success.” – Albert Einstein
Romes
Romes
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JoelDezeLostWagesRisingDoughOV3RTiiM3alphastorm
February 27th, 2017 at 11:57:16 AM permalink
Hey Joel... while we don't see eye to eye on other things, I have zero problems giving you some card counting advice, so regardless of our lack of friendship, I hope you still take the advice.

For 6D, S17, DAS, DA2, RS3, NRSA: .46%...with Early Surrender to 10 (worth .24%), I'm showing the House Edge of your game is .22%.

I assume this is a European No Hole card style of game? Does the player lose their double downs if the dealer draws a blackjack? This could definitely change the house edge... but for now I'll work on the assumption that you found some pretty great game.

Next, I find it hard to believe you've master 2 counting systems and you only know 4 deviations. I can "claim" to of mastered Hi/Low, and I know about 50 deviations, but that's still a drop in the bucket to some pro's that learn hundreds of deviations. Have you ever been tested or checked out by another competent counter?

Next, what do you mean min bet on 8D is $15-$25? Does that mean there's numerous 8D tables, all with the same rules, and just different min bets? Same question for your 6D. That's what I'm going to assume you mean.

Next, I'd be interested in your spread. Every competent counter on these forums would agree with me that you should have your max bet out preferably before TC +5, but at TC +5 AT THE LATEST. Yet you stated above that at TC +5 you started increasing your bets and at TC +6 you increased some more. IF you in fact found a good game that has a .22% HE, then you'd want to start upping your bet at TC +1, and again ideally have your max out at around TC +4.

1) "should I wait on increasing when I see a drop in the count once it peaks?"
No. We can never know when the count is going to "peak." I've seen a TC +5 do nothing but raise up and up for the last couple decks of a shoe. We don't know the order of the cards that are left, just the concentration of "big cards" to "little cards." If you read my articles you'd know: Just because the count is TC +5 or even hell TC +10 DOES NOT MEAN you're some huge favorite to win the hand... The money in the game is due to:
a) getting paid 150% on your blackjacks, while the dealer does not.
b) getting to double and put more money out in good situations, while the dealer does not.
c) getting to split your pairs in advantageous situations, while the dealer does not.
d) the dealer will bust slightly more often in larger counts.

What you definitely need to learn is just because the count is high does not mean you're going to win more hands. The whole idea here is let's say the TC is +20... Then let's pretend you and the dealer get nothing but blackjacks back and forth every other hand. The dealer is just another hand at the table and is just as likely to get better hands with a high TC as you are. Yes, the dealer will ALSO GET BETTER HANDS in good counts. The idea here is that if you traded blackjacks back and forth for this TC +20 shoe, you'd WIN. You get 150% for your blackjacks, the dealer just gets your regular bet. So if you traded back and forth in this high TC, you'd win. You must understand that again, because the TC is high, that does NOT mean you'll win more hands or that you should expect to win every hand in a high TC.

Quite often if a place has 75% PEN on 6D (for example) the last 1.5 decks could definitely contain a slug of high cards that you never even see come out. This is rare, but then again other times you might think the count is negative and yet nothing but face cards continue to come out (because the little cards are all behind the cut card). It happens and is quite normal.

In my articles I discuss TC betting, what to bet, when to bet it, and a lot of that will come down to your bankroll and what you mathematically can and can't bet (kelly betting). Feel free to read and re-read my 3 articles and ask any questions. While we may not get along, I'll still answer them if you ask.

Lastly, because we don't get along, this is why... You claim to have "mastered" two different counts but you clearly don't even know the I18 deviations (which is a basic essential to counting) and you clearly have a lot to understand about the game. It's okay to say you're not good at something or don't know something... saying you've "mastered" it then proving you don't understand even basics with your follow up is the disconnect that I don't like, and you've done it on numerous topics.
Playing it correctly means you've already won.
JoelDeze
JoelDeze
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OV3RTiiM3
February 27th, 2017 at 1:44:19 PM permalink
Quote: Romes

Hey Joel... while we don't see eye to eye on other things, I have zero problems giving you some card counting advice, so regardless of our lack of friendship, I hope you still take the advice.



Thank you so much Romes. I was hoping you would be the one to give me advice because I know you are extremely knowledgeable with this game and I consider myself a novice counter with a lot to learn. I will always take the advice of someone that knows more than me. And, I definitely don't think I'm an expert on any gambling topic at all. My specialty is really computers, programming and problem solving. I know I can come across the wrong way a lot of times and I should probably realize that I'm alienating myself with some of my posts. Once a person digs a grave it's hard to climb out of the hole and put the dirt back.

I'll do my best in the future. I can promise that much.

Quote: Romes


For 6D, S17, DAS, DA2, RS3, NRSA: .46%...with Early Surrender to 10 (worth .24%), I'm showing the House Edge of your game is .22%.

I assume this is a European No Hole card style of game? Does the player lose their double downs if the dealer draws a blackjack? This could definitely change the house edge... but for now I'll work on the assumption that you found some pretty great game.

Next, I find it hard to believe you've master 2 counting systems and you only know 4 deviations. I can "claim" to of mastered Hi/Low, and I know about 50 deviations, but that's still a drop in the bucket to some pro's that learn hundreds of deviations. Have you ever been tested or checked out by another competent counter?



I'll correct myself and tone down the wording as well. I simply meant that I can count using either system with fairly good accuracy. If I miss a card I treat that card as 0. If there's a very fast dealer I might miss one or two cards out of an entire shoe. I always sit on the side of the shoe, one or two spots from the end. I only use 4 deviations that I'm currently comfortable with in my play. Again, I still have a lot to learn and grasp.

Quote: Romes


Next, what do you mean min bet on 8D is $15-$25? Does that mean there's numerous 8D tables, all with the same rules, and just different min bets? Same question for your 6D. That's what I'm going to assume you mean.

Next, I'd be interested in your spread. Every competent counter on these forums would agree with me that you should have your max bet out preferably before TC +5, but at TC +5 AT THE LATEST. Yet you stated above that at TC +5 you started increasing your bets and at TC +6 you increased some more. IF you in fact found a good game that has a .22% HE, then you'd want to start upping your bet at TC +1, and again ideally have your max out at around TC +4.



The low end tables are all 8 deck (min $15 or min $25). They all have the same rules. In order to play at a 6 deck, I have to move up to a $50 min. And, again, the rules on the 6 deck tables are the same as 8 deck tables. The only difference is with prop bets. All of their tables have match the dealer play. 8D pays out 3 to 1 on unsuited and 14 to 1 on suited. 6D pays out 4 to 1 on unsuited and 11 to 1 on suited.

I used to not play the match because I know it's a sucker bet. I figured if I played some of the time the house would not consider me a counter because I don't know of any counters that play prop bets. But, I did the math and the average hit is roughly 1 in 7 hands. I have a special way to play in order to reduce the visibility of me counting cards. On Matches I don't play anything until I see that I haven't hit a match 7 times in a row. So, zero is placed on the prop bet until the side count of prop plays hit 7 hands without a match. If I don't hit after 7 hands I put in the bare minimum of 5 and progressively increase every 2 hands by 5 to a max of 25. I cover the play with a match on my normal hand so if I'm at 15 normal play and have 5 on the match, I move up to 20 on the normal hand. I usually do fairly good on the matches using this particular strategy. Once I hit, I repeat the null 7 hand strategy. I find that it keeps the eyes off of me even though it's a little bit more work to count side bets in addition to cards.

The only time I don't use the strategy above is if the TC is 1 or less. I'm limited on venues where I live so I try not to burn bridges. I don't want to get outed down the road. If there's a better way to limit exposure I'm more than happy to do something different. I figured if I was confronted for counting I would say that I'm counting 7 hands without a match before putting a match in play.

Quote: Romes


1) "should I wait on increasing when I see a drop in the count once it peaks?"
No. We can never know when the count is going to "peak." I've seen a TC +5 do nothing but raise up and up for the last couple decks of a shoe. We don't know the order of the cards that are left, just the concentration of "big cards" to "little cards." If you read my articles you'd know: Just because the count is TC +5 or even hell TC +10 DOES NOT MEAN you're some huge favorite to win the hand... The money in the game is due to:
a) getting paid 150% on your blackjacks, while the dealer does not.
b) getting to double and put more money out in good situations, while the dealer does not.
c) getting to split your pairs in advantageous situations, while the dealer does not.
d) the dealer will bust slightly more often in larger counts.

What you definitely need to learn is just because the count is high does not mean you're going to win more hands. The whole idea here is let's say the TC is +20... Then let's pretend you and the dealer get nothing but blackjacks back and forth every other hand. The dealer is just another hand at the table and is just as likely to get better hands with a high TC as you are. Yes, the dealer will ALSO GET BETTER HANDS in good counts. The idea here is that if you traded blackjacks back and forth for this TC +20 shoe, you'd WIN. You get 150% for your blackjacks, the dealer just gets your regular bet. So if you traded back and forth in this high TC, you'd win. You must understand that again, because the TC is high, that does NOT mean you'll win more hands or that you should expect to win every hand in a high TC.

Quite often if a place has 75% PEN on 6D (for example) the last 1.5 decks could definitely contain a slug of high cards that you never even see come out. This is rare, but then again other times you might think the count is negative and yet nothing but face cards continue to come out (because the little cards are all behind the cut card). It happens and is quite normal.

In my articles I discuss TC betting, what to bet, when to bet it, and a lot of that will come down to your bankroll and what you mathematically can and can't bet (kelly betting). Feel free to read and re-read my 3 articles and ask any questions. While we may not get along, I'll still answer them if you ask.



This is very good info and thanks once again. That makes sense to me logically and I follow what you are saying. I have a question on cutting the deck. Is it all completely random or is it more beneficial to place the cut card one deck forward, one deck back, or middle? I only ask because I see dealers replace other dealers very close to the end of the shoe and I'm often left wondering if they know which side of the deck was top heavy with lows or highs. It makes me wonder if they shuffle in a way to make things advantageous for the house. I'm probably just being a bit OCD here but it drives me nuts when a dealer hits a 6 card 21 after someone splits 3 8s against a dealer up card of 5 and ends up with 13, 14, 12 against a TC of 4 or higher.

Quote: Romes


Lastly, because we don't get along, this is why... You claim to have "mastered" two different counts but you clearly don't even know the I18 deviations (which is a basic essential to counting) and you clearly have a lot to understand about the game. It's okay to say you're not good at something or don't know something... saying you've "mastered" it then proving you don't understand even basics with your follow up is the disconnect that I don't like, and you've done it on numerous topics.



I'd like to apologize for the times I say something that is perceived as touting. While in the past I've won big in sequences, I attribute it mainly to luck and variance. Sometimes I'm being sarcastic but I don't throw out a sarcasm tag. When others don't get it at the time of my post, I don't follow-up or explain it.

I'm a simple person that loves humor and I'm downright silly a lot during my day. I do have a very strong memory, and math is one of my stronger subjects. My strongest subject is logic. So, if you hear me say something illogical, it is highly likely I'm being sarcastic or attempting to be humorous.

Thanks so much for this help and for any help you give me in the future.
“Know where to find information and how to use it; that is the secret of success.” – Albert Einstein
Romes
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LostWages
February 27th, 2017 at 2:24:20 PM permalink
Quote: JoelDeze

Thank you so much Romes. I was hoping you would be the one to give me advice because I know you are extremely knowledgeable with this game and I consider myself a novice counter with a lot to learn. I will always take the advice of someone that knows more than me. And, I definitely don't think I'm an expert on any gambling topic at all. My specialty is really computers, programming and problem solving. I know I can come across the wrong way a lot of times and I should probably realize that I'm alienating myself with some of my posts. Once a person digs a grave it's hard to climb out of the hole and put the dirt back.

I'll do my best in the future. I can promise that much.

Appreciate your response and again I have no problem sharing advice to those who seek it.

1) I 'really' hope one of your 4 deviations is insurance =)... That's worth HALF of the value of the I18 altogether. At TC +3 with Hi/Low... Take insurance.

2) Fast dealers should be your friend, not your foe. Fast dealers will give us more hands per hour. More hands per hour means more EV per hour. Even if you can count well enough to be in a casino, if I personally would have trained you I wouldn't be letting you play in a casino while still missing cards simply due to a fast dealer. I would suggest going back to some counting drills (see LostWages recent counting drills thread).

3) The side bet is a sucker bet, as you know, and yes there could be some cover in playing it 'occasionally', especially in front of the pit. However, I want you to know the system you have of waiting to bet it doesn't make any sense. It's the gamblers fallacy. It's the same as waiting for 7 blacks to come up in roulette then betting red on the next hand. Since you're not tracking any cards for that side bet, it doesn't matter what happened on the last 7 hands. Just as it doesn't matter in roulette what happened on the last 7 spins. The next spin is still ~18/38 on red/black just as it was on the past 7 spins. I hope you know the House Edge of that bet and your average bet and number of times you play it per hour... because that's going to be "Cover with a Cost" as I call it in my 2nd article. That's going to subtract from your hourly EV, and maybe more than you previously realized (especially if your spread is smaller or concentrated around TC +5 then you might not have a high hourly EV to start with).

4) What is your spread for the average game of BJ you play? Let's say the game above (which you didn't answer if it was ENHC or not and if you lost your doubles if the dealer pulls a BJ). Your spread vs true count and your bankroll will tell a LOT about where you're at in your counting career... and in a non-rude way I can tell you what you need to focus on... because being honest, not trying to be mean, it sounds like you still have a fair amount to learn.

5) On your cut question... Cutting the deck, so far as you know it, is completely random and has nothing to do with how the shoe plays out next round. Whether you "cut thin to win" or cut thick literally has no outcome on the following shoe. Think of it logically... How on Earth could it help to put it at the front or back if you don't know the order of the cards? There are advanced AP techniques for cutting that does come with an advantage, but that also comes with more knowledge (say we know the bottom card). If you're just cutting the deck to cut and don't know additional information, then no, it doesn't matter where you cut the shoe. When the dealer puts the last cut in for the cutoff of the shoe, they should ALWAYS be placing it near the back of the shoe, approximately 1-2 decks from the back (however good the penetration is there).

6) For basic strategy, or for a TC of +4 it's the right play to split your 8's vs a dealer 5. For that matter though, just so you know, whatever ANY OTHER PLAYERS at the table do does NOT affect your EV in the long run. Since we don't know what order the cards are going to come out of the shoe them doing something stupid, like hitting 16 vs dealer 5) is JUST AS LIKELY to help or hurt you. Hell, what if the idiot hits 16v5 and pulls a 5, which would have made the dealer 20, then the dealer busted? Most people don't remember when "bad play" helps them, only when it hurts them. Remember though, no matter what anyone else does at the table it literally has the same chance of helping you as hurting you and doesn't affect you AT ALL in the long run.

7) I do hope you have read, or will read the 3 articles I posted. It explains a lot about the math and logic of the game that I think you would benefit from. Most people I've mentored read the articles several times and each and every time tell me about something new they learned. There's a ton of info to unpack from them and I'd highly encourage you to give them a couple reads.

8)
Quote: JoelDeze

I'd like to apologize for the times I say something that is perceived as touting...

Apology accepted and no more worries about it. Consider it buried, until the next time you claim to be the best Pai Gow Player in the world or something lol =).
Playing it correctly means you've already won.
JoelDeze
JoelDeze
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March 4th, 2017 at 9:35:54 PM permalink
On your advice I gave up the prop bets altogether.

On betting spread, it definitely depends on my bank roll and what table I'm on. The tables I've played at are the following min ($15, $25, $50, $100, $200). On the $200 my bank roll was $7,500. On $15 my bank roll is around $1,200. As for betting spread I usually play between (min and 35% of table max).

I've read your articles and feel that I have a lot still to learn. On BJ lately I'm averaging about 1 in 4 good sessions. Some of the bad sessions I'm not taking a huge loss but it's hit my confidence quite a bit now so I'm staying away from BJ until I can regain some confidence and learn to play better. I get a bit discouraged when I have a high count and the shoe still goes the dealer way. It bothers me when I play fairly solid, regardless of the play of others around me at the table, and yet the dealer shoe seems to be tilted greatly in the house favor.

I really appreciate the information and the advice.
“Know where to find information and how to use it; that is the secret of success.” – Albert Einstein
LostWages
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March 5th, 2017 at 10:32:45 AM permalink
Quote: JoelDeze

I get a bit discouraged when I have a high count and the shoe still goes the dealer way. It bothers me when I play fairly solid, regardless of the play of others around me at the table, and yet the dealer shoe seems to be tilted greatly in the house favor.

I believe the events you're referring to are simply called the Variance. When the events you describe happened to me -- while it's NOT fun to lose -- I tell myself if I played correctly, I've already won!

Correctly for me, besides playing perfect basic strategy (I'm still a beginner) means I know the numbers for these 5 questions:

1. . . . the house edge
2. . . . my bet spread
3. . . . my session bankroll
4. . . . my hourly EV (expected value) of the game I'm going to play
5. . . . the PEN? Avoid playing if PEN < 60%, because I'll rarely get a TC to merit raising my bet.

EDIT: These questions are not my original creation - I adapted them from the 3 Articles of Romes. There are several other elements that favor even more positive EV, but I'm not quite there yet, like memorizing I18.
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Romes
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LostWages
March 6th, 2017 at 6:51:30 AM permalink
Quote: JoelDeze

...I get a bit discouraged when I have a high count and the shoe still goes the dealer way. It bothers me when I play fairly solid, regardless of the play of others around me at the table, and yet the dealer shoe seems to be tilted greatly in the house favor...

And you've found the cornerstone of why many give up blackjack =). You can count correctly for hours, all night waiting for a hot shoe... Then you finally get one and the dealer gets the Blackjacks over and over. It can be pretty frustrating when this happens and even more crazy when it happens for weeks or even months on end. It takes a pretty solid stomach to be able to handle these sick runs (in both directions). On a good variance night you'll get all the BJ's. On a bad variance night the dealer will... but notice and remember this is what we want because we get 150% for ours and the dealer doesn't. So we'll win when this happens, but it takes time and hands to smooth out the variance of the game. A lot of "counters" want to see more instant results and if they're not winning after 10 sessions (with like 2k hands) they'll quit, when in reality you can mathematically guarantee you're positive after like 75k hands. It takes time, patients, and a great understanding of the math of the game to stick with it to get to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

EDIT: As LW also pointed out, your bet spread is a very important factor here. As shown in article 1 with the excel table, what you bet and when will greatly change your EV. Two counters could both spread $10-$200... and one could DOUBLE the other's EV by modifying how/when they spread to what.

Player 1: EV = ~$26/hour... TC -1 to +5... 10, 10, 30, 60, 110, 150, 200

Player 2: EV = ~$18/hour... TC -1 to +5... 10, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 200
Playing it correctly means you've already won.
JoelDeze
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March 6th, 2017 at 9:01:45 AM permalink
Quote: Romes

And you've found the cornerstone of why many give up blackjack =). You can count correctly for hours, all night waiting for a hot shoe... Then you finally get one and the dealer gets the Blackjacks over and over. It can be pretty frustrating when this happens and even more crazy when it happens for weeks or even months on end. It takes a pretty solid stomach to be able to handle these sick runs (in both directions). On a good variance night you'll get all the BJ's. On a bad variance night the dealer will... but notice and remember this is what we want because we get 150% for ours and the dealer doesn't. So we'll win when this happens, but it takes time and hands to smooth out the variance of the game. A lot of "counters" want to see more instant results and if they're not winning after 10 sessions (with like 2k hands) they'll quit, when in reality you can mathematically guarantee you're positive after like 75k hands. It takes time, patients, and a great understanding of the math of the game to stick with it to get to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

EDIT: As LW also pointed out, your bet spread is a very important factor here. As shown in article 1 with the excel table, what you bet and when will greatly change your EV. Two counters could both spread $10-$200... and one could DOUBLE the other's EV by modifying how/when they spread to what.

Player 1: EV = ~$26/hour... TC -1 to +5... 10, 10, 30, 60, 110, 150, 200

Player 2: EV = ~$18/hour... TC -1 to +5... 10, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 200



Alright, this makes me feel better. When I'm counting correctly, in general I do feel confident. When I see that I'm to a +29 RC and the TC is at +4 and hear people around the table saying this table sucks, I'm leaving, I just calmly sit there knowing that I'm where I need to be. Sometimes I break even at that point and other times I lose a little. I have only had a couple of big nights where the variance went my way in a large fashion. On one weekend (about 10 months ago) I won $5,500 on Friday and $8,500 on the next day. Of course, the next week I went back thinking I had mastered everything and lost $7,500. So, I learned my lesson then. It was a hard lesson.

I'm going to wait 3 to 4 more weeks, reading and digesting some of the information while I practice my counts. I'll especially pay attention to the betting spreads and the i18. I do have a question on the i18 regarding decks. Does it mainly work on 6-decks or will it work on 8-decks. I play on both.
“Know where to find information and how to use it; that is the secret of success.” – Albert Einstein
JoelDeze
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March 6th, 2017 at 9:19:48 AM permalink
Also, which books do you recommend for reading? I purchased Blackjack Attack and Blackjack Bluebook II.
“Know where to find information and how to use it; that is the secret of success.” – Albert Einstein
LostWages
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March 6th, 2017 at 11:07:51 AM permalink
Quote: JoelDeze

Also, which books do you recommend for reading? I purchased Blackjack Attack and Blackjack Bluebook II.

I'm pretty sure you'll get responses from readers that will include "Beat the Dealer" by Edward Thorp. I got mine yesterday on Amazon for under $9 (advertised as used, but it felt brand new). It's amazing to read a 60+ year old book telling us "stuff" that is mostly relevant today! (except for time-machine info like "Minimum bet in BJ is $0.25 up to $5 . . . ha! ha!). BTD is the card-counter's bible! Wait to hear from others . . .
Eat real food . . . and you won't need medicine (or a lot less!)

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