ProfessorApe
ProfessorApe
Joined: Sep 20, 2012
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September 26th, 2012 at 6:19:50 AM permalink
Hi all. I'm new here and am enjoying the informaton and anecdotes immensely. I only picked up the game about six months ago, after went along with my wife when she was in Vegas on business. Apart from a few slots I didn't play anything that trip, but learning more about casino gaming I was intrigued that one can learn to better the odds at blackjack.

Out of the stacks of blackjack books on the market I landed on Fred Renzey's "Blackjack Bluebook II" and learned his unbalanced KISS III count. By happenstance this turns out to have been a good place to start as the closest casinos are limited by law to e-table games. These simulate six decks with 50% penetration. There's even a video "shoe" but no discard tray. Therefore, converting a running count to a true count would be little more than a guess.

With this, I have two questions. The first regards an unbalanced versus a balanced count. I may make it to the riverboats or some other casino where they use real cards three or four times a year. In that instance, how much am I giving up using an unbalanced versus a balanced count? Renzey's book suggests the differences are small, and I'm wondering whether it is worth it to try to learn a balanced system for those few occasions, or should I just concentrate on getting this one down cold?

Second, are there other unbalanced counts that others recommend learning beyond the KISS III count?
LonesomeGambler
LonesomeGambler
Joined: Aug 19, 2011
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September 26th, 2012 at 6:49:44 AM permalink
Unbalanced counts are fine. In your case, they are of course mandatory (although 50% pen is extremely lousy, to say the least!), but they can be just as effectively applied to real shoe games. KISS III is almost identical in terms of PC (playing correlation) as KO, and it's slightly better than Red 7. In shoe games, your primary concern is BC (betting correlation), and KISS III has a BC of 0.98, which is slightly better than the 0.97 offered by the Hi-Lo count, the count most frequently used by professionals. KISS III is a little more difficult to learn, due to its unbalanced nature and suit-reckoning with the deuces, but any extra time spent getting the count as a result of this is likely made up for by eliminating true count errors (a common error with even experienced counters).

Summary: don't worry about which count you use, just make sure you use it as well as you can. Card counting is extremely marginally profitable in good cases; it can be a downright disaster in others. Your counting system (most of the ones out there will get the money just fine) will not be the cause of your success or failure.
LonesomeGambler
LonesomeGambler
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September 26th, 2012 at 6:55:47 AM permalink
Oh, and if you plan on changing to another unbalanced count, KO is probably a little easier than KISS III and will get the same results. REKO is also good, and it simplifies KO even further. That's the one that I use for situations requiring an unbalanced count (admittedly rare occurrences).
AcesAndEights
AcesAndEights
Joined: Jan 5, 2012
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September 26th, 2012 at 10:48:03 AM permalink
Quote: ProfessorApe

Hi all. I'm new here and am enjoying the informaton and anecdotes immensely. I only picked up the game about six months ago, after went along with my wife when she was in Vegas on business. Apart from a few slots I didn't play anything that trip, but learning more about casino gaming I was intrigued that one can learn to better the odds at blackjack.

Out of the stacks of blackjack books on the market I landed on Fred Renzey's "Blackjack Bluebook II" and learned his unbalanced KISS III count. By happenstance this turns out to have been a good place to start as the closest casinos are limited by law to e-table games. These simulate six decks with 50% penetration. There's even a video "shoe" but no discard tray. Therefore, converting a running count to a true count would be little more than a guess.

With this, I have two questions. The first regards an unbalanced versus a balanced count. I may make it to the riverboats or some other casino where they use real cards three or four times a year. In that instance, how much am I giving up using an unbalanced versus a balanced count? Renzey's book suggests the differences are small, and I'm wondering whether it is worth it to try to learn a balanced system for those few occasions, or should I just concentrate on getting this one down cold?

Second, are there other unbalanced counts that others recommend learning beyond the KISS III count?


I was going to say "welcome to the KISS III club" as it seems like I'm the only person I run into on forums that read Renzey's book and uses KISS III. But then I remembered that I don't even use textbook KISS III, as I started with Red 7 and then converted to the KISS III IRCs and indexes, while still counting red 7s instead of black 2s. I'm reasonably certain that this is still "okay," although it's on my list of things to do to either standardize on KISS III and memorize all the indexes (I don't know all of them) or convert to KO.

Anyway, long story short, I agree with LonesomeGambler. Learn one system and learn it well. Unless you are going to be playing a lot of SD and DD games (not widely available these days anyway), balanced vs. unbalanced isn't a big deal.
"So drink gamble eat f***, because one day you will be dust." -ontariodealer
odiousgambit
odiousgambit
Joined: Nov 9, 2009
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September 26th, 2012 at 11:04:27 AM permalink
Quote: ProfessorApe

By happenstance this turns out to have been a good place to start as the closest casinos are limited by law to e-table games. These simulate six decks with 50% penetration.



How do you know what they simulate?
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
LonesomeGambler
LonesomeGambler
Joined: Aug 19, 2011
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September 26th, 2012 at 11:11:14 AM permalink
Quote: odiousgambit

How do you know what they simulate?

The particular game he's talking about usually has the exact rules and specs clearly defined. All of the specs are adjustable by the casino, including rules, penetration (which has options for continuous shuffle and separate shoes for each player and the dealer), etc. The shuffle point is visible, as there's an animated shoe with cut card that diminishes as rounds are played. I'm sure aceofspades has seen these machines in his travels.
ProfessorApe
ProfessorApe
Joined: Sep 20, 2012
  • Threads: 6
  • Posts: 32
September 26th, 2012 at 11:16:24 AM permalink
Quote: odiousgambit

How do you know what they simulate?



That info. is from the table attendants. Actually, the two racinos in the area are a bit different. One has a six-deck shoe, shuffle after three; the other has a seven-deck shoe, shuffle after four. There's a screen that represents the shoe, showing roughly how many cards are left, as well as a virtual cut card.
ProfessorApe
ProfessorApe
Joined: Sep 20, 2012
  • Threads: 6
  • Posts: 32
September 26th, 2012 at 11:23:02 AM permalink
Quote: AcesAndEights

I was going to say "welcome to the KISS III club" as it seems like I'm the only person I run into on forums that read Renzey's book and uses KISS III. But then I remembered that I don't even use textbook KISS III, as I started with Red 7 and then converted to the KISS III IRCs and indexes, while still counting red 7s instead of black 2s. I'm reasonably certain that this is still "okay," although it's on my list of things to do to either standardize on KISS III and memorize all the indexes (I don't know all of them) or convert to KO.

Anyway, long story short, I agree with LonesomeGambler. Learn one system and learn it well. Unless you are going to be playing a lot of SD and DD games (not widely available these days anyway), balanced vs. unbalanced isn't a big deal.



I appreciate everyone's feedback. I think I have a good handle on basic strategy and keeping the count, and I'm working on making the index plays second nature as well. In addition to playing about once a week, I have a pretty vigorous training environment that usually includes teaching my eight year old how to play the game. My three year old also likes to play, but her strategy generally consists of banging her hand on the table and yelling "HIT ME" over and over, with the occasional break to build a tower out of everyone's chips. Compared to that, playing at an acutal casino is like sitting in a library.
ProfessorApe
ProfessorApe
Joined: Sep 20, 2012
  • Threads: 6
  • Posts: 32
September 26th, 2012 at 11:31:25 AM permalink
Quote: LonesomeGambler

Unbalanced counts are fine. In your case, they are of course mandatory (although 50% pen is extremely lousy, to say the least!), but they can be just as effectively applied to real shoe games. KISS III is almost identical in terms of PC (playing correlation) as KO, and it's slightly better than Red 7. In shoe games, your primary concern is BC (betting correlation), and KISS III has a BC of 0.98, which is slightly better than the 0.97 offered by the Hi-Lo count, the count most frequently used by professionals. KISS III is a little more difficult to learn, due to its unbalanced nature and suit-reckoning with the deuces, but any extra time spent getting the count as a result of this is likely made up for by eliminating true count errors (a common error with even experienced counters).

Summary: don't worry about which count you use, just make sure you use it as well as you can. Card counting is extremely marginally profitable in good cases; it can be a downright disaster in others. Your counting system (most of the ones out there will get the money just fine) will not be the cause of your success or failure.



"Extremely marginally profitable" - I love it.

I'm never going to make a living off of cards. I'm doing it as a fun and (hopefully) occasionally cash-positive hobby. Most importantly, though, should I ever find myself sitting next to a true AP pro, I don't want to give them reason to look at me and think "what a ploppy".

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