CaptainM
CaptainM
Joined: Mar 28, 2014
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March 28th, 2014 at 2:55:41 PM permalink
Hey guys. I am new to card counting, and was jsut hoping for advice on a couple of things.

1. What have you guys found helps you be able to hold the count and mingle around and make sure you are making the right calls without mistakes - What helped you when you were brand new?

2. What are some good ways to go about learning some indices? Fab 4 and Illustrious 18.

I look forward to reading more around the board.

CaptainM
AxiomOfChoice
AxiomOfChoice
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March 28th, 2014 at 3:11:23 PM permalink
I would say, don't try to learn too much at once. If you're not applying what you have already learned perfectly, learning more is not going to help. Be able to do each step mistake-free before you move on to the next step.

First be able to play basic strategy. Go to a casino and play it for a while (min bets).
Then be able to keep the running count. Play for a while, keeping the count. Maybe vary your bets slightly.
Then do true count conversions, if required by your count. Vary your bets more.
Then play a few simple, high-value indexes (insurance, 16vT).
As you are comfortable, add more, 1 or 2 at a time.

This is all a case of diminishing returns. As you move down the list and add more stuff, each one that you add is worth less and less (add them in order of value!) Also remember that, in shoe games, most of your value comes from betting big when you have an edge (rather than by playing differently due to deck composition). If you can spread more and get away with it (and you have the bankroll for it) you should be spreading more.
Sonuvabish
Sonuvabish
Joined: Feb 5, 2014
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March 30th, 2014 at 5:00:27 PM permalink
Quote: CaptainM

Hey guys. I am new to card counting, and was jsut hoping for advice on a couple of things.

1. What have you guys found helps you be able to hold the count and mingle around and make sure you are making the right calls without mistakes - What helped you when you were brand new?

2. What are some good ways to go about learning some indices? Fab 4 and Illustrious 18.

I look forward to reading more around the board.

CaptainM



1. Practice makes perfect. When I first started literally just adding 50 cent pieces to my bets, I was allowed to play a very long time. So long, they all eventually knew my agenda. So some good-spirited bosses had fun trying to distract me, rather than boot me. Not to mention, players force you into conversations. You just learn to keep it.

2) Look them up? Not really a question I would have asked. Not hard to remember an index number. Make sure you are ready to learn them, then move down the list in order of importance starting with insurance. Learn four at a time, or whatever you can handle, and do not move on until you know them perfectly. If you have a game with surrender, you should learn all of them soon. Third, fourth, and sixth most important index, I believe, are in the fab 4.
rob45
rob45
Joined: Jul 24, 2013
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March 31st, 2014 at 8:07:09 AM permalink
Good advice in both of the replies you have received thus far.

Basic strategy is an absolute requirement. It is the foundation.
I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing basic strategy to the point that you "have it down cold". You should be able to look at any hand combination and automatically know what to do with it.

Given a modicum of repetition (practice), obtaining the count becomes straightforward; however, as you have mentioned, holding the count under distracting conditions can initially appear daunting.
Before the era of more advanced practice tools (i.e., software such as Casino Verite, etc.), I would actually deal hands from a shoe onto a layout placed on a table at home. Dealing an actual game (minus placement of bets) forced me to not only keep the count, but also perform the dealer's job of correctly totaling the hands. This allowed me to perform the initial step of simulating "several things going on at once."
Initially, no cut card was used, and the shoe was dealt down to the last card to verify that the count was accurately held. A stopwatch was used, and session times were recorded in order to monitor progress.
The next step was to intentionally remove some cards of known value and repeat the process. If I knew that two 10-valued cards had been removed, my final running count after dealing the shoe should be +2 (with the count system being used); anything else meant that I was in error.
After several sessions of this, I had friends, relatives, or anyone else willing to come over and participate. Some wanted to function as players only; some wanted to deal. Anytime I acted as dealer, I would have one of the "players" place additional "bets" for me. (By that time, I had built a dedicated table with a rack and purchased cheques.) I would tell them how much to bet for me before dealing the hand, and I would also instruct them concerning play of "my" hand.
Having at least one other individual involved really stepped things up. It provided the chit-chat and other banter needed to further simulate actual casino conditions, and eventually I would even encourage intentional distractions.

I once had a conversation with an obviously very experienced dice dealer. He was extremely proficient with handling of the cheques, nearly to the point of being considered a magician by the unitiated. Asking him how he obtained such skills, he replied that such was his livelihood, and he made it a point to carry a stack of cheques everywhere he went. Waiting for his meal at restaurants. Shuffling cheques in one hand while driving with the other. Practicing while watching TV, etc.
Following this example, I made it a point to carry a deck of cards with me everywhere I went (excluding the casino, of course!). People would sometimes look at me funny while I was counting down a deck while waiting for my order at the late night diner, and more than once I was approached by individuals thinking that I was some shady "card shark" trying to get a backroom poker game started.
Do enough of this and it doesn't take long to become proficient enough to count a deck down in 20 seconds.

For your indices, there are several methods of practice.
Again, this was before the time of phone apps, practice software, etc., but something that helped me was to make little flashcards similar to what they used to teach multiplication tables, etc. to elementary school students. Sorta seemed childish at first, but it worked. (Once I obtained more of the advanced literature available, I found out that it wasn't so childish after all.)
These flashcards were kept with my "traveling" deck of cards.

Don't get overwhelmed by it. Take small incremental steps. Practice, practice, practice. If you're not doing it in your sleep, you're not "there" yet. Then after you "get there", practice some more. I still review basic strategy.
1BB
1BB
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March 31st, 2014 at 10:20:52 AM permalink
I'm very good and very fast at counting down a deck but I have no idea what my time is nor do I care. I haven't done it in decades. The 20 seconds is misleading because of the different ways to do it and the count used. Will you get the same results with a level two count or higher that you would with a level one count? Do you fan the cards, count them in pairs, count them one at a time or do it some other way?

I'm not saying that you shouldn't practice at home but a live table in a casino is best. If you find a dealer who is too fast, remember that it is the player who sets the pace. There's no need to try to attain a certain time as long as you can keep up at the table.
Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth. - Mahatma Ghandi
rob45
rob45
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March 31st, 2014 at 1:03:28 PM permalink
Quote: 1BB

I'm very good and very fast at counting down a deck but I have no idea what my time is nor do I care. I haven't done it in decades. The 20 seconds is misleading because of the different ways to do it and the count used. Will you get the same results with a level two count or higher that you would with a level one count? Do you fan the cards, count them in pairs, count them one at a time or do it some other way?

The 20 seconds was mentioned to exemplify that which is readily attainable, not an absolute.
Should one wish to set it as a personal standard, it is likely possible with all but the more advanced counting strategies requiring side counts.
(I agree with you that the statement could appear misleading; perhaps I should have stated "Do this enough and you'll be amazed at how quickly you progress.")
For myself, I started out pulling one card at a time as quickly as possible, then progressing to combinations. Working with 2-card and 3-card combinations is what really develops rapid counting abilities (just my opinion).

Quote: 1BB

I'm not saying that you shouldn't practice at home but a live table in a casino is best. If you find a dealer who is too fast, remember that it is the player who sets the pace. There's no need to try to attain a certain time as long as you can keep up at the table.

I'll not get into the differing philosophies concerning live play vs. personal standards of preparation. Certainly, nothing substitutes for the experience gained with real conditions.
With that said, I would never want to set the pace of the game. I feel if that were the case, a better option would be a slower dealer. Slower dealers are not best for the overall picture, but I can see where it is an opportunity to "practice" live play. Hopefully the OP can find such conditions, as casinos vary with employment of accomplished skill levels.
Regardless, even for those advocating live conditions as the "ultimate teacher", my point is not to state which is better, but rather that the aspiring individual should use all opportunity available to become proficient that much sooner.
AxiomOfChoice
AxiomOfChoice
Joined: Sep 12, 2012
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March 31st, 2014 at 1:06:31 PM permalink
I've never understood these recommendations that you should be able to count down a deck in a certain amount of time. Isn't that limited by how quickly you can deal the cards?

I have no idea how fast I can count down a deck, nor do I care. I can count cards fast enough that I have finished counting before the dealer collects the cards. Doing it faster will not help me.
Hunterhill
Hunterhill
Joined: Aug 1, 2011
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March 31st, 2014 at 2:20:13 PM permalink
Quote: CaptainM

Hey guys. I am new to card counting, and was jsut hoping for advice on a couple of things.

1. What have you guys found helps you be able to hold the count and mingle around and make sure you are making the right calls without mistakes - What helped you when you were brand new?

2. What are some good ways to go about learning some indices? Fab 4 and Illustrious 18.

I look forward to reading more around the board.

CaptainM

I made flash cards for all the indices, though that's probably the old fashioned way it works.
The mountain is tall but grass grows on top of the mountain.
Sonuvabish
Sonuvabish
Joined: Feb 5, 2014
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March 31st, 2014 at 2:50:55 PM permalink
Quote: AxiomOfChoice

I've never understood these recommendations that you should be able to count down a deck in a certain amount of time. Isn't that limited by how quickly you can deal the cards?

I have no idea how fast I can count down a deck, nor do I care. I can count cards fast enough that I have finished counting before the dealer collects the cards. Doing it faster will not help me.



I also do not know nor do I care.

However, there is a point to it. You would eventually count reflexively, like we all use basic strategy. I don't count reflexively. I think some people pretend they do, but don't. Uston supposedly did. In practice it has less to do with the speed, and more to do with cover. That's why I don't really find it important, especially for a noob.
rob45
rob45
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March 31st, 2014 at 3:01:40 PM permalink
Quote: Sonuvabish

In practice it has less to do with the speed, and more to do with cover.

Is not the second highly dependent upon the first?

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