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nikcyt
nikcyt
Joined: Jul 29, 2020
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July 29th, 2020 at 7:16:58 AM permalink
I've recently read Professional Blackjack and got interested in counting. I've managed to do some practise and keep track of the count pretty well on live tables.

I know basic strategy for the casinos in my country and understand how to play.

However, my question is, should I modify basic strategy when the count reaches a certain level?

Here is an example from my gaming recently:

  • We were about 3 decks in (out of 8 decks)
  • The true count was about 3.5
  • I was dealt hard 16
  • The dealer was dealt a 9

I took a card, as under the basic strategy this was the correct play. However, given such a high true count, should I have modified my strategy because of the additional high cards in the deck and the reduction in the number of lower cards?

As it happened I pulled a 10 and the dealer bust with 24. You can't win them all of course.

TIA for any advice or thoughts about my question.
ThatDonGuy
ThatDonGuy
Joined: Jun 22, 2011
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nikcyt
July 29th, 2020 at 7:26:11 AM permalink
I was about to say, "Think about it for a minute: if you don't deviate from basic strategy, then why bother counting?", but then I realized that I wasn't taking changing the amount of your bets into account.

There are a couple of situations in basic strategy where the size of the deck/shoe matters:
(a) With two decks or fewer, stand on hard 16 against a dealer's 10; with more than two decks, hit
(b) With two decks or fewer, double on soft 13 against a dealer's 5; with more than two decks, hit but don't double
While this doesn't answer your question directly, it does indicate that the composition of the deck can affect strategy.

The problem is, any strategy that depends on the count depends on the counting method.
billryan
billryan 
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nikcyt
July 29th, 2020 at 7:32:57 AM permalink
My advice would be to start with a book more in tune with where your game is.
Blackjack Bluebook2 by Fred Renzey will guide you through the steps needed to win.
Your strategy will change according to the count. I know a guy who claims to know over 200 modifications , but learning 14 of them will work in 99% of the cases. Learning a half dozen will cover a bit more than half of them.
I'm sure others will disagree but I think Professional Blackjack is a bad choice as a first book on advanced blackjack.
nikcyt
nikcyt
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July 29th, 2020 at 7:36:55 AM permalink
I should have clarified that I was using standard Hi-Lo for keeping the count, and had increased my bets proportionally (more or less) with the true count.

Your post illustrates for me that there is definitely more for me to learn in this area, thank you.
Have you any recommendations on where to learn these aspects of the game?
nikcyt
nikcyt
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July 29th, 2020 at 7:39:54 AM permalink
Thank you for the recommendation. I also have Blackjack Attach by Don Schlesinger but have not yet read it.

I'll order the Fred Renzey book now and will look to begin to develop my gameplay further when the count favours it, thank you.

Although I'm not experienced enough to agree whether Professional Blackjack is not a great starter book (although I'm happy to accept your assertion), what I will say is that it definitely encouraged me to try for myself and gave me a real desire to learn more.
GMan
GMan
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July 29th, 2020 at 7:52:25 AM permalink
You seem to have a few books on Blackjack that you either not read completely or not read at all....Looks like a recipe for disaster!
If you had "really" read Wong's book, you wouldn't ask yourself and everyone if you have to change your Basic Strategy based on the count.
Do your homework first, then you may ask for clarifications.
G Man
nikcyt
nikcyt
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July 29th, 2020 at 7:53:57 AM permalink
How fucking rude. Fuck off
kewlj
kewlj
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nikcyt
July 29th, 2020 at 7:58:33 AM permalink
The index number for standing on 16 vs 9 rather than hitting is true count of +5, so if the TC was in the 3.5 range, technically the correct play was to hit, but it was close enough that it really makes little difference in longterm EV.

Professional blackjack is still a good book. Because conditions have changed since it was published it is slightly outdated. The counting and index numbers are all still good (valid). Hi-Lo count is fine. It has served me well for 16 years. What is a little outdated is the betting ramp information. If memory serves Wong used a base bet of $10 and raised by $10 increments at each true count. That is too slow of a ramp for todays games. You need to get up to your max bet quicker at a TC of about TC 4 or TC 5.

I think Wong also used the 100 max bet rule for a recommendation for a suitable BR which was kind of standard back then. With computers we have better ways to figure BR RoR today based on Kelly or a fraction of Kelly. I mean the 100 max bet rule isn't that far off as an estimate. We just have the capability to be more precise.

As you read blackjack Attack (hopefully BJ attack 3 version), that will become your go to book. BJ attack 3 has really held up well. Don Schlesinger participates at the blackjackinfo forum (owned by the same parent company as this site) should you have any questions you would like him to answer.
nikcyt
nikcyt
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July 29th, 2020 at 8:02:57 AM permalink
Thanks for the detailed response kwelj. I do own BJ Attack and it is the 3rd edition but as I mentioned in an earlier post I've not yet read it. I'll get straight onto reading it.

I've been scaling my bets in line with Wong's approach but it sounds like perhaps the raise should be more aggresive?

I was particularly interested in learning some quick rules for modifying betting strategy at certain true counts in order to leverage the best play at that level (as you alluded to in your first paragraph). Thanks again
kewlj
kewlj
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July 29th, 2020 at 8:11:01 AM permalink
Quote: nikcyt


I've been scaling my bets in line with Wong's approach but it sounds like perhaps the raise should be more aggresive?


Exactly! Because of worse conditions today, resulting in a higher house edge, you have to bet a little more aggressively than most of the older books recommend.

Quote: nikcyt


I was particularly interested in learning some quick rules for modifying betting strategy at certain true counts in order to leverage the best play at that level (as you alluded to in your first paragraph). Thanks again



Technically there are 100's of index plays, that would be the number that you hit, stand, double down, split differently than basic strategy. Luckily most occur so infrequently at such extreme counts that re rarely seen, they add almost nothing (a small fraction of a penny). Don is also know for the illustrious 18, which are the top 18 strategy changes. The ones that really add a some value. That is all you really need to know, so look up illustrious 18 in his book and learn those strategy changes and you will be fine.

Winning at Today's games is really more about the bet spread than the strategy changes. You could probably skip all the strategy changes, and just play basic strategy with a decent bet spread and your results wouldn't change that much. But I recommend learning some, At the very minimum insurance and 16 vs 10 because they are the most important. But really learn 18. That is not too much to learn for anyone semi-serious about the game and winning.
Last edited by: kewlj on Jul 29, 2020

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