toolyp
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August 12th, 2024 at 7:00:06 AM permalink
I post this question cuz I read something that doesn’t compute. A newbie posted a question in Norm Wattenberger’s forum. I think he was honest when he asked “Explain why Counting Cards works”. The would-be AP received honest answers as well.

A veteran member summarized in 6 points as of why counting cards works. I agreed half-hearted. I mean I disagreed kinduv strongly with two arguments.

1) More blackjacks (Natural 21: A+Ten). You're paid 3:2 when you get one, the dealer is paid still 1:1.

2) More insurance opportunities. You can bet insurance when the dealer has an Ace up. The dealer can't do this.

These two pints make sense mathematically. There are more Ten-valued cards in the deck, therefore the probability of getting a BJ (natural-21) is higher.

3) The dealers bust more in high counts when he/she has a stiff hand. You the player do NOT have to hit these hands.
Don Schlesinger intervened with a correct point:
“Actually, the dealer busts slightly less in high counts than in neutral ones. In high counts, when he shows a 2-6, he busts more, but, then, it's harder to show 2-6 in high counts, no? Actually, the dealer busts slightly less in high counts than in neutral ones. In high counts, when he shows a 2-6, he busts more, but, then, it's harder to show 2-6 in high counts, no?”
I couldn’t agree more. More tens in the deck means a higher chance for pat hands for both dealer and player.

4) Double downs. You can double your bet in advantageous situations. The dealer can't.

My strong argument against starts right here. A high count means a deck with more Tens. That’s the basic of counting cards. The player looks for situations with an excess of 10s.
However, no double-down hand in blackjack has a Ten in its configuration. More 10s means fewer double-down hands.
Since doubling-down hands have no Tens but small cards (2–6), it is undeniable mathematically that there are clearly more double-down hands in negative counts. 6+3, 6+4, 6+5, 5+5, 5+4, etc. Only a fool would double down on 10+3, 10+4, 10+7, etc.

5) Splits. You can split pairs (8,8 vs 4). The dealer can't.

Same as per above. There are clearly fewer split-pair opportunities when the count is higher in 10-valued cards. You can’t split 10+10. If you do, other players at the table will get mad at you.
Keep also in mind that split-pair occurrences are far less frequent than double-downs. Plus, there are more split-pairs chances in negative counts: from 2+2 to 6+6. They clearly outnumber the Ace+Ace situations in very high counts.

6) Surrender (when applicable). You can surrender bad hands in these situations (e.g., 16 vs 10). The dealer can't.
This point is much less relevant. Not many casinos offer this option. And we are again in cases 4) and 5). There is a better chance at pat hands which are never surrendered anyway.

I wonder what other card counters think about those 6 canonical points. Again, the counts 4) and 5) don’t make sense. They are in counter current with the card counting doctrine. I don’t expect to double down or split nearly as much in high counts. My highest expectation is to stand or less frequently to get a bj.
SOOPOO

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August 12th, 2024 at 7:54:44 AM permalink
Welcome to the forum. I’ll just answer one easy question. You may be correct that there are fewer double opportunities in a deck with more tens remaining, but it is clear that you will win a higher percentage of the hands when you do double.

The math behind counting includes ALL the factors—- and has been worked out precisely. Trying to extract one factor to make a point will just not work.
aceside
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August 12th, 2024 at 8:05:23 AM permalink
I posted thousands of posts on that website mentioned above, but most of them were voted thumb down. Weird! It seems to me OP is knowledgeable.
Last edited by: aceside on Aug 12, 2024
lilredrooster
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August 12th, 2024 at 9:18:20 AM permalink
.
to the op:

in your point about doubling down and ten value cards you may have overlooked soft doubling (when one of the cards is an Ace) and in high counts there are also more Aces left

also, there are more Aces, and they will always be split if the counter is dealt a pair of Aces and in an high count with more Ten value cards left this can be very advantageous

below is basic strategy re soft doubling - index plays (variation from basic strategy due to a high count) calls for sometimes doubling even more often when one of the cards is an Ace. It's been a long time since I counted so I would have to look up exactly what the count has to be for that to happen - don't wanna do that right now - the same is true of doubling when your hand is not soft and the count is up - index plays will sometimes call for doubling when basic strategy doesn't

Soft 19 (A,8) doubles against dealer 6,
Soft 18 (A,7) doubles against dealer 2 through 6
Soft 17 (A,6) doubles against dealer 3 through 6
Soft 16 (A,5) doubles against dealer 4 through 6
Soft 15 (A,4) doubles against dealer 4 through 6
Soft 14 (A,3) doubles against dealer 5 through 6
Soft 13 (A,2) doubles against dealer 5 through 6

even if you are correct that there will be fewer double downs because of more Ten value cards left - there will still be some - and when there are the advantage will be greater than in a neutral count

an easy way to see it is if there was a single deck game just for example purposes - if the true count and running count was just 2 (two more high cards than low cards left to be played) the skilled counter would have a small advantage - if there are 40 cards in the single deck left to be played there is still a good chance to draw 2 cards which call for doubling

the same is true of splits - even if you are right that there are fewer opportunities - you still are better off than the dealer who cannot split when that happens - and it will happen sometimes

in a high count with many Ten value cards left the counter has upped his bet and will more often draw not just BJ but two Tens which is a very strong hand

nothing that was posted there is subject to being challenged

these plays were discovered and published by brilliant mathematicians making a great many very difficult calculations

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Last edited by: lilredrooster on Aug 12, 2024
the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
Dieter
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August 12th, 2024 at 10:41:32 AM permalink
Quote: toolyp

You can’t split 10+10. If you do, other players at the table will get mad at you.

(truncated aggressively)

You can.
If "they" get mad, you can offer to sell your hand to them for an inflated price, to defend their delicate sensibilities.
By the time you're splitting tens, you're just about to leave anyway.

Welcome to the forum.
May the cards fall in your favor.
aceside
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August 12th, 2024 at 10:41:38 AM permalink
Quote: lilredrooster

It's been a long time since I counted so I would have to look up exactly what the count has to be for that to happen - don't wanna do that right now -

This part is interesting.
lilredrooster
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August 12th, 2024 at 11:25:25 AM permalink
Quote: aceside

Quote: lilredrooster

It's been a long time since I counted so I would have to look up exactly what the count has to be for that to happen - don't wanna do that right now -

This part is interesting.

Don Schlesinger in his landmark book "Blackjack Attack" published what he called "The Illustrious 18" index plays - they are some of the most common and most valuable -

there is a later book which he co-authored that included a great many more of them entitled "A Complete Guide to Index Play"

it is in this book that you will find the index plays for soft doubling - not in the illustrious 18 chart

the image contains the illustrious 18 - in Basic Strategy you would normally play in accordance with the first decision - but when the count hits the point that is shown you deviate and play according to the 2nd decision

some of these plays will cause you to be identified as a counter by a sharp Pit Boss overlooking the game -
some counters will not care - they plan to leave immediately after the high count has been shuffled away
some will surmise correctly that their bet size is so small that the house will really not care
and some will get barred because of making some of these plays with a very large bet out
Stanford Wong, another blackjack great famously said "a monkey can be taught to count cards" - not really true but you get the point
the real talent is being sharp enough to figure out how to have longevity

edit - re the chart - on the negative counts it is reversed - for example on your 12 vs. a dealer 5 upcard you would normally stand - but when the count is -2 or a greater negative number you would hit - so when the count is negative you make the first decision, not the 2nd

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Last edited by: lilredrooster on Aug 12, 2024
the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
DRich
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August 12th, 2024 at 3:58:06 PM permalink
Quote: lilredrooster

.

Probably the best thing published for counters since Beat The Dealer. I had been counting for about five years before that was published, when I saw that my life simplified and I rarely worried about other scenarios.
At my age, a "Life In Prison" sentence is not much of a deterrent.
aceside
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August 12th, 2024 at 5:02:59 PM permalink
Quote: lilredrooster

Quote: aceside

Quote: lilredrooster

It's been a long time since I counted so I would have to look up exactly what the count has to be for that to happen - don't wanna do that right now -

This part is interesting.

Stanford Wong, another blackjack great famously said "a monkey can be taught to count cards" - not really true but you get the point
the real talent is being sharp enough to figure out how to havequirks/#post933309]link to original post

What I meant to ask you is this question, why did you quit card counting in blackjack?
toolyp
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August 13th, 2024 at 4:04:22 AM permalink
And my easy answer to your point is: You might as well get zero DD hands. No doubledown hand consists of a 10 and something else. Ten is supposed to be predominant in high counts, no?

On the other hand, in negative counts there is significantly more double downs, from 3+6 to 2+9, no? Who would double down on T+2 or T+8? Also more splits, from 2+2 to 6+6. In positive counts there is more A+A based on probability (hi-lo). So in negative counts there’s 5 times more splits possible than in high counts. 7+7 is well neutral, it goes both ways in both counts.
toolyp
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August 13th, 2024 at 4:19:41 AM permalink
Quote: aceside

I posted thousands of posts on that website mentioned above, but most of them were voted thumb down. Weird! It seems to me OP is knowledgeable.

You are not alone Ace. My posts were removed as well (in the same forum you refer to). Forget about thumbs down! Ban and removal of posts!

By the way ¬– one poster there insinuated I was… Aceside! The admin didnt buy it but still banned me…..
toolyp
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August 13th, 2024 at 4:28:39 AM permalink
Quote: Dieter

Quote: toolyp

You can’t split 10+10. If you do, other players at the table will get mad at you.

(truncated aggressively)

You can.
If "they" get mad, you can offer to sell your hand to them for an inflated price, to defend their delicate sensibilities.
By the time you're splitting tens, you're just about to leave anyway.

Welcome to the forum.

You can see in Ill.18 that you should split T+T against 5/6 at counts +4/+5. In my case the casino had no reaction. But another player got really mad at me. He created turmoil and I thought he would follow me outside. I’ve never split tens again, ever. Thanks for welcome.
lilredrooster
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August 13th, 2024 at 4:39:01 AM permalink
Quote: toolyp

And my easy answer to your point is: You might as well get zero DD hands. No doubledown hand consists of a 10 and something else. Ten is supposed to be predominant in high counts, no?

On the other hand, in negative counts there is significantly more double downs, from 3+6 to 2+9, no? Who would double down on T+2 or T+8? Also more splits, from 2+2 to 6+6. In positive counts there is more A+A based on probability (hi-lo). So in negative counts there’s 5 times more splits possible than in high counts. 7+7 is well neutral, it goes both ways in both counts.

it seems to me that you are questioning the very foundation of AP BJ
you seem to be suggesting that the player either doesn't have an advantage in high counts, or else the advantage is less than claimed
I can't disprove your ideas - the foundation of card counting is based on thousands of calculations by brilliant mathematicians
proving that they are correct is way, way above my pay grade
I can only state that I believe the accepted dogma as most do and have used it myself for a very long time and profited
you're free not to believe that too as is your right
I don't believe anything else I can post will be helpful to you

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the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
toolyp
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Joined: Jan 18, 2024
August 13th, 2024 at 4:43:47 AM permalink
Quote: lilredrooster

.
to the op:

in your point about doubling down and ten value cards you may have overlooked soft doubling (when one of the cards is an Ace) and in high counts there are also more Aces left

also, there are more Aces, and they will always be split if the counter is dealt a pair of Aces and in an high count with more Ten value cards left this can be very advantageous

below is basic strategy re soft doubling - index plays (variation from basic strategy due to a high count) calls for sometimes doubling even more often when one of the cards is an Ace. It's been a long time since I counted so I would have to look up exactly what the count has to be for that to happen - don't wanna do that right now - the same is true of doubling when your hand is not soft and the count is up - index plays will sometimes call for doubling when basic strategy doesn't

Soft 19 (A,8) doubles against dealer 6,
Soft 18 (A,7) doubles against dealer 2 through 6
Soft 17 (A,6) doubles against dealer 3 through 6
Soft 16 (A,5) doubles against dealer 4 through 6
Soft 15 (A,4) doubles against dealer 4 through 6
Soft 14 (A,3) doubles against dealer 5 through 6
Soft 13 (A,2) doubles against dealer 5 through 6

even if you are correct that there will be fewer double downs because of more Ten value cards left - there will still be some - and when there are the advantage will be greater than in a neutral count

an easy way to see it is if there was a single deck game just for example purposes - if the true count and running count was just 2 (two more high cards than low cards left to be played) the skilled counter would have a small advantage - if there are 40 cards in the single deck left to be played there is still a good chance to draw 2 cards which call for doubling

the same is true of splits - even if you are right that there are fewer opportunities - you still are better off than the dealer who cannot split when that happens - and it will happen sometimes

in a high count with many Ten value cards left the counter has upped his bet and will more often draw not just BJ but two Tens which is a very strong hand

nothing that was posted there is subject to being challenged

these plays were discovered and published by brilliant mathematicians making a great many very difficult calculations

.

As per my reply to SOOP –
No double-down hand consists of a 10 and something else. Ten is supposed to be predominant in high counts, no? So zero DD hands, near zero bet gain.

On the other hand, in negative counts there is significantly more double downs, from 3+6 to 2+9, no? Who would double down on T+2 or T+8? Also more splits, from 2+2 to 6+6. In positive counts there is more A+A based on probability (hi-lo). So in negative counts there’s 5 times more splits possible than in high counts. 7+7 is well neutral, it goes both ways in both counts.

It is wrong mathematically to list double-downs and splits as advantages to bj card counting. Those two situations occur a lot more frequently in negative counts than in high counts. And the premise of counting cards is to wait for situations when the count is high to place bigger bets. Thats what AP blackjack is all about, no?

How many times did you regret you had the minimum bet in negative counts and won with DDs?
toolyp
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August 13th, 2024 at 4:52:19 AM permalink
Roost, I replied to you in my post above this one. It is wrong mathematically to list double-downs and splits as advantages to bj card counting. I didn’t remove the other two advantages. 1) Blackjack natural and 2) Insurance. They are also mathematical. They remain at the very foundation of AP BJ, as you saying.

As of 3) Dealer bust – the jury is out. I quote again Don father of Illustrious-18: “ Actually, the dealer busts slightly less in high counts than in neutral ones. In high counts, when he shows a 2-6, he busts more, but, then, it's harder to show 2-6 in high counts, no? Actually, the dealer busts slightly less in high counts than in neutral ones. In high counts, when he shows a 2-6, he busts more, but, then, it's harder to show 2-6 in high counts, no?”
lilredrooster
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August 13th, 2024 at 5:12:44 AM permalink
.
to answer a person would have to know exactly how many fewer double downs he would get at each count level
and how much the advantage would increase when they do get a double down
these are some very difficult calculations
I do see your point - I'm not sure where you can get the exact answer

one last point which I already mentioned but worth mentioning again - you can see from the chart that in high counts index plays call for more doubling than in basic strategy in certain situations - there are 5 calls for doubling in that chart when in basic you don't double in the same situation in a neutral or negative count

in the complete book of index plays - more than those 18 - there are surely quite a few more times when you double in a high count but don't in a neutral or negative count

the book entitled "The Theory of Blackjack" by Peter Griffin might give some clues to the answers to your question but I'm not sure it will - it's been a long time since I looked at that book

you also might try a PM to the Wizard who is great at this kind of thing

per the blurb: "Peter Griffin's classic work provides insight into the methods and numbers behind the development of today's card counting systems"

.

.

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the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
aceside
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August 13th, 2024 at 6:09:15 AM permalink
Thank you for your information. I’m a mathematician myself. I would say index play is not very important in blackjack.
toolyp
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Joined: Jan 18, 2024
August 13th, 2024 at 7:58:01 AM permalink
Lilredrooster, you got a good point.
to answer a person would have to know exactly how many fewer double downs he would get at each count level
and how much the advantage would increase when they do get a double down
these are some very difficult calculations
I do see your point - I'm not sure where you can get the exact answer”

I agree -very hard to get an answer. It explains the huge swings in the fortunes of counters. Even most famous APs lose a lot. I quote some of them in this post. Their candor is to be commended.

1. Ken Uston, the god of card counting, writes in his bible, “Million Dollar Blackjack”:
“Two of the best counters I know played in Europe for 61 days, full time, and were down \$30,000. The same two players dropped \$156,000 in two weeks in Atlantic City in late 1979 in a highly favorable game.”

2. Lance Humble, “The World's Greatest Blackjack Book”:
“Three first-rate counters playing the Hi-Opt II lost over \$60,000 in less than 3 weeks. There is new research going on concerning what happens when the count is extremely positive. The player is actually at a disadvantage when the count is a very high plus.”
Probably because there is significantly fewer double down hands.

3.1. Arnold Snyder, “Casino Player Magazine, November 1997”:
“When I self-published my first book, ‘The Blackjack Formula’, in 1980, and advertised it in Gambling Times magazine with the catchy, upbeat slogan: ‘Card Counters Beware’ … stating in the ad that most of the blackjack games available in the casinos of the world were unbeatable with any card counting system … It is easier to make a living writing about this game than it is playing it. I have tried both, and I much prefer the keyboard to the cold green felt.”
3.2. Undoubtedly Don Schlesinger and Norm Wattenberger made significantly more money as blackjack publishers than blackjack professional players! Virtually, they stopped long ago playing blackjack in real casinos. The second reason Norm banned me and deleted my posts in the blink of an eye.

4. Bryce Carlson, “Blackjack For Blood”:
“Bad runs of luck can, and will, sometimes dominate your results for hours and hours on end. I have personally experienced losing streaks that lasted for over 7,500 hands.”

5. Edwin Silberstang, “Winning Blackjack For The Serious Player”:
“Every time the deck was favorable and I had a big bet out, I'd lose. When I had a minimum bet with a super-negative deck, I'd get a blackjack.”
See that? A super-negative deck has far more opportunities to double down. Lots of4+6, 3+6, 5+5, 5+6…. even neutrals 7,8,9 contribute to DD hands. And the chance is much higher that dealer shows 2-6 as upcard with higher probabilities to bust!
aceside
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August 13th, 2024 at 8:06:02 AM permalink
If you specify your questions to one or two, I will give you the answer.
lilredrooster
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August 13th, 2024 at 9:24:40 AM permalink
.
you may very well be right about there being fewer opportunities to advantageously double in a high count
but - you will still have some
and when you do -

if you know what you're doing - 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙢𝙖𝙮 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙛𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚𝙨 𝙖𝙨 𝙢𝙪𝙘𝙝 𝙢𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙮 𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙩𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚

compared to the amount of money you have on the table during a neutral or negative count

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the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
PenguinsOfPit
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Joined: Feb 18, 2023
August 13th, 2024 at 12:36:09 PM permalink
Casino heat and banning takes all value away IMO. Learn to play poker and not get kicked out. I mean it’s like a 2% edge at best
lilredrooster
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August 13th, 2024 at 1:56:16 PM permalink
Quote: PenguinsOfPit

Casino heat and banning takes all value away IMO. Learn to play poker and not get kicked out. I mean it’s like a 2% edge at best

first of all, I'm not recommending that anybody go out and play BJ as a pro
but I wouldn't tell them not to do it
it's a personal decision

as far as casino heat and banning taking away ALL VALUE - that's just not true
there are definitely still people doing it
I'm not going to pretend that realizing longevity is not difficult - it can be difficult - but it's not impossible
the reality is that there are many people who have tried it and failed
and there are some who have tried it and been successful
the ones that were successful are just plain better than the ones who failed

2% edge - okay - at the link the Wizard estimates how many hands per hour - let's take what he says in about the middle with 4 players at a table - 84 hands per hour

average bet size - \$75 (a very conservative estimate since high counts don't happen very, very often or in every shoe) spreading from \$50 to \$400

84*75 = \$6,300_________this is your total action (estimated) per hour

2% of \$6,300 is \$126______________\$126 per hour is a rough (very rough) estimate of earnings based on many thousands of hands

in poker - how are you going to know whether or not the players at your table are better than you______?

you can't know that - you can't know that the other players at a poker table are not better than you

but you do know for sure that you can beat the house in BJ - guaranteed

.

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Last edited by: lilredrooster on Aug 13, 2024
the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
PenguinsOfPit
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August 13th, 2024 at 4:11:01 PM permalink
Quote: lilredrooster

Quote: PenguinsOfPit

Casino heat and banning takes all value away IMO. Learn to play poker and not get kicked out. I mean it’s like a 2% edge at best

first of all, I'm not recommending that anybody go out and play BJ as a pro
but I wouldn't tell them not to do it
it's a personal decision

as far as casino heat and banning taking away ALL VALUE - that's just not true
there are definitely still people doing it
I'm not going to pretend that realizing longevity is not difficult - it can be difficult - but it's not impossible
the reality is that there are many people who have tried it and failed
and there are some who have tried it and been successful
the ones that were successful are just plain better than the ones who failed

2% edge - okay - at the link the Wizard estimates how many hands per hour - let's take what he says in about the middle with 4 players at a table - 84 hands per hour

average bet size - \$75 (a very conservative estimate since high counts don't happen very, very often or in every shoe) spreading from \$50 to \$400

84*75 = \$6,300_________this is your total action (estimated) per hour

2% of \$6,300 is \$126______________\$126 per hour is a rough (very rough) estimate of earnings based on many thousands of hands

in poker - how are you going to know whether or not the players at your table are better than you______?

you can't know that - you can't know that the other players at a poker table are not better than you

but you do know for sure that you can beat the house in BJ - guaranteed

.

.

You can know you are better than the other players by experience. You learn whom the fish are. Maybe you have friends that play that can give you a heads up on that early. Blackjack counting is trash. It got me banned from Foxwoods. I had to promise not to ever play BJ again so I can play other stuff at borgata. The heat, the fake bathroom breaks, losing all your stuff by getting banned etc makes blackjack the worst AP decision in the house.
McSweeney
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August 13th, 2024 at 7:20:29 PM permalink
My assumption is that even if you get fewer double down or split OPPORTUNITIES at a high count, when you do get the opportunity, you are much more likely to win the hand at a high count than a low count, which is important since you also have way more money on the table when this happens.

If you've got a starting total of 10 and the count is low, and you double down, there's a decent chance you'll draw a low card to give you a bad hand (unless it's a soft double where a low card might actually be a good thing). And the dealer isn't likely to bust since the plethora of low cards means he'll probably be able to finesse his way into a 17+ hand to beat you.

If you've got a starting total of 10 and the count is high, and you double down, you're likely to draw a high card to give you a great hand. The dealer is now forced to draw cards and fairly likely to bust by drawing from a plethora of 10s.

So, basically, what you'd want to look at to confirm my assumption is the % chance of winning a hand when player has X and doubles down/splits when dealer has Y, and how that % chance changes with the count, and if that difference is significant.
McSweeney
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August 13th, 2024 at 8:07:17 PM permalink
One other thing. You CAN in fact increase the volume of double down opportunities in high counts since you would double down on for example 8 vs dealer 6 or 9 vs dealer 2 when you normally would not. This would help offset the loss of opportunities with getting 10 10 so often.
toolyp
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August 14th, 2024 at 3:15:57 AM permalink
McSweeney, your reasoning actually makes sense in NEGATIVE counts. How do you get 8 to DD against 6 when the count is HIGH? You dont get such opportunities because of those goddam 10s! In fact, the probability is very high to get pairs that make 8, 9, 10, 11 against dealer 6 in NEGATIVE counts, no? It is obvious!

This reasoning makes a lot of sense mathematically. In NEGATIVE counts, there are fewer T and more 2-6. The probability is HIGHER to get DD pairs that sum up to 9, 10, 11. Many more chances of 3+6, 4+6, 5+6, 5+5… ignoring 7, 8, 9. Clearly the prob is higher to get 2-6 in the first two cards. As a result the deck enriches in 10s, no? Of course, it is logical. There is a real mathematical chance that my DD hand will be hit by 10. Its probability that says so, not wishful thinking.

And I speak here of the most favorable case: dealer and ONE player (heads-up). What Im sayin is, negative counts offer more opportunities for double downs and splits because of the absence of 10s in the first two hands. Why not increase the bet in super negative counts, especially when I didn’t have a DD in quite a while?

Maybe those are lost opportunities that contribute to financial losses. As notorious counters put it –

“Two of the best counters I know played in Europe for 61 days, full time, and were down \$30,000. The same two players dropped \$156,000 in two weeks in Atlantic City in late 1979 in a highly favorable game.”

“Every time the deck was favorable and I had a big bet out, I'd lose.”

You increased the bet 10 times but lost 8+ of 10 opportunities – you are down bigtime. Cuz I dont think Ken Uston martingaled….

Btw- In neutral counts
The probability for DD pairs is 8%
The probability for split pairs is 2%
The probability of BJ is 4.5% (heads up).
aceside
• Posts: 563
Joined: May 14, 2021
Thanked by
August 14th, 2024 at 5:12:19 AM permalink
It seems to me you care a lot about these probability and statistic numbers in blackjack, but they are not the main components for winning. Moreover, these numbers can be easily extracted out from computer simulation. To win blackjack, you need to talk about expected value (EV) as a function of the count number.
gordonm888

• Posts: 5268
Joined: Feb 18, 2015
August 14th, 2024 at 9:50:21 AM permalink
It is true that when the count is favorable that there are fewer hard 10s and 11s, and thus fewer opportunities to double. But the dealer will also be dealt fewer hard 10s and 11s and thus have fewer strong dealer hands. The frequency with which player receives certain kinds of favorable or unfavorable hands is not important because it is symmetric with teh fre
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
gordonm888

• Posts: 5268
Joined: Feb 18, 2015
August 14th, 2024 at 9:50:22 AM permalink
It is true that when the count is favorable that there are fewer hard 10s and 11s, and thus fewer opportunities to double. But the dealer will also be dealt fewer hard 10s and 11s and thus have fewer strong dealer hands. The immediate frequency with which player receives certain kinds of favorable or unfavorable hands is not important because it is symmetric with the immediate frequency with which the dealer will receive those hands.

What is important is when the card distribution effects the assymmetric features of Blackjack:
- the advantage from the player's option of standing on certain stiff hands
- the advantage from the player's doubling when the opportunity does occur
- the assymetric blackjack payoff
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
lilredrooster
• Posts: 6894
Joined: May 8, 2015
August 14th, 2024 at 11:03:47 AM permalink
.
at a forum devoted to BJ I posed the question of how the current game is compared to decades ago

I didn't really know about it since I haven't played in a long time

but my own take on this is it will be a lot easier on the player who is willing to travel - much easier for him than the player who wants to plant himself in LV

I got this answer from one of the veterans there - I do think he was exaggerating when he said a one to 50 spread:

"It's way better than it used to be, but only if you understand the best ways to attack games.

If you only look at the rules, number of decks, and pen, conditions are definitely worse than they were in the 1970s, where you had single and double deck everywhere. But in the 1970s you had two places to play, Atlantic City and Nevada.

There are way more casinos than there used to be. Because of this, game protection talent is spread incredibly thin. This means there are a lot more stupid casinos than there used to be. I'd rather play at a stupid casino where I can spread 1-50 on a "bad" shoe game, than worry about some mob boss catching me going 1-4 on the single deck in old Vegas.

There are also a lot more games to beat, and it's much easier to get information on beating games, as well as running sims, etc.

People always complain about how bad it is. They've been doing this since the 1960s. There were guys who literally quit counting cards because they stopped dealing the single deck to the last card."

.
the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
NutmegPoker
• Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 18, 2024
August 18th, 2024 at 5:21:06 PM permalink
Reading all these, I do concur that BJ/Ins is a big part., but I ask you all to look at those counts. Some leave a lot of cards uncounted. Notably 6-7-8 or 7-8-9.
A long time ago, I investigated this with the Help of CV version 3.

2=1 3=1 4=1 5=2 6=1 7=1 8=1 9=0 10-values=-2 and Ace=0
This count is dynamite upon Ins and Plays very well hand-held or shoe games.

Regards
NutmegPoker
billryan
• Posts: 16475
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
August 19th, 2024 at 6:14:44 AM permalink
I find the game much slower. Fewer tables make for fuller tables, which slows the game down even more, and side bets slow it down even more. I also find that dealers and front-line pit bosses are as friendly as they once were.
The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction is supposed to make sense.
toolyp
• Posts: 37
Joined: Jan 18, 2024
August 19th, 2024 at 7:56:53 AM permalink
Quote: billryan

I find the game much slower. Fewer tables make for fuller tables, which slows the game down even more, and side bets slow it down even more. I also find that dealers and front-line pit bosses are as friendly as they once were.

billryan, I’ll say the dealers&bosses are friendlier than ever. No doubt there are two main factors:
1) Full tables with at least 5 players

The 1) diminishes grossly the advantages of counting. The 10s and A have a much lower probability to fall in one hand – my hand. If 6 extra 10s (extremely rare) normally they get distributed to each of the 5 players plus the dealer. Or only 4 get T+T but it might not be necessarily me.

The 2) is meant to make progressions almost impossible now. Blackjack is a very profitable game for the casino these days. They’ll *never* change these 2 conditions again. Except maybe the VIP rooms.
toolyp
• Posts: 37
Joined: Jan 18, 2024
August 19th, 2024 at 7:58:52 AM permalink
Quote: NutmegPoker

Reading all these, I do concur that BJ/Ins is a big part., but I ask you all to look at those counts. Some leave a lot of cards uncounted. Notably 6-7-8 or 7-8-9.
A long time ago, I investigated this with the Help of CV version 3.

2=1 3=1 4=1 5=2 6=1 7=1 8=1 9=0 10-values=-2 and Ace=0
This count is dynamite upon Ins and Plays very well hand-held or shoe games.

Regards
NutmegPoker

NutmegPoker, is this the Cac system? I see you mention Norm’s CV software. They sponsor that system in his forum. The cac is secret but it looks like yours.

I dont like unbalanced and/or multilevel systems. One can make your system *balanced* with 9=+1, like 8; the two cards are very close in value. So your count can start at 0 not +1. Every card is counted cuz the Ace should be sidecounted.

My problem with your level-2 system: it gives the false impression that there is a double number os Tens. If your count is +6 there are only 3 extra T cards – not 6. You would take insurance at +6 which is equal to +3 in hi-lo.

Have you tested your system for negative counts? They are clearly more favorable to double downs and splits. Maybe at -5 or lower your system becomes favorable to the player.
billryan
• Posts: 16475
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
August 19th, 2024 at 10:12:46 AM permalink
Quote: toolyp

Quote: billryan

I find the game much slower. Fewer tables make for fuller tables, which slows the game down even more, and side bets slow it down even more. I also find that dealers and front-line pit bosses are as friendly as they once were.

billryan, I’ll say the dealers&bosses are friendlier than ever. No doubt there are two main factors:
1) Full tables with at least 5 players

The 1) diminishes grossly the advantages of counting. The 10s and A have a much lower probability to fall in one hand – my hand. If 6 extra 10s (extremely rare) normally they get distributed to each of the 5 players plus the dealer. Or only 4 get T+T but it might not be necessarily me.

The 2) is meant to make progressions almost impossible now. Blackjack is a very profitable game for the casino these days. They’ll *never* change these 2 conditions again. Except maybe the VIP rooms.

If you play one-on-one, you'll get about half of the tens, half the Aces, and half the blackjacks. With three players, you'll only get 25% of the Aces and with five players, it's down to about 16%. None of that changes your long term chances of winning a hand.
The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction is supposed to make sense.
McSweeney
• Posts: 129
Joined: Oct 24, 2021
August 19th, 2024 at 12:01:04 PM permalink
Quote: toolyp

NutmegPoker, is this the Cac system? I see you mention Norm’s CV software. They sponsor that system in his forum. The cac is secret but it looks like yours.

I bought the CAC2 system and it's not that.
toolyp
• Posts: 37
Joined: Jan 18, 2024
August 20th, 2024 at 3:53:57 AM permalink
Quote: billryan

Quote: toolyp

Quote: billryan

I find the game much slower. Fewer tables make for fuller tables, which slows the game down even more, and side bets slow it down even more. I also find that dealers and front-line pit bosses are as friendly as they once were.

billryan, I’ll say the dealers&bosses are friendlier than ever. No doubt there are two main factors:
1) Full tables with at least 5 players

The 1) diminishes grossly the advantages of counting. The 10s and A have a much lower probability to fall in one hand – my hand. If 6 extra 10s (extremely rare) normally they get distributed to each of the 5 players plus the dealer. Or only 4 get T+T but it might not be necessarily me.

The 2) is meant to make progressions almost impossible now. Blackjack is a very profitable game for the casino these days. They’ll *never* change these 2 conditions again. Except maybe the VIP rooms.

If you play one-on-one, you'll get about half of the tens, half the Aces, and half the blackjacks. With three players, you'll only get 25% of the Aces and with five players, it's down to about 16%. None of that changes your long term chances of winning a hand.

It changes but not significantly, you mean. Thats because Bj incidence is quite low. 4.5% heads-up, 4% 4 players, 3.5% 7 players. The insurance incidence is even lower, much lower: 20% (1/5) of BJ natural. Insurance must start with A followed by T.

Compared to DD, bj has the advantage of winning automatically almost every time. The DD incidence is higher than BJ but the winning rate is some 66%. Overall DD has a slight advantage over BJ cuz is paid 2-1.

Seems to me that both positive and negative counts are slightly favorable to the player. Only the neutral count is unfavorable and according to the book.
toolyp
• Posts: 37
Joined: Jan 18, 2024
August 20th, 2024 at 3:55:05 AM permalink
Quote: McSweeney

Quote: toolyp

NutmegPoker, is this the Cac system? I see you mention Norm’s CV software. They sponsor that system in his forum. The cac is secret but it looks like yours.

I bought the CAC2 system and it's not that.

Now I remember. CAC2 counts the Ace. Possibly counts 5 and/or 6 as +2, T=-2, A=-1. Doesnt matter, I am not interested in another system. The author himself said hi-opt II w/ASC is better than any counting system without Ace sidetracking.
aceside
• Posts: 563
Joined: May 14, 2021
August 20th, 2024 at 4:19:00 AM permalink
Quote: toolyp

Compared to DD, bj has the advantage of winning automatically almost every time. The DD incidence is higher than BJ but the winning rate is some 66%. Overall DD has a slight advantage over BJ cuz is paid 2-1.

I see a little problem of your reasoning above. Compared to Double-Down, Blackjack natural has the advantage of winning because it wins 95% and pushes 5%. The DD incidence of 8% is slightly higher than BJ of 5%, and it wins 66% pushes 4% (?) and loses 30% (?). Overall, BJ has a larger advantage over DD because of the above percentages and the 1.5-1 payout.
DogHand
• Posts: 1717
Joined: Sep 24, 2011
August 20th, 2024 at 7:37:19 AM permalink
Quote: toolyp

<snip>The insurance incidence is even lower, much lower: 20% (1/5) of BJ natural. Insurance must start with A followed by T.

toolyp,

Are you claiming that only 20% of dealer's blackjacks begin with an A upcard?

I believe the correct percentage is 50%.

I believe the correct percentage is much closer to 30% depending on the number of decks and the number of ten-value cards in the hand(s) of the player(s). For example, for a heads up single deck game with the player holding two non-ten-value cards, the percentage will be 16/49*100% = 32.65%.

Dog Hand
lilredrooster
• Posts: 6894
Joined: May 8, 2015
August 20th, 2024 at 7:43:27 AM permalink
.
I always used Hi/Lo with index plays
its simplicity enabled me to play for very long hours without tiring
I feared that I would not be able to do that with a more complex count so I never changed

the 1st link is a mathematical comparison of different counting systems

the 2nd link is an older discussion on this forum by some veterans of various counting systems

.
https://www.qfit.com/book/ModernBlackjackPage172.htm

.https://wizardofvegas.com/forum/gambling/blackjack/23905-comparison-of-different-card-counting-systems/

.
the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
toolyp
• Posts: 37
Joined: Jan 18, 2024
August 20th, 2024 at 7:57:50 AM permalink
Quote: aceside

Quote: toolyp

Compared to DD, bj has the advantage of winning automatically almost every time. The DD incidence is higher than BJ but the winning rate is some 66%. Overall DD has a slight advantage over BJ cuz is paid 2-1.

I see a little problem of your reasoning above. Compared to Double-Down, Blackjack natural has the advantage of winning because it wins 95% and pushes 5%. The DD incidence of 8% is slightly higher than BJ of 5%, and it wins 66% pushes 4% (?) and loses 30% (?). Overall, BJ has a larger advantage over DD because of the above percentages and the 1.5-1 payout.

BJ 5 * 0.95 = 4.75; BJ pays 1.5-1; 4.75 * 1.5 = 7.125 * best case scenario (heads-up)
(Average BJ) 4 * 0.95 = 3.8; BJ pays 1.5-1; 3.8 * 1.5 = 5.7 (multiple players)
8 * 0.66 = 5.28 But a DD hand pays 2-1; 5.28 * 2 = 10.56

Looks like an theoretical advantage for *negative* counts. Add to it higher splits incidents in negatives, compared to insurance occurrence in positives. Sure there are Bjs possible in negatives and DD/Split in positives -but its not in line with the probability.

Ive always been intrigued by this quirk, as it were. You read above that expert counters and system creators were intrigued by their performance in negatives and underperformance in positives. Ive increased my bet in negatives many times. Knowledgeable dealers and pitbosses didn’t believe I counted cards. One of them expressly said “negative count… it’s probably progression…”!

As I said, my worst experience was with another player when I split tens (according to indices). I took dealer’s bust card. That guy was really threatening to me. He also shouted “card counter”!!! The casino didn’t bother either way. The dealer even said that other times my action could cause the dealer to bust. It is 50-50.
aceside
• Posts: 563
Joined: May 14, 2021
August 20th, 2024 at 8:27:14 AM permalink
Quote: toolyp

BJ 5 * 0.95 = 4.75; BJ pays 1.5-1; 4.75 * 1.5 = 7.125 * best case scenario (heads-up)
(Average BJ) 4 * 0.95 = 3.8; BJ pays 1.5-1; 3.8 * 1.5 = 5.7 (multiple players)
8 * 0.66 = 5.28 But a DD hand pays 2-1; 5.28 * 2 = 10.56

For simplicity, we consider heads-up only.

For BJ, EV = 5% * (0.95-0) * 1.5 = 7.125%;
For DD, EV = 8% * (0.66-0.3) * 2 = 5.76%.

This means BJ EV is a lot more. Actually, the DD win percentage 0.66 is way too high. It should be around 0.55, with this,

For DD, EV = 8% * (0.55- 0.41) * 2 = 2.24%.

Therefore, the contribution from DD is a lot smaller.
toolyp
• Posts: 37
Joined: Jan 18, 2024
Thanked by
August 20th, 2024 at 10:41:02 AM permalink
Quote: aceside

Quote: toolyp

BJ 5 * 0.95 = 4.75; BJ pays 1.5-1; 4.75 * 1.5 = 7.125 * best case scenario (heads-up)
(Average BJ) 4 * 0.95 = 3.8; BJ pays 1.5-1; 3.8 * 1.5 = 5.7 (multiple players)
8 * 0.66 = 5.28 But a DD hand pays 2-1; 5.28 * 2 = 10.56

For simplicity, we consider heads-up only.

For BJ, EV = 5% * (0.95-0) * 1.5 = 7.125%;
For DD, EV = 8% * (0.66-0.3) * 2 = 5.76%.

This means BJ EV is a lot more. Actually, the DD win percentage 0.66 is way too high. It should be around 0.55, with this,

For DD, EV = 8% * (0.55- 0.41) * 2 = 2.24%.

Therefore, the contribution from DD is a lot smaller.

Even with 55% (0.55) win rate DD is STILL more advantageous: 8*0.55*2=8.8. Your subtracting 0.30 makes absolutely no sense. The dea;ler cant double down, so there is nothing to subtract like for BJ (pushes). And double-down win rate is higher in negatives cuz dealer shows 2-6 a lot more often. Thats when DD win rate is higher, even above 66%. As for EV it refers only to positive counts in *traditional* card counting.
aceside
• Posts: 563
Joined: May 14, 2021
August 20th, 2024 at 11:05:52 AM permalink
Let me use another example to demonstrate why we subtract the loss percentage from the win one.

For the blackjack hand 16 vs. T, win%/tie%/loss% = 20%/6%/74%, if player hits; therefore, the hit

EV = 20%-74%= -54%.

So, player expects to lose \$0.54 for every dollar bet. You cannot count wins without subtracting losses.
Last edited by: aceside on Aug 20, 2024
toolyp
• Posts: 37
Joined: Jan 18, 2024
August 21st, 2024 at 2:28:33 AM permalink
Quote: aceside

Let me use another example to demonstrate why we subtract the loss percentage from the win one.

For the blackjack hand 16 vs. T, win%/tie%/loss% = 20%/6%/74%, if player hits; therefore, the hit

EV = 20%-74%= -54%.

So, player expects to lose \$0.54 for every dollar bet. You cannot count wins without subtracting losses.

Now you wanna mimic Norm in ambition: to not know what you know well. You already subtracted the loss from the total. It is *not* 100% win rate for DD but 66%. If you deduct once again, the win rate becomes 66%-30%=36%. That’s really *bad* cuz the advantage of doubling down is the winning percentage well above 50%. Comprende?

The 66%+ advantage comes in negative counts when doubling occurs mostly against 2-6 (dealers up-card). There is something else wrong in your approach: pushes. There are no pushes in doubling down cuz the dealer is not allowed to DD. The winning rate is only for players hands. The player wins 66% of DD hands-period. Two out of 3 DD hands are won by the player in negative counts-period. There are no pushes and the lost hands are already accounted for. They are not included in the win rate.

There is the rub again. The player doesnt take full advantage of DD situations. He doesnt increase his bet in negative counts. Worse - he might even wong out! Btw – thats how you spot an “AP” liar. “I wong out in negative counts!” Say what? You can barely get a spot at a table these days. Forget about wongout or headsup!
aceside
• Posts: 563
Joined: May 14, 2021
August 21st, 2024 at 3:01:34 AM permalink
I’m confused here. Are you European? Why do you not talk about these double-down situations:

11 vs. 10,
10 vs. 9,

in which player pushes dealer a lot of times. These hands happen frequently too, in American Blackjack.
DogHand
• Posts: 1717
Joined: Sep 24, 2011
August 21st, 2024 at 5:34:59 AM permalink
Quote: DogHand

Quote: toolyp

<snip>The insurance incidence is even lower, much lower: 20% (1/5) of BJ natural. Insurance must start with A followed by T.

toolyp,

Are you claiming that only 20% of dealer's blackjacks begin with an A upcard?

I believe the correct percentage is 50%.

I believe the correct percentage is much closer to 30% depending on the number of decks and the number of ten-value cards in the hand(s) of the player(s). For example, for a heads up single deck game with the player holding two non-ten-value cards, the percentage will be 16/49*100% = 32.65%.

Dog Hand

toolyp,

Any response?

Dog Hand
toolyp
• Posts: 37
Joined: Jan 18, 2024
August 21st, 2024 at 5:48:23 AM permalink
Quote: toolyp

Quote: aceside

Quote: toolyp

BJ 5 * 0.95 = 4.75; BJ pays 1.5-1; 4.75 * 1.5 = 7.125 * best case scenario (heads-up)
(Average BJ) 4 * 0.95 = 3.8; BJ pays 1.5-1; 3.8 * 1.5 = 5.7 (multiple players)
8 * 0.66 = 5.28 But a DD hand pays 2-1; 5.28 * 2 = 10.56

For simplicity, we consider heads-up only.

For BJ, EV = 5% * (0.95-0) * 1.5 = 7.125%;
For DD, EV = 8% * (0.66-0.3) * 2 = 5.76%.

This means BJ EV is a lot more. Actually, the DD win percentage 0.66 is way too high. It should be around 0.55, with this,

For DD, EV = 8% * (0.55- 0.41) * 2 = 2.24%.

Therefore, the contribution from DD is a lot smaller.

Even with 55% (0.55) win rate DD is STILL more advantageous: 8*0.55*2=8.8. Your subtracting 0.30 makes absolutely no sense. The dea;ler cant double down, so there is nothing to subtract like for BJ (pushes). And double-down win rate is higher in negatives cuz dealer shows 2-6 a lot more often. Thats when DD win rate is higher, even above 66%. As for EV it refers only to positive counts in *traditional* card counting.

Sorry Ace! I missed the cost of double downs. The cost of DD is also double, not only the payout. So your calculations should be correct. Still there is DD advantage in negatives, even if it is lower than the BJ advantage in positives. But add to the negative counts the advantage of splits.

We still face serious losses in counting cards. I refer you again to those counting experts and system developers. The advantageous situations in either type of count are not frequent enough. That’s why serious losses sometimes are inevitable. You need a solid bankroll to go through.

I still apply progressions to counting. I know the probability of advantageous situations is higher. It’s mathematics. If I miss a few such situations I increase my bet size in the next positive/negative count. The chance is better to gain more money. I noticed that DD hands do the best job. Unfortunately the casinos destroyed the min-max spreads to fight progressions.

No hard feelings.
toolyp
• Posts: 37
Joined: Jan 18, 2024
August 21st, 2024 at 6:04:07 AM permalink
Quote: DogHand

Quote: DogHand

Quote: toolyp

<snip>The insurance incidence is even lower, much lower: 20% (1/5) of BJ natural. Insurance must start with A followed by T.

toolyp,

Are you claiming that only 20% of dealer's blackjacks begin with an A upcard?

I believe the correct percentage is 50%.

I believe the correct percentage is much closer to 30% depending on the number of decks and the number of ten-value cards in the hand(s) of the player(s). For example, for a heads up single deck game with the player holding two non-ten-value cards, the percentage will be 16/49*100% = 32.65%.

Dog Hand