Paigowdan
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May 9th, 2013 at 9:34:23 AM permalink
Well, well, well.....

I attended Dr. Eliot "The Mayor" Jacobson's Advanced Advantage Play Seminar at the Tuscany yesterday.

Some here will be very displeased that it was for casino executives as a defensive action (TGD's, Surveillance Directors, and game manufacturers and distributors (1) ), - and NOT a players’ advantage seminar. In this regard, it was sort of an anti-players’ advantage seminar, one can argue. One can also argue it is the flip side of the very same coin that concerns us all, and our gambling and even professional lives.

Anyway, I’m going to lob this stuff right at you.
Some interesting assertions, observations, and rational conclusions were made by our fine Dr. Jacobson in many areas:

1. Blackjack, while still AP’ed, is less sweet “low-hanging” fruit: Blackjack Nevada table installs are dropping while proprietary games (MS, UTH, etc.) are climbing. Nevada went from 3,800 BJ tables down to 2,750 in the period 2000 to 2012. Fewer BJ tables of less hourly profit that are more closely watched have shifted the AP landscape towards proprietary table games. Proprietary games have gone from 200 in 1990 to 700 in 2000 to over 900 in 2012 in Nevada alone.

2. Advanced AP’s have graduated from this Playskool stuff. For this reason, basic Blackjack card counting and Three Card Poker hole-carding are the ancient history of advantage play now; indeed, those two AP mechanisms are archaic stuff - in light of more serious edge sorting, and hole-carding the newer and much more profitable poker and side bet games.

3. Many blackjack variants and side bets (Spanish-21, BJ Switch, SuperFun-21, you name the BJ variation) also share card counting and hole-carding vulnerabilities with basic blackjack. Earlier casino pit thought was that if it is not pure blackjack, it is safe.

4. A review of all the major AP sites and recent books for casino management is necessary – who are often quite unaware of what’s out there. The issue here is that AP-er’s can be isolated, dedicated, highly trained, and tightly secretive groups on a mission of great passion, and group up into powerful teams to excel to great lengths, while corporate workers, those of mundane life, are not of a 24/7 worked-caused base. The point is that AP resources are available in two directions, in a manner that the someone has opened his books, so you too can use it knowledgably. For myself, Blackjackinfo.com, blackjackforumonline.com, discountgambling.net, bj21.com, apheat.net, are strong resources. “Wizardofvegas.com” was singled out as a different place, and is a resource of trends and industry directions that has some balance, and so isn’t a pure 100% hardcore AP community.” (Obviously). Also of interest and was displayed was various and choice forum quotes to “keep quiet on the really useful stuff to us,” - with examples given. Also shown were some examples of threats given to “false AP-ers” who had opened the door too much and let too many cats out of the bag.

5. Revealing the techniques of hole-card moves (the slouch, the sipper, the leaner, etc.) for surveillance and pit personnel was gotten into, until hole-carding issue are resolved by a combination of dealer training, I-deal dealing procedure (more on that below), and just basic “dealers’ card path” obstruction: “can the dealer slide the cards flat from the I-deal to his needed card display area?” Here, weak dealers mean exploited casino houses.

6. [Omitted, but it was only comic relief.]

7. The vulnerability to Mississippi Stud via hole-carding may be considerable: Seeing the flop gives a player edge of xx%; the turn, yy%, and the River, zzz% (!) [Accurate and Proprietary figures are concealed at Eliot’s request, but it is considerable, and this was disseminated. And hole-carding is primarily localized as a casino operator issue.] But with this kind of situation, why in the world would anyone count cards on BJ for $33 bucks an hour? was the question posed. Surveillance and TGDs took note.

8. On Three card poker, and on the old “high-Boy” ACE machine, for protection, it is MORE effective to insert a cut card under the packet sitting in the Ace shuffler, to bring them out after the players’ Play or fold actions, than to have them sit and wait in the shuffler until all players play or fold, because of the time wasted in shuffler machine cycling. Hands per hour is money.

9. The I-deal flush mount shuffler is vulnerable to hold carding if ANY obstacle is in the dealer’s drawing-card path, or if dealers aren’t trained well, and just yank their hands up while lifting the packs out of the I-deal. There should NEVER be an obstacle like a discard rack in the I-deal shuffler’s path to the dealer’s card display area. Dealers should be trained to just barely lift the card packet and follow flush along the table.

10. On UTH, seeing a dealer’s hole card is a call to count outs and bet accordingly. Also, since the entire board is also dispensed early and supposedly face-down in dealing the game, if you can hole-card the community board as it comes out early, and match well to the board, you get to bet 4x while “knowing” the board at only your hole-card point. Huge AP%. This is because it is unnecessary to dispense the full board until it is needed to come out of I-deal, even ostensibly face-down, as it can only be hole-carded or edged for Advantage Play.

*-******* A Simple I-deal Solution is listed below for Single deck poker game using I-deal shuffler. [This is not from Eliot, for the record, but this kind of work is game protection, nonetheless. I don't like face-down cards being brought out until they are REALLY needed.]:
Just have the I-deal follow a machine procedure to prevent dispensing cards until needed to be played: (this was developed external to the seminar). UTH dealing example:
a) Dealer insert cards to start play: The first button press on the I-deal after deck insertion starts the game off with two-card packets for all the players’ hole card hands, - and NOT with the five-card board first, which can be hole-carded or "edged" early. They shouldn't be able to peek the community board at this point, even face-down, and where edges are seen also. Just let the Players bet 4x or check on just their two card hands alone.
b) Dealer presses the green button once, to drop a third card onto the waiting two-card packet, to display the three-card community flop. This is now presented AFTER the players had already bet 4x or checked without being able to hole-card. (When taking out the three card flop, the I-deal drops the next waiting two-card pack into the waiting slot in the I-deal).
c) Dealer then takes this next two card packet and shows the community turn & river, also “fresh” and not hole-carded. Players can now bet 1x or check - and cannot hole card dealer's waiting hand that dropped into the I-deal. Now the community board and the players’ final betting action of 1x or fold action is complete.
d) Dealer takes the last two cards as his hand, and presses the green button one last time, to signal “dump cards/end of hand.” Dealer does take and pay on the table, shuffles and insert the deck to start the next round, and repeats this dealing procedure.
This is a minor programming and procedural change, and would do the trick on mechanical game defense. If this can be done for shuffler procedures, it would be 100% and bullet proof game protection for the industry, - and this benefits the industry, as we all depend on shuffler machines to provide this.)
*-******* [end shuffler defensive stuff.]

Back to Eliot’s stuff:
11. A Limit was given as to what is “fairly safe” for a game. The standard model of a relatively safe game – count-wise - is that it is much less countable than basic 6-deck blackjack. That specification was based on assuming a yield of $33 hour under a standard reference condition.

12. The risk is not only the percentage of time that a count window is open. Side bets or games with widely scaling paytables can have shorter but very red-hot windows of opportunity of great windfall. Compare a game that is countable 30% of the time at a player’s edge of 1.6%, versus a game that is countable 4% of the time at 40% player edge. Every 25th hand on average there’ll be a “purposeful” bet made.

13. Anything that is dealt for multiple rounds from a deck or a shoe is countable, as varying arrangements of the remaining deck’s composition develop into either “player favored” or “dealer favored” configurations during game play. This effect is nullified ONLY if the game has exceedingly symmetrical drawing rules and win/loss criteria between the players' sides, such as in the base game of Baccarat.
14. A basic BJ hierarchy, from Safest to roughest, was given. I will list an ordering here, but leave out the specifics/dollar values per hour on proprietary games.
a) Bet the set
b) Royal Match
c) 21+3
d) Insurance - $18
e) BJ – 6 decks - $33.58 – baseline risk
f) BJ- double deck $66.29
g) Buster BJ
h) Lucky Ladies
i) High tie
j) Lucky Lucky
k) Bust it!
l) Field Gold 21
m) Royal 20
n) Red Flex (6 decks)
o) Slingo
p) Slingo Team play

15. Then we went into the base game of Baccarat, - which is effectively uncountable, in spite of the fact that the 8-deck shoe is dealt right down to the gristle. The same $100 per round shoe yields pennies – 15c with a one-time bet every 1,786 hands. However, side bets for baccarat CAN be countable. Furthermore, in Baccarat, the side bet count might not generally rise as linearly as it does in BJ, where there is generally equal weighting between “pro” and “anti” key cards. In Baccarat, it is often, but not always, the final stub or deck of the shoe that can get ‘hot.’ For this reason, one counter-measure that may be applicable is to place a yellow cut-card one deck out from the end of the shoe, to signal a “side bets now closed” point (discussed earlier at WOV).

16. Interestingly, there should be a “friendliness” or “truce” between AP players and Casino management, and this was discussed. It is not a war; it is “business” to the AP-ers. [Anyone who carries out anything for consistent cash feels that way, no matter how arguably misguided, and without looking at legal issues unless need be.] The thrust here is to avoid needless insanity and paranoia on the part of casino management in dealing with real game protection. In many people's opinion, a true gentleman deals with all threats with civility, no matter how low it is perceived. My opinion is that in the same breath, a person whose only or major goal in life is to scam gambling halls cannot be argued to be operating on a very high level, but is actually enthralled in a different cat-and-mouse game that has little to do with real gambling.

17. Game protection should be built into products, with pit procedures also considered, and game protection should not consist of reactionary or “Band-Aid” measures after the fact. Know the product going in. In this regard, manufacturers and distributors have an obligation to their casino clients in not only providing base math, but more specifically, built-in game protection and its math. I can see this.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
teliot
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May 9th, 2013 at 10:11:46 AM permalink
Dan,

I want to personally say thank you for your review of the AAP seminar above, as well as your insightful comments during the seminar. It was treat having you in the seminar. I especially appreciate that the industry has a strong voice like yours as a key player in one of the top table games companies. You are making waves by refocusing on advantage play instead of simply trying to find the next Three Card Poker.

We do disagree about one key point, which is that middle ground between legal and illegal. To me, there is little middle ground -- if it is legal, then it is advantage play, and if they get away with it, good for them. If it is illegal, then put them in jail. There is a huge difference between AP and cheat. To you, the middle ground exists and is referred to as "house rules" or "ethics" or "scam gambling halls." The existence of this middle ground is not an argument I want to have with you. However, I think it needs to be stated that an APs devotion to "legal," and how APs should be regarded and treated by casinos, are frequent refrains in the seminar.

All the best,

Eliot
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Paigowdan
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May 9th, 2013 at 10:34:30 AM permalink
Quote: teliot

Dan,

I want to personally say thank you for your review of the AAP seminar above, as well as your insightful comments during the seminar. It was treat having you in the seminar. I especially appreciate that the industry has a strong voice like yours as a key player in one of the top table games companies. You are making waves by refocusing on advantage play instead of simply trying to find the next Three Card Poker.

We do disagree about one key point, which is that middle ground between legal and illegal. To me, there is little middle ground -- if it is legal, then it is advantage play, and if they get away with it, good for them. If it is illegal, then put them in jail. There is a huge difference between AP and cheat. To you, the middle ground exists and is referred to as "house rules" or "ethics" or "scam gambling halls." The existence of this middle ground is not an argument I want to have with you, but I think it needs to be stated that an APs devotion to "legal" is a frequent refrain in the seminar.

All the best,

Eliot



Very fine. But I wasn't touching legal areas here, or this time, at all. Please note that I never said "cheat" or "legal, or "illegal" in my post; I said scam, and it's from my point of view, and I said so - and not from any sort of legal point of view or anyone else's point of view, including yours; I was very clear on this. I ask you not to worry about my opinions and what I think, being attributed to anyone else.. let me show exactly what I said above:

Quote: Paigowdan

In many people's opinion, a true gentleman deals with all threats with civility, no matter how low it is perceived. My opinion is....




In fact, I didn't even mention a disagreement with anyone. Did not know there was one, I simply said, "this is how I see that stuff."

If I had ruffled feathers, it does not mean that you have done anything.


My position - my "line," if you will - concerns what is acceptable and permissible in the property, where neither counting, nor expulsion from a property for counting, is a legal issue. It is legal to count, and it is legal to be asked to leave. If you were asked to leave a casino because of an action deemed unacceptable, and you then walk to the bus stop to go home or somewhere else, then there simply is no legal or police issue in this interaction, unless otherwise escalated.

So a casino manager or pit boss may walk up to someone, and simply say, "What you are doing is against the house rules, - and is unprofitable for my business. Please leave. No hard feelings. Goodnight."
Happens all the time.

Anyway, I am glad I attended. I think everyone was. It was quite useful, and it was time and money very well spent.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
teliot
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May 9th, 2013 at 10:47:30 AM permalink
Quote: Paigowdan

If I had ruffle feathers, it does not mean that you have.

Dan, I think we are good here and I apologize if I misrepresented your views. Thanks again for your highly positive contributions during the seminar and your most excellent review.

Cheers,

Eliot
Climate Casino: https://climatecasino.net/climate-casino/
Paigowdan
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May 9th, 2013 at 10:49:11 AM permalink
Anytime, Eliot, and thank you!
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
Wizard
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May 9th, 2013 at 11:00:35 AM permalink
Quote: Paigowdan

16. Interestingly, there should be a “friendliness” or “truce” between AP players and Casino management, and this was discussed. It is not a war; it is “business” to the AP-ers.



I agree with this 100%. The way I see it, AP is a cat and mouse game. If I see a way to beat the casinos at their own rules, you bet I'm going to take it. If they catch me and make me stop, no hard feelings, as long as it is done in a nice way. What I don't agree with is the hatred of casinos and/or Robin Hood mentality of many AP's. I would have more respect for them if they admitted they were just doing it for the money or the love of beating the game.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
Ibeatyouraces
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May 9th, 2013 at 11:14:12 AM permalink
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DJTeddyBear
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May 9th, 2013 at 11:37:48 AM permalink
As a regular reader, and occasional poster, on Elliot's blog, thanks for posting that lengthy review/recap of the seminar. I wish I were there.
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Face
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May 9th, 2013 at 11:41:19 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I agree with this 100%. The way I see it, AP is a cat and mouse game. If I see a way to beat the casinos at their own rules, you bet I'm going to take it. If they catch me and make me stop, no hard feelings, as long as it is done in a nice way. What I don't agree with is the hatred of casinos and/or Robin Hood mentality of many AP's. I would have more respect for them if they admitted they were just doing it for the money or the love of beating the game.



I think you said it best when we spoke on the subject at the WGPC. You said it was much like the old Chuck Jones skit of Ralph the Coyote and Sam the Sheepdog. When "on the clock", GamePro and APs duke it out, constantly and non-stop. But once the whistle blows and we're "off the clock", we have lunch together, talk, and can generally be friends. There is no ill will; it's just business.

It was the best analogy I ever heard =)

AP


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Zcore13
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May 9th, 2013 at 11:42:22 AM permalink
I had the priveledge of attending a very short seminar by Elliot at G2E (edited... It might have been at Raving). Any time I have the opportunity I will always listen to what he has to say.

Dan, I hope you take your point #16 as seriously as all the other ones. I think you are a hard worker and I wish you the best of luck in your job, but you really do need to open your mind a little bit and change your perspective on what you call scamming. You are on the extreme end of the spectrum on this and need to slide the other way a little.

ZCore13
I am an employee of a Casino. Former Table Games Director,, current Pit Supervisor. All the personal opinions I post are my own and do not represent the opinions of the Casino or Tribe that I work for.
Paigowdan
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May 9th, 2013 at 12:25:50 PM permalink
Quote: Zcore13

I had the priveledge of attending a very short seminar by Elliot at G2E. Any time I have the opportunity I will always listen to what he has to say.

Dan, I hope you take your point #16 as seriously as all the other ones. I think you are a hard worker and I wish you the best of luck in your job, but you really do need to open your mind a little bit and change your perspective on what you call scamming. You are on the extreme end of the spectrum on this and need to slide the other way a little.

ZCore13



Thanks, Zcore13, appreciate it!
I do take it all seriously, and maintain my openness here on my views - in light of some opposition and in our gamblers' group area - about what I think of the whole cat-and-mouse game AP side show as not being a positive thing.

My personal views were absolutely irrelevant to my patient, quiet and professional handling of sticky pit situations or business meetings, and anyone who has honestly met me or had seen me at work knows that I can have these views with a whisper, and still be viewed as 100% right by some, even many, and 0% right by others - even many.

I do not want to regret in any way being open about myself or my views with the good people here, especially to my fellow gamblers and industry workers. The situation is kind of like discovering the smart, cool, serene type of regular guy that Ahigh is in real life from, what I've seen of him in person. Some people will say "What!! you mean Ahigh DIDN'T have snakes crawling out from a hole in his neck? I cannot believe it, and I cannot fathom that" - (even though I have never honestly ever met in person - they'd say!) Some believe what they do of me, and may assume and retain certain beliefs of me without every meeting me or speaking with me. All "what can ya do" kind of thing. I can tell you that pit life, dealing, and casino security CAN change a person's outlooks and views of humanity, and it had with me for the better, I feel. Less Rose-colored is more natural colored, I feel.

As for being on "the extreme end of the spectrum," I have never noticed such thing as being any sort of an outlier in my business life, either in the pit or in the office, and one would be very hard pressed to provide any such incident. This is in spite of the fact that I happen think that an AP career is essentially no career or pastime to have in a life, - just my opinion. If we disagree, is does not mean that I - or you - need to "open your mind up," - as saying: "YOU need to open your mind up" is simply saying: "You are wrong because we disagree" instead of just "We CAN disagree and see things differently."

And trust me, many the in the gaming industry actually think card counting and hole-carding are less than positive and ethical things to do, - and that a casino operation actually has a right to protect its income, that a manufacturer has to supply solid and defensible products, and it would even be irresponsible if we were in any way lax or cavalier or careless about game protection. Yeah, a ton of people out there are trying to exploit us and the games and they are not held "in highest regard" all the time. I also feel this is typical position, and not an extreme position, there were a LOT of people at the seminar who saw it this way, and I was NOT alone: it was all about proper games protection, that it should be implemented which we feel is reasonable, and yeah, what some people are up to is no good at times.

And, yes, many other fine casino people have a differing view, a more lax view, and that's okay, too. I agree with what I said above, and I stand by #16 comment above.
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Ibeatyouraces
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May 9th, 2013 at 12:51:49 PM permalink
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Paigowdan
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May 9th, 2013 at 12:53:32 PM permalink
Quote: Ibeatyouraces

Neither is ripping people off by paying less than true odds. YOU pay your bills and employees, I'm not.



If that is the case, then any bill, commission, fee, or known mechanism of income for a business can be considered a rip off. I remember when movies were $3.
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Zcore13
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May 9th, 2013 at 12:54:06 PM permalink
Quote: Paigowdan

Thanks, Zcore13, appreciate it!
I do take it all seriously, and maintain my openness here on my views - in light of some opposition and in our gamblers' group area - about what I think of the whole cat-and-mouse game AP side show as not being a positive thing.

My personal views were absolutely irrelevant to my patient, quiet and professional handling of sticky pit situations or business meetings, and anyone who has honestly met me or had seen me at work knows that I can have these views with a whisper, and still be viewed as 100% right by some, even many, and 0% right by others - even many.

I do not want to regret in any way being open about myself or my views with the good people here, especially to my fellow gamblers and industry workers. The situation is kind of like discovering the smart, cool, serene type of regular guy that Ahigh is in real life from, what I've seen of him in person. Some people will say "What!! you mean Ahigh DIDN'T have snakes crawling out from a hole in his neck? I cannot believe it, and I cannot fathom that" - (even though I have never honestly ever met in person - they'd say!) Some believe what they do of me, and may assume and retain certain beliefs of me without every meeting me or speaking with me. All "what can ya do" kind of thing. I can tell you that pit life, dealing, and casino security CAN change a person's outlooks and views of humanity, and I had with me for the better, I feel. Less Rose-colored is more natural colored, I feel.

As for being on "the extreme end of the spectrum," I have never noticed such thing as being any sort of an outlier in my business life, either in the pit or in the office, and one would be very hard pressed to provide any such incident. This is in spite of the fact that I happen think that an AP career is essentially no career or pastime to have in a life, - just my opinion. If we disagree, is does not mean that I - or you - need to "open your mind up," - as saying: "YOU need to open your mind up" is simply saying: "You are wrong because we disagree" instead of just "We CAN disagree and see things differently." I don't say "so and so needs to open his mind up." I say "This is how I see it, and WHY."

And trust me, many the in the gaming industry actually think card counting and hole-carding are less than positive and ethical things to do, - and that a casino operation actually has a right to protect its capital, that a manufacturer has to supply solid and defensible products, and it would even be irresponsible if we were in any way lax or cavalier or careless about game protection, and that yeah, a ton of people out there are trying to exploit us and the games and they are not held "in highest regard" all the time. I also feel this is typical position, and not an extreme position, there were a LOT of people at the seminar who saw it this way, and I was NOT alone: it was all about proper games protection, that it should be implemented which we feel is reasonable, and yeah, what some people are up to is no good at times.

And, yes, many other fine casino people have a differing view, a more lax view, and that's okay, too. I agree with what I said above, and I stand by #16 comment above.



I'm not trying to say you are wrong because we disagree. A stance on something can be adjusted based on more/less information, expert opinion, first hand experiences, etc. I, just like you I'm sure, learn constantly.

I'm just saying I would hope you would be open to adjusting your stance a little. I think an example of this may have been your experience when playing Blackjack a few weeks ago and the "andantagous" betting you took advantage of. That was a first hand experience that I believe opened your eyes just a little.

ZCore13
I am an employee of a Casino. Former Table Games Director,, current Pit Supervisor. All the personal opinions I post are my own and do not represent the opinions of the Casino or Tribe that I work for.
Paigowdan
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May 9th, 2013 at 1:08:30 PM permalink
Quote: Zcore13

I'm not trying to say you are wrong because we disagree. A stance on something can be adjusted based on more/less information, expert opinion, first hand experiences, etc. I, just like you I'm sure, learn constantly.

I'm just saying I would hope you would be open to adjusting your stance a little. I think an example of this may have been your experience when playing Blackjack a few weeks ago and the "andantagous" betting you took advantage of. That was a first hand experience that I believe opened your eyes just a little.

ZCore13


In person, I have a very polite or cordial stance.
In my heart, this kind of AP behavior is "not the way to go or act," - but I don't want to feel that I must mislead, patronize, or be dishonest with anyone here. I think that would be the worst I can do to fellow my board members.

I know that when you learn it, you cannot unlearn it.
I don't believe that a thing is either good or bad for being an eye opener.
Some people say that their first romance opened their eyes; [...devine]
Others may say that their first hit of coke opened their eyes. [...evil]

Both eye openers. And no doubt there is a rush to a good AP session. In this regard, I sometimes suspect a "compulsion" in some to specifically seek and do AP.

Now, I see 100% recreational gambling in a casino as very fine, and with using good strategy. But when the "game" becomes "seeing what shxx I can exploit and get away against this 'enemy' casino" - using something other than strategy, really now, and as a primary occupation, a goal, a compulsion, - this is not gambling. My eyes have seen this.

So, I say that the fact something opened your eyes does not make it good or bad. So - If I ever said, "sheesh, counting is just as easy from the player's side...." I am not saying that it is good; actually, I'm saying it might impose a risk, and certainly to a business.

I am learning, and seeking to learn constantly. I do change views, I do soften up, and I do harden up in other areas. [Sheesh, I was almost tempted to use the word "organic" here....]

We are all always changing and growing and we go along in our business.
But on breaching the HE via certain mechanisms, this has remained steady with me in business. If you feel I am not growing, that is all right. But I feel gambling needs to become more like dice play, where it is harder to AP, count, hole-card, and so become more restored to the base game of gambling, and to a precision house edge that cannot be altered, must be there, - and which actually HAS to be there for it all to happen.
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Ibeatyouraces
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May 9th, 2013 at 1:09:46 PM permalink
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Paigowdan
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May 9th, 2013 at 1:11:25 PM permalink
Quote: Ibeatyouraces

And most of us humans try to avoid such things. If we can't, so be it. If we can, we sure aren't "scammers."


Of course not.
But not from the proprietor's POV.....not that his position is valid, - he's just offering the goods and services, and dab nammit, he should do it for free for us!
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Ibeatyouraces
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May 9th, 2013 at 1:27:44 PM permalink
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Paigowdan
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May 9th, 2013 at 1:36:18 PM permalink
But there is a business view on the gambling operations we hold dear, and I always keep that in mind. One can argue "what would a casino be like in heaven?" A 50% player's edge? Win by snapping your fingers? What is reasonable? It is what the market can bear under strict regulation, and it is with a house edge, and it is now with game protection issues being addressed.

The fact that there was an Advanced Advantage Play seminar for casino execs instead of AP players is an "about time" kind of thing in my book.
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Ibeatyouraces
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May 9th, 2013 at 1:40:58 PM permalink
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Ibeatyouraces
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May 9th, 2013 at 1:46:54 PM permalink
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Paigowdan
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May 9th, 2013 at 1:49:09 PM permalink
Quote: Ibeatyouraces

I think it all boils down to proper training of procedures.



It may look like there are also some table game design elements and considerations, in a Ralph Nader sense.

If you owned a car with no seat belts, no air bags, no head rests, and got severely crippled in a very minor fender-bender, one can "claim" 100% driver error, and in a sense, be 100% correct.
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GBV
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May 10th, 2013 at 6:34:59 AM permalink
Quote: Paigowdan


15. Then we went into the base game of Baccarat, - which is effectively uncountable, in spite of the fact that the 8-deck shoe is dealt right down to the gristle. The same $100 per round shoe yields pennies – 15c with a one-time bet every 1,786 hands. However, side bets for baccarat CAN be countable. Furthermore, in Baccarat, the side bet count might not generally rise as linearly as it does in BJ, where there is generally equal weighting between “pro” and “anti” key cards. In Baccarat, it is often, but not always, the final stub or deck of the shoe that can get ‘hot.’ For this reason, one counter-measure that may be applicable is to place a yellow cut-card one deck out from the end of the shoe, to signal a “side bets now closed” point (discussed earlier at WOV).



The one-deck cutoff solution is frankly terrible. It would cost the casino a fortune.

The number of players capable of beating the side-bets is a tiny fraction of regular gamblers. It is not even the case, as with BJ, that the public is aware those bets can be beaten. There aren't any books on the subject for example, or forums, or whatever.

The lost profit from bets that would have been made by regular gamblers would greatly exceed the potential profits of AP's. Not to mention players who would be alienated by such an arbitary rule. Try telling a mug on a hot streak that he can't bet-those players go mental.
Paigowdan
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May 10th, 2013 at 6:36:34 AM permalink
Yes, I do agree. The "yellow card cut off" was one of the game protection options considered for Bacc side bets.

It actually works very well, and is a very minor and trouble-free mechanism to implement. And it is also 100% against the spirit of the game and loses some action. I can see it on an online Bacc game. For many Bacc side bets, most, it is remarkable how non-linear, how dramatic the last deck can rise in count for some games. Like "Ignition."

One Bacc side bet I worked on, I had to raise the HE to high single digit/double-digits, to avoid the yellow card cut-off.

In looking at a game, I do not always view or say, "well, only a few can exploit it, and that's good enough for me." If I can get it all the way there with the game being the same, but protected, I will. I often see: 0%/100%, a boolean "Yes - it can be beaten," and "No, it cannot," as a goal, - I may try. And yes, I do know the costs. Sometimes it isn't acceptable that "most players" don't know how or try to take it down; one team can do serious damage, and out goes the install. Pink Slip.

There are also many ways to dilute key cards in a deck composition if you're working with a shoe: pay table items that depend on different key cards, payout amounts, symmetrical play, etc. It's a rough balancing act.
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Paradigm
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May 10th, 2013 at 8:22:04 AM permalink
What about placing a lower max bet limit to the side bet after the last deck yellow card cut off?

Perhaps a $25 max per 7 player stations and no "over the back" play allowed on side bets during the last deck of the shoe. That should mitigate the lost revenue from missed betting opportunities while preventing a great deal of exploitation during this portion of the shoe.
Paigowdan
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May 10th, 2013 at 8:34:58 AM permalink
That mathematically works, but is very non-standard; changing the table game limits mid-play is a serious casino pit operational problem, a non-starter.
By having a live table game that is either non-countable, or so trivially countable, it is effectively safe.
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Zcore13
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May 10th, 2013 at 9:33:01 AM permalink
Quote: Paigowdan

In looking at a game, I do not always view or say, "well, only a few can exploit it, and that's good enough for me." If I can get it all the way there with the game being the same, but protected, I will. I often see: 0%/100%, a boolean "Yes - it can be beaten," and "No, it cannot," as a goal, - I may try. And yes, I do know the costs. Sometimes it isn't acceptable that "most players" don't know how or try to take it down; one team can do serious damage, and out goes the install. Pink Slip.



You are going to miss out on some good games with your views. The first priority should be if players are going to find it fun to play. How easy it is to learn and play and other player based subjects should be looked at first.

You act like game protection and worrying about it has just been invented. Not flashing cards, shuffle issues, card marking (morphed into edge sorting now) and many, many other protection issues have been around forever. It is the houses job to train the dealers correctly and make sure procedures are being followed. The places that have people taking advantage of their procedures are generally places where the department is lazy, too friendly with their staff, aftaid of confrontation or many other poor management reasons. It all comes down to training, management and leadership.

Yes, Elliot is brilliant and has brought to light some new techniques, but this kind of thing has been happening since day one.

ZCore13
I am an employee of a Casino. Former Table Games Director,, current Pit Supervisor. All the personal opinions I post are my own and do not represent the opinions of the Casino or Tribe that I work for.
Paigowdan
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May 10th, 2013 at 10:00:18 AM permalink
Quote: Zcore13

You are going to miss out on some good games with your views.


No.
We are looking at all games that have great play merits, including some that are clearly countable but worth taking on. However, in these circumstances, game protection parameters will be known and defined, and safe game protection guidelines specified. [However, I did reject one game that was a "Slxngo" level countable game, and was also rejected by other departments as uninspiring.]

Quote: Zcore13

The first priority should be if players are going to find it fun to play. How easy it is to learn and play and other player based subjects should be looked at first.


Yes, we know, trust me. That is the top priority and fundamental basis of any game selection that may occur. What I am saying is that the complete package for the game offered considers everything, even game protection.

Quote: Zcore13

You act like game protection and worrying about it has just been invented. Not flashing cards, shuffle issues, card marking (morphed into edge sorting now) and many, many other protection issues have been around forever.


It's as old as sand, eternal in this business, and I know what's around; and no, I'm not worried about game protection, just focused on my tasks. I like this area, and that's an area generally considered to be the casino's job, anyway. However, a manufacturer is responsible for ALL details of a product, to the best of our ability, and if we release a product that'll burn an operator, we'd have some explaining to do. Sometimes even if their dealer made the error.

Quote: Zcore13

It is the houses job to train the dealers correctly and make sure procedures are being followed. The places that have people taking advantage of their procedures are generally places where the department is lazy, too friendly with their staff, aftaid of confrontation or many other poor management reasons. It all comes down to training, management and leadership.


All of this is true, and we know that there may be some failures, incorrect procedures, AP openings, and the like, as to what goes on in the casino operator's end of things. But when we release a table game product, we have to be as thorough as possible, and do as much as we possibly can to place a much lighter burden on our customers' operational end, all things being equal. There is a very big difference between, let's say 21+3 as a side bet, and another side bet, in terms of game protection and its ability to be run down on a live game. While I agree that the game protection end really depends on the operator's ability to train and enforce game procedures, there is a lot that can be done in the manufacturer's hands to make it as trouble-free as possible, when it gets to them to put it on the floor.

Quote: Zcore13

Yes, Elliot is brilliant and has brought to light some new techniques, but this kind of thing has been happening since day one.

ZCore13



Zcore13, you are very correct: game protection and its issues are as old as the hills.
However, what is relatively new is a pro-active manufacturer's focus on this end, - so that we don't have to burden the end casino operator with extra work or vulnerabilities. What I said above in the starting post was something about not bringing unused cards out in mid-play if possible, where they can get hole-carded and edge-sorted. It's little things like that that make a huge difference in game protection. If a manufacturer or distributor can arrange a shuffler machine to keep cards off of the table until they are really needed, or re-allocate pay line weightings in a game or side bet to reduce "key card dominance," then the end operator has less to worry about, and is burned less often, - their mistake or not - on game protection. Currently, game protection is very manageable, but it is an area for some improvement.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
Zcore13
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May 10th, 2013 at 10:16:50 AM permalink
I like all your asnwers, but the fact still remains... Lucky Ladies is one of the top countable games. It's also one of the most popular games. You can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure when you (or Bob or Dean or whoever) is selling the merits of Lucky Ladies to a Casino, you are not telling them, "Watch out, this game can be counted and beat". More likely, you're telling them "This is a great game. You are going to see an increase in hold on your games of X% and your players are going to love it."

I've was in sales for 13 years. You sell your strong points, not your weak ones. That's just the way it is or you don't make it. You're fooling yourself if you think 100% game protection is, one going to happen. And two, going to be pointed out by the sales staff if it's a downside of the game.

ZCore13
I am an employee of a Casino. Former Table Games Director,, current Pit Supervisor. All the personal opinions I post are my own and do not represent the opinions of the Casino or Tribe that I work for.
Paradigm
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May 10th, 2013 at 10:29:40 AM permalink
Quote: Paigowdan

That mathematically works, but is very non-standard; changing the table game limits mid-play is a serious casino pit operational problem, a non-starter.


I hear what you are saying here, but it seems that operationally cutting off betting at the one deck left point in the shoe is no more operationally difficult than limiting betting after the one deck card has been hit. Both require an adjustment to the betting limits once the card has been hit, now we are just discussing what that change is going to be.
Paigowdan
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May 10th, 2013 at 10:49:24 AM permalink
Quote: Zcore13

I like all your asnwers, but the fact still remains... Lucky Ladies is one of the top countable games.


Thanks. Yes, very true. I was always aware of this about the game, and it performs extremely well with proper guidelines. It was mentioned at the Advanced Seminar program. Lucky Ladies is also the most widely Google-d side bet game for AP. As for it's position as top position, no it isn't the top countable game; in my starting post I presented the rankings of the side bets, and Lucky Ladies was near the middle.

Quote: Zcore13

It's also one of the most popular games. You can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure when you (or Bob or Dean or whoever) is selling the merits of Lucky Ladies to a Casino, you are not telling them, "Watch out, this game can be counted and beat". More likely, you're telling them "This is a great game. You are going to see an increase in hold on your games of X% and your players are going to love it."


Bobby and Dean are great, and for the record, they give 100% full disclosure, information, and guidelines to all operators on the products, allowing them to select which product would work best for them. (Why would you think otherwise?) And of course one of Lucky Ladies strongest points is its popularity and familiarity to the gaming public, and many operators are pleased with the product.

Quote: Zcore13

I've was in sales for 13 years. You sell your strong points, not your weak ones. That's just the way it is or you don't make it. You're fooling yourself if you think 100% game protection is, one going to happen. And two, going to be pointed out by the sales staff if it's a downside of the game.


No, I certainly do not believe 100% game protection is going to happen, in fact, I know that to be the case. It's just a goal, as well as an important part of QA.
But, what I DO believe is that there are people working very hard in good faith to improve the game protection situation for the benefit of our operators, and that we should be attentive to the details of game protection, as part of our manufacturing efforts.
1. Yes, I did give a "reject vote" on a side bet game because it was virtually un-defendable, (and also boring); game protection was a criterion in this case.
2. Games that can be brought to solid game protection status before they are released are updated to this best level;
3. Games that cannot be brought up to 100% safe levels, but are relatively safe, are issued with reasonable guidelines - like Lucky Ladies, a very good example.
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teliot
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May 10th, 2013 at 11:14:11 AM permalink
Quote: GBV

The number of players capable of beating the side-bets is a tiny fraction of regular gamblers.

For a run-of-the-mill vulnerable side bet (by which I mean, the AP can win, say $100 to $200 per 100 hands from the side bet), those teams that are strong enough to crush them are probably looking for hole-card play or other more significant opportunities. But there is absolutely individual play against some of these bets (those with low variance) on a large scale. Take a small step up and you get a bet like the "Red Flex" which is common in CA card rooms -- a big play but not huge, and very low variance, where local APs who know about it just sit there earning their living off the bet, not broadcasting it, just quietly beating it. I am not sure about team play, but it is certainly a possibility for Red Flex. Take a big step up, being able to pull $8000+ per 100 hands off a table (Slingo) certainly draws the best teams.

Lucky Ladies, with a $25 maximum, and extraordinarily high variance, is simply not worth it for any competent AP to make any extra effort. At least by card counting. If the shuffle is highly trackable, then LL can be a big play.
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GBV
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May 12th, 2013 at 4:49:57 PM permalink
Quote: teliot

For a run-of-the-mill vulnerable side bet (by which I mean, the AP can win, say $100 to $200 per 100 hands from the side bet), those teams that are strong enough to crush them are probably looking for hole-card play or other more significant opportunities. But there is absolutely individual play against some of these bets (those with low variance) on a large scale.



Define "large scale". If, say, 1 in 20 players were competent AP's hitting the side bets, then it would be a huge absolute number of AP's but it still wouldn't compensate for all the regular gamblers you would likely alienate.

What is always missing from this type of scaremongering analysis is a simple loss/gain calculation from instituting the countermeasure. Even in pure, bloodless accountancy terms that type of analysis rarely flatters the loss-averse approach. When you factor in the loss of goodwill, the fact that AP's are effectively acting as shills and drawing regular players to the table, the potential cost of countermeasures actually creating other AP opportunities for the ultra-sharp, you find it isn't even a close thing.

But then, if you did that type of analysis you wouldn't even be in game protection, picking up scraps from the casino's table instead of helping yourself to the main course. At the moment you are costing both AP's and casino's money for what? I can't even fathom your motivations.
teliot
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May 12th, 2013 at 5:37:31 PM permalink
Quote: GBV

What is always missing from this type of scaremongering analysis is a simple loss/gain calculation from instituting the countermeasure.

It's not missing, you just aren't privy to it. it is quite a common topic to discuss.
Quote:

I can't even fathom your motivations.

Debunking your baccarat advice for the tie bet was certainly my motivation for my article on the tie bet.
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EvenBob
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May 12th, 2013 at 6:09:26 PM permalink
Quote: Paigowdan


a person whose only or major goal in life is to scam gambling halls cannot be argued to be operating on a very high level, but is actually enthralled in a different cat-and-mouse game that has little to do with real gambling.



You have absolutely no idea, Dan, who the real people
are, taking the real money from the casinos. People who
never talk about it, except among themselves and infrequently
and never with details. You fling all your resources at the
obvious, and the real threats, the real AP's, keep doing what
they're doing because you barely even know they exist, let
alone how to ferret them out. You're on the cutting edge of
week before last, Dan. It will always be that way.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
Face
Administrator
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May 12th, 2013 at 6:25:59 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

You have absolutely no idea, Dan, who the real people
are, taking the real money from the casinos.



The guys wearing the uniforms with the casino's logo on it.

What do I win? =D
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Keyser
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May 12th, 2013 at 8:38:54 PM permalink
To be brutally honest, I'm amazed at just how far behind the casinos really are with regards to current AP play. The risk consultants are still trying to sell the same old fears and most of the new AP methods aren't even on their radar. I think the problem is that most of the APs these days are far more technologically advanced and well educated than the guys watching in the surveillance rooms. Let's face it, security and surveillance positions aren't very challenging positions and don't require advanced degrees. An entry level surveillance spot only starts at around $14.00 an hour, which is probably close to what Walmart pays.
EvenBob
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May 12th, 2013 at 9:07:49 PM permalink
Quote: Keyser

To be brutally honest, I'm amazed at just how far behind the casinos really are with regards to current AP play. .



You're not amazed, neither am I. Casinos openly admit
they wait for the latest AP techniques to surface, they
never actively go after finding them. Its too much work
and casinos aren't known for hiring the the top 10% of
college grads. Its more like the middle third of high school
diploma holders.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
Keyser
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May 12th, 2013 at 9:21:08 PM permalink
You mean C and D students.
EvenBob
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May 12th, 2013 at 9:27:10 PM permalink
Quote: Keyser

You mean C and D students.



I was trying to be nice, but basically yes, C and
D students. The Peter Principle applies in most
casino work.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
rainman
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May 12th, 2013 at 10:25:14 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

I was trying to be nice, but basically yes, C and
D students. The Peter Principle applies in most
casino work.



I for one appreciate your efforts to be nice EB as I was a D student. :) I don't even possess A high school diploma or equivalent. I spent all my classroom time looking out the window day dreaming. In the 11th grade the principal told me I had after school clean up everyday for a month for all the skipped classes I had. I told him to go #$%...k himself and so ended my high school days. As I look back I was the poster child for young dumb and misguided. So all you kids out there stay in school or you will wind up having to do something crazy like trying to beat casinos out of their money. :)
GBV
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May 13th, 2013 at 2:16:43 AM permalink
Quote: teliot

It's not missing, you just aren't privy to it. it is quite a common topic to discuss.



There is no conceivable reason to keep that information private, if in fact it exists. You just know that your figures would be torn apart if they were publicly available. It would become obvious you were trying to scare casinos to drum up trade-that's the basis of your income and you have no interest in telling the truth.

Quote: teliot


Debunking your baccarat advice for the tie bet was certainly my motivation for my article on the tie bet.



Why can't you do more semi-sharp analysis like that? It would make my job so much easier.
Ibeatyouraces
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May 13th, 2013 at 6:42:03 AM permalink
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Zcore13
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May 13th, 2013 at 10:06:20 AM permalink
Quote: GBV

Quote: teliot

It's not missing, you just aren't privy to it. it is quite a common topic to discuss.



There is no conceivable reason to keep that information private, if in fact it exists. You just know that your figures would be torn apart if they were publicly available. It would become obvious you were trying to scare casinos to drum up trade-that's the basis of your income and you have no interest in telling the truth.

Quote: teliot


Debunking your baccarat advice for the tie bet was certainly my motivation for my article on the tie bet.



Why can't you do more semi-sharp analysis like that? It would make my job so much easier.



He does analysis like that all the time. Also, I don't think it's very often, if at all, that his analysis/figures get torn apart.

Is part of his job to find vulnerabilities and show casinos there is an issue? Yes.
To most casinos, are these vulnerabiliies a huge risk to them? Probably not.
Is it the casinos job to decide if they want to listen to or hire elliot based on the information he provides? Yes

It's a free market. He sells his services and casinos either purchase them or they don't. Nothing wrong with that.

ZCore13
I am an employee of a Casino. Former Table Games Director,, current Pit Supervisor. All the personal opinions I post are my own and do not represent the opinions of the Casino or Tribe that I work for.
GBV
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May 13th, 2013 at 12:29:40 PM permalink
Quote: Zcore13

Quote: GBV

Quote: teliot

Also, I don't think it's very often, if at all, that his analysis/figures get torn apart.

ZCore13



Case study: take a look at the baccarat article he cites above.

1) His analysis looks at the problem in terms of pure EV and ignores risk completely, an approach out-of-date by ten to fifteen years.
2) The only plausible inference from 1) is that he has never really researched the issue properly and is familiar at most with a handful of outdated primary sources.
3) He ignores the effects of backcounting on expectation, and hands per hour. Given that baccarat allows an extraordinary degree of freedom in that regard its an extraordinary omission. Imagine having to play-all at shoe blackjack.
4) The system that he uses to analyze the tie wager with the 9:1 payoff is a linear system. It has been well established in the literature (including my own) that linear systems do not work as a practical matter.
5) He states that his method outperforms end-play. In fact it under performs end-play by an order of magnitude, unless you use pure EV as a metric, which is insane.
6) He seems to believe deep penetration exists only online. If you want deep penetration at bac, then as a VIP player, you just need to ask for it, or just threaten to leave if they won't let you make a few more bets before the shuffle.
7) The article is written on the assumption that baccarat is some kind of carnival game where the table limits are $100 or something. The whole damn point of baccarat AP is that you can shove tens of thousands or more on a single hand and no one gives a crap.
8) His assumption that a computer is needed to analyze end-deck expectation is inaccurate. Memorizing the relevant permutations is less than trivial but a professional level chess or bridge player would probably laugh at the computational complexity.

I could go on (at great length), but I don't want to tip him off how to actually count cards effectively at baccarat.

This is ONE article on a matter of little interest to most. You would not believe the level of vitriol that has been directed at the broad base of his writings from some other AP's.

Bear in mind also that I've actually been more sympathetic to Jacobson than the vast majority of AP's. Even before he came out as a darksider he was very widely ridiculed. I use to defend him on the grounds that he had a creative mind and eccentricity wasn't a crime. But I'm just sick of it now, he's burning games out for no damn reason at all and even the casinos aren't benefiting.
teliot
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May 13th, 2013 at 6:03:03 PM permalink
Quote: GBV

I don't want to tip him off how to actually count cards effectively at baccarat.

That's pretty much all you need to say to establish your credibility.
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ybot
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May 30th, 2013 at 12:21:38 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

You're not amazed, neither am I. Casinos openly admit
they wait for the latest AP techniques to surface, they
never actively go after finding them. Its too much work
and casinos aren't known for hiring the the top 10% of
college grads. Its more like the middle third of high school
diploma holders.



You must know how AP work and think to find them and protect the Casino from them, no college grads.

Good news for real APs.
lilredrooster
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January 16th, 2019 at 2:58:09 AM permalink
I read the link about the edge on accumulator machines specifically about the green stamp machine.

but how do you determine the house advantage on a slot machine to begin with?

and then how do you determine when you've accumulated enough of whatever so that the machine is significantly favorable?

and how do you calculate when a must hit progressive machine becomes advantageous?


https://www.888casino.com/blog/advantage-play-against-slots
the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
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