Paigowdan
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
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
Paigowdan
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
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
Paigowdan
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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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.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Ibeatyouraces
Ibeatyouraces
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May 9th, 2013 at 11:14:12 AM permalink
deleted
DUHHIIIIIIIII HEARD THAT!
DJTeddyBear
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.
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
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
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. All the personal opinions I post are my own and do not represent the opinions of the Casino or Tribe that I work for.

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