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How to Beat the Dealer
Old 01-29-2005, 05:18 AM   #1
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How to Beat the Dealer

After a short time on this board, it became apparant to me that I was in a small minority, (Non-engineer). A true mother-lode for numbers.
Back in the late 60's, an engineer wrote the book "How to beat the dealer". (A primer for card-counting and reversing the odds in your favor in Black-Jack).
Myself and a buddy of mine (I was single at the time), read and studied the book for a couple of week-ends, and practiced the theory by playing thousands of hands.
A month later, we decided to go to Vegas. (A 3 hour drive from us). We both took $100.00 (A lot of money for us at the time) for Black-Jack. We came back 2 days later, and both won enough to pay for hotels, a couple of lounge shows, great dining, and had more than we left with.
That encouraged us, and we spent every other week-end, grinding out a profit on the tables at Vegas.
This went on for about 6 mos., and then I got married, and the experiment was over.
Of course, since that time, the casinos have switched to a box, using 5 decks, although there are a number of casinos still dealing single-deck in the Reno area.
I haven't counted cards for years, and when my wife and I go to Reno now, I employ the taft method. (Time away from tables). Play golf during the day, etc.etc.
With the concentration that it requires, it can be more like a job after a while, rather than recreation.
Just curious how many of you "Math guys" have tried this.
Regards, Jarhead.

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Re: How to Beat the Dealer
Old 01-29-2005, 05:27 AM   #2
 
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer

I'm a "math guy". Have not tried it. Lazy.

JG
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer
Old 01-29-2005, 07:44 AM   #3
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer

I've got one of the books and read it but have never had the time to burn it all into my brain and do the practice required. I do know one guy that I worked with at my first job in Silicon Valley who was big into this. He would go to Vegas and sometimes Reno about once a month or every other month. He would apparently come back with more than he left with (he always said he did) and he said that he was being comped (casino paid for some of his costs - rooms or meals or shows etc.).
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer
Old 01-29-2005, 12:01 PM   #4
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer

I count using the high-low method. We have an indian casino about 15 minutes from us. When I head into the shopping district (which takes me past the casino), I'll sometimes stop by just to win enough for gas and lunch.

Of course, the method just increases your chances by a small fraction, and you're still at the whim of lady luck. So, sometimes I go without lunch
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer
Old 01-29-2005, 02:18 PM   #5
 
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer

We only play the slots. The first time I set foot in an
Indian casino, we both won and it was easy. Naturally
I got overconfident. Anyway, my spouse almost always wins (no kidding). Once she was already up by several hundred $ and dropped two bucks in two slots on her way out the door. Hit for $10,000 on the last play of the day. No system of course, she's just lucky. I am
evidence of that

JG
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer
Old 01-30-2005, 08:22 AM   #6
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer

Quote:
What I wonder about is the Casino's comping him. *Generally, the casinos comp. the high rollers that they are able to make a profit on.
All I really know about it is what he told me. He had said that he was playing for long enough and running high enough bets that he got comped. I don't think he got anything major.

Quote:
But it was a burn-out situation, and didn't want it to be my life's work. *The window of opportunity also closed fairly fast when they switched to a 5 deck box.
There's a poster on the Motley Fool (on the REHP board and others) who claims to have been part of an organized group that card counted in the casinos and made some pretty good sized money. She used it to retire early. I think her name was "PeckingRobin" or something like that.

Is the 5 deck box that bad? I know it makes the counting more difficult and it reduces the probability of a skewed deck (one with either a high or low ratio of 10's) but does it stop it from being worthwhile?
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer
Old 01-30-2005, 10:56 AM   #7
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer

Quote:




Is the 5 deck box that bad? *I know it makes the counting more difficult and it reduces the probability of a skewed deck (one with either a high or low ratio of 10's) but does it stop it from being worthwhile?
Hyper: Possibly would help a little bit, but for all realistic purposes, one would be better off finding single deck dealers. They're out their, especially in some of the Indian Casinos.
As you probably know, this system has nothing to do with luck, (although once in a while, can't hurt). What it effectively does, if you can master the complete system, is reverse the odds from the house to the player.
That being said, the longer you play, the more chance you have of being ahead at the end. (Complete reversal of bellying up to the table, and letting the house grind you down).
It has been years for me. (I was in my 20's when I did this). I remember my mind-set at times, thinking, hell with it, I'm getting a head-ache, and having to force myself to concentrate when there was only one deck involved. I can't imagine trying it with a 5 deck box.
Hats off to anybody that can do it
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer
Old 01-30-2005, 10:59 AM   #8
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer

Quote:




Is the 5 deck box that bad? *I know it makes the counting more difficult and it reduces the probability of a skewed deck (one with either a high or low ratio of 10's) but does it stop it from being worthwhile?
Hyper: Possibly would help a little bit, but for all realistic purposes, one would be better off finding single deck dealers. They're out their, especially in some of the Indian Casinos.
As you probably know, this system has nothing to do with luck, (although once in a while, can't hurt). What it effectively does, if you can master the complete system, is reverse the odds from the house to the player.
That being said, the longer you play, the more chance you have of being ahead at the end. (Complete reversal of bellying up to the table, and letting the house grind you down).
It has been years for me. (I was in my 20's when I did this). I remember my mind-set at times, thinking, hell with it, I'm getting a head-ache, and having to force myself to concentrate when there was only one deck involved. I can't imagine trying it with a 5 deck box.
Hats off to anybody that can do it
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer
Old 01-30-2005, 11:45 AM   #9
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer

Counting works just as well for big shoes as it does for single decks, but the count becomes a better determinant the deeper you are into a deck/shoe. The standard counter-measure used by most casinos against counters is to reshuffle before the deck/shoe is anywhere near exhausted.

Check out a book called "Bringing Down the House" about the MIT blackjack counting teams.
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer
Old 01-30-2005, 11:57 AM   #10
 
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer

Quote:
for all realistic purposes, one would be better off finding single deck dealers. They're out their, especially in some of the Indian Casinos.
I was just out in Vegas this past November. I'm not a card player, but SO is. We found quite a few casinos on the main strip with single card decks. They tended to be the smaller casinos. I can't recall any names offhand, but they are definitely out there.

I watched the play for a few hours and it seemed like they stopped to re-shuffle about every few minutes or so. I should've timed them, as I had nothing better to do.

Between stopping to reshuffle the deck, stopping to add chips to the dealers' stash (which involved some counting and signing-off on amounts), and changing dealers every few hours, it seemed like the game play was kind of slow.

Of course, my extreme boredom might have had an effect on this perception, also. <grin>
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You're singin' my song, Jarhead!
Old 01-30-2005, 07:03 PM   #11
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You're singin' my song, Jarhead!

I keep a basic strategy card by my monitor and I play Hoyle's casino blackjack when I'm killing computer time. I thoroughly enjoyed "Bringing Down the House" (as well as Ben Mezrich's "Ugly Americans"). I just wish all Mezrich's books were more documentary fact and less fiction.

If you counted cards in the "Golden Age", then I doubt that you'd enjoy a Vegas casino trip today. It's more work than ever.

Although the high-stakes dealers love the single-deck players, most of the tables are either a shoe of 6-8 decks or a continuous-shuffle machine. Both shoes & single decks have a cut card inserted about 2/3 of the way through that essentially renders counting an exercise in futility. You might see some good stuff midway through the deck but the count rarely rises above six and you can't nail the last dozen cards anymore.

Counting isn't that hard-- it's practically encouraged-- but most dealers aren't allowed to let a new player sit down until the shoe is finished. So you can't have your buddy stake out a table, watch for a high count, and signal you to join in for the kill. Dealers will also watch for counters who raise their bets on higher counts. You'll get away with it once but on the second time you'll end up discussing comps (or other topics) with the pit boss.

Most of today's simulations are run on computers instead of manual dealing, which has taken card-counting a step further to identify a problem called "small-card clumping". When the count gets high enough to make the play profitable, a clump of small cards frequently shows up to ruin a good high bet. That corrosive effect led to the development of a technique called "shuffle tracking", which Mezrich briefly mentions and which makes card counting look like Romper Room. My brain can handle card counting but nothing further than that.

Then I discovered "Progressive Blackjack"-- a combination of basic strategy, counting, and progressive betting. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books It's working fine on Hoyle and the other computer games, but of course I still need to try it live at the $10 or $25 table. Oddly enough, the book was written by a former Navy nuclear engineer.

Yet regardless of how smart we are and how much the odds are shifted to our side-- playing in a dim, smoky, noisy casino still takes tremendous patience. It doesn't hurt to have noseplugs & bad hearing, either...
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Re: You're singin' my song, Jarhead!
Old 01-30-2005, 07:32 PM   #12
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Re: You're singin' my song, Jarhead!

Quote:
Yet regardless of how smart we are and how much the odds are shifted to our side-- playing in a dim, smoky, noisy casino still takes tremendous patience.
Yeah, I'm not a professional blackjack player for the same reason I'm not employed. It doesn't seem like much fun or very good for your health, and I don't really need the money.

Well, there's that, and the fact that a streak of bad luck can wipe you out.
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer
Old 01-30-2005, 09:43 PM   #13
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Re: How to Beat the Dealer

All this talk about gambling made me look up the earnings of some of the top poker players last year:

http://www.cardplayer.com/player_of_the_year/?year=2004

These days, the money is definitely in poker and not in counting cards at blackjack. I actually sort of know one of the guys on that list. He was a millionaire before he started playing professional poker, but he's now an even bigger millionaire.
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