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Blackjack Blackjack 2024

Discussion in 'Blackjack Forum' started by KewlJ, Feb 4, 2024.

  1. KewlJ

    KewlJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    Likes:
    1,072
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    First this is not a thread about Moraine or meant to continue any disagreement with him on what is important in today's blackjack and card counting.

    The game of blackjack has changed in multiple ways since the 1980's and 1990's. And none of the changes in favor of the player, all in favor of the house or casino.

    In the 1980's and 90's there were mostly single and double deck games. Now most players have to try to beat 6 and increasingly 8 deck shoe games. (Still plenty of really good 6 deck games remaining in Vegas, but you do have to play at minimum $25 tables). This move from single/double deck changed the true count frequencies in that each positive count, especially the really good, max bet type counts occurs far less. I call this reduces true cont frequencies and this is why 6 and 8 deck games are much more favorable to the house.

    The second change was rule changes. I am not even going to get into the 6:5 blackjack payout as opposed to 3:2, because that is so severe, increasing the house edge by almost 2%, it shouldn't even be allowed to be called blackjack. The big on here that the casino industry did get away with, with only minor push back was the switch from dealer stands on all 17 to dealer hits soft 17's. This adds .2% to the house edge and doesn't seem all that much, but it is. There are other changes as well, like splitting and double down restrictions, but the h17 change is the one that really changed things.

    Before this change, games were basically 1/3 neutral counts (slight house edge), 1/3 negative counts (bigger house edge) and 1/3 players edge or advantage. All the player had to do to win was bet more in that 1/3 of the rounds where he had an advantage. Enough to overcome the 2/3's of the rounds where the house had the advantage.

    The increase in house advantage from H17 shifts those frequencies to the right (house advantage). The true count frequencies all shift, or in other words are less frequent than they used to be. So now with fewer rounds that the player has to the advantage he must bet far more to overcome that increase in rounds that the house has the advantage. It is that simple.

    Now back when single double deck and games with better rules, what count a player played and how many index plays (strategy change plays) mattered. That is why there were all these different counts that came out in the 70's through 90's. Today with these inferior games, both these things, what count, and number of index plays, just don't matter, or matter much less. People that still advocate and argue these things are stuck in the 80's and 90's way of thinking. Today it is about getting your big bet out in those fewer counts that favor the player and things you can do to be able to do this without rocking the boat too much and still be welcome to play. THAT is blackjack card counting in the 2020's.

    Now I am not telling anyone how to play, or what to do. I am simply sharing what has worked for me for 2 decades now, and my younger brother for almost 8 years now. (time flies).

    1). The count doesn't matter. I cannot put enough emphasis on this. As long as it is one of the normal counts and not some goofy thing like speed count, all counts identify 95% of the same advantageous situations. So you might as well stick to something reasonably simple, like Hi-Lo or another similar level one count, so as to minimize mistakes.

    2). Index plays don't matter nearly as much as they used to, or players think. Index plays were always only 25-30 % of the players advantage with the majority of the advantage coming from simply betting bigger when the player is at an advantage. And of that 25-30%, the majority comes from the first few strategy change plays. Don Schlesinger came up with 18 plays (illustrious 18) that captures about 90% of that possible advantage, but even only the first 3 captures better than 60%. It is just a big case of diminishing returns with each added play or change. The more index plays you learn after the first few, the less each one is worth. Worth pennies.... literally.

    And here is the big negative part of this. Casinos and casino personnel know about index plays or strategy changes plays. Especially the more common ones. So each time you make these plays it helps identify you as a card counter. It is a "tell".

    So here is what I have come up with that has allowed me to play for 20 years (longevity).

    1) because of the reduced number of rounds that the player is actually at an advantage (from earlier games), I do not play all rounds, which is referred to as the play all approach of the 80's and 90's. Players serious about winning today have got to escape at least some of the negative counts (the most negative). You can do this by exiting when the count hits a predetermined negative count, as I do, or skipping some of those rounds with bathroom breaks and phony phone calls.

    But you have to find a way to not sit there and play through all those negative rounds. Once a count hits about -2, it isn't coming back to where you want it to...where you can make your max bet. It might come back to neutral or slightly positive, but not where you want, where you can make that big bet and make some money. So once the count is -2, you might as well exit and find a new game. Easier to do in a place like Las Vegas admittedly.

    2). Cut out or at least down those strategy change index plays. They are a "tell" of a card counter. After the top 3, almost any gain by employing index plays is more than offset by identifying the player as a card counter. I play card counter's basic strategy, which is one set of plays, optimal for a true count of about +3, when the bigger bets are out. This means at neutral counts you may be playing the hand not optimal, but it is when your smallest wagers are out at a very low cost.

    Any player seeking longevity, should look into card counters basic strategy or at most cutting down to just a handful of strategy change plays. Don's 18 is far too many in my opinion. I am talking 3-5 at most.

    So that is what I do and have done for 20 years (next month). Anyone that wants to respectfully engage in discussion, feel free. I am open to discussion and consideration of other opinions and ideas. But I have asked the administrators to not allow and remove anyone just hijacking and trolling, as this is not the appropriate area for that.
     
  2. MDawg

    MDawg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2020
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    Occupation:
    Lawyer, Businessman
    Location:
    California
    • Violation of Rule #2: No Disruptive Behavior
    Keep in mind that this is all theory that he pulled from years of "studying up" on the game. Therefore, don't take it too seriously folks.

    It has been documented by eyewitnesses that the only play he does is red to green cover action for nefarious activities inside the casino. That fact is relevant to anyone who is considering taking what he has to say seriously.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2024
  3. Moraine

    Moraine Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2021
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    Location:
    USA
    Often heard and read in the internet space that casinos won't cheat because, without cheating, they already win -- no need to cheat and risk their hard-earned license.

    True or False? In 2024? Or in 1980s, 1990s or 2000s?

    Have you taken any precautions in the past 20 years?
     
  4. KewlJ

    KewlJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    Likes:
    1,072
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    How about true AND false. o_O It is true that no casino ever needed to cheat, because they already have the advantage. But that doesn't mean that casinos haven't cheated. The reasons for this are 1) GREED and 2) because they can.

    You mentioned risking their hard earned license. What casino in The U.S. where we are, has ever lost it's license for cheating? Maybe that has happened, but I am not familiar with it. And I have seen some pretty well documented cheating scandal in my 20 years. All that ever happens is they get a fine....if that. o_O

    In my time, here are my 3 concerns and precautions I take.

    1) Indian casinos, particularly Indian Casinos on Indian land, that don't have to follow state regulations and rules. Simple solutions: I don't play them much. I do want to say that there are Indian Casinos that are not on Indian land (we have two in Las Vegas now) that are required to abide by state regulations and rules. So that is not my concern. It is the ones on private Indian land, sometimes with their own police force and judges.

    2) is the old dealer dealing seconds. I think this was much more prevalent before my time, back in the 1980's, 1990's. But I try to be very vigilant when playing hand held games, listening for that clicking sound that accompanies dealing seconds as well as just any dealer motions that seem a little unnatural or "off". It is possible I have been cheated somewhere along the way. All I can do is try to be alert.

    3) and this is my biggest concern and one that when I mention it, I often get a lot of blow back. But I feel very strongly about it. Automatic Shuffle Machines. Not continuous shufflers, but the ones that shuffle one set of cards while the dealer is dealing the second set of cards and then they switch. These machines are able to read the cards and put the cards back in sequential order at the press of a button (or code). If they can put them back in sequential order, they can put them in any order desired. And THAT is a problem. There is no reason for these machines to have that capability. THAT should have never been approved.

    Now here is where what I say becomes controversial. I believe I have run into cheating situations twice with these machines. Possibly a 3rd time, but I didn't play it long enough to feel certain. The first two I did.

    Now I want to say, that I have been playing Vegas for 15 years and most games have automatic shufflers. So if I did encounter 2 incidents of cheating as I strongly believe, that would make it extremely rare. And still today, most of my play takes place against ASM. So I am not avoiding them. Just again be careful. Pay attention. Be vigilant. If you feel something isn't right....find a new game.

    An experienced player can feel when something just doesn't feel right. And when you do feel something isn't right there are some "tests" you can do. Look for card clumping. All games have some card clumping to them, but when you encounter large clumps of both high cards and low cards almost every shoe, something might be up. The second test is just counting blackjacks. You should receive a blackjack every 21 hands. Over a thousand rounds if you are not receiving a blackjack every 20-21 hands, I would be suspicious.
     
  5. KewlJ

    KewlJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
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    Location:
    Las Vegas
    I do have one additional concern, but it is something that so far has been minor.

    Traditionally, when a blackjack table is opened, or the cards changed out, the pit person responsible opens the new pack of cards, flips through one by one checking to see if every card is there, and then hands the cards to the dealer, who spreads them out and also checks to be sure each card is there. They then do the "wash" or mixing of cards and then shuffle.

    This procedure can take up to 20 minutes. In the past several years some casinos have been going with pre-shuffled cards. They open the box and the cards are already shuffled and ready to go saving time.

    But there is another reason why that procedure has always been. Transparency. If the player wants to, he can sit there and watch them open the table and spread the cards and be sure that every card is there. (no shorting 10's or aces). That is transparency.

    So this pre-shuffled cards things saves a few minutes at the expense of transparency and integrity. I think that is a bad precedent.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2024
  6. Moraine

    Moraine Active Member

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    Location:
    USA
    Counters look for high count and ramp up their bets. All is good, but they may become the biggest victim when the shoe is rigged and the high counts are illusionary only -- phantom count, so to speak.

    Have you ever tried to make sure that a blackjack or Spanish 21 shoe wasn't rigged before betting your max?

    OR A REAL RISK OF RUIN IS WATING TO HAPPEN ! ! !
     

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