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Blackjack Card Counting Spanish 21

Discussion in 'Blackjack Forum' started by Moraine, Jul 12, 2021.

  1. Moraine

    Moraine Member

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    Spanish 21 made its first appearance in North America in 1990s – decades after counters had begun to roam the casino land of Nevada to pan gold at blackjack tables. Casinos were alarmed. To make the newly proposed Spanish 21 more appealing to its casino customers, the designer of Spanish 21 must have had in mind to defeat card counters with the new game.

    Well, well, the designer wasn't 100% successful, but had had succeeded in putting most of the traditional card-counting systems useless at least. Among the 59 card-counting systems listed in Encyclopedia of Blackjack, it appears only two systems – AceMT and Hi-Lo – can also be used to card-count Spanish 21.

    A survey of the printed books also shows that there may be only two or three card counting systems that came with a well-defined method for counting Spanish 21.
    They are shown below:

    System.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2021
  2. Chip Magnet

    Chip Magnet Member

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  3. Moraine

    Moraine Member

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    If you are looking to learn card-counting blackjack, you may find hundreds of candidate books to read. Identifying the book that is worth your time could be the biggest problem. But if you are looking to learn card count Spanish 21, you are in luck, because there are only two printed books available today, and both books are excellent and have enjoyed rave reviews by many since their publications.

    If you google "Spanish 21 card counting books image", the following image may show up.

    2021-07-18 (1).png

    As you may see, one is by Moraine Mono, and the other by Katrina Walker. A lot can be said about the two books. But in essence, the one by Moraine is on AceMT and the other by Katrina is on Hi-Lo for counting Spanish 21.
     
  4. Moraine

    Moraine Member

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    On Katrina’s Counting Spanish 21 with Hi-Lo

    Katrina Walker’s book was published in 2008. The book contains such a wealth of information. Amazon shows that the book has 18 reviews, and received a 4.3 (out of 5-star) average rating from reviewers.

    Moraine read the book several times, and believes that the book is well-worth any Spanish 21 card-counter’s reading even if the counter does not like the book’s counting method – Hi-Lo – for counting Spanish 21.

    If anyone wants to criticize Katrina’s book, the criticisms shall not be directed to Katrina’s presentations. Katrina's writing is impeccable by any standards. Rather, the criticisms shall be directed more towards Katrina’s use of Hi-Lo for counting Spanish 21.

    Hi-Lo was developed for card counting blackjack. Using Hi-Lo for Spanish 21 was a force-fit. Katrina herself seemed to have realized that Hi-Lo might not be the most suitable system for counting Spanish 21. Katrina wrote in the book’s Introduction section: “The Hi-Lo count is the system of choice for most Blackjack advantage players, and for that reason, it is the system I chose for this book.”
     
  5. Moraine

    Moraine Member

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    On Moraine Mono’s Counting Spanish 21 with AceMT and “AceMT plus Halves”

    Moraine Mono’s book was published in February 2021. Moraine must be a bit more discreet here. Moraine shouldn't freely heap praise on his own book like he did on Katrina Walker’s book. But the following are in the record:

    As of today, Amazon has received four reviews, and all four reviewers gave Moraine’s book a 5-star (out of the best-possible-5-star) rating. Also, the Encyclopedia of Blackjack has the following about Moraine’s book: “The book does an excellent job of explaining many of the typical card counting concepts and is worth reading for that value alone.”

    For Spanish 21, Moraine’s book concentrates mainly on applying AceMT to Spanish 21. The book also presents a possible system named “AceMT plus Halves”. Moraine noted that "AceMT plus Halves" may out-perform AceMT for counting Spanish 21 since the "Halves" system also counts each of the cards 8 and 9 as one-half of a high card Ace or Ten. Moraine did not recommend “AceMT plus Halves”, however, since the “Halves" system is Level 2 system and is not as easy as AceMT in actual use.
     
  6. Moraine

    Moraine Member

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    Hi-Lo is a "balanced" system when used to count blackjack. Its running count starts with 0 and ends with 0 for any number of decks in blackjack. But when Hi-Lo is used to count Spanish 21, it becomes an "unbalanced" system. (The running count starts with -24 for 6-deck and -32 for 8-deck Spanish 21.) Using Hi-Lo to count Spanish 21 is more cumbersome than using Hi-Lo to count blackjack right then and there already. The "balanced" to "unbalanced" transition, however, is not the Hi-Lo's biggest fault though.

    In Spanish 21, cards 8 and 9 are pretty favorable to players. Removing one 8 or 9 card from the Spanish deck is almost the same as removing ONE-HALF of a face card J, Q or K. The combined "Effect of Removal" for removing all three middle cards 7 , 8 and 9 in Spanish 21 is not an negligible amount, such was the case in blackjack. Rather, the combined effect of removing all three cards 7, 8 and 9 is closer to -1.

    The bottom line: Using Hi-Lo to count Spanish 21 is inaccurate in addition to being cumbersome.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021 at 9:55 PM
  7. Moraine

    Moraine Member

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    Using AceMT to count Spanish 21 is just as strait forward as using AceMT to count blackjack as long as the user remembers that a Spanish 21 deck has only 16 high cards, not 20 (as that is the case for blackjack). Since Spanish 21 is normally played with 6 or 8 decks, a 6-deck shoe will have 96 high cards, and an 8-deck shoe 128 high cards.

    When computing the AceMT true count in Spanish 21, this formula may be used:

    AceMT True Count = (Number of Decks in the Discard Tray x 16 - Number of High Cards Exposed) / Number of Decks in the Remaining Shoe

    Example:
    Say in an 8-deck Spanish 21 game, a player finds that after three decks have been played, only 38 high cards were exposed. What is the AceMT True Count of the cards in the remaining shoe?

    Answer: AceMT True Count = (3 x 16 - 38)/(8-3) = (48 -38)/5 = 10 / 5 = 2
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2021 at 9:09 PM


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