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Unofficial Syllabus of Card Counting
Originally posted on Green Chip by white_elephant
I am trying to list all the syllabus that need to be learnt, in my humble opinion, to become a successful student in the Card Counting Class and some of the sources from where I learnt it. I am not implying that this is the fastest route nor the shortest route. I am just saying this route worked for me.
1. House Percentage will kill you. Forget about roulette and other games with a high house edge and concentrate on Blackjack. When the house has the advantage of 2% (players advantage -2%) your chance of doubling the bankroll is 49% if you bet all and play only one hand. If you play 100 hands, your probability of doubling the bankroll is a mere 1.8%. When the house has the advantage, the longer you stay, the more you lose.
When the player has a 2% edge, the probability of doubling your bankroll in one hand is 51% and the probability of doubling in 100 hands 91.8%. When the player has the advantage, the longer the player can stay, and the more likely the player will make money.
2.There is not a single progression/Regression that will work. (It may win 1 unit in 600 series but you will lose 1800 units in the 601st series.) (the numbers are not accurate--just a demo).
Reference: "Casino Gambling - why you win; why you lose" by Russel T Barnhart isbn:0-87690-270-0.
darwin oritz - on casino gambling isbn 0-8184-0525-2 also explains why progressions do not work.
3. BJ FAQ: http://www.conjelco.com/faq/bj.html
4. There is no single Basic Strategy for all casino blackjack games. They differ slightly depending the number of decks played, whether double down allowed after split and other casino rules. Find the Correct Basic Strategy for your casino rules from: basic strategy engine: http://www2.netdoor.com/~kensmith/bjstrat.html
5. By playing Basic Strategy and flat betting, you will end up losing your bankroll. Only way to stay ahead is to learn card-counting.
6. Know the basic strategy House advantage (Player Edge) of your casino rule
Learn how to compare two casino game rules. All else being the same, do you know how much preferable 6 deck game is over 8 deck game. ( I do not know how to explain this. I was told I need 1 to 20 spread in 8 deck game as opposed to 1 to 8 in 6 deck game)
Ref: Professional Blackjack Page 35. or
Ref: The World's Greatest Blackjack book page 182.
7. Bad players in your table at any spot (including 3rd base) will not affect your winning.
8. While choosing the counting system, keep in mind that for 6 and 8 deck shoe games betting correlation of the counting system is more important than playing efficiency of the counting system. Those counting systems that assign value to "Ace" tend to have higher betting correlation(good for multi-deck shoe games).
9. When you read some old books of 1970s, keep in mind that most of the performance numbers mentioned in those books might refer to singledeck games and your multi-deck games performance may be nowhere close to that.
10. Visit Richard Reid's website www.bjmath.com and
a) Understand what is standard deviation and
b) what is Kelly Betting.
11. Visit www.bj21.com. If you see any flashy blackjack book not sold through bj21.com, post a question to ask for comments about the author you came across. Probably there is a good reason why the book is not sold through bj21.com
Forget about the following systems: card clumping, Target, Dhal, Core etc.
12. Act ignorant in the blackjack table with other players, your buddy, pit boss etc. Learn Act/Cover/Camouflage. Blackjack for blood Bryce Carlson. Turning the tables on Las Vegas Ian Andersen.
13. http://www.flash.net/~vista/ has a FREE program you can download to practice your card-counting.
14. All non-counters (Basic Strategy players and those who do not know basic strategy) should never take insurance. Card counters gain lot of advantage by taking insurance when the count dictates. (When you take insurance some one else in the table will give free advice. Instead of saying I know what I am doing, pretend you do not know what you are doing. May be you can say some thing like what the heck I will chicken out. When you do not take insurance you can say, you just had a bj. You can not have another one etc.)
15. Do not apply for the "Players Card". You want to be anonymous to the casino. Do not give real name. Say something like my wife will kill me if she finds out I am still gambling.
16. If you are using internet, get some nickname and free e-mail from hotmail etc. using that nickname. That way in case some casino spy is reading your message, your identity is not revealed.
17. If you can not remember all the indices for playing strategy, Don Schlesinger has listed 18 situations you should memorize (and deviate from Basic Strategy) and still get most of the gain of the full system(80% I think). He calls it "Illustrious 18". Refer Blackjack Attack.
18. References: In my humble opinion:
a) "World's Greatest Blackjack Book"- Lance Humble and Carl Cooper.
I learned Good introduction to card counting from this book. I do not recommend Hi-Opt 1 system explained in the book but IMHO a beginner should skip through the pages. Do not take Dealer Cheating very seriously. Do not memorize Basic Strategy or indices from this book.
Now that you know what counting is next level of reading will be.
b) If you choose Balanced counting system (Hi-Lo) then
buy Professional Blackjack - Stanford wong.
This book explains all the indexes for various combinations of rules you can see.
This is the place to memorize basic strategy and Hi-Lo indices.
If you choose the easier Unbalanced Count system (KO) then
buy Knock-out Blackjack by Ken Olaf and Fuchs. They also have a software program for practice.
c) I guess the next advanced level will be reading "Blackjack Attack" by Don Schlesinger.
d) If you still have energy visit T-hop's website for high tech (difficult but powerful) secondary-count.
e) Other books I personally enjoyed reading.
Blackjack for Blood by Bryce Carlson (Camouflage)
Turning the Tables on Las Vegas - Ian Andersen (Camouflage)
Blackjack - Take a hit and run
f) other players have recommended
Blackbelt in Blackjack - Arnold Snyder.
g) If you really want to get serious and have some money to spend, Now may the time to buy Casino Verite software.
h) Do me one favour. Do not read Scarne's book.
i) Majority of the visitors to this site have REJECTED the following books.
Progression Blackjack (Donald Dhal)
bj101 - Card clumping (winningways.com)
19. Remember Tournament Blackjack is a totally different animal. beginning counters can safely forget this. If you need, Stanford Wong has a book.
20. Repeating the Qn. from Prof BJ by SW Page 213 of 1994. The reader's question is one page long and very nicely put. In essence the reader switched from Hi-opt1 to Hi-Lo and reads about omega and asks which system is best. SW gave a one page answer. In short, he says it does not matter which system to use as long as you use one and instead of choosing a more complicated system and a wider range of numbers the reader should choose a better game and think about "ACT".