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Answers from a KO pitch player
I play single and double deck games and am using K-O with most of the I-18. In the book, the authors mention a "departure point" of -6 when half of a 2 deck pack is dealt. They don't go into further detail. Do you have an opinion on when to Wong out on single and double deck games to avoid a negative run?
Personally, I don't Wong out on single or double deck games. If I find a good single or double deck game that is worth playing, I use the play-all style of play most of the time. The point of departure described by the authors corresponds to a -2 count in Hi-Lo and it would be a good place to leave if you choose to use that style of play in pitch games.
Recently, I played a 1 deck game with 50% penetration (with late surrender) and all four Aces came out on the first hand. I sat out for the rest of the shoe. I watch Aces but do not sidecount them- do you have a departure point for Ace depletion on pitch games?
If you are using an ace-reckoned count, such as KO and the count remains high, you might want to stay in there on pitch games. Once more, I wouldn't recommend making a habit out of sitting out of negative counts in pitch games. In the case you describe, you could probably get away with it by simply remarking, "Well, there aren't any blackjacks left in this deck. I think I'll wait for the next one." However, sitting out on low counts in pitch games on a regular basis is sure to attract attention that you probably don't want. If you are playing a game where heat isn't a problem, then you might be able to get away with it, but you should be very sure that heat isn't a problem. I have seen reports from a lot of counters on these pages who didn't think heat was a problem right up until they got tossed.
I can't remember which book I found it in, but there was a reference to the maximum number of other players you should consider playing with in pitch games. I think it was two players for single deck and three players for double deck- Do you know where I can find this, and do you have an opinion?
This depends on the penetration, but a good rule of thumb for single deckers is that you don't want to play if there are more than two other players at the table, playing one hand apiece. There can be exceptions to this. For example, if you can find a game that deals three rounds to four players, it is a good game that is worth playing. If you find a game that deals two rounds to five or more players, you can make money at it, but it is a slow game that could slow down your hourly earning potential. As for double-deckers, the number of players at the table does not significantly affect EV, but it does slow down play. I don't know what book you might have seen this in, so I can't offer an opinion about that.
Lastly, when you find a pitch game with excellent penetration, is it advisable to overbet the count on the last hand or play a second hand? As I understand it, K-O is better for making betting decisions than playing decisions, but with deep penetration can you bank on "better" knowledge of the cards?
No, it is not advisable to overbet the count on the last hand. It might be advisable to spread to two hands on the last hand in a good count if it doesn't cause the dealer to shuffle up, but it can attract heat. One of the weaknesses of KO is that it overestimates the advantage later in the shoe. The Key Count may not be the place where an advantage still exists, but given the penetration normally available on pitch games nowadays, it shouldn't be a problem. Of course, the advantage at the Pivot Point is relatively constant, with some advantageous effects from the floating advantage if you are playing a deeply penetrated game.
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