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Old 11-19-2007, 03:37 PM
ACG2x ACG2x is offline
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Default Blackjack: Card counting counter-measure(s)

So I know basic counting systems such as Hi-Lo, etc. and was playing poker at a local casino in Minnesota (Treasure Island) over the weekend.

In between hands, we got on the subject of blackjack.

Anyways, we were talking about counting and many of the poker dealers were former blackjack dealers. I asked our dealer what overall strategy the casino takes to guard against card counters.

He said that that particular casino (TI) simply puts up with them. He said that all dealers were told if they were going on to a table with a known counter and to just "keep an eye on them". Furthermore, players were only asked to leave for the day if their bet variance for a positive vs. negative count got too far out of hand.

I asked what happens if they don't get too out of hand and he said, "really...nothing". The house just watches them and that's it from a management standpoint. However, the floor people will try to send in talkative and/or loud dealers and tell them to try to disrupt the counter.

Basically, engage them in conversation about anything and do it often, use numbers in casual whenever you could (to disrupt their count) and deal as quickly as possible.

I asked what happens if the counter doesn't get out of hand with bet variance and can still perform his count with all of this going on and the dealer said "we just deal with it".

He noted one of the main reasons was that decent-good counters will screw up at some point. Lose the count, miscount or maybe just suffer a losing streak and shy away from basic strategy. Only the best of the best can keep a steady, correct count and never waiver from playing the successful mixture of basic strategy with alterations based on the current true count.

Do many casinos follow this strategy nowadays? Was I being leveled?

I'm just wondering what most non-Vegas casinos do to counter card counting.
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  #2  
Old 11-19-2007, 07:39 PM
charlie_t_jr charlie_t_jr is offline
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Default Re: Blackjack: Card counting counter-measure(s)

[ QUOTE ]
I'm just wondering what most non-Vegas casinos do to counter card counting.

[/ QUOTE ]

Relatively speaking...offer horrible games. I think for a low level counter, what you were told is true.
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  #3  
Old 11-19-2007, 09:00 PM
Seb86 Seb86 is offline
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Default Re: Blackjack: Card counting counter-measure(s)

Is counting card that popular ? I always imagined it as VERY marginal with at most 100 in the world who had an idea on how to do it.

What kind of edge can someone who count card properly has assuming decent rules.
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  #4  
Old 11-20-2007, 03:01 AM
ACG2x ACG2x is offline
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Default Re: Blackjack: Card counting counter-measure(s)

[ QUOTE ]
What kind of edge can someone who count card properly has assuming decent rules.

[/ QUOTE ]

I believe the excellent book 'Bringing Down the House' about the MIT blackjack team said a proper count in a decent rules game can give the player a 1-2% advantage provided they play with the mixture I noted of basic strategy and bet optimization based on the count.

It might not seem like a lot but when you take this advantage over a long period of time, you will have your profit. It's virtually an identical strategy that the house uses to beat regular players. Take a small percent advantage over a prolonged period of time and the player will, on average, lose their money little by little.

This is fine by most players as they gamble expecting to lose and think of casino gaming as an "entertainment budget", the cost of having a good time no different than if they bought drinks at the bar and paid cover at a club.

Serious counters combine the count, game rules, basic strategy and bet optimization to create the same conditions against the house. Maybe one shoe the player plays perfectly and gets crushed. Maybe another he breaks even. In blackjack if you combine all the aforementioned elements and are not asked to stop playing and/or leave the casino, you are virtually guaranteed to win if you play long enough and have a big enough bankroll to handle swings.

The example used in BDTH was if you and I played a game where we flipped a coin. For every heads that came up, I paid you $1. For every tails that came up, you paid me $0.98. We can play for as long as you'd like. You'd be stupid not to play this game if given a proper bankroll as you're guaranteed to come out ahead since you have enough money to handle unlucky streaks and have a built in advantage.
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  #5  
Old 11-20-2007, 04:22 AM
Seb86 Seb86 is offline
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Default Re: Blackjack: Card counting counter-measure(s)

lol thanks for explaining what EV is [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Woot, 1% is sick high, I was thinking of something like .1-.3%. The house has only a .5% on average so a player having 1% seems very high.
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  #6  
Old 11-20-2007, 10:56 AM
pzhon pzhon is offline
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Default Re: Blackjack: Card counting counter-measure(s)

[ QUOTE ]
1% is sick high, I was thinking of something like .1-.3%. The house has only a .5% on average so a player having 1% seems very high.

[/ QUOTE ]
Most players don't know basic strategy. In fact, they will complain if you are using basic strategy and take the dealer's bust card. Players lose more like 3% on average. Many players could get a discount of 85% on the average cost of playing blackjack by buying a $3 basic strategy card, even if it is wrong for their particular game in a couple of marginal situations. This is why casinos like dealing blackjack, sometimes comping more than the theoretical house advantage, and put up with the expenses of dealing with card counters.

The percentage advantage you get by counting cards depends on the level of penetration and your spread. Yes, you can get 1% without too much trouble when you are betting red chips, good for less than minimum wage. It's much harder to do that when you are being watched and have to make cover plays and only vary your betting a relatively small amount.

It's much easier to make a living playing poker. Raise in EP, "OMG, the tight player is in!" and 4 players call anyway. Value bet, value bet, value bet. "Nice kicker," said the player who cold-called with ATo to guess whether he needed to hit an ace or a ten, but peeled the flop without either. "Nice catch," said the player who called down with 44 unimproved to tell you that he knows 44 is a favorite over AK, in case that's what you had.
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  #7  
Old 11-24-2007, 04:04 AM
CORed CORed is offline
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Default Re: Blackjack: Card counting counter-measure(s)

[ QUOTE ]
Is counting card that popular ? I always imagined it as VERY marginal with at most 100 in the world who had an idea on how to do it.

What kind of edge can someone who count card properly has assuming decent rules.

[/ QUOTE ]

There are books and websites all over the place telling how to count. Lots of people know how to do it, though it is a very small percentage of all blackjack players. However, there are very few really good games left, and probably only a small percentage of counters do it well enough, and have a sufficient bankroll to make serious money at it. Counting gives you a very small edge in a high variance game, but it's not all that hard to do with a little practice.

The edge you can get at a game depends on penetration (how deep into the deck or shoe they deal), how big a spread (ratio between min and max bets) you can get away with, and the rules of the specific game, but around 2% is probably the best you can hope for, with 0.5%-1% more likely. There are other advantage play techniques, such as shuffle tracking and ace location, which are much harder than counting but can give you a bigger edge, with the right game conditions.
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  #8  
Old 11-24-2007, 04:07 AM
CORed CORed is offline
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Default Re: Blackjack: Card counting counter-measure(s)

A lot of players will tell you they tried following basic strategy and it didn't work (meaning they lost money the one time they tried it for about half an hour) and firmly believe that the casinos put the wrong strategy on the cards to fleece more money out of them. Blackjack players are, for the most part, an ignorant and superstitious bunch. Many of them make the worst fish at poker table look like a genius.
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  #9  
Old 11-26-2007, 02:15 PM
lawl lawl is offline
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Default Re: Blackjack: Card counting counter-measure(s)

Anyone have any suggestions of what casinos in vegas go the deepiest into a shoe? or the best rules? Something like Mirage ok?
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  #10  
Old 11-27-2007, 01:38 AM
CORed CORed is offline
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Default Re: Blackjack: Card counting counter-measure(s)

BJ21.com has a newsletter here that gives information on penetration, rules, number of decks, etc. for casinos all over the country. It isn't free ($12 for single issue, $79 for a 1 year subscription (monthly), but well worth the money if you're serious about card counting.
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