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Dear Ellis,

Thank you one more time for your prompt reply.

I have still the same question. As our games are dealt with the alternate red and blue shoe. When you said Once we sit down, (captured the chair) we wait for the next shoe. Simply say to the dealer: "I'll wait for the next shoe.".... Disregard if I'd play immediately, or just watch the cards, the fact remains when the next shoe comes, it isn't the same games as I've watched and selected to sit down for ? Or, will it be just as good ?

Often times I watched these shoe games in our casino; Suppose its the red shoe which is running good with a lot of wining activities, table is already full. (I can't say I know the reasons, i.e. tens ratio etc.) But when the next, blue shoe, comes in play, often its just the opposite. Sometime it is so bad that most players leave before the shoe finished. In such a case, since there are empty seats available, (again, I didn't know about this 1st and 3rd base play) should we sit down in this shoe and play??

Once I had deliberately waited for the wining (red) shoe to come back to see how it did. (It was a long wait because the blue shoe was laborious and with fewer players). Unfortunately, I couldn't prove any point because the number of players had changed (from full table down to 5), I noticed the shoe wasn't good, at least at the beginning. Since most players had lost in this game, I decided that I wouldn't want to be another victim. Should I at least have tried to play ?

Your manual is so true ! I am exactly the one you described. The one who play the least and win 90% of the time. No wonder I don't make money like those who play often and win half of the time. Thank you, Ellis.

I know that I'm overly analytical (yet not as smart as to figure things out on my own), I will be skeptical to try to play some of these games, without the know hows there'll be just too much tears and wears. Therefore your help and Carlos' help will be greatly appreciated.

Oh, one more thing, about the way she prepares those decks differently at the opening of tables. Does it have something to do with setting them up so they'll produce different kinds of game later ?



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Yes, preparing the red and blue shoe differently is a casino stunt. They probably learned it in Baccarat where they employ that tactic quite frequently.

This is why we ALWAYS test the water when we begin play. Yes, we buy in for 12 units. But there is nothing that says we need to waste all 12 in a shoe that is bad from the start. That is why we usually start a new table with a 1,1,2 prog or even a 1,1,1. We certainly are not going to stay in a game where we lose the first 3 hands.

We do everything from the isle that we can do to protect ourselves. But it is difficult to play a second shoe from the isle. What often happens is some idiot will see you looking over a chair and slip under your elbow and take it himself.

The best thing to do when red vs. blue raises its ugly head is walk away after appraising one color and if good, come back and appraise the other color.

Sometimes, in Baccarat, we know to play one color and skip the other color. That tactic might come in handy for you.

The effects of the created difference between red and blue should dissapate after 2 hours of play but don't count on that as an absolute. It depends on the number of players and the speed of play.

It is obvious that for a relatively new player you are extremely observant. You will probably have to continue to monitor red vs. blue.

The casino will attempt to make one color random and the other clumped. To some degree you can soften the difference with your play. Favor basic in the random color but let the tens ratio decide your decisions in the clumped color. Favor hitting in LOW tens ratio and standing in HIGH tens ratio. Remember that most dealer breaking will occur in high tens ratio and least in low tens ratio.

You need to take some strolls through the high stakes arena if they let you. What you want to know is if they apply the same tactic in the high stakes pit. Often they don't. High stakes is "usually" under different mgt. You will usually find the games better there but not always.

"Winning activity"? Your Target slip is showing. But that's OK. Carlos?

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The only time winning activity is important to me is to determine it to be a basic strategy game, third base play! But, usually these games are filled up. Wether a game has winning activity or not does not determine if you play that table or not. Usually, you find a table with no or little winning activity but, there is a HIDDEN winning game in it! It could be a third base opportunity. Or it could be a First Base opportunity. I say hidden because it is a visible winning opportunity ONLY for the NBJ player. Because we play the cards different.

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Here is another new member. I'm transferring her Email correspondance to this thread because it is a good thread for questions that everyone can benefit from:


I have been busy doing my homework this week. I got the WCB manual out again and studied the head to head section. I also purchases the IN SEARCH OF and studied it.

Good, that will help.

Tuesday evening after work I went to Argosy hoping to see them do a wash before opening more tables as the crowd came in, but in spite of hearing the dealers and pit talk about opening more tables, the crowd remained about the same, so no tables were opened. I watched for a while but the games did not look very good.

Right, the Casino Mgr sees it as his most important job to precisely limit the number of tables he opens to the crowd at hand to create the greatest no. of players per table possible while at the same time insurring that everyone has a place to play.

Does Argosy have Poker? Poker makes the Casino Mgr's job much tougher because people will head for the poker room rather than endure crowded BJ conditions. Therefore BJ conditions are always better at casinos that also have poker.

Recognize that the casino mgr KNOWS that the more players in a BJ game the more it favors the casino. Unfortunately, we inadvertantly taught them that many years ago. ALL casinos have there own copy of NBJ. We can't stop them.

Today, I braved ice and snow and made it to Argosy at about 9am. I watched one table that had been opened at about 8am. Five people were playing, but none of them were winning any chips. There were some small clumps but first base play didn’t seem very consistent. When I predicted a 10, often a low card would appear. The dealer was breaking at some strange times when I did not predict it.

Right, 5 players will almost always create dealer biases that favor the dealer. That is why we seldom play 5 player games.

When a new table finally opened up, I watched the dealer do a real wash and you could definitely see green felt. When the game opened there were only three players, and as I watched the first three shoes, the dealer was definitely getting more than his share of blackjacks. Two of the times I predicted the blackjacks, but the three other times the dealer’s blackjacks occurred on low cards rounds when they were not expected. The cards seemed to be mixed well but with some small clumps. How would you play this game? One player was making progressive bets, but he would win a prog or two and then lose. After three shoes, he was still about even in chips.

Right, first I would check it for first base play. In spite of the wash, the cards may well be clumped enough for successful first base play. While prep monitoring is good, in the end the cards tell the tale. It doesn't take a lot of clumping to create good First Base conditions. But remember that your entry will change the player number. This might make First Base conditions better or worse so you MUST test the water.

If Third looked good I would try it with a low grade prog like 123. But my emphasis would be on avoiding betting high into a suspected low tens ratio round. In this type of game (not the easiest) Monitoring the tens ratio is the name of the game. The question you need to answer is can you fairly accurately predict the next round as high or low? If you can't, get out. But if you can, this makes this game fairly easy to beat. When you suspect a low round, bet 1 even if you just lost the last hand. Save your 2 and 3 bets for when you suspect high rounds. The prog player probably religiously played his prog regardless. This is fine for Random cards but not clumped. Had he delayed his higher bets and saved them for high ratio he probably would have done much better.

How would you play this type of wash? I was having more trouble reading the cards after being used to seven players. Thanks for you help.

Right, 7 players usually makes it easier to read the cards but unfortunately that only serves to tell you why you are going to lose with 7 players.

We sometimes practice with 7 players to purposely clump the cards up to the conditiond we face in the casino but that is the only purpose of practicing with 7. Once they are clumped we change our practice down to the number of players we usually play with in the casino. The key is to practice under the same conditions you expect to play.

OK, the rest is earlier correspondance you may find interesting:


Thanks for sending the tapes.

Springboro is about 20 minutes south of Dayton, Ohio. I live about 30 minutes north of Cincinnati. And the nearest and best Indiana riverboat is the Argosy which is about an hours drive for me. While the Argosy sits on the Indiana shore side of the Ohio River, to my knowledge they are no longer actually taking the Argosy out of dock as they used to when the casino first opened. They originally required an eight dollar fee per person for a two hour outing. But so many passengers remained aboard that they eventually remained docked so that passengers could come and go as they pleased. Some of the gamblers will tell you that they have been playing all night and all day long, so there is no limit to how long you can stay.

I have never seen them change cards, but I was told that they open with new cards early in the morning when only a few tables are open. As they open new tables throughout the day, they open new packs of cards, show all the cards in the decks face up in order, and then the dealer does a circular swirl type wash of the new cards, and then they shuffle. At the six deck tables, they divide the decks into six equal piles and then do a crisscross shuffling of a small pile from each side. They shuffle each pile twice, but then they strip each pile, and I think this is what makes it difficult. I do not know the name of this type shuffle, but the stripping makes the games choppy. So card reading seems more difficult in this type of game. From the card read you are expecting a 10, but up pops a 3. If I keep hitting to 17, I almost always bust. How can I overcome this type shuffle? I do not think they are cheating. But with all the stripping, they make it difficult to win. The dealer does offer a player a cut.

The tables are very crowded, but I did go last Thursday evening, and I think that I have found a good time to play. The Argosy is in the process of building a new bigger boat which should be ready in the next year or two. But right now choices and tables are limited. There are several uncrowded $25 min tables where the card flow seems better, but I think I need to build up my confidence and experience first.

There are some eight deck games on a lower level of the riverboat, but most of those games have changed to continuous shuffling machines within the last year. Can NBJ work with an automatic continuous shuffling machine?

In the 6 deck hand shuffled games, it is S17, DAS, Insurance, no surrender. The dealer does deal her own first card up. Backing betting is not allowed.

Being new to the concept of clumping, I have difficulty seeing patterns yet. While I am seeing a lot of low card clumps and some less numerous high cards clumps, it does seem like at least 3 or 4 players at the table are often getting intermixed high card/low card combinations. I do not know if it is normal to have so many 10-3s, 10-4s, 10-5s, and 10-6s. After reading NBJ and the World Class Blackjack, maybe this is what happens in every casino, and I just need to learn to adjust my strategy and learn how to better overcome the 12-16 card dilemmas in order to improve my game.

Last Thursday evening I did find a first base seat where I was playing the first base strategy and it was working. I was only making some simple $10 unit bets with some $15 and $20 dollar bets when the cards were favorable. I managed to win $140 when no one else at the table seemed to be winning. When other players started coming and going quickly, the game started to deteriorate, so I quit and went to another table. There I played 3rd base, but I quickly lost $70. Is there any hope for me? This game fascinates me and frustrates me at the same time! Any advice that you can give me would be much appreciated.

OK this is ALL good news and yes, this game is beatable depending on your ability to schedule your play. Tell me about your personal schedule. Are you free to come and go as you please or do you have scheduling limitations?

Essentially what we have here is an ordinary land based casino that happens to be in the river. If it is always open.

It is playing A.C. rules.

They put the cards IN ORDER? This is very important. Like they put the cards in boxed card order by suit A thru deuce? To show that all the cards are there. ALL casinos used to do that but most have stopped it and merely string the cards out face up in no particular order. If they put them in order this gives us something to work with so I want you to be absolutely sure.

You are going to need In Search Of. I can simply tell you what to do but It would be a whole lot better if you understood WHY you are doing what you are doing. The ISO manual will cover that detail nicely. I know you've just spent a lot of moey but if need be I will comp you to ISO and you can pay us later out of winnings. Let me know.

That circular swirl you mention is called a wash. There are two kinds. One we call an eye wash. Here, the dealer uses the palms of her hands and you never see green felt down through the cards. The other, a real wash, the dealer uses her finger tips and you DO see green felt. This is a much more thorough wash. I need to know which they use. Can you do that?

With all of the great information you have given me it appears from what I know thus far that our first target should be new cards. We need to do some detective work first.

Their standard card prep should produce consistent results. We need to know what those results are. They will likely consistently produce either good first base or third base conditions. We need to know which. Don't play yet, just watch. Your target is new cards right after the wash. Here is what you look for: Call 2-7 low and 8-k high. Aces swing. If they follow a high they are high. If they follow a low, they are low. Are the cards coming out of the shoe in clumps of highs and clumps of lows? This is usually the case when they put the cards in order. We call this boxed card clumping. It is often ideal for first base play. OR, are the cards, in spite of putting them in order, coming out of the shoe randomly intermixed between high and low (ideal third base conditions. Can you do that?

There are 2 major advantages to playing new cards: 1. Consistency, 2. New cards do not have a dealer bias. Dealer biases are caused by play.

As observant as you are, you have probably noticed that the dealer gets more than her fair share of good hands - Too many first card tens, (more than 4 out of 13, often as many as 6 or even 8 particularly in 8 deck). She breaks less than her mathematical 1 out of 3 or 4 - more like 1 out of 6 or 10. And she seems to be able to hit with relative impunity while you hit and break. Have you noticed this? That is what we call dealer bias. New cards do not have dealer bias. That's why we'll target them first.

Well that's enough for now. Oh one other thing. You have the WCB manual right? I want you to study the chapter on head to head play. Don't be nervous. I won't ask you to do anything you are uncomfortable with until you are comfortable with it. But I want you to be ready when the time is right. Have faith!

I did not know if I should email you and if you would prefer that I send questions to the Beat the Casino website. I did not think that it was fair to put all the Argosy info on the website, but maybe parts of these questions would be helpful to other new members. Feel free to edit out parts if you would like some of my questions to be on the website. I do not know if there are very many other new members who are struggling like me. Some of the website players seem much more sophisticated and are so far above my playing level. I feel like I have a million questions and I don’t know what to ask first. I go to the website every day, hoping to learn more. I have also tried to read and learn as much as possible. Unfortunately, much information is contradictory and often you feel like you are going around and around in circles. Hopefully those tapes will arrive soon and will offer me more insight.

Thanks again for all your advice.

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