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Very interesting article.


NBJwannabe

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Nightshifter
Where do you play at NightShifter?

Hey Keith! :) I'm near the Hardrock Cafe in Tampa Florida. We have 3 Hardrocks with 6 & 8 Deck Shoe Blackjack. The 8 Decks use a Shuffle Master II while the 6 Deck Games are hand shuffled! Also, the Big M Casino in Fort Myers! When I play outside of Florida, i go to Biloxi and or Tunica.

I love Mississippi, even though the 2 Deck games are clumped just as well, they're easier to beat. And you can use counting techniques in some of the games if they exhibit good behavior ;) I played in Niagra Falls (Canada Side).

Good 8 & 6 deck shoe games... typical AC clones :)

I also played Blackjack in Russia. There it is hand shuffled, 6 deck game but no hole card. Now the casinos were moved out of the cities in Russia because they were run by Chechins trying to raise money to fund terrorists

in Chechnya. Putin made that a law. So now the casinos are outside the cities, some quite far. I was in Rostov Russia playing at The Golden Jack (still have the players card). Nice casino! Now they're located 150 miles out of the city. I used to live in Russia. Oh there's a little casino at the Frankfurt airport in Germany... 3 blackjack tables and some slots. haha.. i played a negative progression at third base there. Very random game. That was a continuous shuffler game though. Won a few hundred Euros @ 7 in the morning then i had to catch the plane. That felt good (especially at the exchange rate for dollars at the time 1.55 to 1). In the past i played a lot in Vegas when you could still win at card counting Downtown... good old days!

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Very interesting story and its also interesting to see how well our findings match, particularly MS and Gulf Shore two deck. Its also refreshing to see a counter who keeps an open mind. Many are too brain washed to work with.

Hmmm, the last time I got out of Russia I had an AK47 pointed at me!

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  • 2 years later...

Whenever I see this article by Arnold Snyder - in fact whenever I hear his name - I cringe. You know when someone claims to be able to beat internet casinos how FOS they are.

Snyder HAS to push his card-counting shtick because that's what he sells, along with all the rest of the "Old-schoolers" who claim a 1950's system and millions of computer-generated blackjack hands can win in the long-run. Basic Strategy is a losing system and card counting today is futile. 8 decks and card counting is essentially an unbeatable game. If the casino uses a continuous shuffler, the whole ball of wax is worthless anyway right off the bat.

Saturday night in any casino - 99-100% of all the BJ games are unbeatable. Only an idiot would play at that time.

Clumping, knowing when to sit down, and when to leave (game control, essentially) can nail a casino to the wall for a player.

Phony computer gin-generated BJ? Worthless.. Gaming conditions are not static. Nor are cards random. Learn these 2 things and you can make a lot of money.

Snyder is just ridiculous pushing his crap. Real play will quickly show anyone who has a brain that the cards are non-random.

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Right Bigmac! I can't believe people are still falling for this scam.

I recall a player on Arnold's forum complaining that he was playing perfectly to Arnold's rules but losing his shirt. After a few questions Arnold's answer was that the guy was playing a pair of 4s wrong and all his losing was because of that.

Good grief! You could play all day and never get a pair of 4s. And when you finally do, it doesn't make a hoot of difference how you decide to play them - The odds are almost the same no matter what you do.

And then there's his motto: "It doesn't matter if you win or lose as long as you make the correct play." If you don't see anything wrong with that statement you need to stay out of casinos.

How do people still fall for this crap? Must be wishful thinking. Like damn lemmings!

The fact is if you play every possible hand the same way every time, you will lose plain and simple. You MUST know when to defy Basic Strategy.

BTW, would you double your 8 against a 7 with tens running? I win that double nearly every time. But Arnold says there is no such thing as tens running. I wonder what planet he's playing on? I've seen ten tens in a row thousands of times - sometimes twice in the same shoe. Yet your computer will tell you it's near impossible. (4/13 to the 10th power.) Shows you how much computers know. Also shows you how much Arnold knows.

Arnold, we are trying to make our wallet happy - not our computer. A pair of 4s! My God man!

I once stood on a pair of 3s against a 6 at third base with $60,000 on the table. Why? Because tens were running. A ten would have given me 16, the worst hand in BJ. But instead, it broke the dealer!

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When I started playing, I wong'd, I counted, I did everything "by the book". I also lost my shirt. Who got that 20 while I got a 10 and a stray 5 or 6 in a high count? Why the dealer, of course. Or she'd just straight-out Blackjack me and end the hand right there.

All these counting books. Show me your winnings. NONE of them can do that. Because none of them actually win.

There was nothing wrong with my play, according to the Experts. Nothing except I was getting killed and not winning.

Once you understand how the cards are clumped and have determined there is no strong dealer bias, you can kill a table. You play the clumps.

All Basic and card counting will get you is -- BROKE.

Millions of hands in a computer mean nothing. Winning a hand in the short-term in real life means a lot. Winning double-downs means a lot. Winning key hands means a lot.

Snyder just pisses me off. No computer will ever simulate real-life playing conditions, which are not static, and that's the whole issue in a nutshell. The simulations assume random cards which almost NEVER exist in a live casino environment. I lost my shirt playing under these assumptions instead of using the theories (FACTS) of card clumping, non-randomness, and game (table) conditions.

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Give credit where credit is due! The guy is a great scammer!

I also don't like his policy of counting 9s as neutral. 9s are high for crying out loud. If you doubled with 11 and drew a 9 would you give it back? There is a reason why 9s run with tens. 9s are a great high card area indicator - but not if you count them as neutral. This guy just doesn't think the game through. But don't get me started. There are LOTS of fallacies in the way this "expert" looks at the game. It is easy to see that he doesn't actually play.

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I would like someone to explain to me why counting "red-anything" in a blackjack game should even be considered as remotely valid. Last I checked, the suit of a card wasn't really an issue in winning or losing. Yet, when I Google "red 7 count", there are actually threads treating it as a serious, genuine system. Same goes for KO Blackjack. I tried that at the local casino and got murdered. Unbalanced count, yes. And useless AND it doesn't work!!

I can see Snyder doesn't actually play. As for his 1993 article, no doubt these wonderful simulations of his were run on a then state-of-the-art P-II PC. Not that it matters. Computers assume random cards and so each shuffle is independent, using their pseudo RNG. Like I wrote, that's just not real-world Blackjack.

Doesn't anyone else think that this Red 7 bullshit is just insane??

http://www.blackjackforumonline.com/content/How%20toCount.htm

So it gets 80% of the power of the Hi-Lo count. COME ON!! This isn't brain surgery! We're talking Level-I Hi-Lo. If you can't master a SIMPLE system like that, you probably shouldn't be playing Blackjack, be anywhere near a casino, maybe driving and talking at the same time, etc.

This is just his BS attempt to cheaply knock off an imbalanced count system and sell some books. But in my opinion, this is the WORST way to do it. count red 7's and ignore black ones. Again, WHY!?!

And yes, 9's are highs. They should be accounted for while the Aces should be at 0 (hi/low dual nature).

But again, these count gurus only know 25% of the story. Counting without looking at clumping will not work. They would have you believe that all BJ games are equal, i.e. if I count down every BJ game and bet when the count is high (waiting game) I'll win.

WRONG!!

They also really gloss over the fact that a 1-20 bet spread (needed to make their BS systems work) is a little scary... It's called "variance". 1-20??? What bankroll do I need for that, again?

Like I said, I tried all the Old School BS. It DOES NOT WORK. It worked in 1965 with heads-up play 1-1000 spread tables, single deck, dealt to the end old Las Vegas. That's what you're being sold when you buy any of these old-school books. I loved reading "Blackjack Your Way to Riches" by Richard Canfield. Wonderful book. But let's face it: Those playing conditions NO LONGER EXIST. What's the difference between his system - a good one at the time - and any other counting system, say the Hi-Low??

Those conditions DO NOT EXIST ANYMORE.

These guys are just selling books and seminars. Try any of it, like me, at your peril. May as well take a lighter to your money. It would be quicker and save you the frustration and time of actually getting creamed at the tables.

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Re: The MIT Teams.

Speaking of "question-mark" moments, be very careful of what you read and watch on TV regarding this. Great entertainment for shows like "Breaking Vegas" and selling books, but if you dig a little deeper under the surface, you'll find that the Team, in its various incarnations, went broke on several occasions.

Ken Uston, the GREATEST of Counters alluded to this in his book. He mentions (forget exactly where at the moment) that "We weren't playing with the EDGE we THOUGHT we had."

And Ken used the APC, a 2-Level count, against SINGLE DECKS.

Are you telling me that the "Best and Brightest" at MIT could only master the Hi-Lo, a system from 1963!!! when Systems like Uston's APC were IN EXISTENCE amd AVAILABLE.

http://wizardofodds.com/blackjack/count/highlow1.html

1963 Vegas. And CLEARLY designed, including any Indices, for Single-Deck play.

My conclusion: The MIT Teams weren't playing with the edge THEY THOUGHT they HAD. As acknowledged by Ken Uston, he later realized that they were maybe getting 1% under LT play AT THAT TIME.

Hi-Low???

Coin flipping or even a disadvantage for the MIT Teams, which employed HUGE bet spreads and OPM (Other People's Money) for a MASSIVE Bankroll. That's what was likely happening. At such a small advantage, MAYBE 1/2 of a percent, old system, or even a playing a slight disadvantage (my guess..) variance got them.

Yeah, you're telling me that these schlubs couldn't master something like the Uston APC (HIGH betting accuracy + Ace Side Count) and betting accuracy IS what we want... but they go to MIT and I'm supposed to hire these clowns to design circuit boards, whatever.. Another example of mislabeling the Product. They're lucky they had the MIT pedigree to get them jobs because underneath the degree hype and Credentials power - no engine. I wouldn't hire any of them to mow my lawn..

Let me give you an example of a technique that does work which the casinos easily thwarted: Card Steering. That is, let's say you have a deck and you see the Ace of Spades is on the bottom, you cut the deck and estimate how many cards to that Ace of Spades. You then spread the table when the count is close, hoping for a BJ and getting that Ace of Spades in one of the hands.

Does it work? Yup.

Problems:

- Waiting game. Waiting for Aces at the bottom of a deck (either single/multi)

- Variance (dealer might catch it)

- Inexact count

Etc.

How'd the casinos adapt? Easy. You know how they used to have one little yellow cut card? Now they use 2. One of them is put on the bottom when the deck is cut after the shuffle. That cost the casinos all of a $0.03 cents per cut card. And of course if they use a continuous shuffler, this no longer applies anyway..

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Hi Bigmac57!

I pretty much agree with all that you say. I have first hand knowledge of much of what you say. Edward O Thorp origionally pegged the advantage of his original form of basic strategy at 6% and could not explain why Uston could only obtain .5 - 1% advantage. But even back in those days with only single deck BJ with no cut off card they still picked up the break cards first which artificially clumped the cards. Break cards are mostly low and non break cards are mostly high. I think clumping, even then, fully explains the missing 5% advantage.

After his Vegas stint Kenny resorted to A.C. where I happened to be playing full time then. I played with Kenny on many occassions, him counting and me playing NBJ. So I was able to diretly compare the two forms of play, the best counter in the world vs the best NBJ player in the world. It was sad to watch. Kenny had no chance against AC 8 deck in the same games I was able to beat with ease. Kenny quit BJ altogether.

So, OK you have a +12 count 3 decks into an 8 deck game with 2 decks cut off. Here is what the counting books don't tell you: You have no idea of where those extra 12 tens are or even which side of the cut card they are on. And when they arrive, IF they arrive, the dealer has the same chance of getting them as you do. EXACTLY the same chance.

So the counter starts betting high at +12 only to have the count go to +30 which is very common in AC 8 deck. He loses most of his bets in between. Now, at +30 he bets really high to make up for all those lost bets - only to have the cut card come out. This happens time after time.

Meanwhile the NBJ player is betting low because he is waiting to actually SEE the tens rather than anticipate them. But he is winning nearly half his hands and his 3 bet progression puts him ahead. Because, unlike the counter, the NBJ player KNOWS that the dealer CAN'T break in low card clumps. But neither can he so unlike the counter the NBJ player is HITTING in low card clumps where he can't break. He is challenging the dealer in her own territory instead of standing and letting the dealer win. What counters don't get is how the hell do you break on cards less than 6, regardless if you are the dealer or the player. Get it? Forget BS. In low card clumps, HIT! In hi card clumps STAND. That is where the dealer can break - the only place other than mixed cards.

But, you say, the "experts" say there is no such thing as clumping. Really? Then tell me this: How the hell do you think the count got to +30??? Are you stupid?

Instead of listening to "experts" that don't play and have no playing record, why don't you try listening to a real player with a winning record. Would you go to a tennis or golf instructor who never played? Or one that has a winning play record?

I've played with these counters time and time and time again. They all have one thing in common. They can't play for shit - not a single one of them. But watch them beat their computer. Big whip! Your computer doesn't pay off. Casinos DO!

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Please understand, I hold Ken Uston in the highest regard. Everything subsequent teams have done was only an imitation - and a BAD one - of what he and his teams did in Vegas.

Ken would, and I think rightly, consider the MIT Team as playing in the "kiddie pool".

If you look at the Hi-Low count, it does indeed count 7s, 8s, and 9's as neutral.

Wrong.

It makes another mistake counting the Ace as -1.

Wrong again.

The Uston APC clearly counts the 9's as highs and uses an Ace side count. Much superior.

http://www.lolblackjack.com/blackjack/card-counting/systems/uston-apc/

Here's an article I found about Strategic Investments (The first MIT Team):

http://www.blackjackinfo.com/MIT-Mike-Aponte.php

RS: How accurate was the Television Show "Breaking Vegas"?

Mike: It was a bit dramatized, which was to be expected. One thing that struck me was that "Breaking Vegas" was based on Strategic Investments and the show made it seem as if everything was great on SI. They glossed over the fact that in the end Strategic Investments failed, and didn't make much money. The show made it seem as if Strategic Investments dissolved because the team decided to move on to other things, but the reason it broke up was because SI didn't do very well.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And yes Ellis. You are 110% right about even single deck clumping. The local dump here uses double deck, no DAS, less than 50% penetration. Pitch game.

Short story long: No one wins. Maybe ONE time in 20 years (I'm there since the place opened..) have I seen a big winner at that game.

I'll tell you what I do see regularly: Saturday night. Dude swaggers in with $2-3 grand. Dealer shuffles up. First hand. Ace up. Dealer Blackjack. Second hand. Dealer 20, player 19. Third hand. Player stiff, hit, bust. Dealer had 20.

And so on, short shoe(deck) after deck.

Half hour later, dude walks out. Not so much swagger. House chalks up another easy kill.

This is repeated every Saturday night, every week. To infinity.

WHY??

I've watched them shuffle. They have their BEST dealers in that pit. Perfect strips, riffles, etc. They KNOW how to bias the game. Its obvious.

I don't want their crappy double deck game anyway.. I'm beating them and they don't even know how I'm doing it. And its not by playing "perfect" Basic, playing for hours, or any of that crap. I look for certain things. Once I find what I need, I win, and I'm gone, like a ghost. And they never get that money back.

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Yes, and don't get me wrong either. I also held Kenny in the highest regard especially for his team efforts. I have also met and discussed the Uston Vegas team effort with actual team members on top of bar talk with Kenny. But they all tell the same story the same way so it all rings true.

Look at it this way: In those days in single deck with no cut off card and you arrive at a +9 count half way through the deck, you KNOW that there is an excess of 9 highs in the remaining 26 cards. You Know that the remaining rounds will likely all be player favorable.

But today, those rounds won't even get dealt so the player advantage rounds never occur while the rounds you already played were dealer favorable because they lacked highs.

So you end up losing the same exact game you would have won in 1966.

Today they don't even bother with a cut off card in single deck in most casinos. They simply stop dealing after one, two or three rounds depending on the number of players in the game. Playing head to head they only deal 3 rounds. By the time you get a playable count the shoe is over.

On the other hand, take a modern 8 deck shoe. You get a +12 count right off. All you know is that there are an extra 12 highs somewhere in 350 cards, half of which will never get dealt. How in God's name does that help you???

Sure, in Kenny's day, card counting was a great thing for single deck BJ with no cut card.

But gurus still teaching card counting for today's game are nothing more than scammers trying to live off of someone else's math of yesteryear. They are pathetic! Yet players flock to them like lemmings. And the movies didn't help. Hollywood is make believe for crying out loud. Elvis is DEAD and there are no freaking leprechauns. Card counting does not work!

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Absolutely.

Those 10's, about 90% of the time, somehow wind up behind the cut card. Most people cut towards the back of the deck, I'd start cutting in the middle from now on or the front. It's an experiment I haven't tried yet but I may.

As you have said, and other counters as well, even when the 10's are running, you stand to be in a virtual tie with the dealer. So it seems the edge (book edge) really comes from the player receiving blackjacks. That's pathetic.. So, what do the casinos - who know this - do in the pitch games? Offer 6:5 vs: 3:2 payoffs on Blackjacks. Simple.

The casinos haven't been waiting since 1965 to adjust to counters. Let's be serious.

When a casino sees someone with a simple count (Hi-Lo) and Basic Strategy, they salivate today. Christ, as you say Ellis, casinos hand out Basic Strategy cards. How much of a threat do you think they feel counting or basic strategy is today?? Let's be serious.

The objective truly is about winning rounds, especially low rounds, and winning doubles and splits by playing them correctly given what we know about that game at that time. Not by sticking to perfect Basic Strategy and relying on millions of hypothetical hands done by some computer program. The objective is winning that hand, that double, that split NOW.

When the dealer has that 5 or 6 up, when do you hit? When you reasonably know that, although it looks favorable, lows are out and he's got a 3,4,5 in the hole. He's NOT going to break. Conversely, he shows a 7 up. And you reasonably know he's got a low card under there and highs are coming.

Winning rounds, doubles, and splits is what its all about. Especially the doubles but even more so, the splits which often go out to 4 hands. These doubles and splits are key hands that make for either a winning or losing session. Playing them to win is super essential.

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Speaking of Arnold Snyder, This popped up again:

"Thread Starter: NBJwannabe

I was looking for some info before buying the system and I end finding something a bit scary. From: New Blackjack, Same Old Baloney: Review of E. Clifton Davis' NBJ and WCB Blackjack Systems NEW BLACKJACK, SAME OLD BALONEY REVIEW OF E. CLIFTON DAVIS' NBJ SYSTEM By Arnold Snyder."

First, NBJ and WCB are not "systems". They are entire approaches to the game.

Second, Arnold Snyder is not the least bit qualified to review NBJ or WCB. It would be like asking Eric Cantor to write a review of Obama's presidency. Both NBJ and WCB prove that traditional card counting is a scam and Arnold Snyder teaches traditional card counting. They've got the fox guarding the hen house.

The general public thinks card counting is some sort of high science. Anybody who can add one and subtract one can learn to card count. I have often said that you could teach a baboon to card count. However, unfortunately, the baboon would lose too.

I would think that the fact that all of these card counting gurus put together can't produce a single bottom line year end winning player, speaks for itself. They blame this on "Standard Deviation". That is because they don't understand the term, or, more likely, they refuse to understand the term. If Standard Deviation had anything to do with it you would have just as many players on the winning side of standard deviation as you have on the losing side. You can't have everyone, the whole world, on the losing side of Standard Deviation... but they do.

They get around this by saying: "It doesn't matter whether you win or lose as long as you make the correct play." God help us.

They have similar problems with the term "empirical data". They refer to empirical data with distain - as something that scammers use. They would rather you believe what they think SHOULD happen rather than believe what actually happens in the real world.

What is this "empirical data" they say is meaningless?

It is the real world data collected from tens of thousands of actual casino BJ shoes rather than computer generated data. Computer generated data starts with random cards and is therefore wrong right off the bat. What do the programmers say? Shit in, shit out.

Take splits for instance: Their computer generated data says that all of their Basic Strategy splits make money. Well, maybe so if you are playing against a computer. But you aren't. You are playing in the real world against a highly experienced casino. Empirical data, data taken from tens of thousands of actual casino shoes, says that overall, perfect B.S. players lose money on their splits. And they don't just lose a little - they lose a lot. The average player would be better off never splitting. But the NBJ pro will carefully pick and choose his splits wisely according to what is running. And the NBJ player will make money on his carefully selected splits.

For instance: Basic Strategy says ALWAYS split 8s. Really?

When you split 8s what are you hoping for? Two tens, right? Great, now you've got 2 18s and you doubled your bet size. Good move? Empirical Data (real world) says that the average dealer hand is 19.2! Still think it was a good move? And that is their BEST split!

Oh, you think it's Aces? So do you always split Aces? WRONG! What they forget to tell you is you are only allowed ONE card on each Ace. Your chance of getting a low card on each are exactly the same as getting a high card. AND, you doubled your bet on that 50% chance. Let's say you get lucky and draw 2 high cards. You STILL haven't won the hand yet.

So how SHOULD you play these two pairs???

8s - If lows are running, hit. Split only if tens are running. Even that is not a good bet. It is merely the lesser of two evils. So it is a good idea to split for less - which is allowed by nearly all casinos. Look! Your chances of losing are much better than your chance of winning so why bet twice as much money???

Aces - If tens are running split - otherwise hit. Look, I know they told you to always split aces. WRONG! Aces are the best hitting hand in BJ. Why? First you get a free card. You CAN'T break on your 3rd card. But you can win on it - Suppose its an 8 or 9? Second, both of your aces can be counted as one or 11, whichever does you the most good. So next time you get Aces - think twice.

Insurance: B.S. tells you never insure. WRONG! When the 3rd base player's second card is a ten, INSURE! Why? Because the dealer's hole card was the next card dealt. Tens follow tens about half the time depending on the extent of clumping. So your odds increase from 4/13 to about 50% and the bet pays 2 to 1. It is a good bet no matter what your hand. Your hand has absolutely nothing to do with it.

I was once ejected from the Claridge for getting every single insurance bet right for 5 hours straight. The dealer told the pit boss that somehow I could see her hole card because I was ALWAYS right. So, was I cheating? Nope, it just seemed that way. That is how good the above tip is. There are a million tips like this in BJ.

Or, you could always have Arnold Snyder teach you. Then, "it won't matter whether you win or lose." Ha, maybe to HIM it won't matter!

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I've been thinking about the whole "always split Aces" play. Would you care to bet that this "Basic Strategy" play was designed when you were allowed to draw to split Aces (1965) vs. the very common rule today of 1 card per Ace?

I remember playing a table once where I didn't split at all and I had 9's, 3's, didn't split Aces - none of it. It was myself and one other guy. I said I know how to play. He says, "Then you know what the correct play is." and left it at that. I was at 3rd Base. The dealer was getting 17's or just breaking hand after hand.

THAT'S WINNING.

That's how it's done.

This was a one-off event for me years ago, before I really started thinking about the game. Even long before I bought WCB and NBJ. Long before I ever heard of BeattheCasino, card-clumping, or much else. Back when I knew Basic Strategy and the Hi-Low. But on that day, I decided to play "Conservatively" and it paid off for me well. Too bad the light bulb didn't go on back then.

Usually when you split, you wind up being 4 hands out and doing some doubling after splitting. And guess what? Boom! The dealer makes a 20 or 21 after showing a "6" up. Key hands you lost. The difference between a winning and a losing session by far.

What you write above is the entire heart of the matter. Computers assume random cards. Once you KNOW this is false - because you've been in the Real World of live casino play and likely got your head smashed in - everything changes.

The casino almost NEVER offers you that situation. However, knowing this, and how shoes (multi-decks) are clump-prone (like 100% always due to shuffling and pick-up procedure) you can beat them through live game (table) analysis.

Doubles and Splits are serious business and should be done with care.

Blackjack is a Thinking Man's Game. It is NOT wrote Basic Strategy and wrote card-counting. These methods are failures today. They do not work.

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Re: Splits and empirical data:

Absolutely correct in my own playing experience.

You'd be better off never splitting. I've lost tons of money doing it.

Split Aces?

I invariably get an Ace and a deuce.

8's are a poor split. Either stand or hit but doubling the money up sucks.

I find my best split to be 2's. You can make a lot of good hands from them.

6's? This is a sick split and a big money-loser. I'll wind up with 2 16's/15's/stiffs the majority of the time.

Hit the hand, or don't - likely hit because 12 isn't going to break except with a 10.

These are just some examples of where Basic Strategy is a POS.

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