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The Nature of Player Advantage

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It has long been known and, in fact, both sides fully agree, that high cards favor the player and low cards favor the dealer. When there is an abundance of low cards in the cards being dealt the game strongly favors the dealer for two reasons: Low cards present the players with a higher incidence of stiff hands (12 through 16). These are the worst hands a player can receive. There is no way to add up a series of low cards (2 through 6) and avoid getting a stiff hand. At the same time, low cards drastically reduce dealer breaks. There is no way the dealer can break on low cards with the single exception - she could arrive at 16 and draw a 6. On the other hand, high cards SLIGHTLY favor the player. When there is an abundance of high cards being dealt, the incidence of receiving pat hands (17 through 21) improves EQUALLY for the dealer and the player. However, by the rules of the game, the dealer must hit all of her stiff hands. The greater the abundance of high cards the more likely the dealer will break when she does receive a stiff. But the player, by the rules, always has the option of hitting or standing. Therefore, we can say that high cards tend to increase dealer breaks even though they also increase dealer pat hands. In addition, high cards increase the incidence of blackjacks (A,10) EQUALLY for dealer and player alike. But a BJ affords greater advantage to the player than to the dealer because of the 50% payout premium given to the player receiving a BJ. This is not as large a player advantage as it might seem, however. Recognize that BJs only occur about once in 21 hands. An abundance of high cards increase the dealer's chance of receiving BJ just as much as the player's. When the dealer receives BJ, she not only pushes (ties) any player BJs, she cannot be beat by any player no matter what his hand. Another player advantage of an abundance of high cards is that they improve the players chances when he doubles down on 9, 10, and 11, even though they tend to reduce these double down opportunities. (Please allow me to note, here, that I refer to dealers as "she" and players as "he" strictly for writer's convenience and no other reason.)

THE BIG QUESTION: Now that we have identified the nature and the basis of player advantage as high cards, we can pose the big question. Which approach predicts high card fall better, Clumping or Counting? I think we can all agree (if that is ever possible) that the approach that fulfills that duty best is the best overall approach to the shoe game. One last thing, let's define Player Advantage, here, as money won divided by money risked, the same as we would define ROI or Return on Investment. After all, that is the goal of both sides- to win money! Which approach does this better in the shoe game?

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"Progressive betting cannot overcome the house edge. If the house has a 1% edge, it doesn't matter if you bet $1,$2,$4,$8,$16,or $1000000000000000000, they will take 1% of that bet in the long run."

Found this quote and wondered... If that is true, than it has to be true for a counter using a bet spread. Think about it. A basic strategy player has the "advantage" at the same time as the counter in a given shoe, even if he's unaware. But say he's raising his bets at different intervals, maybe as a progressive player, he could be at any part of his bet spread when that advantage comes. If he's betting big at the right moment, he's got the advantage AND has a big bet out there. He might catch a blackjack, etc... If he's betting small when the advantage comes, he probably doesn't really lose anymore than the counter that has a big bet out and loses, which seems to be the norm these days. How many times have you run into a high count and lost 2 out of 3 big bets before it went south. Then right when you lower your bet to the minimum bet, bang... a blackjack.... Happens every night, many times over.... The advantage doesn't come from counting, it comes from the card composition on the table for a given hand and the composition of the remaining cards in the shoe. And if a progressive bettor can't overcome the house edge, than neither can a counter. They are essentially doing the same thing, it's just that one of them has foreknowledge of that composition. Either way though, the counter can lose big bets during the high count, and the progressive bettor can win big bets during a low count, just as the counter can win low bets during a low count and the progressive bettor can lose big bets during a high count. The truth is... we are gambling. We are progressively betting, like it or not. If that is not true, than a counter should have the advantage while flat betting....

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