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OTB4L Tricks of the trade


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I just this minute finished a private lesson on OTB4L so let me give you a couple tips while its fresh in my mind:

I think the most important aspect is how long to make your primary OTB4L prog, 2 bets or 3 bets. The key is 4 in a rows straight or ZZ counted correctly. Two 1 in a rows make a 4 ZZ. Normal straight 4's are 1 every 32 plays. Same for ZZ 4s. But you can't wait for the shoe to be half over to make a judgement. Go by columns of 20. If 4s are running close to 1 per column or better 4s are high. Make your OTB4L prog 3 plays. That makes the culprit 5s instead of 4s.

But look at ZZ 4s and straight 4s separately. You might end up say with a 3 bet prog against straight runs and a 2 bet prog for ZZs or vice versa.

Now a 3 bet prog does not have to be 123. Many of the guys prefer 1, 1.5, 2. or $10, $15, $20 or $100, $150, $200.

Next thing is runless shoes. What if you just aren't seeing any runs to speak of??? Fine, don't go OTR at all. Either skip the bet entirely or stay OTB4L. Or maybe you are seeing ZZs but not straights: Always treat them separately.

Next maybe you're seeing 4s and 5s at that table but very few 6s or 7. I go OTR for 1 bet and win or lose I'm back to OTB4L but if that causes me to lose 2 more OTB4L due to a surprise long run I go right back on the run but this time I stay until I lose.

Table selection: I ALWAYS look for the chopiest table I can find. THAT IS WHY I prefer early morning new card play. Sometimes I'm seeing so many ZZ runs that I'll go OTR and stay there after ONE losing bet against a ZZ instead of 2 or 3.

What does OTB4L like best? Twos and threes and single ones and long runs.

I always start with 3 bets against straight runs until and if I hit my first straight 5. Somtimes you never do and end up with a 30 unit shoe.

I play it U1D2 M2. If I can't find a table good enough to support that prog I'll either play a different system like RD1 or go play BJ. I'll cap my bets at 6 or 7 but seldom get there.

I know thats all a lot for new guys to remember but the thing is its all plain common sense. The more you do it the more sense it all makes and the better you get at it.

What does it lose to? Highly TB4L favorable shoes. It can withstand quite a bit of TB4L favorability but it has its eventual limitations. In that case PLAY TB4L.

I haven't lost a single trip with it since I started playing it 4 years ago but, mind you, I'm VERY selective. I don't mind not playing. Thats what BJ is for. I always win at BJ and todays game is the easiest it ever was.

But playing OTB4L exactly as described above I've had several trips where I won every single shoe but my overall is about 80%. I've had 100% winning trips both Tunica (Gold Strike) and Vegas Gold Coast. All under the watchful eyes of my players playing right along side me.

Cash Mgt. Playing U1D2 M2 I use -8 and +20 for a full shoe, Partials I use +10. The whole trick is to mold the system to the table you are playing and select the right table to begin with. When I find myself at a particularly good table I'll move up to U1D1 M3 B2. I shoot for +30.

Dawg, I repect your non commital on table stability but I've been playing this game since its inception in the US 30 years ago. After tens of thousands of shoes all over the world I know what I'm talking about. To me table stability is a well known long standing fact of life, not an opinion. Every table? - no. But certainly enough.

OK guys that's how you play it best. Go get em!

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Next thing is runless shoes. What if you just aren't seeing any runs to speak of??? Fine, don't go OTR at all. Either skip the bet entirely or stay OTB4L. Or maybe you are seeing ZZs but not straights: Always treat them separately.

I don't understand "Always treat them separately". Is it 3 bet progs and 2 bet progs?

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Ellis

Thanks for the great article on playing OTB4L. I played a shoe and won 24.5 unit playing the progression 1,1.5,2 U1D2 M2 but don't know if I did it correctly. I don't how to post the shoe so here is the shoe and then I have some questions.

B311421215

B31111221332

B1353

Here are my questions

1. Is this a ZZ BBBPB now play the ZZ

2. On my first column there was a 4 so when there was 5 in a row I jump on the run at the 4th B. I did stay on that as it went into the 2nd column or should I of went off it playing OTB4L then jump back on?

3.In the last column when there was a 5 in a row I jump on it on the 5th B then got off of it since column 2 had no 4's or 5's

IS THERE ALSO SOME THAT CAN GIVE THE DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO POST SHOES.

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Hi Ellis and Everyone, Here is a shoe From Res and We wanted to know if this shoe is played correctly. Res played this shoe using 1, 1.5, 2 prog. So the previous questions that need answers are

B311421215

B31111221332

B1353

1. Is this a ZZ BBBPB now play the ZZ

2. On my first column there was a 4 so when there was 5 in a row I jump on the run at the 4th B. I did stay on that as it went into the 2nd column or should I of went off it playing OTB4L then jump back on?

3.In the last column when there was a 5 in a row I jump on it on the 5th B then got off of it since column 2 had no 4's or 5's

Thanks in advance

Tom and Res

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QUOTE - No Brain: "I don't understand "Always treat them separately". Is it 3 bet progs and 2 bet progs?"

I mean treat straight and ZZs separately for your 2 or 3 bet prog decision.

And sometimes one bet progs. For instance, sometimes you get shoes where virtually all 1s end up the start of a ZZ run. In such shoes you want to go OTR after only ONE losing OTB4L bet against a ZZ run and when you are going on a ZZ run that early you ALWAYS stay till you lose.

But usually, yes, you are deciding between a 3 bet prog and a 2 bet prog but you decide straight and ZZ runs separately. 2 bet progs hate 4s but like 5 or mores. 3 bet progs like 4s, hate 5s but like 6 or mores. But straight runs and ZZ runs are seldom doing the same thing.

Recognize that when you are playing OTB4L only half of all plays are OTB4L plays while the other half are TB4L. And this ratio varies widely from shoe to shoe. OTB4L bets against ALL runs, straight AND ZZ, once THEY have gone two plays. That is why OTB4L prefers runless shoes which are often common right after the morning card prep.

We are always striving to win more bets than we lose. If we only made OTB4L bets we would only win half our bets overall - not good overall but VERY good in a runless shoe (shoes that have no or few 4 or mores straight or ZZ). We can opt to change the definition of "runless" to no 5 or mores by simply changing our OTB4L prog (progression) to 3 bets instead of 2. 123 for instance or 1,1.5,2.

But if we never switch our bets to TB4L (on the run) (OTR) we can only beat ideal shoes and we will break even overall. So the trick is to judge in the shoe at hand IF and when we should bet OTR. We judge based on the runs we are seeing in the shoe at hand. And we must judge straight and ZZ runs separately.

Thats why its important to know what normal runs is. Normal straight 4s are 1 every 32 plays. ZZs are the same. Normal straight 5s are one every 64 plays. ZZs are the same WHEN YOU COUNT ZZs CORRECTLY. That is why its important to know how to count ZZs correctly. Two 1's make a 4 ZZ, not a 3 ZZ.

Now once you successfully bet OTR you are faced with another judgement. Should I stay OTR until I lose or should I go back to OTB4L? Practice and experience will teach you how to make all of these judgements correctly and then you can achieve about an 80% win rate.

The most important thing of all is to know how to select the best table in the casino in the first place and to know that sometimes there aren't any.

The second most important thing to know is when to make your prog 2 bets and when to make it 3 bets and on rare occassions only 1 bet. But the more you practice and play this system the better you get at making each of these judgements.

We ALL wish there were no judgements to make BUT show me a system that makes no judgements and I'll show you a break even system.

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Ha, I think you guys are screwing with my head this morning which is not too stable in the first place. After I get another cup of coffee I'll play the shoe and email it to Tom for posting. First, I noticed you started the shoe one play too early. Give me a few minutes.

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Res game uploaded for Ellis

Thanks John. I forgot PJ is down and needs help. Can you email him at waterdoc@juno.com Joe has some weird problem.

OK, I'm playing U1D2 M2. You must start at play 3 because that is the first play you know which side OTB4L is.

I always start with a 3 bet OTB4L prog until and IF it loses but mind you I always find a good OTB4L table FIRST.

I put the OTR bets in red just so you can see when I went OTR. Went back to OTB4L as soon as I lost ONE OTR bet.

OK I finally lost my 3 bet prog at play 20 so I went two bets after that.

ZZs were running about equal to straights and the CS count was very neutral so I played my ZZs and my Straights the same way.

Note that you DON'T count your losing OTR bet as one of your losing OTB4L prog bets.

What are your questions.

BTW I recommend you play 2Hi with a 1, 1.5, 2 as Res did until you have good experience and you know you found a good table.

Also note that this was only a 6 deck shoe or a short shoe.

Edited by aegis21

"If you don't think too good, don't think too much!!"

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

John

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BTW, I could have gone back to OTB4L after winning ONE OTR bet. It wouldn't have made a big difference in this shoe. I usually do that until I've seen my first 7 or more at that table. See where I lost the red 2's? I could have gone back to 1 to be a little more conservative.

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Res game uploaded for Ellis

Thanks John. I forgot PJ is down and needs help. Can you email him at waterdoc@juno.com Joe has some weird problem.

OK, I'm playing U1D2 M2. You must start at play 3 because that is the first play you know which side OTB4L is.

I always start with a 3 bet OTB4L prog until and IF it loses but mind you I always find a good OTB4L table FIRST.

I put the OTR bets in red just so you can see when I went OTR. Went back to OTB4L as soon as I lost ONE OTR bet.

OK I finally lost my 3 bet prog at play 20 so I went two bets after that.

ZZs were running about equal to straights and the CS count was very neutral so I played my ZZs and my Straights the same way.

Note that you DON'T count your losing OTR bet as one of your losing OTB4L prog bets.

What are your questions.

BTW I recommend you play 2Hi with a 1, 1.5, 2 as Res did until you have good experience and you know you found a good table.

Also note that this was only a 6 deck shoe or a short shoe.

Is the 4th hand from the last correct if so why did you play TBL ???

Thanks, Norm

Norm A

FOLLOW THE SHOE

WHEN IN DOUBT WAIT IT OUT

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Also note that this was a pretty huge - OT count shoe but we beat it easy anyway with a high bet of a single 5. That's the beauty of OTB4L. Overlap! If I had gone back to 1 after a losing red 2, I would have done just as well but lowered my highest bet to 4.

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Ellis,

Since you said we should play our progressions in columns of 20; what happens when both a 4s and 5s show up or even a 4zz or 5zz in the same column? How would we then decide how to set our progression? I understand that you wait until lose your 3 bet progression to go OTR then you set it from what happened before. But per say we see a 4s in the 1st column then in the 2nd a 5s then immediately it's followed by a 4s again in 2nd column? What then would we do if we encounter them both in the same column? I just don't know which to follow. I hope this makes sense

RJ

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Hi Ellis I have a question for you. Once you lose the 123 prog the next sequence would be 1,2 prog. When do we go back to 123 prog? My guess would be once the 1,2 losses?

No, no, that's only half of it. Looking at straights and ZZs separately and you're down to 2 bets. Go by whether your 3rd bet OTR won or lost. As long as yor OTR bet is winning you stick with 2 bets. When the OTR bet loses, that means a third OTB4L bet would have won. So you would then go back to 3 OTB4L bets.

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Ellis,

Since you said we should play our progressions in columns of 20; what happens when both a 4s and 5s show up or even a 4zz or 5zz in the same column? How would we then decide how to set our progression? I understand that you wait until lose your 3 bet progression to go OTR then you set it from what happened before. But per say we see a 4s in the 1st column then in the 2nd a 5s then immediately it's followed by a 4s again in 2nd column? What then would we do if we encounter them both in the same column? I just don't know which to follow. I hope this makes sense

RJ

Good RJ! You have identified one of the few weaknesses. It really has nothing to do with column lengths but you can get these shoes where straight 4s and straight 5s keep alternating. THe same for ZZs. When you are going by what the last run did (which I think is usually best) you are always "wrong footed". Sometimes you can fix this by going OTR after ONE losing OTB4L bet instead of 2 or 3. But DON'T do this if your second OTB4L bet is usually winning - only if its usually losing which is often the case in this situation. But if that second OTB4L bet is usually winning now your best bet is to skip the OTR bet altogether and simply wait for the run to end. Sometimes suspend betting is your best option.

Often you can win with OTB4L W/O ever going OTR but instead just simply waiting for all runs to end after losing your 1 or 2 OTB4L bets.

About the only other weakness is when the shoe is simply too heavily TB4L favorable. Your only options then are to change tables or switch to TB4L. But note that in Res's shoe above the Ot count got to -8 w/o giving us any real problem. But, had it gone much lower......

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An option we haven't discussed yet in this thread is what we call a 0 start. This is a good option if you have been seeing lots of 5 or mores straight or ZZ at the table you are playing but otherwise its a good table. Simply wait for a paper win to start the shoe. This eliminates the specter of a shoe starting with a long run. In Res's shoe it wouldn't have made much difference.

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Hi Bacc-er-roos,

I am glad to be back among the living!

My computer wouldn't let me sign in to my BTC account. I kept getting a "Fatal Error" code. I even tried different computers, different ISPs and still the same error code. To make a long story, after almost a week of problems, Keith reset my password and things seem back to normal. I have no idea how my password got corrupted. But it's nice to be back.

Ellis, If you need any shoes posted just send them my way. Meanwhile, I've got to cahch up on all the posts and developments that I missed. I'll start with this thread!

Thanks Keith.

PJ

Edited by ECD
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Ellis, MVSeahog and all: I play where there aren't any tote boards like MVSeahog does. When starting an OTB4L/TB4L strategy with a 2-HI to verify table selection, what numerical values signal that you can switch from 2-HI to U1D2 M2? Is it the O/T count or your score (Plus # of units)?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ellis

I have a couple of questions.

1. Playing 1,1.5,2 progression what would be the stop loss. I figure it would be 7.5 units which would be 10 units playing U!D2 M2?

2. If you saw this at the start B5111521211 When would you stop OTB4l and go to TB4L or RD1 If you played out the B51 you would be down 7.5 units already. What would you do not know what is happening.

3. My testing with your OTB4L is going good except I did run into this if I should do something at the start after so many B. Lets say there was no tote board to find out what the other shoes did at the table?

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2. If you saw this at the start B5111521211 When would you stop OTB4l and go to TB4L or RD1 If you played out the B51 you would be down 7.5 units already. What would you do not know what is happening.

Res,

In my case, I treat any B3 start (or P3 start) as a streak and just play RD1 on it until it fails, at which time I see what is now controlling.

In your posted example. I believe it hits +7.5 before losing to the three bet pattern at 16,17, and 18 under RD1 where is finishes at +3 at hand 18.

I'm sure a TB4L start should come up close to that also but as I'll always start a streak of three at the start of the shoe with RD1, that's my input on it.

MVS

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  • 2 weeks later...

P412321114

look at this shoe please play it for me

Looking at the way you played the sample shoe Above I would have been -13 at play 20

Lost 3 OTB4l bets in a row at play 16 switch to TB4L at play 17 then back to OTB4L at play 18 neg. 7 units if I played play 19 I would have lost that bet on OTB4l

thanks for your help Ellis

Edited by donw
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  • 3 weeks later...

hi need help with this...

Selected table based on the most number of 2's in the previous shoe at first glance.

The most i found was 11 2's.

Decided on playing with OTBL 3 prog(112) on straight 2 prog(12) on ZZ at the start of next shoe. Buy in & stop loss 8 units.

Started actual bet after first paper win.

B291111511 lost 8 units

Is there something wrong with the table selection method?

When would u switch to TBL?

Is the buy in too little?

btw i don't understand any other system in this forum :(

Edited by miclus83
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hi need help with this...

Selected table based on the most number of 2's in the previous shoe at first glance.

The most i found was 11 2's.

Decided on playing with OTBL 3 prog(112) on straight 2 prog(12) on ZZ at the start of next shoe. Buy in & stop loss 8 units.

Started actual bet after first paper win.

B291111511 lost 8 units

Is there something wrong with the table selection method?

When would u switch to TBL?

Is the buy in too little?

btw i don't understand any other system in this forum :(

Miclus83,

I hate it when that happens. You look at the shoe, figure out what to play and it decides to make a complete reversal right as you start putting money on the table. Been there, done that, as well as many others here.

For what it's worth, having a back up plan (as in another system play) really does help out in situations like these.

I just ran that small sample and got the following results:

MVS got +2

RD1 got +9 (love those streaks!)

RD1/n wound up at +5

NU SAP even managed +3 to finish.

Ellis has always said that it is very important to have at least three good methods of play, mainly as a backup when it's all falling apart or you couldn't find a shoe/table that fit what you wanted to play.

We've got several really good methods of play here now that I would be comfortable with pretty much anytime now. Please take a closer look at them and give them a try. Almost all of them include the basic OTB4L play with apparent appropriate changes "on the fly" as needed.

Thanks for the question as all questions help everyone here for sure.

MVS

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