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Rivers Casino, IL, Scorecards & Play


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First, I'd like to thank Ellis & Keith for a superb NOR seminar in PA, and their graciousness to me throughout the trip. It was the highlight of my baccarat experiences so far!

During the trip bacc sessions, I shadowed Ellis' bets and then asked him afterward to explain his rationale. So, now I'm playing on my own and trying to integrate everything I learned from him.

We know that half (or more) of the battle is selecting the right casino & table to play at in the first place. The closest casino to me is Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, IL. I wrote a review about it in my blog here: Rivers Casino, Des Plaines, IL

Attached are the scorecards of shoes I watched while I was there on Wednesday night.

1.

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This was the shoe I played live. The table (I called it "Table 2") uses new cards every shoe. After noticing how F2 friendly most of the shoes were that night, I assumed this trend would continue, and all I did in the one I played was F2 from the start. After +10u at hand 23, I flat betted to test the waters ahead. Had I lost hand 24, I would've quit. Stopped at +13u, happy to have won.

2. & 3.

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Recording shoe decisions from Tables 1 & 2, new cards every shoe, complete shoe. Very F2 or RD1 friendly.

4. & 5.

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Recording shoe decisions from Table 5 & 6, old cards from 9 AM, partial shoe. Started recording from the actual start of each shoe. I started playing live at Table 2 before these shoes ended, so I stopped recording them before the shoes ended.

Also, I didn't record from Tables 3 and 4 as they were in progress and never started fresh from the top when I was there, but I noticed how very one-sided they both were. Very Banker dominant at those that night, with very sporadic Players.

Before the new shuffles, I noticed upon first arriving that Tables 1 and 2 seemed to be good OTB4L shoes - lots of 1s, 2s, 3s. Later in the shoes, though, runs did appear - some 6+s, and the tote boards started looking one-sided. Then toward the end, they became choppy with long ZZs and a few 2s.

The one thing I dislike about playing baccarat at Rivers is how slow the game progresses due to the very high volume, but that is probably the result of being there at a high-volume time (8 PM - past midnight). I will go there during other times of day to get a feeling for when it is optimal to play there.

What would be helpful is if Ellis & others can share what you notice regarding these shoes, and what other things to look for as I case the joint with the motive of trying to gain the greatest, most consistent edge there.

Thanks much.

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Rivers Casino, Des Plaines, IL, 8/22/11 Mon, Table 2, around 2 PM

Shoe #1: -4.35u net

At this table, the prior shoe was streaky, so I was looking for signs of streak when I started to play this one.

First 4 hands confirmed streak, so I start with F2.

Loss at hand 8, but immediately went back to B to re-catch the streak.

Hand 20: Player repeats again, so I decide to take the last Player repeat as a clue: it had stayed 2, so I change to F3 and stay on B.

Ultra smooth sailing until Hand 50, where my score rockets up to +23u, quite remarkable, given the very mild, conservative progression I was using (1234, drop back to 1 on a win, flat bet 1 when winning)

Should have stopped at Hand 52 with a +20u win, but I'm a little giddy from the success in this shoe, and I feel like "experimenting." In my mind, though, I know that if I were playing with big stakes, it'd be the right time to exit. Right now, I'm doing this more for experience and learning, not so much for money, so I press on to see what happens ...

Unfortunately, the switch over to P side after 3 B losses was not smooth.

By hand 56, I second guess F3 and decide prematurely to switch back to B side, because I thought maybe B dominance will continue.

Bad guess, and I go chasing my losses and get confused.

By hand 58, I had lost 8 in a row, but not using a full progression, it's not so bad. Still, it's not pretty.

By hand 59, I decide again to try for B dominance, but bad choice - P is now starting to catch up.

By hand 70, I notice the sporadic 1s on the B side, and P side seems locally stronger now, so I bet for P ... unfortunately, I'm wrong again. :-(

By the end of the shoe, I'm back down to -2u (-4.35u counting commish), which isn't the end of the world, but still, it's a good lesson that side dominance can change abruptly in a rather chaotic fashion. In hindsight, I should have just stayed with P after the switch at hand 54, or just stuck to B side throughout.

I was hoping this would be a "trophy shoe" of significant B dominance with a sky-high score, but, unfortunately, not this time.

Because this was a B-dominant shoe, I paid hefty commissions (2.35u).

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Rivers Casino, Des Plaines, IL, 8/22/11 Mon, Table 2, around 6 PM

Shoe #2: +15.30u net

After the sting of dropping 25u (from +23u to -2u) in the last shoe, I notice it did seem rather "random" and neutral overall. F2/F3 had handled the streaks well in the first 2/3 of the shoe with sporadic P 1s, but the final 1/3 of the shoe turned rather neutral. So, in the next shoe, I decide to try ADNet, just to see what happens.

It did quite well in the next shoe, and it handled the early chop and smoothly transitioned into the later streak. The only hiccup was when the TT showed up in hands 19-22. My score went up to +16u relatively quickly, and I decided to leave the table with a +10u net overall session win (after commish), which is my daily goal anyway for my early live sessions. Of course, I realize I could have brought home +20+16 = +32u today, but all I can say to feel better about that is: I'm glad I wasn't betting purple!! :biggrin:

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Other players are starting to notice me and talking to me, although most are polite enough to not ask what I'm using to play. Many of them joke at the table about those who are using systems, since they all know systems don't work, LOL. But these are the same ones who lose money and fast. I saw one guy betting purple in big stacks. He wins some, loses some, and he bets without a system, just guessing. Another player told me he saw a lady lose $70,000 so fast by betting against the streak. Right now, it does seem like Rivers is producing mostly very streaky sections in shoes - good for F2/F3 and might be even better with RD1, since when the shoes chop, they tend to ZZ. ADNet seems to work quite well currently, too.

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Should have stopped at Hand 52 with a +20u win, but I'm a little giddy from the success in this shoe, and I feel like "experimenting." In my mind, though, I know that if I were playing with big stakes, it'd be the right time to exit. Right now, I'm doing this more for experience and learning, not so much for money, so I press on to see what happens ...

I can understand for the need to experiment, but do it with pencil and paper once you have, STEPPED AWAY FROM THE TABLE! lol:wink:

Never throw away 20 units from a shoe. So much for the experiment. Do you think you'll ever let yourself do that again? :confused:

Reading that you dumped all those units made me sad. Please don't do that again, my heart can't take it....

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I can understand for the need to experiment, but do it with pencil and paper once you have, STEPPED AWAY FROM THE TABLE! lol:wink:

Never throw away 20 units from a shoe. So much for the experiment. Do you think you'll ever let yourself do that again? :confused:

Reading that you dumped all those units made me sad. Please don't do that again, my heart can't take it....

lol, Thanks BigVic -

Actually, I have an even worse story ... a year ago, I once was up +19u in a game at Harrah's, and I so desperately wanted to hit that magical +20u, so I kept playing, until in the end, I completely lost my 20u bankroll! Chasing after that one lousy unit more!!

So, I must admit, it is a hard demon to shake ... wanting the "even numbers" and "trophy shoes" and in the process, dumping $$$. Must be OCD or something, lol.

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lol, Thanks BigVic -

Actually, I have an even worse story ... a year ago, I once was up +19u in a game at Harrah's, and I so desperately wanted to hit that magical +20u, so I kept playing, until in the end, I completely lost my 20u bankroll! Chasing after that one lousy unit more!!

So, I must admit, it is a hard demon to shake ... wanting the "even numbers" and "trophy shoes" and in the process, dumping $$$. Must be OCD or something, lol.

Not that this is a competition of worst war stories but strolling on the boardwalk I told Dave that the most dangerous scores are +9 and +19. I always quit when I've hit either of those scores the 2nd time in a shoe as Dave has watched me do. But I often quit when I hit them the first time unless it's a really really good game. It's just that I've seen what can happen too many times. And we are better than that, AREN'T WE, VIC.

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As I demonstrated at the seminar I like to write that prog as 123 4. The pause in the prog is to induce a pause in your brain. Does this shoe really warrant that 4 bet or should I go back to 1???

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Nearly all the best mathematicians agree that cash mgt. is useless. Except one. Trump's gaming mathematician and advisor. Damn, what was his name? I said it just yesterday. A think tank guy and one of the ground floor inventors of radar. Markum! That's it. Phillip Markum if I'm remembering right which is always a question at my age.

Anyway Markum saw the game differently. Dead now, but he had a great knack for picking out the winners and losers after watching them play for just a short while. Of course this was invaluable information to Trump back when he was first starting out in gaming.

Especially the way we play, I see the game the same way Markum did. Being essentially a 50/50 game Markum saw it as a horizontal sine wave about a zero axis. However the whole sine wave was gradually declining due to commission until the whole wave was below zero, never to come back. But initially the peaks of the sine wave were above the zero axis.To Markum, and to me, those initial peaks were your winning windows of opportunity. If you didn't know enough to get out then, Markum pegged you as a loser and not to be worried about.

I "see" that sine wave in my mind every game I play. Sometimes it's trending upwards (good shoes), sometimes horizontal (worrisome shoes) and sometimes downward (get out at your first opportunity). But eventually commission makes all sine waves trend downward. So as Markum saw it, the object of the game was to watch the size of the sine wave and get out at a peak or shortly thereafter.

That is the way I play and I have proof. Or rather Dave does. Those 6 games I won, I was only in them for an average of 25 plays each.

I think that sound table selection makes us the exception to the cash mgt does you no good theory. For us, it isn't just one long continuous game that we pop in and out of like it is for most players. The big difference is that we give ourselves a table selection advantage every time we pop in. The better our table selection the bigger our advantage.

But the mathematicians would be right IF the game was ALWAYS random regardless of table selection. So is it?

Sorry, but I've seen too many impossibly streaky tables stay super streaky all day long shoe after shoe. The very same for super chop. And super neutral is even more common these days. I've won ten shoes in a row at the same table with the same system way too many times. To me it's as freaking obvious as the nose on your face. People who think otherwise just haven't played long enough.

You know, I have no time for guys like Archer who claim that BJ clumping is merely a function of selective memory. The man KNOWS better! He lost at BJ card counting BECAUSE of clumping. What in hell did he think he was counting??? Counters count clumping! The higher the count the more they are clumped. The more they are clumped the less Basic Strategy hits. SO, when counters select the highest count tables they are screening out the best tables and selecting the worst tables. Such is the card counting scam! Perhaps the best organized scam ever perpetrated on mankind.

Look, it is absolutely stupid to argue about it. Clumping is redily provable, proof beyond all doubt!

Even forget about the fact that we know exactly how and why it happens. Go to any major casino on a Saturday night and pick any 8 deck BJ game. From the isle, out of the dealer shoe simply count highs following highs vs lows following highs. It SHOULD be 50/50. In random cards it WOULD be 50/50. But it ISN'T 50/50 - not even close. Count a thousand games and you'll prove clumping a thousand times. Every time. Highs will follow highs more often than lows follow highs - a LOT more often and in every single game at every single table. Then, check it again in the morning right after the new cards come out. PRESTO! Highs will follow highs half the time. End of freaking argument!

So what? Well I'll tell you so what. Bac uses the same machines and the same shuffles as BJ.

Whew, I'm glad I got that off my chest! I'll bet you are too!

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Guys, if that isn't a sound argument then there is no such thing as a sound argument.

It leaves the card counting gurus and the bac gurus with but one option - to call me names.

And that is what they do because they have no argument. It is pretty darn hard to argue with FACT that you can plainly see with your own eyes. Ha, damn those lying eyes!

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A few years back, a mathematician, I think it was Einstein the Canadian, not Albert, declared after much testing that it took 25 shuffles to randomize a single deck of cards. A few years later computer scientists declared it only took 7. Who's right? It doesn't matter. Let's give it the benefit of doubt and go with only 7.

So what does it take to randomize 8 decks of cards? Is it 8 X 7? No. It's 7 to the 8th power. That is a really BIG number.

So how many shuffles does a casino use on average? Answer 2.5. Catch my drift?

But you say, Ellis, they have machines. Yep, and those machines went back to the drawing board 4 times until they could precisely duplicate the casino's hand shuffles.

Why? Because casinos CAN'T have random cards. Edward O Thorp proved beyond all doubt that Basic Strategy beats random cards by 6% on average.

Get it? If the cards were random, there would be no casinos. End of story.

In Baccarat, or BJ for that matter, opinions are useless. Go with the facts.

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Thorp was exasperated by the fact that his player Kenny Uston, an old friend of mine and Jerry's, could only extract 0.5% from the Vegas casinos. He could not explain this. But I can.

Edward, think about this. Even in the days of single deck BJ the cards eventually were not random. They were clumped. How and why? Because the casino picked up the break cards first. There is your missing 5.5%.

Peace, man!

Oh, anyone who wants to, please feel free to send these last two posts to Edward.

For you guys I could explain it out in detail. But for Edward, that won't be necessary.

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