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Why Baccarat Players should learn Blackjack


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I did it the other way around. I learned BJ first and played full time living in Atlantic City at the Madison House. This turned out very fruitful because the bar downstairs was the biggest dealer hangout in A.C. It averaged about 100 dealers every night. So I bought a dealer shirt and mingled with the dealers every night sitting at the many tables with 8 at a time. I listened attentively to the many dealer stories. How they hustled their players. I learned every dealer trick there was. Some I had already learned at the tables. But others I learned to watch for.

Perhaps the most important thing I learned is that the dealer is NEVER on your side. They only pretend to be and are very proud of their act. They are their own community and they rank theirselves. They have their own hierarchy. At the top are those who hustle you the best. Players are the enemy. Always remember this! Their are no exceptions. It just seems that way. The fact is they are full time professionals looking to improve their standing in the dealer hierarchy. They have their own heros. At the top are the dealers that seem the friendliest to the players but know every dealer trick in the book and perform them the smoothest.

I learned every trick in the book too right along with the dealers. At the tables I could quickly ascertain my dealer's ranking in the dealer hierarchy. Like "slipping the 5". I get 16 and signal a hit. On the way to my hand the dealer sees that the hit card is a 5 and slips it to the next player calling for a hit. I complain. The pit boss comes and says, "we can't back up the cards. Do you still want a hit?" See, the pit boss, as well as the whole casino, is in on the scam. They, and their rules, support the dealer scamming you. That is what we are really up against. I quickly learned to stick with low ranking dealers - those that had not yet learned how to cheat or were obvious whan they tried. I also learned to signal VERY suscinctly, very obviously, exaggerated, very strong and definitively. My signaling was so obvious that it soon became a recognizable trait. They knew who they were dealing to and they quickly knew not to attempt their little tricks on me. At least most did! And I caught "most" of their tricks. But what about the ones I didn't catch! There were some dealers, and I still remember their faces to this day, that I simply could not beat no matter how well I played or how well I conducted my table selection. What they were doing I have no idea. I just quickly learned to stay the hell away from them. By contrast, there were other dealers that I beat every single time I played them. I quickly learned who I could beat and who I couldn't and chose accordingly. Sure, soon every dealer in A.C. knew me. But the important thing was I KNEW THEM just as well. And my suspicions were confirmed over pitchers of beer at the Madison House. That dealer shirt paid for itself a thousand times over.

So didn't the dealers at the Madison House suspect they had a top player amonst them.? Sure, some did. But in A.C. many dealers also play and they play very well I might add. So most at the Madison House just took me for a playing dealer. But eventually they figured it out and wherever I sat, it was them asking me player questions rather than me asking them dealer questions. My remaining days at the Madison House were numbered. But I very often played with only dealers upstairs on the mezanine at the Clairidge. I learned a lot of my tricks from those guys.

It is difficult for me to convey the life of a full time player to average players. I played as much every week as an avid player plays in a year. I was playing for my life and for the lives of my family. YOU don't HAVE to win. I did! Many depended on it.

I was very careful of table selection. Not only did it need to be the right dealer but it also needed to be the right table. It had to be either random (NBJ 3rd base) or in the right window of clumping for NBJ 1st base. At first I made a few mistakes but eventually I got to the point I could beat virtually every table I so carefully selected to play. Winning every single day I played became second nature. But there were days I learned NOT to play BJ at all. On Fridays I learned to ONLY play early in the morning. I learned to avoid Saturday, Sunday and Monday altogether except maybe Monday night. But even then Monday nights were trial and error. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I won virtually every table I sat to. I rearranged my playing schedule as well as my trips home accordingly.

But since I couldn't play BJ all the time, and all nights were questionable, I learned to play Baccarat. I quickly learned to beat Baccarat because the shoes were more biased then. Baccarat was new (1987) and the casinos had not yet learned to shuffle to their advantage. The casino Baccarat take was only 3% of the buy in money back in the late '80s. BUT, just as casinos had learned to shuffle to their advantage in BJ, they used the same shuffle technology in Baccarat and the casino take steadily grew from 3% to 26% today. Look, no rules have changed. The ONLY change is the shuffle. The actual mathematical odds in Baccarat are 1.25% of the money bet. YET, Baccarat today is at 26%. This should tell any thinking player that the casino is shuffling against them. If they weren't and the cards were random, the casino take would only be the mathematical odds of 1.25%. But, in fact, it is 26%! Sure, maybe you could explain away 3% to 26% with statements like the longer you play.....BUT we played just as long back then as players play today, maybe even longer. But you simply can't explain the incredible rise of casino profits from 3% to 26% by anything the players are doing. That leaves the casinos. They are the only other party in the game - the only other factor. Use your head! To beat casinos, you must first understand them - understand exactly what you are up against. You need to understand BOTH sides of the table. You need to put yourselves in THEIR shoes. Sure, they are nice to you. But they are PAID to be nice to you. They are also paid to BEAT you - any way they can. And they are full time professionals. You are the occassional player. Playing only part time, you can't possibly learn what I learned playing full time. BUT again, I didn't have a teacher unless you count the dealers and the casinos. You do! I don't have a lot of time left. But, with what time I do have, I want to teach you what I know. I don't want to take it to my grave. What a waste that would be!

Anyway, back on topic, I learned Baccarat as a fill in, to play when the odds were against be in BJ. NO, I couldn't make as much money as I was used to making in BJ. But it was a whole lot better than sitting in my hotel room - or at the Madison House bar. I was young and very energetic. I wanted to play but I knew when NOT to play BJ. Bac, you can play just about anytime, even if it is better in the morning with new cards. But also many Bac pits didn't open until the afternoon - again new cards. And the high stakes pits only opened at night, again, new cards for both Bac and BJ. Easy pickens!

So why should a Bac player learn BJ? Because there is a lot more money in BJ, a LOT more! - IF you know how. If you know when to play, how to select a table, and which system to play, First or Third and how to play it. No one on the face of this earth can teach you that better than I can. I did it for a living and made top money. They didn't! You have a teacher. I didn't. My teacher was life. And that's the hard way.

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High Stakes BJ:

I'm transposing this starting post from the High Stakes Blackjack thread in the public BJ forum to this Bac forum to be sure that all see it. Again, most Bac players are not subscribed to the BJ forums. It's free and there is no reason not to subscribe. To subscribe to the public BJ forum simply go to the front page of BTC and click the blue checkmark after Blackjack. Then a pull down will allow you to get BJ post notifications. See you there.

You might well be thinking: Why should I be considering high stakes BJ or a high limit seminar when I'm a nickel player because I can't afford to play for more?

Answer: Because nickle games are next to impossible to beat, and usually, totally impossible.

The reason is simple: The lower the stakes the more the cards get played. Nickel tables are nearly always full. The more players in the game the faster the cards clump. The longer the game the more the cards clump. The more the cards clump the harder they are to play, to the point of impossible to beat.

When I played full time I quickly learned to avoid nickel games altogether. Next I learned to avoid dime games altogether. Then I learned to play $25 games only early in the morning agaist new cards. By night time the $100 tables were the most beatable games in the casino - often the only beatable games in the casino.

In the middle of an Atlantic City BJ demonstration a loud voice from the audience yelled: "Ellis, why do you always play black tables. We can't afford to play $100 tables." I yelled back: "Because I can't afford to play red tables!" Perhaps you are beginning to catch my drift.

But black tables on the floor are one thing. Black tables in the high limit room are a different kettle of fish. Eventually I learned to only play high limit rooms. This takes special talents. But one of the benefits is high limit rooms give the best comps in the casino. A better benefit is that the high stakes rooms very often have the easiest tables in the casino to beat!

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