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Nature of Player Advantage

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<CENTER>Nature of Player Advantage <HR width="75%" SIZE=5></CENTER>THE NATURE OF PLAYER ADVANTAGE: 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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