Archive for September, 2010

‘Must Never Dos’ Of Online Blackjack Games

September 30th, 2010

You are bound to lose money even if you play the best game. That’s how gambling works. And in addition to that, if you insist on making some terrible blunders, your ‘born loser’ title isn’t far away. Here are some absolute ‘must not’s of blackjack, whether it is online or in real casino.

Make your own moves

In blackjack, every player is playing against the dealer. You have to beat the dealer. So do not copy the dealer’s moves. The dealer is not a pro player and his/her moves are determined by the casino’s rules.

Never sit at the ends

The blackjack table is a semi circle and all games start with dealing for the person in either end. Sitting in the middle order will give you advantage of being able to see what others are being dealt and make your card counting easy.

Card counting

Card counting can be a boon or a bane. If you are good at it, go ahead and count the cards to determine your success rate. If not, go for other strategies. Counting will only mess up more with your already tensed brain, especially if you are just a beginner.

Learning certain skills will help you in determining the odds. Online blackjack can help you with learning more card counting.

Basic strategies

Forgetting the basic and going for utterly advanced techniques is never going to help. Sticking to the basics is an absolute must. Never underestimate the power of simplicity. Learn to implement basic strategies in tough situations. This will be of great help in not losing chinks of money.

Blackjack insurance

If you are a non card counter, insurance offers you the worst of the odds. Insurance is offered when one of the dealer’s cards is an ace. The chances that his next card will be a 10 or a face card are only 4:13. That is only 4 out of 13 times, will a dealer will win. If you are a card counter and feel that the chances are greater for the dealer to win, then take the insurance and wager half the original bet.

Surrendering

There are situations when you should surrender. If the dealer is holding a 10 or an ace and you have a total of 15 or 16 with a 10 or 9, you should surrender. Also when the dealer is showing a 9 and you have a total of 16 with a 10 or 9, you should surrender. These rules can be relaxed with soft 17. Many players lose money not knowing when to use this strategy. Researching on the usage of basic strategy will work a lot.

Blackjack is full of strategies with much more yet to be discovered. Most strategies are not even revealed. Since there are many strategies involved, you can continue playing the wrong game and never understand what went wrong. Keep these rules in mind to play better.

For more information on online blackjack, check out the info available online; these will help you learn to find the blackjack online!

Creating a Blackjack Card Counting Strategy

September 29th, 2010

Card counting strategies range from fairly simple to absurdly complex. This article provides instructions on creating a card counting strategy and in doing so describes the various characteristics of counting systems. It may be of interest even if you don’t wish to create a strategy but want to learn about the make-up of such systems.

Creating a new strategy is not difficult if you start with an existing strategy. If you wish to start from scratch there is a bit more work. There are plenty of strategies in the books. But, many people do like to at least modify a current strategy to better fit their needs.

Card Counting Tools

The following tools are needed:

  • Efficiency Calculator – Tells you how efficient a particular count is
  • Index Generator – To create new playing indexes
  • Simulator – To fine-tune and measure the effectiveness of the new strategy

Card Counting Tag Values

First you need to settle on the card point values. If you have already done this, you can skip to the Index Generation section. Although reading this section may add to your understanding. Each card has a point value like +1 or -1. There are several characteristics of counts as follows:

  • True Count vs. Running Count – As cards are seen, you keep a running sum of the card tag values. Running Count systems use this count for both betting and playing decisions. True Count systems require that you divide the RC by a number representing the number of cards that have been seen. There are various methods of converting RC to TC (e.g. division, multiplication, tables.) TC systems generally use this TC for all playing decisions. Most also use it for betting decisions. There are exceptions to both of these rules. RC strategies are generally easier to use and TC strategies are generally more accurate.
  • Balanced vs. Unbalanced – In a balanced strategy, all of the point values sum to zero. In an unbalanced strategy, the sum of all the cards is positive. Unbalanced strategies have an advantage because they can be used in the easier running count systems. Although they can also be used in TC systems. Balanced strategies have an advantage in that they are generally a bit more accurate (there are exceptions) and the count hovers around zero making counting easier and betting strategies easier.
  • Ace-Reckoned vs. Ace-Neutral – Generally the Ace is counted as a negative number (Ace-reckoned) or zero (Ace-neutral.) Ace-Reckoned strategies are generally better for shoe games and Ace-Neutral strategies are generally better for single and double deck. (Not always true.) There are compromise strategies (e.g. Zen, UBZ II) where the Ace is counted at half of the normal value. This is particularly good for double-deck and not bad for single deck or shoes. These days, Ace-reckoned strategies are more popular.
  • Level – The level of a strategy refers to the highest value assigned to cards. Level 2 and 3 card counting methods are more efficient, but quite a bit more difficult for most people. Level 3, 4 & 5 strategies also exist. But this is overkill. The most popular strategies these days are level 1. In a level 1 strategy, tens are counted as -1 and some or all low cards are counted as +1.
  • Side Counts – Some strategies use one or more side counts. The most common is counting the Aces in a separate count to make betting more accurate in Ace-neutral systems. This is because Aces are large cards for the purposes of betting but small cards for the purposes of playing when you don’t have a Blackjack.
  • Suit/Color Aware Counts – Some count will have different tag values for red and black cards. Examples are Red7 & KISS. The attempt here is to gain most of the advantage of a higher level strategy without the higher range of counts. I would expect the error rate would increase somewhat but have no figures for this.
  • Other ease of use considerations – The fewer the number of cards counted the easier the count. Also, the more card pairs that add to zero the better. This is because most counters count pairs of cards when possible. If you see a +1 and a -1 card at the same time, you automatically ignore them since they sum to zero.

Now, how do we decide on the card tag values? First you need to decide on the above characteristics. Second, it is good to take a look at the popular strategies that exist. Next, you need to understand Betting Correlation, Playing Efficiency and Insurance Correlation. These are terms created by Peter Griffin in Theory of Blackjack. Reading this book will help you a great deal. These terms are defined as:

  • Playing Efficiency – PE indicates how well a card counting system handles changes in playing strategy. Playing efficiency is particularly important in hand-held games (one or two decks.)
  • Betting Correlation – BC is defined as the correlation between card point values and the effect of removal of cards. It is used to predict how well a card counting system predicts good betting situations and can approach 1.00 (100% correlation.) BC is particularly important in shoe games (six or eight decks.)
  • Insurance Correlation – IC is defined as the correlation between card point values and the value of cards in Insurance situation. A point value of -9 for tens and +4 for all other cards would be perfect for predicting if an Insurance bet should be placed.

Index Generation

Once you have your card values, you need to generate indexes. First, you need to make a few general decisions:

  • Initial Running Count – The IRC is the count you start with after a shuffle. Balanced strategies nearly always have an IRC of zero. This causes the count to hover around zero. A few people start with a higher number because they don’t like to count negative numbers. This has no effect on the efficiency of a strategy. Unbalanced strategies usually have negative IRC’s. This is because the count rises as the shoe is played. The IRC is often set so that there is an advantage after the count becomes positive. Also, different IRC’s are generally used for different numbers of decks. This is not necessary; but makes it easier to remember playing and betting decisions since the count has to rise significantly farther for shoes than for single-deck. Some people use zero for unbalanced IRC’s to avoid large negative numbers.
  • True Count Calculation – You need to decide how to convert the running count to the true count if your strategy uses True Count decisions. The most common methods are to divide by the number of full decks or half decks remaining. There is little difference in overall effectiveness. Full-deck is slightly better for betting and half-deck is slightly better for playing. HiLo Lite and the 1998 version of Zen divide by quarter-decks remaining. This makes betting a bit easier; but a bit less accurate. (You can see this explained in Blackbelt in Blackjack by Arnold Snyder when the next version is printed. It is currently out of print.) Some people use multiplication instead of division. Another method is to use a table of True Counts by shoe depth and running count. This is described in Blackjack Bluebook II by Fred Renzey.
  • Rounding/Truncating/Flooring – Nearly everyone uses integer index values for playing decisions. So, how do you round the true count after division? It doesn’t matter greatly as long as you use the same method for play and index generation. But, Flooring is currently preferred. That is, if there is a fraction, round down to the next lower value.
  • Which indexes – In older strategies huge numbers of indexes were used. But, most indexes have very little value. You can find a discussion on this subject in Blackjack Attack by Don Schlesinger. (You should read this book for many other reasons.) See the discussion on Illustrious 18 and Catch-22. Theory of Blackjack also has a discussion on the value of indexes. But, it is concerned primarily with single-deck and doesn’t take into account the frequency of decisions.
  • Risk-Averse vs. Expectation Maximizing Indexes – Older strategies generally used expectation maximizing indexes. (There are exceptions.) Such indexes result in decisions that give the greatest average gain for each bet. But, this is not always the best bet as the gain is so small in some cases it may not be worth the extra risk as in close doubling down decisions. Risk-Averse indexes reduce the risk which reduces the variance which allows you to slightly increase your betting levels. This provides a slight overall improvement in results. RA Indexes are now preferred since they perform a bit better with no extra effort. Blackjack Attack contains a discussion on RA indexes.
  • Index Compromises – Older strategies used the best possible indexes they could calculate at the time. Some newer strategies make compromises for ease of use. For example, the double down indexes for 9 vs. 2 and 9 vs. 7 may not be the same; but they are so close you can compromise and make them the same. This makes them easier to remember and use. If you wish to use compromise indexes; you will need to first generate the correct indexes using an index generator and then use trial and error with simulations to test various compromises. Red7, HiLo Lite, Basic Omega II and 1998 Zen use compromise indexes.
  • Rules Compromises – Stand on 17 vs. Hit on 17, Multi-deck vs. Single-deck, Double after Split vs. no DAS. These all affect indexes. You need to decide if you want to go through the effort of using different indexes or determining what games you will most often play and just use those indexes. Or, compromise by using indexes that are in-between.
  • Composition Dependent indexes – These are indexes that look at the exact composition of your hand (8, 6, 2 vs. 10) instead of the total of the hand (16 vs. 10.) They add slightly to system effectiveness. But, few people use them.
  • Multi-Parameter Indexes – These are used along with side-counts to improve playing decisions. MP Index Tables are rarely used today.

Once you have created the indexes, you will want to run sims with different rules and penetrations to test your system. The best method of evaluating the overall strength of a strategy is by the SCORE as described in Blackjack Attack.

Hints and Tips

  • Read The Theory of Blackjack by Peter Griffin. Particularly chapters 3 and 4 as they will explain the value of card tags and indexes.
  • Some strategies use compromise indexes. Hi-Lo Lite and Red 7 are examples. These are indexes that are changed so that many decisions use the same index. To create these, generate the accurate indexes first and then run sims with different indexes to see which ones can be changed without impacting overall SCORE. These sims must be over two billion rounds.
  • Indexes do not make a huge difference in shoe games. The more decks, the less value you get out of accurate indexes.
  • The gain from using risk-averse indexes is really quite small. But, there is no downside.
  • To accurately calculate the SCORE, you must use an optimal betting ramp.
  • Some Split indexes are very strange. Splitting or not splitting goes back and forth as the count changes. This is because they are both offensive and defensive. That is, sometimes you split to make more money and sometimes you split to lose less money. 2, 2 v 3 or 3, 3, v 7 for example. It really doesn’t matter much what you do with these hands.
  • Indexes can change as the penetration changes. This is particularly true with unbalanced strategies, but also true with balanced strategies.

Norman Wattenberger Author of the Casino Verite Blackjack suite of card counting software products. http://www.qfit.com

Can You Earn a Living Using Free Time Playing Roulette, Poker, and Blackjack at the Online Casinos?

September 29th, 2010

Mention online casinos and gambling to most people and the reaction will undoubtedly be one of fear, scepticism and utter revulsion. The media have impacted on us all the negative side of gambling and the devastating effect it has on addicted online gamblers who have frittered away massive amounts of cash, always chasing the money they have lost with yet another bet.

What the media never seem to report on is the growing numbers of people, quietly earning a comfortable living from gambling. My first insight into this world was while driving through London, listening to a late night talk show about the negative effects of online casinos and how they wreck the lives of innocent people. The show began with the host outlining statistics about how many people use online casinos and how much money is spent online each day. An interview followed with a caller who told us all how easy it was to get an account at any of the casinos and how he had lost his house, his wife and eventually his job.

As I drove, my own thoughts were that this was what happens when you give an idiot a credit card. OK not very nice, but being a pretty typical Scot, I constantly recite my own favourite saying. “A fool and his money, are easily parted.” I hold on to that notion so that every time I need to spend some money, I try and make the best possible decision on the purchase and make sure I get the best value.

Anyway, back to the radio show and the next caller came on and I was pleasantly surprised to hear a chap who echoed my own sentiments. He was halfway through his rant explaining that some people are just doomed into losing money when our host interrupted and started attacking this man for being unsympathetic. The caller calmly explained that the world can only try and protect people, but if someone really wants to spend their money then there is not much that can be done to stop them. He then went on to reveal that he makes his living from online gambling and has done for the last two years.

This seemed to confuse and astound the radio host who retorted quite arrogantly to this man, something about expecting us all to believe that you could actually turn a profit from online gambling. Our caller then went on to confirm that he was sitting at his desk with the casino open placing bets right now and yes it is perfectly possible to earn a very good living from online casinos.

As the caller left, our host made a few comments about what we had all heard and went to the switchboards to retrieve another call. The next caller was again keen to repeat the claim from the man before and assured us all that he to was earning a regular income from betting online.

This changed the theme of the show, and soon the radio station was being bombarded with emails and text messages from people all over London affirming the point that it is indeed perfectly simple to earn a good wage from casino betting.

Now to someone like me, this raised serious questions. To let you know, I had to work extremely hard for my money and the thought of earning money easily by pushing a few buttons was too much to just dismiss. As soon as I got home I started my investigations and within a few minutes, confirmed that using a few simple strategies and some simple applications, it is not only possible to earn money from a casino, but indeed very easy. The underlying reason for it is that unlike betting at a regular casino where staff are watching your every move, you have the ability to run any number of software programmes to assist in counting and calculating, and to employ a range of mathematical betting plans, guaranteeing your success.

I will sign off now, and wish you the best success in your endeavours.

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Play Free Poker and Win Cash Prizes

September 27th, 2010

Poker is all about having fun and great excitement. This particular game spirit has numerous followers around the world. Online poker casinos have transformed the gaming world with newer and quicker opportunities to earn millions in comparatively less period of time.

For getting the maximum pleasure, you can visit a land based casino or plunge into the world of online gambling and feel elated and happy.

Online poker game is especially meant for those who cannot bear the pain of visiting an actual casino but loves sporting their poker skills and abilities. In this type of casino pattern, people usually do not face each other or observe their behaviors and expression. However people need to sharpen their betting patterns and observation.

You can find numerous poker games online. Choose the one that satisfy you as a person and a player. If you are a beginner in the game, you can observe the moves of your seniors or can take some free lessons to get the concept right. Fro security purposes, you need not to be worried as online poker games follow many security measures like implementation of software and other alerts to stop any illegal and unlawful usage of poker rooms.

If you are not entrusted in spending a lot, free poker game is the ultimate option for you. You need to pass the hassle of registering yourself with various websites and to pay the initial amount. You can just open the websites and start activating your moves suddenly and very easily.

Basically, you can try three basic categories of poker games, money games where you play for cash, play money games for free practice, and a third is – the poker free roll. A free roll is a new type of poker game between cash games and play money games giving the better of other two types of poker playing.

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Blackjack Betting Strategy – Blackjack Card Counting Tips

September 26th, 2010

If you want a blackjack betting strategy, then read this. You will learn blackjack card counting tips.

Blackjack games do not need lucky charms, hunches, or guesses or any other superstitious beliefs out there. All a player needs is great understanding on the whole game. There are areas to exploit in the game.

It is either the player or the house gets a natural. A natural means twenty one on the first dealt two cards. A player has an edge if the house gets a natural because he only loses his bet at one is to one basis, sometimes nothing especially if he got insurance. On the other hand, if it is the player who gets a natural, it is again an advantage as the house pays him at a 1.5 is to one ratio.

Another thing for the player to understand is the cards that benefit the house or the player. The principle is the house is benefited by cards six and below. These are called small numbered cards. Meanwhile, for players, large numbered cards are ideally advantageous. Understanding how to exploit this is essential on how to win blackjack. Players are encouraged to bet more if there are more large numbered cards and vice versa. Also, if there is low amount of cards left in the shoe, then it is another best time to raise the bet.

To be able to determine if the player’s count is positive and high, he may apply the so-called Hi-Lo method. Two through six cards are assigned a point value of +1 as ten through ace cards are assigned with -1 point value. The rest which are in between these cards are neutral. So when a player’s counting cards are more of positive and high, then he has more chances of winning the game. The aim of this method is also to beat or bust the dealer.

Another technique on how to win blackjack is to practice. There are computer simulators to work on with. This simulator can be programmed by the player. It also keeps a track of the player’s long term winnings which is helpful as it also tracks theoretical profits. This simulator can also help the player practice by automatically correcting him if he makes a mistake in the practice game.

There are also books about counting. From the tips the players read, they should apply and practice with these so that there techniques will be perfected in due time. Now, if the player can not perfect the technique and still has ‘bad hands’ about the game and he still loses more, then it is better to stop. Players should not waste their money on this gamble. If they want to win and enjoy, perfecting the techniques is a must.

Also, players should not be very obvious in doing their card counting while playing in casinos. It is legal but almost all casinos will not like such players because it is pretty obvious that they are putting down the casino house.

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