Avoid playing every hand
One of the more common mistakes made by rookie poker players is playing almost every hand during a game, because they want to get as much actual playing action as possible. However you are trying to win and refusing to fold even when you have a poor hand will just lead to greater losses. Therefore if you are playing more than half of your hands during a game, consider upping your standards when it comes to your starting hand.
Don’t bluff too often
Another very common error is over-playing the bluff as a strategy – as some new players feel that they have not really won properly unless they have bluffed their opponents. In fact bluffing will only have an impact in some situations – and will not work on all players – and the more you use it, the less effective it will be as a tactic.
Don’t mix poker and alcohol
You may see players in television shows and movies knocking back whiskies while they play, but in reality you will be far more effective if you keep a clear head. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, which makes you far more likely to bet recklessly, rather than sensibly.
Don’t chase the money
It can be tempting to stay in a hand of poker just because you have put a fair bit into the pot, but this will not make you more likely to win in the end. However much you have invested in the hand, you need to recognise when you are beaten and fold, rather than throwing away more money chasing what you have already bet.
Watch the cards and the other players
It can be hard for new players to do this, but so much of poker is about watching the cards your rivals are showing, and also the players themselves – to get an idea of when they usually raise or fold. So try and keep an eye on more than just your own cards during the game.
Of course there is a difference between playing online at Gaming Club casino and in person however the principles of poker are still very much the same
]]>All a player is required to do is to keep track of a running total which indicates whether the rest of the shoe is favourable, by a rather straightforward method which is accessible to a person of normal intelligence. The running total, also known as the “count,” indicates to the player when to amplify his bets when the deck is in his favour or decrease them when it is in favour of the house.
Is This Cheating?
The art of counting cards it is discouraged by casinos, which have achieved in showing the practice in a negative light to the point that many players believe that it is against the law. Where it is acceptable for casinos to do so, they will happily eject a player who counts cards. This is all a marketing campaign by the casinos to dissuade players from making the smart bet.
Cheating, by definition, is an interference which offsets the odds. A cheater may plot with the dealer, modify equipment, and use sleight of hand to increase his wager or swap his cards after the deal. The card counter, on the other hand, simply watches occurrences which are visible to any other player at the table under normal circumstances. When the ordinary course of events happens to turn in his favour, he simply makes the best of it.
This does not infringe on the rules of the game or alter the situation at all, any more than a sports punter who reflects on the past performances of a team prior to placing a wager for or against them.
Card counting does not guarantee a victory. Even in circumstances where the deck appears to favour the player by a large amount, the order and value of the cards continue to be random. Irrespective of the “weight” of the deck, the cards fall as they may. There is a greater likelihood of winning in some situations, and the card counter will increase his wager consequently nevertheless the possibility of losing is always there.
For these reasons, casinos have failed in their efforts to lobby for legislation against card counters. The practice continues to be completely legal. In places where a casino is allowed to refuse service to anyone, card counters are keenly pursued, ousted, and banned from the premises. To put it simply, the house does not want to serve a punter who stands a good, or even chance of winning.
How Card Counting Works
A popular saying is “chance has no memory”. This saying is often used to deter players from taking an interest in the previous outcomes since history offers no advantage. In the majority cases, this is true.
For example, a coin could land on heads five times in a row; this does not mean that the next toss is more likely to be tails; this is due to the fact that each toss is an independent random event. There will still be a still 50/50 possibility of heads or tails on the sixth toss. The same holds true for most casino games.
However, blackjack is an exception to this rule since the outcome, is random, but not totally independent. Once card has been dealt, it cannot be dealt again, its nonexistence from the remaining deck affects the probability of the outcomes of future hands (until the cards are shuffled).
If all four kings come out of a single deck in the initial hand dealt, it completely guarantees that no others will be dealt until the deck is shuffled. If two kings came out in the initial deal, it doesn’t ensure the kings will not come out as players hit their hands, but it does make it 50% less likely. This is what card counting is based around.
2 | +0.37% |
3 | +0.44% |
4 | +0.52% |
5 | +0.64% |
6 | +0.45% |
7 | +0.30% |
8 | 0.00 |
9 | -0.13% |
10 | -0.53% |
Ace | -0.49% |
Numerous mathematical models have been run to determine the exact effect which removing an individual card has on the deck. Their results are shown to the right. As a general rule, the removal of low cards favours the player, while the removal of high cards favours the dealer. It’s also vital to keep in mind that this is the effect per deck. In a six-deck game, six fives are needed to be dealt before the remaining deck is altered by 0.64% in the player’s favour.
At a glance, the concentration of high cards in the deck doesn’t seem to matter, as they are just as likely to be dealt to the dealer. However, consider these factors:
The Rewards of Counting
As with any other player, a card counter will not walk away with a large amount of winnings every time. Simply due to the fact that the order of the cards is forever random, and because there is an equal chance of a decent hand being dealt to either side of the table when the count is high.
Basic strategy by itself lowers the house’s edge to around half a percent, and after a shuffle, the card counter has no advantage. From here, the balance moves to the player by about half a percent times the count (the “true count,” which is explained later).
On average, a player who combines basic strategy with card counting will have a 1% advantage over the house over the course of each shoe, meaning he will lose a little less and win a little more than a player who just uses basic strategy.
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In a nutshell what basic strategy means is that statistical analysis of the game was conducted long time ago by statisticians. For any two cards that you have and given a face up card for the dealer, they discovered that there is an optimal play. This play is optimal is the sense that if that hand was to be repeated a large number of times, this is the play with the best result on average. This assumes a random full single deck or a number of decks of cards, but does not take into account the cards already played.
To make things easier, all the information necessary to play basic strategy is summarized in a so-called blackjack chart that any player can use even in live casinos.
How to learn basic strategy then you may ask. Playing perfect basic strategy means playing every single one of your hands according to what the chart says. No deviating no matter what your brain is telling you. And while it is perfectly legal to carry a basic strategy chart with you into a casino or use one online, the quality of your blackjack games can improve if you can play without the chart.
There are a few ways that you can learn basic strategy so that you don’t have to carry a chart around.
You can practice playing at online casinos in their free play mode. Just keep playing, trying to remember what play you’re supposed to make without looking at the chart. The repetitive nature of learning this way will allow you to learn while playing. This method tends to take longer.
Another method is to sit down and study the chart. Try memorizing a line a day. It’s even recommended to make flash cards. Put the dealer’s up card versus a player’s hand on one side; on the back side write down what the correct play is. Keep running through the flash cards until you can name the correct play to make without hesitation. Every so often take a blank sheet of paper and recreate the entire basic strategy chart—see how much of the chart you have memorized. Keep recreating the chart until you have the entire thing right.
Having the basic strategy chart memorized will help speed up the game when you play. You will also know that you are making the best play possible when at the blackjack table or online.
To continue with basic strategy here is a list of the best hands to double down on. Blackjack is usually played from a defensive position. You make your playing decisions based on what the dealer’s up card is. Think about it. When you’re looking at your basic strategy chart you are seeing what to do in the situation that the dealer is showing X card.
However, there are some instances when we blackjack players get to go on the offensive. And those times are when we are dealt a starting hand total of 9, 10 or 11. When we have one of those three starting hand totals, usually our best move is to double down. And doubling down is an offensive stance. When you are doubling down you are telling the dealer that you have a better chance of out-drawing him—that your hand is stronger than his.
Having a starting hand of 11 you have the most opportunities to double down. Basically it’s best to double down if the dealer is showing a 2 through 10. The only time you don’t is when the dealer has an Ace showing. If you have 10, double down against a dealer’s 2 through 9. And if you have a 9, double down 3 through 6.
When you double down you only receive one more card. If that last card is a 10 you now have 19, 20 or 21—all of which are strong hands. And because you doubled down on a hand in which you have a better chance of out drawing the dealer, you have a better chance of doubling your winnings. If you can’t have a natural blackjack or a hard 20 or 19, an 11 would be the hand to wish for next.
]]>Every second person in this world is very much familiar with the poker game, as this is a very famous
game among the peoples, numerous numbers of players plays that game on daily basis, and earns very big amount of profit daily through them. The poker game is played into a room or lobby, which is dedicated fully to the players of this game, are termed as poker rooms. These rooms are very much similar to the cards room as well. One will find a very reasonable and appropriate environment there to play its game with calm mind, and have a suitable environment available there for him to just focus perfectly on his game. These rooms are almost in each casino’s, as the players love to play their games there in these rooms.
Are poker rooms addictive?
There are many different games played in the poker rooms, since these games are played player against players, instead of the player against some group of people or some other. In-fact this game is too addictive, people loves to play this game and earns a lot through this game. One can earn a handsome amount of money through this game without having to work for several hours in your office to earn money; there is a huge majority of peoples that daily plays poker game on the website online through the internet, and also in the casino’s against unknown players. The feeling, to be on the top on the rankings will also mold one to explore more and more field and techniques in this game. The casinos have their board of rankings, in which the top ranked players are listed.
They key is to be calm and balanced
Some tips should be kept in mind, while playing poker game .Have a less talk during your poker game, as the much you talk the more you are going to be distracted by other’s, so less talk during poker tournament is better for you, even though if you are sincerely tiresome to make over a comment on other then there is still a chance that others might sense your technique. During your hand don’t even dare to say anything, if there is something important to say then say it after your hand even if you are folded and short of the hand. Particularly sidestep the criticism on any other person way of playing.
The poker tournaments are a very significant part of the poker’s game. When there are a lot of things at the stake, most of the people’s lose their patience and self-possession which is observed very often among the different people. This wasn’t in the past few years before. But due to such adequate revolution of this game a lot of people are playing it and have their much interest in this game, so the competition has increased among them very much, as it’s also a very sensitive game because on the stock is your all money, some bad beats and it is all gone that’s the main reason this game is crucial and it requires a proper technique to play it, without having a perfect strategy or technique, one may lose his all of the money and will become bankrupt.
Competition is a report of the type of players playing at an online poker room. Competition is important to you as a player because it will tell you if the players are at your level or beneath you, or much more skilled than you which is a major factor in determining productivity at a poker website. Poker rooms should create a look of very competitive environment.
]]>When the first personal computer (PC) appeared in our shops, solitaire was an obvious fit. Because the technological requirements for showing playing cards on a computer screen are relatively easy, solitaire games came to the forefront. In the early days of Microsoft, nearly all solitaire games were text-mode, and were single-game programs. When the state of computer software and technology advanced, the graphics started to make the games look a whole lot better, this combined with a larger memory capacity allowed computer programmers to begin to fit more than one solitaire game into a single program, this resulted in the ‘solitaire collection’.
Of these solitaire collections, the first commercial collection was “Solitaire Royale”, written by Brad Fregger. This collection was published by Spectrum Holobyte in 1987, and it was available for both PC (Microsoft) and Macintosh. At the time, the collection contained 8 different solitaire games, and featured 16-color EGA graphics- impressive at the time, plus mouse support rather than simple text input.
We then had to wait 5 years for our second notable collection, in 1992, Quantum Quality Productions published a commercial collection that was named “Solitaire’s Journey”, this was also for Microsoft-DOS, featuring a very impressive array of 105 different games and detailed user statistics on each game played. In this collection, players could build their own custom “journeys” by selecting a sub-set of the games. As well as this, they could compete in “quests” to find “treasure” by completing a set of solitaire games successfully.
If we stop to look at the shareware front, the most extensive shareware Microsoft- DOS solitaire collection of the time was” Solitaire Suite” by Randy Rasa, which was released in 1991, this collection was compiled of 7 solitaire games, with mouse support and EGA as before.
Solitaire on Microsoft Windows first appeared in 1990 in the version Windows 3.0. This was actually an implementation of the traditional “Klondike” solitaire game, though the name it was given “Windows Solitaire” has been a topic of confusion ever since. In 1995 to great anticipation, Microsoft released Windows 95; this version featured a solitaire game called “Freecell”, which did not take long to become very popular, spanning a wide number of enhanced shareware versions of the game. A few years later Microsoft XP finally introduced Spider Solitaire, which again inspired a number of enhancers and imitators.
Looking at more recently, in the last few years, the size of the shareware solitaire collections for Microsoft Windows has in no uncertain terms exploded, being led by Pretty Good Solitaire, Funsol Solitaire, and SolSuite, all of which now feature not only a handful, but hundreds upon hundreds of different solitaire games. On the Macintosh (Apple) side, Solitaire Plus and Solitaire Till Dawn are the leading solitaire collections.
The games of solitaire are now widely available for every possible platform, including PocketPC, PalmOS, Linux, and mobile phones. Looking at the present, no matter where you go, you will find a solitaire game, ready and waiting to entertain you and your friends. Even with the introduction of smartphones with the accessibility to millions of applications and games, solitaire still proves a traditional favourite and is popular as ever.
Each game starts with the Croupier spinning the wheel in one direction. The ball is placed in the wheel and spun in the opposite direction. Shortly after the spin begins, the Croupier will call out “No More Bets”. After which Players cannot make any further Bets until the next round begins.
When the ball comes to rest in a number on the wheel, bets corresponding to that number are paid off. Payouts vary depending on what type of Bet you are making. Inside Bets are those made directly on numbers or groups.
They include:
- Single Number Bets; placed directly inside a numbered spot. Winning Bets pay 35 to 1.
- Two Number Bets; placed on the line between two adjacent numbers. Winning Bets pay 17 to 1.
- Three Number Bets; placed on the leftmost side of a row of 3 numbers. Winning Bets pay 11 to 1.
- Four Number Bets; placed on the intersection between four numbers on the table. Winning Bets pay 8 to 1.
- Six Number Bets; a bet on two rows of three numbers on the table layout Winning Bets pay 5 to 1.
Outside Bets are those made on the spots outside the main number grid.
They include:
- Dozens Bets; placed on numbers 1 through 12, 13 through 24, or 25 through 36. Winning Bets pay 2 to 1.
- Odd or Even bets; placed on the winning number being even or odd. Zero and double-zero do not count. Winning Bets pay even money.
- Red or Black bets; placed that the winning number will be red or black. Winning Bets pay even money.
- Column Bets cover an entire column of 12 numbers, top to bottom. Winning Bets pay 2 to 1.
]]>Craps is a dice game and is one of the most exhilarating games you can play in a casino. It is not uncommon at all to hear bellowing and shouting at a craps table. It is played on a unique table and two dice are used. The dice are made following precise standards and are regularly inspected for any damage. The dice are replaced with new ones after around eight hours of use; most casinos have applied rules in the way a player handles them.
Play
To start, the Shooter (one of the players) must bet the table minimum or more, on either the Pass Line or the Don’t Pass Line (also called ‘win’ or ‘right’ bets). The shooter is given multiple dice (usually five) by the Stickman, and must select two to roll with. The remaining dice are put back in the Stickman’s Bowl and are not used.
The shooter must grip the dice with one hand only when tossing and the dice are required to hit the walls on the opposite end of the table. Should one or both dice happen to fall off the table, they must be examined (usually by the stickman) prior to putting them back into play.
The craps table can accommodate up to about 20 players, each of which get a round of throws or at ‘shooting’ the dice. If you don’t wish to throw the dice, you can bet on the thrower. Numerous types of bets can be made on the table action. The casino staff on the craps table consists of a Stickman, Boxman and two Dealers.
The game is played in rounds, with the right to roll the dice by each player rotating around the table clockwise at the end of each round. A player may elect not to roll but may continue to bet.
Every round has two separate phases – Come Out and Point.
To begin a round, the shooter makes one or more Come Out rolls. A Come Out roll of 2, 3 or 12 (known as Craps, the shooter is said to ‘crap out’) finishes the round with players losing their Pass Line bets. A Come Out roll of 7 or 11 (a Natural) causes a win for Pass Line bets. The shooter carries on making Come Out rolls until he rolls 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, the number becomes the Point. The dealer then moves an On button to the point number, which indicates the second phase of the round. If the shooter then rolls the point number, the consequence is a win for bets on the Pass Line. If the shooter rolls a seven (a Seven-out), the pass line loses and the round finishes.
The initial roll of the dice in a betting round is known as the Come Out roll – a new game in Craps commences with the Come Out roll. A Come Out roll may only be made when the previous shooter fails to make a winning roll, i.e. fails to make the Point or makes a Seven-out (rolls a seven).
A new game then commences with a new shooter. Should the current shooter make his Point, the dice are then returned to him and he then starts the new Come Out roll. This is a continuation of that shooter’s roll, though technically, the Come Out roll signifies that a new game about to begin.
If the shooter does not make his/her Point, the dice are then presented to the next player for a new Come Out roll and the game continues in the same way. The new shooter is the player to the left of the former shooter.
The dice are bowled across the craps table layout which is divided into three areas – two side areas split by a centre one. Both side areas are mirror images of each other and contain the following:
- Pass and Don’t Pass line bets
- Come and Don’t Come bets
- Odds bet
- Place bets and Field bets
The centre area is shared by both side areas and contains the Proposition bets.
Pass bets triumph if the come out roll is 7 or 11, however pass bets lose if the come out roll is 2, 3, or 12.
Don’t bets lose if the come out roll is 7 or 11, and win if the come out roll is 2 or 3. They tie if the come out roll is 12.
If a player is joining a game and wanting to play craps without being the shooter they must check to see if the dealer’s ‘On’ button is on any of the point numbers. If the point number is off the table it signifies that the table is in the Come Out round. However should the dealer’s button be on a point number then the table is in the Point round. In the point round casinos allow a Pass Line bet to be placed. All single or multi roll ‘Proposition bets’ may be placed in either of the two rounds.
Between dice rolls there is a point for the dealers to provide payouts as well as collect the losing bets, after this point players can place new bets. The stickman oversees the action at the table and chooses when to give the shooter the dice, after which no more betting is permitted.
Betting
The following are the various bets you are able to make at craps:
Pass Line Bet – Players win if the first roll is a natural (7, 11) they lose if it is craps (2, 3, 12). Should a point be rolled (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) it is repeated before a 7 is thrown in order to win. If 7 is rolled before the point you lose.
The central bet in craps is the Pass Line Bet; this is a bet for the shooter to win their point number. A Pass Line Bet is won instantly if the Come Out roll is a 7 or 11. If the Come Out roll is 2, 3 or 12, the bet is lost (also known as ‘crapping out’).
Should the roll be any other value, it creates a Point; should that point be rolled again before a seven, the bet is won. With a point founded, if a seven is rolled before the point is re-rolled, the bet loses (‘seven out’). A Pass Line bet pays even money.
Odds on Pass Line Bet – After a point has been rolled players are able to make this extra bet by taking odds. There are numerous payouts for each point:
- A point of 4 or 10 will pay you 2:1
- 5 or 9 pays 3:2
- 6 or 8 pays 6:5
Players win if the point is rolled again prior to a 7 being rolled.
Come Bet – This bet has the same rules as the Pass Line Bet. The difference involves the fact that players are only permitted to make this bet after the point on the pass line has been decided. On a Come Out roll the Come Bet is positioned on the pass line as they are a duplicate bet. Once players have placed their bets the first dice roll will assign the come point. Players win if it is a natural (7, 11) and lose if it is craps (2, 3, 12). All other rolls win if the come point is repeated before a 7 is rolled. If a 7 is rolled first players lose the bet.
A Come Bet takes place in two rounds and is comparable to a Pass Line Bet. The primary difference is that a player who is making a Come Bet will bet on the initial point number that ‘comes’ from the shooter’s next roll, irrespective of the table’s round.
If a 7 or 11 is bowled on the first round, it wins. If a 2, 3 or 12 is bowled, it loses. However should the roll be a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 then the Come Bet will be repositioned by the base dealer onto a Box signifying the number which the shooter threw. This number then becomes the Come Bet point and the player is permitted to add odds to the bet. The dealer will then put the odds on top of the Come Bet, but slightly off centre in order to distinguish between the initial bet and the odds. The second round wins should the shooter roll the Come Bet prior to rolling a seven. Should a seven come first the bet loses.
Odds on Come Bet – Just the same as the Odds on Pass Line Bet but you take odds on the Come Bet not the Pass Line Bet.
Don’t Pass Line Bet – This bet is essentially a reversed Pass Line bet. If the first roll of a dice is a natural (7, 11) players lose but if it is a 2 or a 3 players win. A dice roll of 12 indicates the player has a tie or push with the casino.
Should the roll be a point (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) a 7 must be rolled before that point is rerolled in order to make the player a winner. Should the point be rolled again prior to a 7 the player loses.
Don’t Come Bet – This is essentially a reversed Come Bet. Once the come point has been decided players win if it is a 2 or 3 and lose for 7 or 11. 12 is a tie and all other dice rolls allow players to win, should a 7 appear before them on the following throws.
Place Bets – This bet works only after the point has been decided. Players can bet on a dice roll of 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10. Players win if the number they placed a bet on is rolled prior to a 7. Otherwise players lose their bet. The Place Bets payouts vary depending on the number you bet on:
- 4 or 10 will pay 9:5
- 5 or 9 will pay 7:5
- 6 or 8 will pay 7:6
Players are permitted to cancel this bet anytime they wish to.
Field Bets – These bets are for one dice roll. Should a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12 be rolled, the player wins. A 5, 6, 7 and 8 results in a loss. Field Bets have a number of different payouts:
- A 2 will pay 2:1
- A 12 will pay 3:1
- Other winning dice rolls will pay 1:1
Big Six, Big Eight Bets – These bets can be placed any roll of the dice. These bets provide players with a win if a 6 or 8 comes out prior to a 7. Big Six and Big Eight are even bets and are paid at 1:1.
Proposition Bets – These bets can be placed at any time and, excluding the hardways, they are all one roll bets:
House advantage
2 – 17%
We have listed four of the most popular wagering schemes devised.
Consistent Wager System
This is the most popular money-management system used. Players bet a fixed amount on every hand, irrespective of the results of the previous hands. By doing this, the player will, in the long term, lose no more that the house advantage against the player, if the player is following our basic strategy this is less than one percent.
In the short term, for one 90-hand period (45 hands per hour for two hours), the player is mathematically likely to lose one more hand than he wins and as a result finish “down” a single unit for the total session. However, because statistics don’t bear out in the short term, the player will more often be “up” or “down” a modest amount differing on the order in which the cards happen to come out of the shoe.
In the long run however, these slight wins and losses will total out. Across the course of thousands of hands, the mathematical probability of losing less than one percent of all hands played shows.
Another benefit of the constant wager method is that it does not involve a large bankroll which some of the other money management system do. Because the amount bet only rises when the player elects to split or double down, a player can begin the session with 20 betting units (20 times the amount of his consistent wager) and anticipate lasting the whole session. However, improbable “losing streaks” do happen, this is why lasting the entire session can be believed, but is not certain.
Lastly, some people argue that the consistent wagering method is not a “method” at all. A player either wages analytically (following to a defined method) or at random. While the amount bet does not differ, as in other methods, it is still planned and implemented according to a strategy.
Martingale System
The Martingale system arose in eighteenth-century France as a technique for making money at red/black, even/odd, or high/low wagers on roulette but it is also used on Blackjack.
The Martingale system is very straightforward; it is one of the easiest systems to learn, aside from the constant wagering scheme. The player begins at a single betting unit, and then doubles the amount following each loss, once the player has one they return to the original betting unit. For example, if a player loses one hand, they then place two units on the next hand, should he win, he wins back the previous loss and stands one unit ahead. This is shown in the table below.
HAND: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | … |
WAGER: | 1 | 2 | 4 | 8 | 16 | 32 | 64 | 128 | 256 | 512 | … |
Straightaway, you can see the downside of using this system – it requires a large bankroll. Following a player’s sixth loss, they must wager 32 betting units, and after two more losses, 128 units. This is made even worse if a hand is doubled or split. This sum can be daunting to players. In order for it to be successful in the long run, players have to have a large bankroll and buy in at a low-limit table.
Despite this, this method is effective, so much so that the rules of the game were changed in an attempt to defeat it. Table limits were brought in to defeat players who used followed this method with huge sums of money. The table limit is usually 1,000 times the table minimum, this means that a player using the Martingale system will not be able to recover his losses after the tenth loss, at which point he would be required to wager 1,028 units.
However, this does not make the system invalid. Not only can the player upgrade to a high-limit table if a streak of ten losses does occur, there is less than a 0.01% chance of such a streak taking place.
Nonetheless, there still few players with the bankroll or the strength to closely follow the Martingale as losses increase. This is why numerous different systems were developed from Martingale, these include systems where the amount the player increases the wager are decreased. Two of these offshoot systems (Oscar’s Grind and Labouchere) are shown below.
Oscar’s Grind
Oscar’s Grind is based around playing hands as a series, with the aim of finishing each series with a net win of at least one betting unit. It’s much more conservative than Martingale because the multiplication in wagers is not as striking and does not occur as often. Like Martingale, the player can finish ahead if he has the firmness and bankroll to play each series to its eventual successful end.
The player begins with a single unit, if the first hand is won, the player earns a one-unit profit, and that series ends.
If the player loses the hand, the wager remains the same up until another hand is won, at which point the wager increases by one unit. This continues until the player wins enough hands to recover all previous losses, and come out one unit ahead. At this point the next hand is considered the beginning of a new series.
Below is an example of a series which endures for a dozen hands:
# | BET | RESULT | BALANCE |
1 | 1 | LOSS | -1 |
2 | 1 | LOSS | -2 |
3 | 1 | LOSS | -3 |
4 | 1 | WIN | -2 |
5 | 2 | WIN | 0 |
6 | 3 | LOSS | -3 |
7 | 3 | LOSS | -6 |
8 | 3 | WIN | -3 |
9 | 4 | LOSS | -4 |
10 | 4 | LOSS | -8 |
11 | 4 | WIN | -4 |
12 | 5 | WIN | +1 |
In this sequence, the player wins 5 out of 12 hands this is slightly less than the expected number but finishes with a one-unit gain. If the player had been using the consistent-wager, they would have emerged with a net loss of two units; the Martingale player would have finished with a net gain of five, however they would have needed to bet eight units on a single hand.
There are, however, two disadvantages to Oscar’s Grind. First, it is possible for a player to become “locked” into a very long grind. Whereas Martingale provides an instant recovery at the first win, this system may require a loser to win a number of hands before recovering all previous losses—and not to stop playing until the recovery has been made. Second, keeping track of the net balance over a long series of hands requires considerable concentration. The wagering system may become a distraction from playing basic strategy, and will almost certainly conflict with the ongoing math the player must concentrate upon to implement advanced strategies.
Labouchere
The Labouchere system directs the player to alter their bet based on the result of the previous hand, escalating after losses and lowering after wins, but following a rather more complex equation.
Firstly a sequence of numbers is chosen (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), the wager is decided by the sum of the first and last digit (in this case, 1+6 = 7). Should the hand be won, the first and last numbers are taken off (2,3,4,5) and the following wager is once again the sum of the first and last (2+5 = 7). If the hand is lost, the total wager lost is added to the end of the series (so the new sequence would change from 2,3,4,5 to 2,3,4,5,7—so the next wager is 2+7 = 9). Once all the numbers have been exhausted, the series is ended.
SERIES | WAGER | RESULT | |
(1,2,3,4,5,6) | 7 | L | -7 |
(1,2,3,4,5,6,7) | 8 | W | +1 |
(2,3,4,5,6) | 8 | L | -7 |
(2,3,4,5,6,8) | 10 | L | -17 |
(2,3,4,5,6,8,10) | 12 | W | -5 |
(3,4,5,6,8) | 11 | L | -16 |
(3,4,5,6,8,11) | 14 | L | -30 |
(3,4,5,6,8,11,14) | 17 | W | -13 |
(4,5,6,8,11) | 15 | W | +2 |
(5,6,8) | 13 | W | +15 |
(6) | - | END |
As with Oscar’s Grind, the player should see each series through to its end, and may become “locked” in a very lengthy series in which large losses are endured before its eventual (profitable) finish.
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The Basic Technique
It is not essential, as some believe, to keep track of every single card that has been dealt. While it would be useful to know the precise number of each card which remains, it is not required and beyond the capacity of the typical (or even somewhat intelligent) player to do so. Card counting relies on an approximation of the value of the cards that have been dealt, as a suggestion of the ones that remain to be dealt.
This guide is based on the High-Low counting system, in which two, three, four, five, and six cards are valued at +1; seven, eight, and nine are 0 and all ten-value cards and aces are valued at -1. There are numerous other counting systems are available, but the High-Low system is one of the simplest to follow, and suitably effective in practice.
In this system, low cards “add” to the count while high cards “subtract” from it. This is due to the fact that the removal of low cards from the deck increases the amount of high cards left to be dealt, and vice versa. A larger proportion of high cards in the deck favour the player.
Keeping the Count
To keep the count, a player needs to make a mental note of the cards, as they come out of the show, and keep a running total in mind. One technique of doing this is to note the value of every card as it is upturned and keeping a constant tally of the total:
CARD: | K | 6 | 9 | 4 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 7 | Q |
VALUE: | -1 | +1 | 0 | +1 | +1 | +1 | +1 | 0 | -1 |
TOTAL: | -1 | 0 | 0 | +1 | +2 | +3 | +4 | +4 | +3 |
While this is valuable as a training method, the physical behaviours one displays while doing this, constant eye and head movement during the deal, is a very clear signal to casino personnel that the player is a card counter.
A safer technique is to monitor the value of each hand as it is played, it is common for players to watch as others play their hands, logging the total value as a player’s cards are collected:
Player 1 | - K | 9 | -1 | ||
Player 2 | - 6 | 5 | 7 | +3 | |
Player 3 | - 2 | J | 4 | 8 | +1 |
Player 4 | - A | 3 | 4 | +1 | |
Dealer | - Q | 8 | -2 | ||
TOTAL: | +2 |
Using this technique will allow the player to focus on other things while the cards are being dealt. A hand of two high cards has a net effect of -2, two low cards with a high card, +1, a high and a low hit with a high -1, a blackjack is -2, etc.
It needs slightly more practice to learn to count cards a hand at a time as a pose to one-by-one, but it will eventually become second nature, so the work involved in learning this system will result in less effort to use it in an actual playing situation.
Counting in Multiple-Deck Games
Because the count is an approximation of the amount of high cards left in the deck, it must be altered depending on the number of decks that are in use. The running count keeps track of the circumstances, the number of high cards compared to low ones, remaining in the deck. In other words, if four kings are dealt from a single deck, none remain, but if four are dealt in a game using four decks, twelve remain.
The simplest way to approximate the “true” count from the running count is to divide the running count by the number of decks used in the game. A running count of +8 is worth +8 in a single-deck game (8/1), but +4 in a two-deck game (8/2), +2 in a four-deck game (8/4), and +1 in an eight-deck game (8/8).
A more precise method to approximate the “true” count involves dividing the running count by the number of decks that wait to be played. If the running count is +15 in an eight-deck game, but two decks have already been played, the true count would be +2.5 (+15 divided by 6 remaining decks), and +5 (+15 divided by 3 remaining decks), when five decks have been played.
Wagering based on the count
To put it simply, you should up your wager when the count is in your favour and decrease it (or leave the game) when it is not.
The simplest system for doing this is to increase your wager one unit for every value of the true count. Once the deck has been shuffled, bet one unit. If the count rises to +2, wager three units (one plus two). If it drops to -1, bet zero, sit out for a round. If it drops lower than -1, continue sitting out or leave the table.
While this is mostly sound advice, a player who frequently sits out hands may be asked to leave the table in order to allow others to play. Additionally, a player who changes tables frequently, winning small sums at each, will swiftly be identified as a counter and asked to leave the casino altogether.
In order to maximize your playing time, and lower the risk of being detected as a counter, it may be required to stay in the game at a one-unit wager, even when the deck is in favour of the dealer. While this costs some profits, it will enable you to stay in the game, and the count will be changed with the next shuffle.
Common sense is required. If you’re approaching the end of a session, or if the count drops to an appalling level with plenty of rounds waiting to be dealt before the next shuffle, there may not be sufficient time or opportunity to recoup the losses you’ll sustain by waiting for the count to turn. Walk away, and come back later.
Insurance and Even Money
In most situations, insurance and even money are sucker bets; a 3:1 payoff on a 30.7% chance gives a 2.6% edge to the house. But, since the odds of an unknown card being a ten-value card increases around 0.5% times the count, these bets become almost fair when the true count stands at +5, and shifts in favour of the player when the count surpasses that level.
Since the majority of players decline these side bets, taking them (particularly after constantly refusing them in the past) may draw suspicion. To stay in the game, and on the site, it may be sensible to pass on these opportunities, or to take advantage of them only once in a while.
Alterations to Basic Strategy
Basic strategy is based on the likely results from a freshly-shuffled deck; it should be altered based on the count. Try to keep the following adjustments in mind:
When the count is +5 or above
When the count is +10 or above
When the count is +15 or higher
The strategy itself is fairly basic, it involves the use a chart which indicates how to play certain hands, including “hard” hands, “soft” hands, and pairs, based what the dealer has by taking into consideration the card that is showing. Simply by following these diagrams loyally, players are able to reduce the house’s advantage from 8.9% to a half of a percentage. This basic strategy has helped thousands of players across millions of hands.
How to Use It
In order to get as much out of this strategy as possible it must be used consistently and correctly. The choices that this strategy indicates have been mathematically shown to be the best out of all possible alternatives, any deviation from the chart will, over time, decrease your winnings even if, in special occasions when a decision against the chart works out for the better.
Consistency is vital to this strategy as it is based entirely on odds and probabilities. It does not guarantee that the player will win every time. There are going to be times where following the strategy seem to produce consistent losses. For example if you stand on 15 against a dealer’s 4 and get beaten three times in a row, it may be appealing to dismiss the chart as nonsense. Examples like this will, in reality occur, simply due to how odds work. Over a span of time, it will bear itself out. If you stick on a 15 against a dealer’s 4 a thousand times, you will be victorious over more hands than you are not. Too many players desert this strategy, either in whole or in just in part, due to an unlikely sequence of events in the short term, and as a result end up losing more in the long term.
Correct usage is essential. For this, there are only two basic things to remember:
Some casinos do not permit players to carry a chart to the table, you’ll need to memorize the chart, and this is simple enough, it will happen naturally over time by practicing.
Using the chart
The numbers displayed across the top represent the Dealer’s up-card, and the player’s hand is shown down the side. The decision you should choose is found where the row and column intersect.
Decisions are represented letters – “H” for hit, “S” for stand, “DD” for double down, “P” for split, and “R” for surrender.
- H/P means split if you are permitted to double down afterwards, if not then you should hit.
- H/R means surrender if the casino you are playing at allows you to do so, if not then hit.
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