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# splitting 10's at a blackjack table (1 Viewer)

#### JohnS

Senior HTF Member
The deck doesn't know that it's on a streak
Yeah, but you know when it's on a streak.
That's how that one guy got \$200,000 off of \$500.
You can tell when the deck(s) is on streaks.
Look for patterns or lumps of cards.
for me, it's REALLY easy to tell when certain cards are coming out...even on a six deck shoe.
I've done it many times for myself and other players(I've made players few hundred dollars, and of course money for myself, when they bet it for me)

#### Denward

##### Supporting Actor
Howard,
What you're talking about is the "law of large numbers" which basically says that if you do something enough times, the true probabilities will manifest themselves. However, with a "memoryless" process such as flipping a coin, the expected outcome of future trials is independent of past results. If you flip 10 tails in a row, how many tails do you expect in the next 40 flips (50 flips total)? If you say 15 tails or less, then I would be willing to bet that it will be 16 or more. I will win this bet an overwhelming majority of the time. Heck, even if you said 19 or less and I said 20 or more, eventually I would take all your money.

In your example, you lost a total of \$9 on 9 consecutive flips. If you bet \$20 on the 10th flip, you have a 50/50 probability of ending up \$11 ahead or \$29 down. If you bet \$1 on the 10th flip, you have a 50/50 probability of being \$8 down or \$10 down. What you're doing with your \$20 bet is increasing the range of possible outcomes. This gives you a positive probability of coming out ahead, which is a very good thing. However, this good thing is not free because your downside risk is much worse. If you make this play often enough, the law of large numbers says that it doesn't make any difference what you bet on the 10th flip. You will end up with the same amount of money (i.e. \$9 down). However, if you were only playing this game once, the \$20 bet may be the right play if the satisfaction you get from being \$11 up is greater than your disappointment from being \$29 down.

JohnS,
Blackjack is a little different in that the used cards affect the probabilities in future deals. However the idea of a "hot" deck or a "lucky" dealer is superstition.

The laws of probability don't say that streaks can't happen. However for every guy who goes from \$500 to \$200,000 (increase of 400 times), you have thousands and thousands of guys who go from \$500 to zero. The casino makes its living based on that fact.

Here's a little betting system for Blackjack (or many other games) I once read about in a book. It's based on a betting cycle. On the first hand of a cycle, bet 1 unit (e.g. minimum bet). Every time you lose, double your previous bet. If you win, that ends your cycle and you start a new one by betting 1 unit on the next hand. If you stick to this, you win 1 unit on every cycle. The problem with this is that if you get on a losing streak of modest length, doubling your bet gets very expensive.

#### MikeF

##### Stunt Coordinator
You guys who think the cards come in "streaks" ought to take Statistics 101 or something.
I think you're referring to the rule of independent variables, which I'm well aware of. That might not be the correct name but it says that for example if you flip a coin and it comes up heads 9 times in a row, the odds of heads coming up on the next flip is still 50/50. That is true for sure but if i had been betting a dollar on the first 9 flips, I'd be willing to bet \$20 on tails the very next flip a lot more than I would be willing to bet \$20 on tails the second or third flip. Things tend to even out over the long or medium run. They have to. That's what the odds dictate. The only reason that strategy isn't feasible is because of the table limits and your bank roll, but the method does work.
This is classic. I assure you, on that 10th flip, the odds of the coin coming up tails are precisely the same as they were on the 1st flip (50%). Even if there are 99999 preceeding flips, all of which have come up heads, the odds on flip 100000 of getting tails are still just 50/50 (in fact, probably less in that case, since 99999 heads in a row likely stems from a double-headed coin )
And yes, things do even out over the long run -- the very long run.

#### Joel Mack

Senior HTF Member
Here's a little betting system for Blackjack (or many other games) I once read about in a book. It's based on a betting cycle. On the first hand of a cycle, bet 1 unit (e.g. minimum bet). Every time you lose, double your previous bet. If you win, that ends your cycle and you start a new one by betting 1 unit on the next hand. If you stick to this, you win 1 unit on every cycle. The problem with this is that if you get on a losing streak of modest length, doubling your bet gets very expensive.
Ah yes, the Martingale. Lots of people in soup lines because of that system...
A progression I play is a win-two-and-up. Start at 1 unit, and if you win twice in a row, bump it up 1 unit. If you win twice more in a row, bump it up again. Repeat until you lose, then start over at 1 unit. This one takes advantage of a hot streak, while minimizing losses on a cold one...

#### Paul Jenkins

##### Supporting Actor
You guys who think the cards come in "streaks" ought to take Statistics 101 or something.
Card most definitely come in "streaks" because cards are not purely random in the shuffle. Shuffling is an inexact mechanism to attempt to achieve randomness in the cards. If the cards were properly shuffled by a random generator, then you are correct, there would not be 'streaks' to cards. However, they are not shuffled perfectly and as a result, they have tendencies.
Now, can someone figure out these tendencies? That is another debate. But I certainly wouldn't say it couldn't be done, given that the cards are, indeed, not random...

#### MikeF

##### Stunt Coordinator
Card most definitely come in "streaks" because cards are not purely random in the shuffle. Shuffling is an inexact mechanism to attempt to achieve randomness in the cards. If the cards were properly shuffled by a random generator, then you are correct, there would not be 'streaks' to cards. However, they are not shuffled perfectly and as a result, they have tendencies.

Now, can someone figure out these tendencies? That is another debate. But I certainly wouldn't say it couldn't be done, given that the cards are, indeed, not random...
Yes, fully agreed. A shuffle is not a true randomizer. That said, whatever patterns it may result in are likely so subtle and so difficult to predict (as opposed to capable of observation after the fact) that they're virtually useless to even consider.

#### Glen_L

##### Stunt Coordinator
Here's a little betting system for Blackjack (or many other games) I once read about in a book. It's based on a betting cycle. On the first hand of a cycle, bet 1 unit (e.g. minimum bet). Every time you lose, double your previous bet. If you win, that ends your cycle and you start a new one by betting 1 unit on the next hand. If you stick to this, you win 1 unit on every cycle. The problem with this is that if you get on a losing streak of modest length, doubling your bet gets very expensive.
Of course, the table limit is what shuts this betting strategy down in the long run. Say the minimum bet is \$5 and the maximum bet is \$500. After the 6th consecutive hand lost, you'd have to pony up \$320 for the 7th. If you were to lose it, you'd be out \$635 total. Ouch. Furthermore, you might be tempted to change your basic strategy with that much money on the table. Are you really going to double down on \$320 if dealt an 11 (assuming you brought enough \$\$)? What if you split 8's and then get another? You have to take contingencies like that into account, and bring a large stake and have some serious huevos to be willing to risk it.

That said, the strategy is very likely to win over the short term. I'm not sure I'm willing to try it though, as I once had a run where I lost or pushed about 10 hands in a row. Fortunately, I was just betting \$5-\$10 a hand.

#### Paul Jenkins

##### Supporting Actor
Yes, fully agreed. A shuffle is not a true randomizer. That said, whatever patterns it may result in are likely so subtle and so difficult to predict (as opposed to capable of observation after the fact) that they're virtually useless to even consider
MikeF, as I said, the detection and betting based on this pattern is debatable, but at least we agree (i hope) that pure statistics can not be used in blackjack (or any card game for that matter, actually)

#### KyleS

##### Screenwriter
A progression I play is a win-two-and-up. Start at 1 unit, and if you win twice in a row, bump it up 1 unit. If you win twice more in a row, bump it up again. Repeat until you lose, then start over at 1 unit. This one takes advantage of a hot streak, while minimizing losses on a cold one
Joel,
This is a betting strategy that I swear by when I play. That way every time you win 2 hands you have made your bet back and that same amount in winnings. Of course then you have to double so that double hand if you dont win you are basically back to square 1.
I only have a few superstitious things when I play blackjack but there is some logic to them.
1) I always make a round of the tables to see who is winning and who is losing.
2) If I sit down at a table I always ask how things have been going. If the table says good, great, etc I say well lets keep up the good luck, vibes etc. If they say not so good then I tell them I am going to try and change their luck Of course if it doesnt work then I look like the Jackass but oh well.
3) If I have been losing consistently at a table I will always get up and walk away.
4) If I have a larger bet out or am on a longer streak I always tip the dealer & have him/her play with me. Keeps them in the game and me.
KyleS

#### KyleS

##### Screenwriter
Now who has pet peeves when playing Blackjack?
Most of mine come from the house but I do have some from other players.
House
1) I hate when dealers are not into the game. When they are cold, deal fast to get the game going and dont interact it drives me nuts. Usually I wont stay at a table very long with a dealer like this.
2) Really pisses me off when the table is kicking the houses ass and the pit boss comes up and switches out the decks at the end of a shoe. I have had this happen on multiple occasions both at large and smaller casinos in Vegas. Every time I actually it has happened I have let the pit boss know how much of an asshole he/she was for not letting the patrons have a little fun and win once in awhile. Then I convince everyone else at the table to leave. I of course leave the casino which might be their intention but it really REALLY pisses me off to no end.
Players
1) Probably that they make stupid plays (not just slightly but really bad) and they keep doing it over and over. I know that is doesnt change my odds but its more of a frustrating thing. Its like what do you like throwing your money away. Guess that I am not only in it to have fun but to make money right?
2) When people smoke at the tables and dont have the common curtousy to blow their smoke up but all over the table. That has to get old for the dealers. Or worse yet when they are losing and they actually blow the smoke right in the dealer or other players faces.
KyleS

#### Ryan Peter

##### Screenwriter
Well looky looky the guest of honor finally arrived.
You sound like a cool dealer!
My pet peeve is playing a table and ordering a drink and getting blown away and then not being able to get my drink.
Hey JohnS, is there some sort of hierarchical rank of dealers for the various games? Like you start out on the roulette table then they move you to Pai Gow, then to Craps, and finally to Blackjack? Or how does that work?
What about Casinos, any preference to work at one or another, or are they all pretty much similar?
Is the Orleans on the strip? I never saw it when I was in Vegas, but will stop in next time I'm there.
I saw on the travel channel that Hard Rock hotel has an outdoor pool Blackjack table, how does that work with the eye in the sky??

##### Second Unit
I will now burst the bubble of some of the people who have posted ways to win without card counting:

No matter what betting scheme or "watching for clumps" method you use, you will not win.

Martingale betting systems do not work. Progressive betting systems do not work. If you don't know what the next cards will be, (or have an idea what the next cards will be (card counting)), then a little less than half the time you will be betting into a winning situation, and a little more than half the time you will be betting into a losing situation. Betting systems do not work. They can be fun and amusing, but they do not work.

"Watching for clumps" is like pretending you are counting cards. You could be halfway through the shoe and see a bunch of small cards so you then increase your bet the next hand, but without real card counting you may not remember that a ton of 10s and aces came out in the very first hand and the small cards that came out this hand won't make up for the 10s and aces already out. Again, it can be fun and amusing, but no one is going to win this way unless maybe if you're playing single or double-deck. It's guessing. You can't guess in a 4 or 6 or 8 deck shoe and expect to win over the long haul. Guessing will not beat a casino.

Tons of people play blackjack or slots for short periods of time and win. But it's just short-term luck. The longer you play, the greater the chance the true odds of the game will come into play and you will lose. And that is why there are great towers and pyramids in Las Vegas -- because every day tons of people go there thinking they can win by playing a lazy system, and those tons of people go home broke.

Just telling it the way it is so people don't lose a big wad of cash unexpectedly while fooling themselves. The only way to win at blackjack other than cheating or stealing is by REAL card counting. Even straight card counting can't cut it half the time anymore. You need to use team play and shuffle tracking and everything else. REAL "watching the clumps" is shuffle-tracking, and you must map out the shuffle and know where every half-deck will go etc to do it.

Anything else -- betting systems, watching for clumps, playing streaks that you don't know when they will begin or when they will end so the whole thing is pointless anyway -- they are all wastes of time if a person wants to actually win at the game. Those things might be fun, but they are all just fun ways to lose.

##### Second Unit
With a pair of 7's in hand, you're supposed to split if the dealer shows 2-7, and stay if the dealer shows 8-9 or an A. When the dealer shows a 10/face card, things get weird. In a single deck game, you're supposed to stand, multiples you hit. On any other 14 with a dealer showing a 10/face you hit. Why should you stand on a pair of 7's with the dealer showing a 10?
With 7's against an 8 or higher, you hit. You don't stand on 7's against an 8 or 9, and certainly not an ace. A pair of 7's or not, it's still just a lousy 14 that will most likely lose if you don't hit it.

7's against a 10 in single-deck, the reason you stay should be because two 7's are already out of the deck, so your chance of getting one for 21 are slimmer. That play is right on the borderline of either/or. I think the correct play is to hit, actually. It's really borderline.

You only need to learn one basic strategy. The differences are incredibly minor. If you play more single-deck, then learn that one. Most people will be playing shoes, so just learn multi-deck basic strategy and use that for everything. The differences between them are simply not a big deal in the slightest.

#### Glen_L

##### Stunt Coordinator
7's against a 10 in single-deck, the reason you stay should be because two 7's are already out of the deck, so your chance of getting one for 21 are slimmer. That play is right on the borderline of either/or. I think the correct play is to hit, actually. It's really borderline.
That makes sense about the lower chance of getting a 21, but it still makes me wonder why you wouldn't stand against an ace in that case. It's obviously got something to do with it being a single deck as the correct play is to hit on a pair of 7's (vs 8 and up showing) in a multi deck shoe.
The basic strategy I'm getting is from http://www.blackjackinfo.com/bjbse.htm BTW, so you can see that I'm not making this up.

#### Denward

##### Supporting Actor
My math degree and I disagree with this. Streaks can happen in a perfect random shuffle. That is the nature of randomness. Anything can happen although some things happen much less frequently than others. Proper shuffling, as all professional dealers are taught to do, achieves sufficient randomness such that assuming anything else is folly.

In shuffling, the only difference perhaps is that any pair of cards that are adjacent prior to the shuffle probably have some higher probability of being near each other after the shuffle. However, that kind of information is not very useful.

##### Second Unit
You *can* stay on 7's against a 10, (real borderline play even for single-deck, as I said), but against an ace you hit because it is an ace and the dealer has a very high chance of at least getting a 17. So if you don't hit, you are pretty much guaranteed to lose.

I wanted to make a note for learning basic strategy. If someone just wants to play "pretty even" with the casino, the majority of the benefit of basic strategy is from hitting and standing, and knowing when to double-down. Pair-splitting then helps, but those first two are where the main gains from basic strategy come from. For a casual player, learning something like when to double on soft hands is helpful, but the gains are so small that it basically won't matter.

If everyone would just hit those 12s-16s against the dealer's 7 through ace and double-down on 10s vs. 9 or less and ace versus 10 or less, the casinos would have a lot less money.

Denward, you're right that cards together before a shuffle have a greater chance of being together after the shuffle, but that information *can* be extremely useful. Shuffle-tracking can be incredibly more powerful than just straight card-counting. That's what made me get serious with blackjack at the time. I didn't like the small advantage straight card-counting would give, and I wasn't comfortable in what you have to do to get a big enough bet-ratio down when counting normally. But shuffle-tracking helps open all of that up.

Unfortunately, now casinos often have auto-shufflers. They also go to great lengths to make up crazy shuffles to thwart trackers. Next time anyone goes to play, watch the crazy stuff the dealer does when shuffling. He'll grab a small stack from this pile, a small stack from that pile, then he'll mix a handful of miscellaneous cards in from another pile, etc. All of that is because they are afraid of shuffle-trackers.

Most casinos go to such great lengths that the time wasted on crazy shuffles doesn't even begin to make up for the money they are losing by not having those cards back in play on the table via a simpler and faster shuffle. The majority of people will never win, but the casino is reducing that number of losing bets per hour because they are afraid to let good players win even a dime.

#### StephenK

##### Stunt Coordinator
Interesting thread.....Love the way it segued into probability and Statistics. I have a "mind game" in this theme and the answer may surprise you.

You're on "Lets Make a Deal" You can choose between 3 curtains, only one of which has a prize, the other 2 have crap. You pick a curtain, say curtain number 1. Monty Hall then opens one of the other curtains, say curtain number 2 to show that it had crap. He asks you if you want to stay with your current choice, or change to curtain 3. What do you do? Does it matter and why?

#### Hakan Powers

##### Stunt Coordinator
I switch curtain.

On my first try I had 1/3 chance of hitting the right one, but on the second try I know know that the one I have selected is 1/3 chance of beeing right and the other one is 2/3 - hence a higher probability.

#### Paul Jenkins

##### Supporting Actor
You're on "Lets Make a Deal" You can choose between 3 curtains, only one of which has a prize, the other 2 have crap. You pick a curtain, say curtain number 1. Monty Hall then opens one of the other curtains, say curtain number 2 to show that it had crap. He asks you if you want to stay with your current choice, or change to curtain 3. What do you do? Does it matter and why?
when you make your initial choice, you have a 33% chance of winning. when one choice is removed, and you can now choose again, you have a 50% chance of winning if you go with 3. So, you have increased your odds of winning by switching to #3 from 33% to 50%.
Switch..

#### StephenK

##### Stunt Coordinator
That's why I like this place...smart people.

Paul and Håkan .....you are correct sirs

Most people I ask think it doesn't matter. The key is that opening one of the curtains doesn't change the initial condition that the choice was made under, (1 of 3). Merely showing one of the curtains does not automatically "upgrade" your chances to 1 in 2, only switching does.

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