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Thread: Unseen cards (blackjack)

  1. #1
    Ok, folks I only have a minute, but I wanted to bring this to your attention. Remember the discussion which stemmed from the tracking two tables discussion(s) involving unseen cards? Alan and Singer and maybe some of the other anti-AP guys that have no clue what they are talking about (but it doesn't stop them from talking) repeatedly argued my position on unseen cards (missing seeing a couple cards)? I argued a few missing cards has no real relevance, just serves to add to the unseen cards beyond the shuffle point. They argued....well....whatever complete nonsense they argued. lol

    So I have been advised that Richard Munchkin addressed this issue on a recent Gambling with an Edge episode. I haven't had time to have a listen. I am assuming 2 weeks ago with last week being thanksgiving. Anyway, Munchkin, confirmed that unseen or "missed" cards just act the same the other unseen cards behind the cut card, in a sense decreasing penetration. AND Munchkin reached out to Don Schlesinger to confirm this. That is 2 of the top blackjack players and authorities alive today agreeing with my position. I wish Munchin would have reached out even further and contacted the likes of Tommy Hyland and/or a couple of members of Hylands teams that are active on the BJ message boards, as well as someone like Shackleford, who is knowledgeable of the math, but he didn't. That would have provided an even larger consensus. Of course NOTHING will satisfy the anti-AP 'haters".

  2. #2
    KJ. It seems the blackjack forum as a community employs a top down approach. Meaning everything starts at 6 decks and works backwards to one. I use a bottoms up approach of starting with one deck up to two. My brain goes on tilt about midway through that 3rd deck. Therefore, it's what you see is what you don't get, so what to do about it.

    For me, having 132 cards unaccounted for in an 75% pen game would be like not brushing my teeth before I go on a walk. Or playing in a casino in my underwear.

    IF you can make money doing what you do, then great, MORE power to you. But understand it goes against logic, mainstream thinking, and conventional wisdom.

    Maybe if the forums moderators Schlesenberger and the lollipop kid would change the name of shoe games to crapjack or crackpot it would eliminate confusion.
    Last edited by Moses; 11-27-2018 at 09:33 AM.

  3. #3
    So does that make the count more reliable, less reliable, or is it neutral when you miss cards?

  4. #4
    Originally Posted by Alan Mendelson View Post
    So does that make the count more reliable, less reliable, or is it neutral when you miss cards?
    Probably slightly less reliable. But ALL counts have that factor. In a 6 deck game, there are anywhere from 50ish (one deck) to 10oish (two decks) cards cut off. Average for a 6 deck game being deck and a half. I will play nothing worse than a deck and a half and seek out and play mostly better.


    oh crap...out of time, I will try to answer later if you really interested.

  5. #5
    Alan--the theory is that since you will never see 150 of the cards because of poor penetration, the cards you may have missed early in the shoe are no different than the last 150 and can be treated in a similar manner as those 150 cards. So if you walk up mid-shoe and have not seen the cards to that point, you can still start a fresh count at that point. The fact that the deck may have been +10 or -6 or whatever does not matter.

    I am not saying that this is right or wrong or whether I agree or not, but that is the theory as I have always been led to believe. I don't play BJ at all anymore but I personally would not be comfortable. I want to see every card up until the shuffle. But I do understand the theory.

  6. #6
    I understand the theory too. But kewlj wrote "probably slightly less reliable" and that's the end for me. I won't even bother to ask what "slightly less reliable" translates to in percentages.

  7. #7
    Look the fewer unseen cards whether cards "missed" or behind the cut card the less desirable. No one ever said it wasn't. But still very possible to identify an advantage. AND this is proven by math.

    The point that I was trying to make is that in today's world there is always unseen cards. It isn't the 1970's when a single deck was dealt to the last cards. Every shoe game, including the best games that I seek out have unseen cards, like I said anywhere from 52 upwards of 100. (I won't play anything worse than about 75). Regnis example of 150 cards cut or behind the cut card is super extreme. That is 3 decks out of 6. No card counter would play that game.

  8. #8
    Originally Posted by regnis View Post
    Alan--the theory is that since you will never see 150 of the cards because of poor penetration, the cards you may have missed early in the shoe are no different than the last 150 and can be treated in a similar manner as those 150 cards. So if you walk up mid-shoe and have not seen the cards to that point, you can still start a fresh count at that point. The fact that the deck may have been +10 or -6 or whatever does not matter.

    I am not saying that this is right or wrong or whether I agree or not, but that is the theory as I have always been led to believe. I don't play BJ at all anymore but I personally would not be comfortable. I want to see every card up until the shuffle. But I do understand the theory.
    Forgive my ignorance. But isn't that like turning in a game at halftime with the score 21-10 and assuming the final will be 42-20?

  9. #9
    Wise up Alan. The only reason that tewl started this thread was to draw you into the discussion, and you tripped over yourself to get into when you saw a potential “gotcha” moment opportunity.

  10. #10
    Even when I played as a young man with just a couple of decks, the only times I really had SOME control was whenever either the high or low count was highly lopsided. The rest was just common sense. I did think it strange that whenever a dealer was required to hit, how often he made some of those hits to win without going bust.

  11. #11
    This whole "Can you count cards at 2 tables simultaneously" discussion is so boring. I thought we were done with that. I've moved those posts here: https://vegascasinotalk.com/forum/sh...ll=1#post78417

    Anyway, getting back to the original post, it's a good question: If you show up 1 deck in to a 6-deck shoe, and then count 2 more decks (leaving 3 left to deal), do you have a valid count by simply pretending that you're only 2 decks in rather than 3?

    There are two ways to argue this one:

    You can say that, yes, this would be equivalent to having counted 2 out of 6 decks, and pretending the unseen first deck is at the end, and simply wont be dealt. Why? Because you could theoretically move that deck to the end instead of the beginning, and the other 5 decks would play out the same. The makeup of an unseen deck -- whether already dealt or yet to be dealt -- is unknown to you in the exact same way, and there is no difference in its potential makeup.

    However, you can also say that perhaps you've robbed yourself of valuable information which can greatly skew your perceived edge during the decks you do count. For example, let's say the running hi-low count was -16 after that first deck. By showing up late and starting the count at zero, if the running count in deck #2 was +14, you would be pretty sure you have an edge going forward, when in reality you'd actually be more -EV than the average spot in blackjack! And this could really screw you if running count remains steady for 1.5 more decks, which would lead you to place large bets which wouldn't otherwise be justified at all. So you could easily have missed an importat past event which would have great impact on the future events in that shoe, and you wouldn't know it.

    But I'm with the first school of thought.

    An unseen deck is an unseen deck. Since we will not be playing to the end of the shoe, it doesn't matter if we miss the deck at the beginning or the end -- we're still missing it. The count attempts to simply adjust to what we do know we've seen versus what we haven't seen, and then we draw conclusions regarding our EV and strategy from the combination of those two factors.

    Here's an easier way to look at it:

    Take a 6-deck shoe where they deal 4.5 decks, and has good rules. You would probably play this game a a card counter. Normally, this game would be dealing the first 4.5 decks, and then reshuffling to where we never get to see the final 1.5 decks.

    Now take this exact same situation, except the casino announces that they will cut off the first 52 cards of the shoe, and then deal 4.5 decks, until they get to the final 26. Otherwise, it's the identical game.

    Would you still play it?

    Of course you would. Either way, they're dealing 4.5 decks.

    The only issue with missing the first deck of a shoe is that the penetration is likely not to be good enough to justify counting/playing at that point.
    Check out my poker forum, and weekly internet radio show at http://pokerfraudalert.com

  12. #12
    Originally Posted by kewlJ View Post
    It isn't the 1970's when a single deck was dealt to the last cards.
    On the flip side, in the 70's, players would be taken out back and beaten to near death if they consistently made money betting high as these last cards came out.

  13. #13
    Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    This whole "Can you count cards at 2 tables simultaneously" discussion is so boring. I thought we were done with that. I've moved those posts here: https://vegascasinotalk.com/forum/sh...ll=1#post78417

    Anyway, getting back to the original post, it's a good question: If you show up 1 deck in to a 6-deck shoe, and then count 2 more decks (leaving 3 left to deal), do you have a valid count by simply pretending that you're only 2 decks in rather than 3?

    There are two ways to argue this one:

    You can say that, yes, this would be equivalent to having counted 2 out of 6 decks, and pretending the unseen first deck is at the end, and simply wont be dealt. Why? Because you could theoretically move that deck to the end instead of the beginning, and the other 5 decks would play out the same. The makeup of an unseen deck -- whether already dealt or yet to be dealt -- is unknown to you in the exact same way, and there is no difference in its potential makeup.

    However, you can also say that perhaps you've robbed yourself of valuable information which can greatly skew your perceived edge during the decks you do count. For example, let's say the running hi-low count was -16 after that first deck. By showing up late and starting the count at zero, if the running count in deck #2 was +14, you would be pretty sure you have an edge going forward, when in reality you'd actually be more -EV than the average spot in blackjack! And this could really screw you if running count remains steady for 1.5 more decks, which would lead you to place large bets which wouldn't otherwise be justified at all. So you could easily have missed an importat past event which would have great impact on the future events in that shoe, and you wouldn't know it.

    But I'm with the first school of thought.

    An unseen deck is an unseen deck. Since we will not be playing to the end of the shoe, it doesn't matter if we miss the deck at the beginning or the end -- we're still missing it. The count attempts to simply adjust to what we do know we've seen versus what we haven't seen, and then we draw conclusions regarding our EV and strategy from the combination of those two factors.

    Here's an easier way to look at it:

    Take a 6-deck shoe where they deal 4.5 decks, and has good rules. You would probably play this game a a card counter. Normally, this game would be dealing the first 4.5 decks, and then reshuffling to where we never get to see the final 1.5 decks.

    Now take this exact same situation, except the casino announces that they will cut off the first 52 cards of the shoe, and then deal 4.5 decks, until they get to the final 26. Otherwise, it's the identical game.

    Would you still play it?

    Of course you would. Either way, they're dealing 4.5 decks.

    The only issue with missing the first deck of a shoe is that the penetration is likely not to be good enough to justify counting/playing at that point.
    Dan, I found the term "robbed yourself of information" interesting. But I wouldn't phrase it like that. There are varying degrees of information available. Obviously the more you have and can get the better. I NEVER said otherwise, despite that there are those that will and have twisted my words. So while this particular technique, tracking a second table, whether doing so by tracking the next table as I sometimes do or pure back counting, results in likely having a bit less information, there is also a major upside. Neither I, tracking my second table, nor backcounters continue to track any table if the count doesn't go positive fairly quickly. I mean no one walks by a table see a bunch of high cards (negative count) and STARTS or even continues tracking. You start tracking when the opportunity (small cards resulting in favorable count and advantage) has already presented itself. This results in seeing and playing far more favorable counts (max bet situation is the goal), than a play all approach. And that is where the money is made...Max bet situations. Pure backcounters ONLY play max bet situations, but that can quickly become very obvious. My method is sort of a compromise to get more max bet opportunities.

  14. #14
    Originally Posted by tableplay View Post
    Originally Posted by kewlJ View Post
    It isn't the 1970's when a single deck was dealt to the last cards.
    On the flip side, in the 70's, players would be taken out back and beaten to near death if they consistently made money betting high as these last cards came out.
    That might be a little dramatic. But I did get in one helluva fight in the 80s with a couple of goons that followed me to my car in Wendover. Got back to the room all bloody. Scared the crap out of my wife and kids.

  15. #15
    Hey Moses, you ever considered writing and selling short stories. Could be better than BJ with your imagination. You have a story for everything and anything brought up anywhere on this forum, regardless what the topic is.
    Last edited by blackhole; 11-28-2018 at 06:18 AM.

  16. #16
    Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    This whole "Can you count cards at 2 tables simultaneously" discussion is so boring. I thought we were done with that. I've moved those posts here: https://vegascasinotalk.com/forum/sh...ll=1#post78417

    Anyway, getting back to the original post, it's a good question: If you show up 1 deck in to a 6-deck shoe, and then count 2 more decks (leaving 3 left to deal), do you have a valid count by simply pretending that you're only 2 decks in rather than 3?

    Dan, the tracking a second table and missing card topics are related because it was during the (many) discussions of tracking a second table that Alan first raised the possibility of missing cards. And to his credit that is a fair question to raise related to tracking a second table. I tried to explain it best I could but unfortunately, I am not a "math guy" who could better do so. (I am sure that is why someone like yourself has an understanding of the topic).


    As I have stated many times, I am not a "math guy" "math geek". So I don't know all the formulas and equations that REALLY answer all the different questions. I rely on others that do have expertise in these different areas and just use their work. In this case it was Wong. I am sure he wasn't the first to figure out the math, but he gets credit for bringing it to light and creating his "wonging" in and out techniques to take advantage of the math involved with partial counts.

  17. #17
    Originally Posted by blackhole View Post
    Hey Moses, you ever considered writing and selling short stories. Could be better than BJ with your imagination. You have a story for everything and anything brought up anywhere on this forum, regardless what the topic is.
    Well, I've never been beaten half to death as the poster claimed happened regularly in the 70s. But I have been surrounded in a casino. And yes, I've been in fights. I know that's hard for virgin ears to want to hear. But it happens. People should know the good "and bad" don't you think? It's not all lollipops and parades.

    I guess we can go back to calling each other cock suckers in each and every post and thread. But it's getting a little mundane. No?
    Last edited by Moses; 11-28-2018 at 07:02 AM.

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