Advanced Advantage Play

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Cutting Edge Table Games Conference, November 9 – 11, 2015

It’s that time again.  The BNP Cutting Edge Table Games Conference will be taking place November 9 – 11, 2015 at Paris casino in Las Vegas.

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This year, I will be participating in two entirely separate parts of the conference:  Continue reading

Baccarat Card Counting: Update #1

Baccarat card counting is a hopeless endeavor. That doesn’t mean that I can’t develop better card counting systems or run more accurate simulations than I have in the past. This post improves upon earlier results I first presented in December, 2011 (see this post). Card counting gives a linear approximation to the actual edge at any point in the shoe, based on the true count. As such, no card counting system can do better than computer-perfect play. As I showed in this post, the win rates for computer-perfect play in baccarat are:

  • 0.00076 units per 100 hands against the Banker bet.
  • 0.00095 units per 100 hands against the Player bet.
  • 0.00171 units per 100 hands combined Banker/Player bets.
  • If the player makes a $1000 wager whenever he has the edge and otherwise does not make a wager, then the player will win, on average, about $1.71 per 100 hands.

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Request: Your Feedback on Table Games Profitability

At this year’s Cutting Edge Table Games Conference, I am scheduled to deliver a one-hour talk on Tuesday, November 10, titled: “The Table Games Profitability Talk.” In it, I am going to do a mind dump covering the most common ways that table games operations could be improved from a profitability perspective. In the blurb for the talk I list a few possibilities, including: Continue reading

Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker Hole-Card Play: Two Dealer Cards

I know it must seem like I am drunk, given the way I keep analyzing over-the-top AP opportunities. How could it be possible to see both of the dealer’s hole-cards in Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker (THB) at the start of the hand? I was recently contacted by a surveillance professional at a casino where this exact scenario took place! He told me that THB was hand dealt at his casino. Nothing wrong with that, just don’t deal any cards until they are absolutely needed! He was writing a report on an incident and wanted to know the edge the APs got. By a weird coincidence, I recently considered this same hole-card scenario for Ultimate Texas Hold’em (UTH) (see this post). In this modern era, even the most unexpected things happen. Continue reading

Heads-Up Hold’em Hole-Card Play: One Dealer Card and One Flop Card

Heads-Up Hold’em (HUH) is just Ultimate Texas Hold’em (UTH) with a 3x pre-Flop raise and a bad-beat payout on the mandatory “Odds” = “Blind” wager. Its analysis in every case follows the same logical structure. As a consequence, it only takes me about 15 minutes to convert one of my old UTH programs to an HUH program to analyze the same vulnerability. The programming is easy. The hard part is that, just like UTH, it takes about 4-8 days (depending on the situation) to run a cycle. Because HUH is not yet widely available, I am going to call it quits after this analysis. Of course, if you want to know a result, just ask and I’ll run that as well.

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Mississippi Stud: What’s Going On With Those Ante Bets?

I just received an email from an AP in which he told me about a play he has against Mississippi Stud (MS) that is almost beyond belief. He told me that the dealer does not collect his Ante bet if he folds pre-Flop. The dealer does collect the Ante if the AP makes a Flop wager, so from the Flop on, it’s just MS played the normal way. But, there’s more. This AP also told me that he can see the Flop hole-card! That is, not only is he allowed to fold pre-Flop without losing his Ante, he also knows the first card that’s going to be exposed! Could it get any better?

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Join the Strip Club!

If you’re expecting naked people, pictures of Las Vegas, or paint being removed from a house, this post isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a good time, read on!

Recently, there has been a spate of Ace sequencing going on, coast-to-coast. These trackers are looking for six-deck games with a hand shuffle that does not include a “strip.” And they are doing quite well! The following video (one take with no script … and it shows!) describes Ace sequencing, how it is done, and how to create a safe shuffle. Just as a “Turn” is the kill move for edge sorting, the “strip” is the kill move for sequencing. So, join the strip club!

Production issues: dogs barking (Rosey and Daisy) and TCEC noise in the background, not sitting in the center of the frame, ending too quickly, awkward hesitations, crappy riffling. Outright errors in what I say (you get to find those!).

Good stuff: nice haircut.

Heads-Up Hold’em Hole-Card Play: One Dealer Card

Heads-Up Hold’em (HUH) is a novelty game with rules very similar to Ultimate Texas Hold’em (UTH) (see this post and this post). There are three differences: (1) HUH only allows a 3x pre-Flop raise; (2) the Blind bet is called the “Odds” bet; and (3) the Odds bet also pays when the player’s hand is a straight or higher and loses. Because of their similarity, they have the same physical vulnerabilities to hole-card play. However, because HUH only allows a 3x pre-Flop raise, those situations when the player sits very strong against the dealer cannot be leveraged as much pre-Flop. For this reason, I expected going into this analysis that the edge for seeing one dealer hole-card in HUH would be slightly less than that for UTH.

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TCEC Chess Engine Competition Happening Now

I was a very active chess player in my younger years, maxing out with a USCF rating of 2138 sometime around 1994. That’s 20 years ago. Though I stopped playing in tournaments for good in 1997, my interest in the game hasn’t ever gone away. If you have any interest in chess, the very best chess played in the history of planet earth is now taking place here: Top Chess Engine Championship

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First-Carding the Dragon Bonus Baccarat Side Bet

The Dragon Bonus (DB) baccarat side bet is by far the most popular baccarat side bet in the domestic market. Internationally, I have not seen it that much in my travels, but maybe I just haven’t been to the right places. I considered card counting DB in this post, where I concluded that counting was useless. Recently a reader posted a comment asking about the edge he could get against DB if he knew one of the cards in the Player hand before deciding whether to make the DB wager.  “Phil” wrote:

I understand that counting the dragon bonus is useless and I completely agree, however, what if I have the knowledge of a hole-card for Player or Banker, will it give me an advantage worth exploiting?

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