Card Counting the Shortie Blackjack Side Bet

Shortie (SBJ) is a blackjack side bet that is an extreme version of the “Under 13” bet (see this post). Quite simply, SBJ wins if the player’s first two cards total 9 or less (where Aces always count as 1). Note that if the player is dealt a Nine or a ten-valued card, then obviously his SBJ wager immediately loses. For this reason, it should come as little surprise that SBJ is highly countable. Continue reading

Mississippi Stud Collusion

Mississippi Stud (MS) certainly has its share of game protection issues. For the savvy advantage player, just about everything works. There is one more method to beat MS that I have yet to discuss in this blog: player collusion. It’s not a big play, but the fact that collusion is even possible comes as a surprise to many who operate the game. Indeed, some casinos deal MS face-up. Continue reading

Card Counting the 18 Bet Blackjack Side Bet

The winner of the “Best New Table Game” prize at this year’s Raving’s Cutting Edge Table Games Conference was Pick ‘Em Blackjack. This side bet consists of three wagers the player can make in addition to his ordinary blackjack wager. These wagers are:

  • The “17 Bet.” This wager wins if the dealer busts, is a push if the dealer gets a total of 17, otherwise the player loses. A winning wager is paid 3-to-2.
  • The “18 Bet.” This wager wins if the dealer busts or has a final total of 17, is a push if the dealer gets a total of 18, otherwise the player loses. A winning wager is paid 1-to-1.
  • The “19 Bet.” This wager wins if the dealer busts or has a final total of 17 or 18, is a push if the dealer gets a total of 19, otherwise the player loses. A winning wager is paid 1-to-2.

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Card Counting the 19 Bet Blackjack Side Bet

Last week I attended and presented at Raving’s Cutting Edge Table Games Conference at Paris Casino in Las Vegas. The turnout this year was strong and the number of vendors who showed off their games spiked up significantly. Along with SHFL and Galaxy Gaming, there were more than 20 other independent table game inventors showing their games. As part of the conference, there was a contest for “Best New Table Game.” In the past, this award has been won by outstanding games such as High Card Flush, War Blackjack, EZ Baccarat and others. Each of these winners has demonstrated market success. Continue reading

Is Edge Sorting Cheating? (Poll)

I am specifically addressing the form of edge sorting used by Phil Ivey. The following is the exact wording of one of three questions I was asked to address in my expert report:

Is edge sorting considered by the casino industry to be contrary to the rules of Baccarat and/or to be cheating or is it considered a legitimate gambling technique?

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An Introduction to Blackjack Side Bets

[For some reason that’s not quite clear to me, I have not yet written a general introduction to blackjack side bets. This post corrects my omission.]

Low-limit blackjack is a tough game for the casino. A blackjack table with two or three reasonably knowledgeable players each betting $5 to $10 per hand may be operating at a net loss for the casino. If the table has shallow cut card placement and a lengthy shuffle procedure then it is a sure loser. To save the day, enter blackjack side bets. A good blackjack side bet can make all the difference, turning net-losers into net-winners. Many players are enticed by the high payouts side bets offer. Others enjoy the thrill of a second chance at winning each hand. Others will play just because everyone else at the table is playing it. Continue reading

Guest Appearance on House of Cards Radio, 10/14/14

House of Cards Radio is an interview program hosted by poker and gambling expert Ashley Adams. In the podcast below, I discuss the recent Phil Ivey -v- Crockfords lawsuit, along with several other topics in advantage play.

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Approved Final Judgment: Ivey vs. Crockfords

The final approved written judgment by Mr. Justice Mitting in the case Phillip Ivey vs. Genting Casinos UK Limited has been released.

For your convenience: Ivey_-v- Crockfords_Final_Judgment

A Few Historical References to Edge Sorting

As part of my duties as expert witness for Phil Ivey, I had to write an “expert report.” This report was centered around answering three questions, one of which was, “Is edge sorting well-known to the casino industry?” In order to answer this, I scoured books, magazines, websites, newsletters, message boards, training manuals, card manufacturer sites and every other source I could find that mentioned edge sorting or asymmetric cards, no matter how minor the mention. I also searched out evidence that implied indirectly that edge sorting, or more generally first-card knowledge, is commonly addressed in game protection. For example, smart shoes, the Harrigan brush and plastic face plates. I wanted to build an overwhelming body of evidence to establish that edge sorting is well-known. I believe I succeeded.

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Phil Ivey -v- Crockfords

To bring you up to date, I was Ivey’s expert witness in this case: that has been the primary cause of my reluctance to post over the last few months, and in particular my complete absence of posts over the last month. In case you live under a rock and haven’t heard the news, Ivey lost the case. Continue reading