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Thread: Pitch games v. Shoe games....your take?

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    Default Pitch games v. Shoe games....your take?

    Want to post this here rather than other sections. Maybe less political and personal? But reading what KJ has posted, Boz, etc. about simple counts v. more complicated counts, wanted to ask a true BJ question or your opinion and suggestions. (Without getting into attack mode v. Norm/T-Three or anyone else.....LOL)

    I have grown up and played in both eras.........what many might say were the golden days of rules and decks in the late 80's to 90's to the ever decreasing and virulent times of now. Yes, it was much easier then and heat wasn't as much. Shuffle tracking was easier.........even for a novice. You could read dealers' tells since they didn't have card readers to determine BJ. Single decks abounded in Vegas along with 4 deck shoes even. Comps for BJ were easy.......and I played mostly for those back then.

    Well times changed; rules changed; heat changed. Comps changed. Surveillance changed, etc. So we live in a different climate. BUT also, there are more opportunities..........just to play BJ across the nation. I remember from those days Vegas, Atlantic City and Tunica were basically the ONLY places to play. Now you can play in many, many states. So I truly appreciate input of KJ, Boz, Bjarg, CP/Ouchez etc. as to your experiences in this arena.

    My question is more along the line of Pitch games v. Shoe games. Both are available here in VERY limited areas. Shoes tend to be majority of games. I know the reference to Reno and single decks was made in the other threads. It always USED to be considered a different game..........and not as lucrative as Vegas because Vegas' single deck rules were better.........back whence. Now they have "essentially" disappeared. HE with single deck, even if limited to doubling 9-11 or increased double decks in the Reno/Tahoe area may have you taking a different view. The 6-5 payout on most single decks obviously negates playing them in Vegas. But even some Vegas houses have single deck tables with "Reno/Tahoe" rules.

    So inquiring of KJ; others as to what you consider the games you think playable and how do you vary your strategies or counts to contend with the differences. I know KJ from reading many of your posts, you hit and run; play at lower betting levels than your bankroll would reflect (or at least on software) to be optimum BUT at tolerance levels that will be permitted by the houses. But do you play mainly shoes? Some double deck? Or what is your theory? What is your percentage of time spent on each? I'm not asking for "detailed" disclosure of your methods, but generally what do you do or exploit as to either game?

    Boz mentions a more complicated count. With that are you sticking mainly to pitch games? Don't you find that the shoe count change doesn't happen enough to make it worth it as much when compared to the pitch games? Or does your betting unit matter more so that you are risking more in the shoes?

    I think that in the current climate, that DD and single decks are closer to one category v. Shoes. I remember that in the "golden" days, many authors said DD was closer to shoe category than single deck. But the rules were more liberal then and PE or a specific single deck strategy was easier to implement.

    I agree with KJ in the current climate here. If I play at what I consider a "lower" bet level, seems I'm able to play with some impunity with counting and spread. And scrutiny is less. I'm finding that out personally to be a better situation as I play many more times than I used to in the past and we have VERY limited tables relatively close to me to play. But if I was in Vegas like KJ, things WOULD be different.

    It's become an avocation for me, with the hopes of it turning into a true part time second income. Not there yet; not intended to be truly professional. But also would like to continue improving and learn more.

    So I was interested on your guys thoughts related to these two sets of games and how you attack them.

    And I apologize for being so "wordy" but not really sure how to explain what I wanted to ask without explaining the two environments; the two different "time periods" of BJ play, etc.

    So thanks in advance for any illuminating responses.

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    I'm not one of the guys you mentioned but I have some ideas based on what I've learned. Simple is better for shoe games. They definitely have less heat. You can play them more aggressively, wonging out easily and backcounting. KJ and others mention counting two tables and hopping. I have started employing this, and while it's hard, it would definitively be impossible with harder counts.

    I agree with you analysis of SD/DD vs shoe in terms of game type, but some may argue still that DD is the best option given proper conditions. Given everything I've read you'd be foolish to go with a simple count in SD or DD. This is where multi count counts are awesome to have and really increase betting and playing accuracy. I am inclined to see them as traps given their rules and heat without creative and non-optimal spread options, which decrease their EV. I'm sure Boz will have a lot more to say on this, as I believe it's hit biggest interest. I also see DD as more volatile than shoe games, maybe someone can tell me if I'm wrong there?

    So hopefully this'll get things started here: I prefer shoe games. I like the way it provides me extra cover and I feel that with the extra strategies I employ that I can reduce variance, improve my EV and slooooowly earn. Oh, one other thing is, I feel that I can manipulate the table more to my advantage in a shoe in terms of the people and spots played. If there's a spreader there I can still try to irritate him away or down to less hands, or else I just leave now. But that, or an almost full table are the only crappy things I have to look forward too. Otherwise I can hop in and out when I want and as long as the table isn't full I can spread out and back to one whenever I want. Grifter's gambit solves this problem too, but at a slight cost, as a response to the more strict rules in DD re: mid-shoe entry, spreading...

    Bottom line for me nowadays, I'm learning my second count and plan on learning at least one more, eventually planning on synthesizing my knowledge into a multi-count count like Boz. I will use simpler counts when called for, as I suggested, and the higher order one for SD and DD games. I understand that the environment has changed but it just keeps changing and so scouting is incredibly important for me. I try to find the BEST games, and I've been pretty shocked at some of the penetrations I've found recently. I haven't run the math on this stuff, but I inherently know that shitty rules can be usurped by insane pen. I'm trying to open up my eyes all the time to AP situations instead of fixating on the limited perspective of card counting, or a judgmental attitude, which shuts down thought about the true reality at hand. I've started looking at every game, not just BJ, and I've started looking at ones with crappy rules again too just to make sure there isn't something else there I can benefit from to a degree larger than the loss due to shitty rules. This is one of the only truly useful things I learned from Eliot Jacobson, who tells a story of how he went from casino to casino looking for an edge sorting game or something else he had figured out and couldn't find it, and finally gave up and went to a local fav to rest and sat at a big wheel table and suddenly found himself looking at a 100% payback game, due to the spinner's weak frame. I don't know if this story or the advantage here was bullshit, but I'll take an advantage larger than 1.5% any day, thank you very much.

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    My answer/opinion is going to be specific to Vegas, as that is where most of my play takes place and where I think I have done a pretty good job of figuring some things out.

    I "grew up" playing shoe games in Atlantic City as most know. So I am very comfortable playing mediocre games. So when I relocated to Vegas there where 2 really favorable things that I was going to be able to add to my attack that were both very positive and would increase EV dramatically.....or so I thought.

    One was spreading to multiple hands in a positive count. East Coast games are usually so crowded, you rarely have a chance to do this. Vegas's much less crowded conditions would allow for this. But I quickly learned this just isn't tolerated in Vegas very well. Spreading to 2 hands draws attention. At Double deck it draws super mega attention and at shoe games a little less, but is definitely noticed. Now I am not saying as soon as you spread to two hands, you get an immediate tap. I am saying it is noticed. And that is counter-productive to my game plan of drawing as little attention and playing within well tolerated comfort levels of the stores in my rotation. So almost immediately I removed this powerful advantage from my game in the name of longevity.

    The second big thing I was really looking forward to was playing double deck. Didn't have this in AC during my time there. (There was a 4 deck game briefly). Prior to moving to Vegas, the only DD I had played was during a half dozen Vegas trips and I was really looking forward to playing this. But just like spreading to 2 hands, I very quickly found out most of the double deck games are either "hawked very closely", or are flat out counter traps. When I say "hawked closely", I mean even a very small spread is noticed.

    AS much as I would love to play the better, stronger EV, double deck games, doing so was going to prevent any kind of longevity for me and that was my top priority. So like spreading to multiple hands, I minimize my DD play to only a few stores where it is better tolerated and limit it to independent type stores rather than chain casinos. I don't want a backoff/baring at one of these super sweaty games to effect multiple stores including some of my better 6 deck games. And it is funny, there are a few stores I play regularly that the DD is closely hawked. They sweat a small spread, but at the decent penetration 6 deck game two tables away, you can spread nicely with no heat.

    A big name fellow counter that lives here in sin city has a rule that he identifies the best game in each casino and avoid that game as that is the one most closely watched. I don't subscribe to that rule quite like he does, but it's a good starting point if you play these games regularly and are hoping to achieve any kind of longevity.

    Like I said, I grew up and am very comfortable with 6 deck games so, I don't mind playing them, plus the 6 deck games here are better than the 8 deck games started out playing and there are some 6 deck games that are really among the best games in town.

    Things I like about a 6 deck game is that when the count goes positive you can actually get many rounds in at a positive or even max bet count before the shuffle, unlike DD, where after just a few rounds it is shuffle up time. Since one of my rules for achieving longevity is to exit at the shuffle after showing my spread, 6 deck actually is a better fit.

    And finally, as already mentioned, one of the big things I try to do as often as possible is to track multiple tables and jump from one table and a negative/neutral count directly to a second table with a more positive count. You don't want to go through all that and make the jump for just a round or two. Much better to make that jump into a 6 deck game and have 10, 15, 20 rounds or even more. That makes the whole exercise really worth it.
    Last edited by KewlJ; July 21st, 2016 at 03:02 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MJOK View Post

    Boz mentions a more complicated count. With that are you sticking mainly to pitch games? Don't you find that the shoe count change doesn't happen enough to make it worth it as much when compared to the pitch games? Or does your betting unit matter more so that you are risking more in the shoes?

    I think that in the current climate, that DD and single decks are closer to one category v. Shoes. I remember that in the "golden" days, many authors said DD was closer to shoe category than single deck. But the rules were more liberal then and PE or a specific single deck strategy was easier to implement.
    I started out exclusively playing shoe games because there are only a couple low stakes pitch games in my state. When I started traveling to Vegas, I started playing DD. I'm now about 55/45 shoes to pitch. As far as which game is better, GENERALLY, DD is better. Some purported pros state this is almost always the case. But for a number of reasons, it's certainly not always the case for a specific individual in the real world.

    Contrary to what people usually might think, my count is easier to execute in a shoe game. Not seeing all the cards as they are dealt is a handicap. And the more the count can fluctuate, the harder it is to anticipate what's going to happen. You have to think faster in DD; I have had a problem or two playing with one other person against a fast dealer. It is easy to adapt when playing solo against a fast dealer in a shoe. The edge gleaned from the count itself is slightly enhanced in deeply dealt DD games, but it's not something I've ever bothered thinking about because my spread is usually slightly smaller. I actually play DD quite aggressively, and would probably piss off more discrete counters at the table. I've seen other counters at DD tables going 1-8. They tend to bet more than me at +1 and significantly less than me at +3 and higher. I use the same count for everything.

    As far as advantage and the way it is played (excluding spread), DD is more like multi-deck than it is like SD. Probably to my detriment, I spread almost like it is multi-deck for that reason. As it stands, I've been backed off of more shoes than DD. The ridiculous fluctuation in bets in DD causes me to leave the casino after a win after a very short time frame. I stay a little bit longer if I'm losing because it provides cover, but if the fluctuations continue, I'll leave at signs of heat. In shoes, fluctuations are much less wild; this probably explains why, even with a somewhat intolerable spread, I don't get backed off DD too often. Additionally, I don't live in Vegas and I do not play hi-limit. I show up every couple months and play with the regular tourists. I could not do this daily. By nature, I prefer a deep shoe game with surrender and that was what I was playing when I customized my count. IMO, I play shoes conservatively and DD aggressively. Not exactly recommended, just a statement of fact.

    There is almost always zero benefit to attempting to employ an advanced count with no previous experience. You will only make errors. If you want to use a stronger count, what you should do is make a small modification to the count you are currently using. I also see little reason to switch counts depending on what game you are playing--I'd require a good reason to do this. I've heard of people doing it because they can't track surplus/deficit aces in a shoe, but they can in DD. I use a balanced ace side count, which moots the problem--I never saw that as a good reason to use different counts, since I find the surplus/deficit method to be shoddy, inherently inaccurate outside a sim, and overcomplicated. I'm sure others disagree, but whatever. When I see "pros" recommend that hi-lo red-chippers switch to hi-opt 2 with a side count of sevens, or see those new players listening to T3's dribble about nonlinear counts, it almost makes me laugh.
    Last edited by Boz; July 21st, 2016 at 03:52 PM.

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    Default DD vs 6d

    I still have access to a great DD game, and you CAN do magic on a DD game, magic on the old 4d games, and still do magic on STinging a 6D.

    On DD I use my Hi-Lo-Lo count and strategy, with amazing success, but you really must behave on DD and watch the spread if you want any time on it.

    DD is a major rush, actually so was the old 4D games. The show is pretty much over due to a number of changes I never mention on public boards, little things that do considerable damage. But as I have said, in the "GNW", I still have access to some great games, and I can play them as long as I behave.

    CP
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  6. #6

    Default Thanks for responses

    I know it was a long initial post but I truly appreciated the reasoned responses and time taken to reply. And that was not meant as any "kiss up". LOL

    I have a general preference for DD games. Limited though they are. But getting better and better at shoes, too. They each seem to have their nuances and I appreciate the observations you guys have made due to the differences you noticed, too.

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    At my local place, 2D and 1D games are restricted in rules. In shoe games you are allowed to do any moves. After taking into accounts of all these rule changes, they are the same for players.
    After over 10000 BS bragging posts, it turns out that T3 doesn't even play BJ! What a damn joke, LOL!
    T3 is no threat to any casino because he spends most of his time bragging on BTF.
    T3: Talk The Talk.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by fat_bumblebee View Post
    At my local place, 2D and 1D games are restricted in rules. In shoe games you are allowed to do any moves. After taking into accounts of all these rule changes, they are the same for players.

    Same as in what way? House Edge? Usually the pitch games (DD) tend to be a little better initial HE than any shoe but every single deck game I have seen lately is either 6-5, which I won't play OR they limit the doubling so much (9-11) or maybe even 10/11 only, that the rules are not palatable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MJOK View Post
    Same as in what way? House Edge? Usually the pitch games (DD) tend to be a little better initial HE than any shoe but every single deck game I have seen lately is either 6-5, which I won't play OR they limit the doubling so much (9-11) or maybe even 10/11 only, that the rules are not palatable.
    In terms of player advantage, the 1D and 2D games at my local place are the same as shoe games due to rule changes.
    After over 10000 BS bragging posts, it turns out that T3 doesn't even play BJ! What a damn joke, LOL!
    T3 is no threat to any casino because he spends most of his time bragging on BTF.
    T3: Talk The Talk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fat_bumblebee View Post
    In terms of player advantage, the 1D and 2D games at my local place are the same as shoe games due to rule changes.
    Yeah, but you're going to get better penetration on the 1D. When the house edges are similar, even though sims will show the 2D beating out 6D the majority of the time, I tend to look for reasons to favor the shoe over the 2D in the real-world. But 1D is always going to beat 6D with a similar edge. Respectfully, do you have a different take?

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    I think we have to determine how the penetration advantage in EV relates to the shit-rule disadvantages of MOST SD games. If you can find a great SD game, I think it's a no-brainer, but I've never found one. I'm sure if you could ascertain that a particular SD had exceptional penetration in certain situations that you could predict I would guess that the SCORE would be higher regardless of how shitty the rules are.

    Sims will tell you which is which but ultimately consistency of actual conditions will matter most.

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    The 1D and 2D games at my local store were about 50% cut plus restricted doubles and split and no surrender. Based on sims, they are the same as shoe games.
    After over 10000 BS bragging posts, it turns out that T3 doesn't even play BJ! What a damn joke, LOL!
    T3 is no threat to any casino because he spends most of his time bragging on BTF.
    T3: Talk The Talk.

  13. #13

    Default Penetration is more "rounds" in SD in my experience

    Seems like most have gone to round of 6 in the SD games I have encountered recently that are NOT 6-5. DD have not encountered the ones that use rounds v. a cut card, though I hear they do exist. I just haven't encountered them yet.

    Bet spread seems to be limited or far more heat on the SD games than shoes obviously and DD games in Vegas are counter catchers for sure BUT so far, respectful betting spreads have worked for me but I'm not as experienced as others here or have access to as many games.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fat_bumblebee View Post
    The 1D and 2D games at my local store were about 50% cut plus restricted doubles and split and no surrender. Based on sims, they are the same as shoe games.
    Right. So whenever you find a pitch game with a better rule set and pen variable, are you going to give it away? Restricted doubles are fine as long as deep pen is there to offset it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Svengarlicky View Post
    Right. So whenever you find a pitch game with a better rule set and pen variable, are you going to give it away? Restricted doubles are fine as long as deep pen is there to offset it.
    Many ploppies at my local place love the 1D and 2D games just because they can touch the cards. They obviously don't understand the odds are the same as the shoe games.
    After over 10000 BS bragging posts, it turns out that T3 doesn't even play BJ! What a damn joke, LOL!
    T3 is no threat to any casino because he spends most of his time bragging on BTF.
    T3: Talk The Talk.

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