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Thread: Hole-carding + Scavenger play

  1. #1

    Default Hole-carding + Scavenger play

    POSTED BY PERMISSION OF HENRY TAMBURIN,
    PUBLISHER OF THE BLACKJACK INSIDER NEWSLETTER

    –Excerpt from Barfarkel’s February TR, BJI Issue #63
    http://bjinsider.com/newsletter_63.shtml

    ….
    Heading for the Western downtown, I hooked up with The Grifter. After a short session during which I recouped the $50 I had lost earlier at the Plaza, we headed over to another casino where Grif had spotted a dealer who flashes his hole card.

    Since The Grifter knew the hole card strategy from Grosjean’s Beyond Counting, I’d angle each hand so he could see them and then he’d signal me the play, while I’d just flat bet quarters at first to see how it went. According to Grosjean, if you use an optimized hole-card playing strategy without any overtly revealing plays, like hitting hard seventeen or higher, or splitting tens against a dealer ten upcard, the edge is 8%-10%, assuming you can see the hole card every time. However, Grif was seeing the hole card maybe two out of three times, so we figured our edge to have been more like 6%-7%.

    Grif felt that my initial bet-sizing was way too conservative, but hey, I’m risk-averse by nature. Initially I wanted to see how we would do before raising my bets, and I figured I’d have the best of both worlds – high EV and low variance.

    At one point I was surprised to see the “split” sign when I wanted to stand on a pair of tens vs. a dealer five. Now understand that in my whole long blackjack career, I had never ever split tens. That is, until today. I had my hand already tucked, but Grif’s agitated body language was adamant that I split them, so I pulled them out and put out another greenie. I got a seven on the first one and a ten on the second. I wanted to stand with my 17 and 20, but again got the “split” signal from Grif plus some subdued verbal urging, challenging me that since I’d already “screwed up the cards” I should continue with my “folly.”

    The other players were starting to get noticeably agitated as well. I split once more and got paint on both the second and third hands. Now content, I waved off the dealer, but again Grif was insistent that I re-split to a fourth hand. Because I had already given the stand signal the dealer indicated that I could not split again, but Grif verbally challenged me to re-split again as the pit critter approached and told the dealer that I was allowed to split up to four times. Sighing, I did so and wound up with a seventeen on the first hand, and three twenties. The dealer flipped the anticipated ten card in the hole and slapped the table with a seven for a sweet bust to the jubilation of the other players, who had been following this little drama and, getting caught up in it, had even started cheering me on.

    I wound up winning $270 at this hour-long session before our flashing dealer rotated back to the roulette table. this was a real first for me – not just splitting tens, but re-splitting them to four hands. Hey, this is fun!

    When our flashing dealer ended his stint the table was still filled to capacity, but The Grifter wanted to continue playing anyway, and indicated that I should watch. This table was filled with some of the worst players I’ve ever seen, but Grif had been giving them pseudo-solid advice. He swung into action when the ploppy at first base picked up hard eleven. The Grifter boldly asserted, “Flip it over – we’re going partners on that puppy!” He tossed the player the other half of the double down amount as the ploppy replied “Let’s ride!” They won the hand when the dealer busted.

    Grif worked the table for the next hour, getting a slew of partner-doubles and splits (including tens), demonstrating what Grosjean calls “scavenger blackjack.” More often than not the others he was exploiting would thank him for “sharing the risk.”

    I wandered off to another table for awhile and played solo, breaking even. Returning to The Grifter’s table towards the end of the hour, I watched the master in action as he advised everyone – the life of the party as always, as he took advantage of one of his new “table partners who was declining insurance. The Grifter took the insurance bet and won and when the table partner asked how much he owed Grif he was told by a smiling Grifter, “all of it,” whereupon the hapless accomplice just shrugged and said, “better you then them because, Dude, your my advisor!”

    Shortly thereafter Grif colored up another 20 unit win at an otherwise unplayable table by any expert’s evaluation – his style and outgoing personality allowing him to get away with things that I and most other counters would never even consider trying.
    ….

    –End excerpt
    "The dogs bark but the caravan moves on."
    .....................The Zengrifter Interview (PDF) |
    The Zengrifter / James Grosjean Reputation Debate
    -----------------------------------------
    “Truth, like gold, is obtained not by growth, but by washing away all that is not gold.” — Leo Tolstoy........
    "Is everything a conspiracy? No, just the important stuff." ZG

  2. #2

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    Nice article ZG. I like splitting tens to and would be ultra aggressive if I could see the dealers hole card as well. Can you explain this part of the article, "I’d angle each hand so he could see them and then he’d signal me the play." What was your buddy doing to make the dealer expose the hole card?

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzkrieg View Post
    Nice article ZG. I like splitting tens to and would be ultra aggressive if I could see the dealers hole card as well. Can you explain this part of the article, "I’d angle each hand so he could see them and then he’d signal me the play." What was your buddy doing to make the dealer expose the hole card?
    Yeah, I'm in the same boat as the World's Greatest Gambler. I could use some lessons in causing holecard exposure.

  4. #4

    Default

    No - Barfy was angling his own hands for me to see, so I could call his play...
    .... he didn't know the HC strategy.
    "The dogs bark but the caravan moves on."
    .....................The Zengrifter Interview (PDF) |
    The Zengrifter / James Grosjean Reputation Debate
    -----------------------------------------
    “Truth, like gold, is obtained not by growth, but by washing away all that is not gold.” — Leo Tolstoy........
    "Is everything a conspiracy? No, just the important stuff." ZG

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