Discussion in 'Skilled Play - Card Counting, Advanced Strategies' started by Meistro, Jan 3, 2010.
What is involved in a skills test?
Do you mean a skills check? Like a casino does on a player?
I guess it's roughly the same thing, but I'm thinking more of in a controlled environment testing out someone's abilities. Do you just count alongside them and verify?
The only way to investigate someone's abilities is to watch them counting a real game in a real casino with real money. Nothing else matters.
i've heard of this thing called the internet...
as for deck estimation you could always count each individual card to double check
TC division speaks for itself depending on if ur Rounding, Trucating, or Flooring...etc; know your multiplication/division tables :grin:
accuracy b4 speed.. no need to reinforce bad habbits
i stand corrected
Thats the acid test. However, you could still get a general idea of someones skill at the kitchen table.
Thats not entirely true. If they can't play worth a damn at the kitchen table, no need to test them in the real deal. Now if they are a superstar at home, there's at least a chance it will translate to proficient casino play. Usually for the average player, home practice cannot match what the casino will deliver and there will need to be an adjusting period to get used to live play. It is different with those that I play with however. We practice at a level that far exceeds what is needed in the casino to play well. All of my players when they hit the casino find the play live very slow and relaxing compared to what I expect from them before they are even allowed to play for me for real. Very rarely do I train a player that cannot excel in the casino after our practice schedule.
So yes, I agree the true abilities should only be measured by what can be done in a live casino, but it need not even be tried if you can't do it at home first.
This is true, but some people crumble when the time comes at a table in the casino, playing for real money. You can have all the skill in the world, and still not do it right when the time is right.
could you elaborate a little on how exactly you practice? no big deal if you don't want to share, and of course if you would prefer, my private message box is always open
Maybe this will help you. It is an edited excerp from an interview with Johnny C and his wife about the MIT testing procedures.
RWM: Let’s talk about the famous, rigorous MIT blackjack team testing and check out process.
LC: Our checkouts have gotten easier over the years. When I started it was horrendous.
JC: I heard that when players of ours joined the Greeks they didn’t have to test because the Greeks said anyone who could pass MIT team tests was good enough for them.
RWM: What was your first check out?
LC: I had to play ten shoes flawlessly. No payoff mistakes.
RWM: Payoffs? The dealer would try to steal from you?
JC: Initially we didn’t do the short-pay stuff. The reason we added it was because I had a bad experience in Czechoslovakia.
LC: The first seven shoes were without payoffs and the last three were with payoffs and color change. The last shoe definitely has payoff errors. You go through nine shoes perfectly and the last shoe you didn’t do it right – that is what happened to me.
JC: So many people fail on the final round. It’s amazing. I think it’s because of the psychological build up of tension.
RWM: Ten shoes had to be perfect.
JC: You were allowed a few errors.
RWM: How many errors?
JC: Maybe five errors out of ten shoes.
LC: And they would give you ridiculous units – like $225 units.
RWM: Wait, you have this $225 unit, and say the count is +3. If you bet $700 would that be considered an error?
LC: No, you had to be off by a full unit for it to count as a betting error.
RWM: So you were allowed five betting errors in ten shoes, and five playing errors?
JC: No playing errors. No basic strategy errors.
RWM: What if you didn’t make a play based on the index number?
LC: Index numbers were a separate checkout. People are not required to know the numbers to checkout.
JC: We found that playing index numbers, in general, hasn’t made a difference. In fact, some of our biggest winners didn’t play index numbers at all.
RWM: Not even insurance?
JC: Well, they knew insurance.
RWM: What about 16 against a 10?
JC: We modified basic strategy just a little bit because they are going to play only positive shoes. They had a +2 basic strategy. People make mistakes when they start dealing with index numbers, and they play slower. It can confuse their count. The guys who won the money weren’t playing the numbers. They were just out there betting it playing basic strategy.
RWM: Right. Is this the first test? Or is there a written test for basic strategy first.
JC: Yeah. The written test is drawing the basic strategy chart. There is more than just the kitchen table checkout. When you deal to someone you see how shaky, or not shaky, they are. You can tell pretty quickly either they deserve to pass or they don’t. Initially it was just counting and betting. One time I was in the Bahamas, and I had a big stack of greens, black and purples that I colored up. The dealer made a big mistake. He was going to give me $34,000 when it should have been $18,000. Instead of just taking it, I was confused and was just staring at it. I thought, we never practice this. I went to Paulson and bought a bunch of chips. We made this part of the checkout. After that I know we had various players report major color up errors on their behalf – like $10,000.
RWM: Do you ever go in the casino and check people out at the table?
JC: That’s part of our checkout procedure. There are various levels of checking out. This is part of the reason we just played counting games. I got rid of all the other games because I felt confident in our ability to play a quality shoe game. All the other games have this judgment involved. How good are you at estimating this? How good are you at remembering and recording that? There are so many ways to piss away your money in those games.
LC: Which we did.
JC: Right. Maybe they were only playing a break-even game.
RWM: You were saying you had a test at home, and then a test in the casino. What would that entail?
JC: Mostly it was seeing that they wouldn’t fall apart once they got in the casino. Can they handle the attention? Can they handle the real environment? We made them bet it as precisely as they could. When you’re watching and their bets are right on, you don’t have to ask them what they think the count is. People who are good, I would ask, "How much did you buy in for and how did you do?" That’s really peripheral, but if they could handle that along with everything else they were fine. Some people are really intelligent and can do everything in the classroom. You get them in a casino, and they’re looking over their shoulder at who is watching, and their hands are shaking when they put the bet out. It’s okay to shake at the beginning, but if you look like a frightened rabbit, who is going to buy that? We would tell them to just play some more and get more comfortable. We tried to tell people what the casino environment is like, but it’s hard to get that in a classroom.
RWM: Do you have spotters go in to watch the BP?
JC: Occasionally, but we don’t really have the manpower to do that all the time.
It's the exact opposite for me. There has to be real money, my own money, at stake for me to take counting seriously. Sitting at a kitchen table counting is so boring I can't do it, I have to get up and get something to eat.
good article Sonny :grin: so wat the idea is that you play perfect BS for 10 shoes and have only 5 betting errors (only whole unite errors count) or less.
to help your betting, as i said earlier, u just need to know wat a deck (or two or three or four) of cards looks like... 1 deck is about 5 chips tall if ur sitting at 3rd and need a lil help guestimating.
i would agree with the Johnny C article that Indexes are beside the point of fundementals. indexes are used to help a player reach the theoretical efficiency of a count. However, the article says they were counting for betting purposes and using BS for playing. BS is a losing strategy, and even if a player wins money they will probably have lost many more hands than one, hence the importance of BC. There is a thread somewhere else on here about people's preffered ways of learning indexes.
from reading on other forums and books, you should be able to count down a deck of cards in 25-30 sec min; if you want to be fast, shoot for 15 sec.
HOWEVER: that is all "kitchen table" practice. As AM said, there is no sub for the casino. you have to knuckle up and put your money where your moth is. I have also heard kitchen practice of BJ compared to readin books on baseball... everything you "know" is worth NOTHING until you actually face a live pitch, everything else is just supplemental
Not good enough to pass the test he was talking about i'm afraid. 1/4 deck estimation is needed. They often stacked the deck to ensure enough excessively high counts that you wouldn't spend much time flat betting minimum.
Consider this situation - you have a RC of +12 with 1 1/4 decks to go. Going to the nearest deck you would divide by 1 giving you a TC of 12, dividing by 1 1/4 you get a TC of 9.6. Now even if you rounded that up to 10, you are still going to be more than 2 units out.
Bojack mentioned before about making things substantially more difficult when practicing - artificially elevating the RC is just one way of doing that.
ya, you're right RJT... i was thinking in terms of whole deck or just in general, not passing his test. If you wanted to make sure your whole deck estimation was excellent then you could settle for a slightly imperfect 1/4 deck estimation. practicing w/ 1/4 decks makes playing w/ wholes decks easier - thanks for catching that
Did they also short the deck to make one think one needed to pay for more lessons because the deck always came out wrong at the end? :laugh:
See ZG's interview about this trick and the adventures of playing with Lawrence Revere!
Thats funny you say that, a lot of players that can't play worth a damn say the same thing when they get all flustered in practice and are being tested and tank. I say to them first off only boring people get bored. Secondly if your focus is so weak that you need the gambling stimulant to perform, its probably not wise to try to be an AP. Never, and I mean never, in my experience after getting these excuses from a player have they ever played better in a casino. I have even gone so far as videoed there play with a phone to prove to them how bad their play is. If the juice is what fuels you, than you are not wired right at least for the level I want someone to perform. Not to mention eating out of boredom. Besides being unhealthy it points to a discipline problem. I'm not saying these are your problems Monkey, just everyone else that i have seen that has had similar excuses. There are always exceptions to the rule.
Stimulation vs. motivation
It's certainly not the case for me. Just that I need motivation to do something like count cards and play a boring game like blackjack. Doing it on a kitchen table to impress another person is unacceptable to me. Doing it in a casino where I'm being paid is what it takes.
Generally I don't eat out of boredom. I drink out of boredom. It's a lot easier to do on those long boring drives.
that is a dirty DIRTY trick lol... wat a pain in the ass. "damn, i got it wrong" no you didn't... "what?" haha :laugh:
There is a difference between flipping cards at the kitchen table in a relaxed environment that you are quite comfortable in and playing in a crowded casino full of lots of lights, sounds, distractions all around you during "crunch time". I noticed it way back, many years ago when I first started playing; I was unaccustomed to the casino environment so it had an effect on concentration and accuracy. Years go by and you can have bombs going off next to you and not lose count... you can have the waitress flash her breasts at you and not lose count... you can have Ed McMahon stroll up to you and tell you that you have won the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes and not lose count... okay okay--- You get the idea!
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