stiff hand help ?

I have a new idea for help with stiff hands and i am looking for an open discussion of its merits and weaknesses. What I have been doing is when i have a hand that has almost a .50 expecation I switch to another system temporarily.

I give the average card a value of 7.5 so that there is a total of 30 points in any 4 card combination. I total the 3 cards i see (my two cards and the dealer up card)and subtract them from the 30 which would give me "a" value of the dealers hole card. I then use this value for the dealer hole card and make a decision based on the "a" . I do it a little every day in practice and keep track of the statistics. If the wizard of odds would run a sim and give us better numbers and statistics for what i am doing I would appreciate it.

It intuitively seems that a system need not be wonderful to have a better performance that 50/50. I am guessing that the usefullness of this may be limited to systms where the 7,8. and 9s are uncounted.


Well-Known Member
So, you're essentially basing your system on the 4 cards that most affect you: your 2 cards + the dealer's 2 cards? That means you've disregarded the other 50 cards in the deck, right? If that's the case, I think you can do just as well flipping a coin and save your mental facilities. Someone else care to interject?
You are always basing your decision on the three cards shown. The count is just one more piece of data you collect to make your decision more accurate. Add the numbers up from 1 to 10. I get 55. Divide these numbers by 10 i get 5.5. Now if i select 4 numbers at random and add them they will tend to equal 5.5 times 4 or 22. The probability that any single number is 5.5 is very low. LOL but the probability that 4 numbers will total 22 is much greater. If you can manage to add all the other peoples hands and do the math and decide the hole card using the much larger sampling i'm happy for you. I plan on also understanding the role of the count i already have and how it influences the expected total. This is a thought experiement to help me increase my ability to deal logically with my weakest link ( the stiff hand ) using hi-low. If someone doesn't do the sim for me soon, i'll have to do it.

wong out

Well-Known Member

Stephen; I have no idea what you are talking about doing. I suspect that the idea is not a winning strategy. Would be interested in seeing the results of the sim.

The whole idea behind counting is trying to predict (in a sense) th eprob of success/failure based on knowledge of the cards played and those unplayed; to make a play decision based on information limited to the 3 cards in front of you right now is certainly much less powerful than one based on knowledge of the many more cards played to that point.

wong out
Dear Wong out,

Thank you for your response. The system we are using to evaluate our imformation has taken you to an impass. We are free to randomly choose our action. There is no longer an incorrect answer to our decision. I am now suggesting that we use another valid system to yield additional information just as the count system does in the decisions surrounding Basic Strategy.

The Mayor

Well-Known Member
Conditional probabilities...

the two statements are not equivalent:

"What is the average total of 4 cards in BJ"


"Given I have cards x,y, and the dealer has card z, the expected card for the dealer is w such that x+y+z+w = 30"

In fact, the expected card for the dealer is a 7.5 in an infinite deck, so that even if you have 3 T's or 3 2's, you can still expect the dealer to get a 7.5. This is the "independent case" towards which the other cases converge.



Well-Known Member
>I am now suggesting that we use another valid system to yield additional
>information just as the count system does in the decisions surrounding Basic

But what if your new system contradicts what the count tells you to do? Will you stick to the count-based decision or will you put your faith in this new system and play on a hunch?

>There is no longer an incorrect answer to our decision.

If you are deviating from your count-based decisions (a deviation from your BS deviations, if that makes any sense) then there IS an incorrect answer. If you already have the correct answer, why bother to agonize over "how right" it is? If you have this kind of free time and free mental energy at the tables, add another side count or something.

>It intuitively seems that a system need not be wonderful to have a better
>performance that 50/50.

Agreed. In fact, most commercial counting systems have roughly a 60/40 playing efficiency. Perhaps your system could increase this marginally, but there are much better (and easier) ways to improve overall performance (playing faster, more indecies, side counts, tracking/sequencing, etc.).

Since you are looking for "an open discussion of its [your new system] merits and weaknesses", I would suggest that you focus your intellegence on another aspect of the game. Your new system will not increase your EV nearly enough to be worth the extra effort.

But don't let this discourage you. You are obviously trying to put a new spin on an old game. That is commendable. I just want to make sure you turn into a Wong or Schlesinger, not a John Patrick.

Dear Mayor,

Thank you for your contribution to my thought experiment. I have read your resume and was very impressed with both your credentials and your thoughtful and enlightening posts.

I cannot tell you which numbers will be selected in a lottery however i will make book with you that the sum of the random numbers selected will cluster about some centerpoint and that the standard deviations will follow the bell curve. The random card removed is not indepenfent. If i have only two cards a ten and a two they total 12 pips. If I play the 10 the total nuimber of pips that remain in the deck will be 2 divide that by the number of cards remaining (1) and the prediction for the remeining card is 2. Count the number of pips on deck (shoe) divide by the number of cards in the deck (shoe). This is the average number of pips on a card. If i get a card that has more pips than average the remaining cards now have less pips than average. So using your example I have 3 10s and if the pip average were 7.5 pips per card my remaining deck which the hole card is a part of will be short 7.5 pips and most likely to be the new reduced average of the remaining deck. For Example in this case less than a 7.5. I would be expecting a small card. I have 20 dealer has a ten and a presumed small card. I'm staying. I am suggestiong this only as a brainstorming technique to get all the great minds we have here working on our common problem of dealing more efficiently with stiff hands. Mayor you have the brains to give us a system based on the number of pips remaining in a deck with indexes on how many pips it takes to vary strategy. I leave it mayor to your great mind to determine many pips an ace has one or 11. LOL

With great resspect,
Stephen Bauer


Well-Known Member
I find your thought process interesting, and I like how you're trying to think of new angles. But I think there is a slight flaw in your basic assumptions. Specifically, whatever information those three cards can tell you about the hole card, they will also tell you about the next card. Suppose you can correctly modify your count information using knowledge of those three cards and you calculate correctly that the probability of the hole card being a 6 is now X rather than Y. If so, you will also know that the probability of the next card being a 6 is also X rather than Y. Optimal strategy would account for the shifting probabilities of all unseen cards, not just the hole card. This is exactly the same sort of information that a count system provides. That is, it tells you about the composition of remaining cards but nothing about their order. The better the count system, the better (on average) your decisions will reflect the actual composition of the remaining cards. If you could correctly modify your count information in the light of the 3 cards you are considering, you would have a slightly better count system than you would otherwise have. In a sense, you have taken a (very small) step towards precise knowledge of how many of each card remain, and what this implies for strategy. Correct modification of your count that factored in all the cards in the present round would be a larger step. Keeping separate count of all thirteen denominations from the start of the shoe and calculating the optimal strategy on the basis of the remaining densities would be the ultimate level for this type of strategy (which monitors composition but disregards order).

To emphasise the distinction, compare two basic scenarios. In the first, you think you spot enough of the dealer's hole card to know that it is card A, B, or C with equiprobability, but not card D, E, ..., M. Here you have much stronger information about the dealer's hole card than you do about the next card. You know the hole card is either A, B, or C. In contrast, the only additional information you have about the next card is that it will be drawn from all unseen cards, where these unseen cards have been depleted by either one A, one B, or one C. That is, there has been a very slight shift in the probabilities relating to the next card (the shift being smaller earlier in the shoe than later), but a dramatic shift in the probabilities relating to the dealer's hole card. In this case, the information about the hole card is of overwhelming importance, and will have a much bigger impact on optimal strategy than the weak information about the next card.

Now consider a second, very hypothetical scenario. The dealer accidentally deals herself two hole cards. You spot one of them well enough to know that it is either card A, B, or C. The dealer notices her error and calls over the pit boss. The pit boss picks up the two cards, concealing their identity, and walks away to make a phone call. After a minute or so, the pit boss comes back and announces that one of the cards will be the dealer's hole card, while the other will be the next card. (The PB says that they don't like to burn cards in their casino because, for given penetration, dealer speed, player speed, and number of chip purchases and colour ups per hour, it causes shuffling to occur too frequently, thereby lowering rounds per hour and the casino's hourly return. The PB uses this exact explanation. ;-)) As a result of the PB's decision, you now have information that pertains equally to the dealer's hole card and the next card. It is now more likely that either the hole card is A, B, or C, or that the next card is A, B, or C. In this case, to play the hand optimally, you would need to factor in both effects. There is a symmetry to the information in this second case that is absent in the earlier scenario. This symmetry is also present with the approach you are suggesting.
Dear Alientated,

Thank you for your contribution to this discussion. The assumption I am making is that all remaining cards will have the same value. the number of pips on the remaining cards divided by the number of cards, therefore i need not worry what this or that card is; they are all the same card. If i have a large number of tens the remeining deck may all be considered 6's. In fact if this system were expanded to include a running count of the pips it might be possible to use this information to predict your first card before it is given and hence your bet sizing, I will read your post many times and try to understand all of your well thought out analysis.

thank you for your help alienated. We need to step outside the box here and not be afraid to say something that others may think of a dumb or than we may realize upon closer examination as an invalid arguement. In brainstorming it is completely unimportant if your idea is right or wrong , the only value of an idea is that it stimulates another idea in both the poster and the reader.

The Mayor

Well-Known Member

You said: "We need to step outside the box here and not be afraid to say something that others may think of a dumb or than we may realize upon closer examination as an invalid arguement. In brainstorming it is completely unimportant if your idea is right or wrong , the only value of an idea is that it stimulates another idea in both the poster and the reader."

When the phrase "stepping outside the box" is used, it is always used to describe a new paradigm that is consistent with the known universe, but also answers unknown questions. No one would ever "step outside the box" to posit information that contradicts basic mathematics or physics. Relativity extended Newtonian physics. Even the famous "parallel postulate" was a simple matter of being shown to be independent of the other axioms.

Steve, this is a worthless thread, and I hope you will learn from the experts here who have been patient enough to answer you without flaming you, and drop it.

Wow, I almost sound like D.S. here... :cool:

Re: Nope...

Dear Mayor,

I was discussing very politely about the sharing of knowledge and experiments we can do to solve one of our problems (stiff hands). What did you mean about the flaming.? Who would say something negative aabout the process of free inquiry, and if someone did , I would expect that you would not post it. I am going to run some simple simulations using pips and model the ace in different ways.

If you listen to the Tinman and hear a story that isn't the Wizard of Oz. Now that woud be outside the box. LOL.

The Mayor

Well-Known Member
Re: Nope...

Allow me to quote from the POSTING GUIDELINES (there is a link at the top of the message board):

-> Mythology and pseudo-science cannot be promoted or encouraged.

Your posts are promoting mythology (or at least, the consideration of mythology). This is explicitly not allowed on this site.

Thank you.
Mr. Bauer, Are you not alligned or at the very least friend's with puiu and clark cante. Both being notorious trolls on BJ web sites. Use caution here Mr. Bauer the mayor is an intellectual but he does carry a big slide ruler. Please no mischief here; PLEASE!!! Keep it honest and to the point. This is the BJ21 no spin zone!

The Mayor

Well-Known Member
It's almost like you're inside my brain.

I saw a great bumper sticker lately that summarizes my feelings towards mythology: "Warning, driver is a dragon who considers humans crunchy with ketchup".

In the face of a single fallacy any subsequent claim is logically true.