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13 June 2015
By John Marchel
Many counting systems don’t keep track of aces in the card count. The reason is they don’t have much effect on basic strategy. However, there are still changes that should be made depending on how many aces have been played. Some players use external things such as chips, fingers or feet to keep track of how many aces have been played.
Aces are normally valued at “zero” because we don’t use them to influence our True Count. But aces are important cards in determining how to bet. We want to know whether the deck is rich in aces, which is to our advantage, or low in aces, which is to our disadvantage.
It’s suggested that for every ace the deck(s) is rich, we add three (3) to our running count using various traditional card-counting systems.
Listed below in the chart we see the normal amount of aces played in a six-deck game. You need to memorize this chart. We are interested if the aces are matching the chart or there are more remaining to be played or there are fewer aces in the shoe.
Number of aces
20-----------5 decks played
18-----------4.5 decks played
16-----------4 decks played
14-----------3.5 decks played
12-----------3 decks played
10-----------2.5 decks played
8------------2 decks played
6------------1.5 decks played
4------------1 deck played
Why is it so important? We know, mathematically, that a player will win 49 hands out of 100 and the dealer will win 51 hands (I’m generalizing with these numbers). We want to win more money on the 49 hands, then we lose on the 51. We get a bonus if we get a blackjack. We can double down on a soft hand that has an ace in it. We can split aces which are a good play. These are things we can do to win more, so an ace is important to our overall strategy.
Take a single deck of cards and go through them like you would do for a normal card-counting drill. This time only keep track of the aces. As you see one ace, raise your right foot so it is resting on your toe. When a second ace appears roll your foot slightly to the right so it is resting on its side. As the third ace shows up, move your foot so it is resting on your heel. When the fourth ace shows up move you foot so it is resting on the left side. Those moves will cover the four aces in single deck.
When it comes to multi-deck use your left foot onto your toe. This will indicate a second deck. Begin using you right foot again, raise to the toe position for one ace in the second deck, roll to the right for the second ace. You are now using both feet to tell you how many aces have been seen. For example, if both feet were positioned on their toes you would know that five aces had been seen. If you look at the discard rack and you estimate only one deck has been played, you would add three to you running count and make a larger bet.
This might sound very difficult to master, but like all things to learn, lots of practice will get the job done.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW
• In the old west, when a player was caught cheating it was standard practice to take him out and shoot or hang him. In Dodge City, Kansas, one message on a cheater's tombstone said it all: “Played five aces - now playing a harp.”
• Early Greeks would call the aces in a card game “dogs.”
• Have you ever wondered why the ace of spades is frequently depicted more elaborately than the other aces? More than 300 years ago, England charged a tax on each deck of cards. As proof that the tax had been paid, they would stamp the top card of every deck, which was the ace of spades.
• In a massive study by the New Jersey gambling commission of players and hands played at the tables during the blackjack card-counting controversy in Atlantic City in the early 1980s, players were categorized as novices, experienced players, basic strategists, and card counters.
• It was in 1982 that Shuffle Master began to offer automatic shuffle machines for blackjack.
• Surrender, a blackjack option found in a few casinos, was first introduced in the Philippines at the Continental Casino in Manila in 1958.
• When it comes to table games in a casino, blackjack is the high favorite by a margin of 4 to 1, and that was true across all age groups.
Visit John on his website at www.johnmarchelgamblingtips.com
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