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Is Speed Count too simple?

3 October 2010

Dear Mr. Scoblete,

After reading your BEAT BLACKJACK NOW! The Easiest Way to Get the Edge! I went to Las Vegas to try out your Speed Count. I agree that it is probably the simplest card counting system available –- easy to learn and easy to apply. However, my disastrous results in Las Vegas (I lost over three times more than I have ever lost before) lead me to conclude that maybe it is TOO SIMPLE, in that it doesn't adjust the strategy when the count gets sufficiently high like other systems do.

For example, some systems says to stand on a 12 versus a dealer 2 when the count is sufficiently high. I had a huge Speed Count of 40 or more and was making bets 10 times my unit bet. I was hitting stiffs versus the dealer's 7-A, which your OBS generally calls for, and as you might expect with all those 10s in the deck, was busting most of the time. Granted, it would make your system less simple (simplicity is its strong point), but shouldn't your strategy be adjusted (indexed) for high counts?

Also, why does Speed Count have its own special strategy (OBS) rather than just using the standard blackjack strategies? I notice that for 6 or 8 decks, your strategy is significantly more aggressive than the standard strategy, which puzzles me.

Sincerely,
Ray

[Frank: I sent this letter to Dan Pronovost, the creator of Speed Count.]

Hello Ray:

I am the creator of Speed Count and can answer your questions.

On pages 61-62 of Beat Blackjack Now! you'll find charts that show the probability of hitting different speed counts. Note that the probability of hitting a count of 40 or more is less than 1/2 of one percent.

I would suggest that the more likely cause of your loss in that case was that you were not tracking the speed count correctly, and probably making a few errors. The most likely cause is forgetting to subtract the number of hands each round or every once in a while, or forgetting that the dealer's hand is a hand to count too. Make sure you read Chapter 7, which explains the method in detail, carefully.

The reason for the OBS is explained in part on page 71. But the mathematical reason is more complicated. With ANY valid card counting system and a fixed playing strategy, it is always the case that deviation from BS will lead to more money. The reason is a card counter bets much more when the count is high, and less when the count is low. Index plays are the best way to make more money, but when using a fixed strategy, then it's best to deviate in a few key plays, where in effect you are using one fixed index play, and the edge gained in high counts swamps the slightly lower loss in low counts (due to more money in play). This concept is well researched, and other count systems employ it too. Note that index plays are even better though.

Dan Pronovost
DeepNet Technologies
www.deepnettech.com

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Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

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Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com

Books by Frank Scoblete:

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