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Another brand that can be set to varying degrees of penetration is Microgaming, but there is a problem trying to count their cards. Some Microgaming clients shuffle randomly instead of every hand, as measured by the little "shuffling" light that blinks on. The difficulty is that the light does not always work. We have repeatedly observed more than 52 cards go by before the shuffle light, which is impossible in a one-deck games. It appears that shuffle announces itself only when the player is the last to hit, either because he busts, or the dealer is pat. On hands that conclude with dealer hits, the light never comes on. We observed this at three different Microgaming sites. This may be a bug, not a trap, but either way it makes card-counting unreliable.

If you are determined to go after Microgaming, there are some possible ways around this problem. Presumably, there is one time when a shuffle can reliably be known: after player busts when the light comes on. If this games is played long enough, there will be a streak of hands that will all end with player busts. The number of deals between these events can be recorded, giving a sense of the usual penetration, but keep in mind that it still may be random. You could then count as many hands after a shuffle as is prudent, then make minimum bets until another light. In short, when the light does appear, count a couple hands and bet accordingly. In general, shallow penetration requires larger bet-spreads to beat. Fortunately Microgaming licensees usually have minimums and maximums from $2 to $200.

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