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Estimating the Count

You can occasionally make inferences about cards you have not seen.

When approaching a table at which the dealer has already finished some hands, look first at the spots with no cards. If a stack of chips looks like the payoff for a natural, count it the same as if you had seen the natural.

Sometimes, as you are meandering in search of a favorable situation, you see a table with many small cards but the dealer scoops them up before you have had time to come near - much less to count them. As your running count you may use your best estimate of what you think you saw, but be conservative. Two biases are acting to make a group of cards look more favorable than they really are. Aces tend to look like small cards, but they do not have the same effect on the count as other cards that show lots of white. If, for example, you caught a quick glimpse of what looked like four small cards, chances are that one of those cards was an ace and thus you might choose +2 as being a reasonable estimate of the value of that group of cards. The other bias is that 10s resemble 8s and 9s rather than face cards. Just because you see a table without face cards does not mean that no 10s were there.

You can practice estimation with a deck of cards. Randomly select a group of six to ten cards and glance at them briefly. Write down what you think the count is. Then count those cards exactly and see how close you were on your estimate. If you fail to estimate accurately in practice, do not rely on your estimates in casino play. If you estimate accurately in practice, then start your running count with your estimate in casino play. You should not use estimation when an exact count is possible.

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The Inside Straight
Furthermore, you can't play Baseball or Pass the Trash on the Internet. For the most part, Internet cardrooms spread exactly the same games that B&M rooms do. This will allow you to learn hold'em, Omaha, seven-card stud, and the other B&M staples. After you've grown comfortable with these games, you're far more likely to risk a visit to a live casino poker game.

As great as Internet poker is, it will never be able to replace the live game. Rather, it will supplement it and develop an entire Next Generation of B&M poker players.
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