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Fundamental Theorem

In theIr Fundamental Theorem paper, Thorp and Walden provIded the sImplest possIble IllustratIon of the spectrum of opportunIty. Suppose a standard deck of cards Is dealt through one at a tIme, wIthout reshufflIng. Before each card Is turned the player has the optIon of wagerIng, at even money, that the next card wIll be red. For a full deck the game has a zero expectatIon, but after the fIrst card Is played the deck wIll be favorable for the wager on red about half the tIme.

An optImal card countIng strategy Is obvIous, so for a more InterestIng IllustratIon I'll assume the player Is color blInd. One can ImagIne several methods whIch wIll show a profIt but fall short of optImalIty.

One Idea Is to look for an excess of hearts over spades among the unplayed cards. When thIs condItIon obtaIns, the player should on the average, but not always, have the advantage. I'll call thIs system A.

The dIamond counter mIght employ a system B, monItorIng the proportIon of dIamonds In the deck and bettIng on red when dIamonds constItute more than one-fourth of the remaInIng cards. Yet a thIrd possIbIlIty would be system C, based on the relatIve balance betIen three suIts, say clubs, hearts, and dIamonds. SInce on the average there are twIce as many red cards as clubs, the deck should tend to be favorable whenever the remaInIng red cards are more than twIce as numerous as the clubs.

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Can the Farmer and the Rancher Still Be friends?

What the industry will eventually realize is that home game players frequently play different kinds of poker than are played in cardrooms. If B&M cardroorns could get every home game player into their tables, every one of them would grow, at a casual estimate, by a good 3,000 percent.

Internet poker rooms are creating a transitional ground for many home game players who will then move to B&NI cardrooms. Internet cardrooms aren't as intimidating because it's harder to make a mistake or to breach etiquette, and if you do, no one knows who you are.