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The Mentor Count
 

All the counting systems described thus far in this website have been of the "unbalanced" structure. They've also been "level one" counts in that each counted card is either plus or minus one point. You can get moderately better performance than what those systems offer, but the complexity will go up faster than the performance. The system described in this page is a top notch "level two" balanced count. If you're not rather obsessed with the game of casino "21"; it's most likely not for you. But if you're truly exhilarated by the mental gymnastics of juggling numbers in your head to tell you how to bet your money and play your hands more efficiently, then by all means read on.

Nearly every card that is played out of the deck or shoe has an effect on your chances to win the following hand. The cards that help the dealer when they are still in the pack are the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. The cards that help the player are the 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace. The 8 is virtually meaningless. So in all, there are six dealer-helping cards and six player-helping cards.

In an effort to make your card count more thorough, you could try counting all the 2's through 7's as +1, and the 9's through Aces as -1. But that's far from optimal since some cards make a lot more difference than others when they're played out.

That's where the multi-level card count concept entered the picture. In the 1960's, Edward O. Thorp of "Beat the Dealer" fame developed his "Ultimate Point Count" for detecting with total accuracy where the betting advantage lies as cards are dealt out of play. Each card was counted with a plus or minus value in direct proportion to its own significance. For example, the most important card in the deck, the five was counted as +11. Deuces were +5 and all the tens were -7. The other cards had their own assigned values as well. So, on the multi-level card count scale the Ultimate Point Count was regarded as a "level eleven" count system. It was 100% efficient -- but practically 100% unusable.

Still, Thorp had a heck of a concept going. Since then, several other less radical multi-level card counting systems have been devised in an attempt to accurately monitor the ever-shifting percentages in Online Blackjack Games. Two, three and four level systems were designed and marketed in the 1970's and '80's with claims of being devastatingly powerful in casino play.

However, hindsight once again proved to be the best judge. Subsequent computer programs were developed to test the performance of card counting systems, both simple and complex. They revealed that due to the natural law of diminishing returns it hardly pays to get super-sophisticated. A well-designed single level card count turned out to yield about 90% as much mathematical advantage as a well-designed level four system.

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Mexican Stud
 
Mexican stud is played like five-card stud.After the betting is complete, each player may expose, if he wishes, his down card. This action must be completed prior to dealing the third card. The third card is dealt up or down depending on whether the player has a hidden card or all cards are exposed. There is a betting round. Players again make the same decision about exposing or not exposing their one down card.

Upon completion of this action, a fourth card is dealt, followed by a betting round. The fifth card is similarly treated, followed by a final betting round, and a showdown. In this game, a flush beats a full house.
 
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