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The Deck Or Shoe You Are

With a running count of "20", you'll usually have about a 4/1o% advantage whether there are five decks left or just two decks. The further above "20" the running count climbs, the bigger favorite you are and the more you should bet. Thus, "recognizing when you have the edge is a snap with unbalanced card counting since you do everything strictly by the running count. The fine print section on the next page explains the mechanics of unbalanced edge-tracking and is optional reading for the inquisitive.

" automating feature: We have to credit Arnold Snyder of Blackbelt in Online Blackjack Games fame for initiating the idea of splitting up a card rank to obtain the ideal imbalance between high and low cards. His Red 7 Count, introduced in the early '80's went unrecognized as the solid performer that it is, until the proliferation of Online Blackjack Games simulation software several years later. Snyder's count, as the name implies tracks the red 7's, (but not the black ones) along with all the 2's thru 6's as low cards. Pitting those against all the 10's and Aces creates an "auto-calibrating" imbalance that causes the raw running count to be a reasonably accurate indicator of the current high/low strength of unplayed cards at all deck penetration levels. Hence, the need for dividing by the number of remaining decks is eliminated.

"Recognizing the edge: How does unbalanced counting automatically calculate your edge? Let's look at a six deck shoe, where you begin your running count at "10". Suppose that after one deck has been played out, your running count rises to "22". Just how strong would that be? Well, had one intact deck come out, its two black deuces would cause your count to rise to "12". Then everything would still be "even" and you'd again have the standard house disadvantage. But at "22", ten extra little cards have been eliminated --leaving ten extra picture cards in the shoe. And with five decks remaining, that's two extra pictures per deck. Hold onto that thought.

Now let's fast forward to where four decks have gone by, and you again have a running count of "22". How strong is a "22" count now? With two black deuces in each normal deck, everything would be back to even if your count was "18" at this point. But at "22", the remaining shoe is four picture cards heavy. And with just two decks left, that's also two extra pictures per deck (a +2 "true count" in card counting lingo). In fact, any time you have a "22" running count, the remaining cards will be a +2 true count! I'll leave any additional checkpoints up to you.

No matter whether it's 1, 2, 4, 6 or 8 deck Online Blackjack Games, you'll always have exactly a +2 true count whenever your running count has risen by "two x the number of starting decks". As the running count strays away from that point, your count begins to lose accuracy. But +2 true, and all counts near it constitute a critical strategic range that winning play is built upon. Computer simulation runs have shown that unbalanced counts yield about 95% as much net edge as a balanced count of equal structural complexity.

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Establishing and Managing Your Bankroll
That may seem obvious, but it's something many don't understand. Keep your poker bankroll separate from your other money. Start with a certain amount of seed money, enough for the games you plan to play in, and then let that bankroll build up.

Examine your overall financial picture and pick an amount that you are willing to put at risk. Many authorities suggest a bankroll equal to 400 times the size of the big bet in the game you regularly play. If you can comfortably put aside $1,600, then you can play $2-$4 without fear of ever going broke.

That's the key to bankroll size: having enough money to know even a horribly bad streak of luck won't wipe out your bankroll. Naturally, you don't need anything like that much for one session's play. Going to the cardroom with 50 or 60 big bets should be plenty (a 50-big bet loss is a very bad night; the only reason you might bring more is if there's a chance you might want or need to play a little higher than usual). If you play to your established potential, you will most likely not lose a sufficiently large amount of your bankroll even if you run badly for an extended period.
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