Blackjack: Is It a Team Sport?

In its strictest sense, Blackjack can be considered a purely solitary sport. The game, after all, is between you and the dealer, and what other people you are at the table with do has no direct affect on the outcome of your game. You’re not playing for the group or for anyone else in the table – you’re in it for yourself. But that’s what other people may think.

For Blackjack can indeed be a team sport and many have done and have proven that this may be so. Normally, players would only pay close attention to what they are playing in their hands and entirely disregard what other players in the table have. But if every player does so, the house will take in the greatest advantage and every player in the table will eventually lose. But the table can work together to actually affect the decisions and outcomes of every deal – players will have more chances of beating the house and winning.

Learning from History

One of the greatest masters in blackjack team play is Tommy Hyland, who is known not only as an exceptional blackjack but more so as an effective blackjack team manager – one of the most successful in the history of the game. Tommy constantly improved his game by reading and studying other players, and from this he came to the conclusion that an effective blackjack team is necessary to reach much achievement in this game.

His first team had reached much success in a short period of time, although there were several challenges and issues along the way. He never gave up though, although many of his team members left. He soon moved on to work with other players and managed them to a long-running success that was attributed to his great organization skills and loyalty to his members that eventually gained their trust – a vital ingredient for achieving success in this game.

Tommy Hyland and his team were not the only ones who achieved great success in working as a team to bring down the house. There was Ed Thorp who tested his blackjack theories with two-couple teams in Las Vegas. Another one is Ken Uston who earned millions from the casinos through his elaborate but structured network of players who worked with him for several years. Most famous among these teams are the MIT math students who brought down the house with their exceptional computer-enhanced card-counting skills that earned them more than $400,000 in a single weekend.

Working with a Blackjack Team

So how did they achieve this? How did these team managed to beat the house? Although their primary weapon in their arsenal is their card counting skills, it’s not the thing that could ensure them success in these games. Teamwork, proper coordination, proper positioning and honing each other’s skills, they should also maintain effective communication methods in order to share information on card counts as well as pool whatever resources they have to have bigger bet values.

Although there is no need for each member of the blackjack team to be exceptional in card counting techniques, every member does have a specific role to play to ensure success for the team. There is the back spotter who counts cards and signal other teammates, particularly the “gorilla” that moves from table to table. And then there’s the “big player” who eventually handles the bets at a table with more favorable card counting odds.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Blackjack Team Play

There are certain benefits as well as pitfalls when trying to work with a blackjack team. There are definite advantages that would entice other people to leave their solo play behind and work with a team. But there are disadvantages as well that would make one rethink their strategies in playing this game.

Team Play Advantages

  • Pooling your sources together will enable each player to have a bigger bankroll that they can use to afford playing in higher-staked games and bet larger amounts of money. The larger the bets, the larger revenues everyone would eventually win.
  • Instead of going solo, you now have a good team working with you, behind you, and supporting you all the way. You can all learn from each other’s strengths and weakness, allowing each member to eventually improve their own game – and have fun doing so

Team Play Disadvantages

  • Friendships could be strained or damaged should things not work out well with the team. A team member might panic in the heat of the game and do things his way apart from the team’s original gameplan.
  • There could be chance for betrayal, particularly for team members that you really don’t know that well.

The Composition of a Good Blackjack Team

The total number of players in a blackjack team is not fixed although it would only be logical to start with four members. The key thing here is to stay under the radar of the casino lookouts. Although team play and card counting is not illegal, casinos frown on this practice and will eventually blacklist any team identified of doing so.

The characteristics of a good team that will have better chances of beating the house and winning the game of blackjack are as follows:

  • Team members should be honest and trustworthy
  • Members have specific skills and playing abilities depending on the part they play
  • Each player should share the same philosophy and expectations
  • Like-minded and aiming for the same goals

Lastly, the team should have someone who is willing and able to take on the task of leadership and as manager of the team. He is the one responsible for ensuring that everyone in the team sticks to the gameplan and follow rules that everyone has agreed to. He would also be the one to make the final decisions that would be inline with the team’s objectives and goals.

Having all these elements together and properly in place, everyone would be on their way of getting financial success in this team sport called blackjack.

Casino Games – Poker Intellectual Component – Part One

According to the historians’ statements and to the archaeologists’ testimonies, games have existed throughout the whole history of human society. Before we start to learn more about poker we would like to formulate the general classification of games and to identify the place of poker within its frames. Mostly classifications are relative but still we need them in order to have the general idea of any phenomenon.

Athletic games, intellectual games and gambling.

Athletic games: the idea of the game, where the final result (victory or defeat) is achieved largely at the expense of athletic qualities of the competitors.

Intellectual games: the idea of the game, where the final result (victory or defeat) is achieved largely at the expense of intellectual qualities of the competitors.

The relativity of these definitions is obvious. Athletic games (boxing, football or any other type) surely contain intellectual component. In every type of games we have to think. The majority of famous athletes today prefer to keep their personal athletic diaries where they describe in every detail all of their competition and training matters.

Standing apart from others is the third type of games: gambling and casino games.

The definition of gambling and casino games based on the idea of the game, where the final result (victory or defeat) is achieved by chance. In such kinds of games the athletic or intellectual or any others qualities of the competitors are not principal. Believe it or not but according to this classification poker belongs to the second category, intellectual games. Let’s turn to the more detailed review of the latter.

Intellectual games. Games with almost perfect information and games with inexact information.

Games with almost perfect information: the idea of the game where all the game information (the position, the players’ actions) is fully open to all participants of the game.

To tell the truth there is restricted information even in that kind of games. That is: every player has its own idea of the game action and these thoughts as a rule are unknown to others. Chess is the most striking example of intellectual games with almost perfect information.

Games with inexact information: the idea of the game, where the part of information is mutually hidden from all its participants. The information type can be different. For example in backgammon the game position and players’ actions are fully open, however, the result of future dice toss is unknown to all of participants. In turn, in poker the scope of hidden information is bigger: the unknown information is not only the future coming out of cards from a pack but also the cards of each participant because they are hidden from the rest participants of the game.

We have made this preliminary analysis in order to draw the readers’ attention to the comparison of two types of intellectual games. As an example for a game with almost perfect information we will examine chess, as this game is probably well-known to our readers. As an example of games with inexact information we will study poker.

We have found out that in both the games the final result is achieved by intellectual qualities. But the intellectual effort is just a verbal definition. What does it stand for?

MZone Report – Poker Calculators For Tournaments

Up until recently, there wasn’t a single poker calculator that was designed for tournament play and of all the software I have tested over the last 2 ½ years, this struck me as somewhat fascinating. The fact is, online poker has thrived because of new players signing on after watching WPT or WSOP reruns.

Both of those shows ushered in new television celebrities the likes of Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu, and Chris Moneymaker. As a result, hundreds of thousands of players took to the poker sites in search of ring games. Not. They came because of the tournament action and qualifiers that could, for a s little as a couple bucks get you on a final table on television vying for millions!

These players need help at the game, and many software designers obliged with poker calculators. Using poker calculators however often meant you had to adapt the information it provided while playing tournaments because tournaments and ring games are completely different strategies.

I was in a forum recently where players admitted using two different poker calculators to help compensate for tournament structures. Those players who are using two poker calculators are welcome at my table anytime. Too much of a good thing can make you a geek in this case, and it will take away from your game.

Regardless of all this, the bottom line in tournaments is that the only history you should be focused on is the recent history. Any particular player can take on many characteristics during a single tournament (never mind hundreds). Too much past data not only takes your attention away from the game but skews it into thinking how credible your opponent’s hand may or may not be.

I prefer keeping things in a simplistic display with hard core data that reflects what has transpired RECENTLY – as in the last 10 hands or so. I think Tournament Indicator does this better than anything on the planet right now.

The only stable period where long term stats MAY be useful is in the first 2 or 3 levels. However this stage is more reliant on hole card strength anyway. Once your table has reached a variance in MZone stacks, well then long data term is all but useless. You don’t need it, and you don’t really WANT it either.

Rather than be reliant on profiling, I strongly feel that reading opponents has more to do with what they are “feeling” at a game critical intersect in the tournament. If I can get an inkling on that player’s feelings, I am much, much farther ahead than looking at historic data collected at different tournaments and ring game levels from long past.

Spain Casinos

The beauty and majesty of Spain’s coastlines and cities have drawn in visitors from around the world for decades. Spain has an interesting culture and many great places to learn about Spanish history and society. However, tourists need a place to go when they aren’t on walking tours or taking in the scenic beauty of Spanish cities. Spanish casinos and gaming facilities offer vibrant music and entertainment, fine dining and spirits, and some of the best gaming in the world. With more than 30 casinos throughout the country, Spain’s casinos offer a wide range of entertainment to tourists from all over the globe.

The Spanish city of Murcia features three of the country’s finest casinos. The Regency Casino la Manga Club features a cozy casino atmosphere with more than forty gaming tables and slot machines that offer a fine gaming experience for all. The Gran Casino Murcia is a bit larger than the Regency Casino with more than eighty tables and slots, but still provides a comfortable place for tourists to find entertainment and new experiences. For visitors to Murcia who want a more quiet gaming experience, the Casino Costa Calida has just about twenty tables and machines for a quick game of blackjack.

For those visiting the beautiful modern capital of Madrid, the Casino Gran Madrid mixes all the best elements of Spain’s casinos. With a massive gaming area of more than 100,000 square feet, the Gran Madrid is spacious enough for the thousands of visitors who come through its doors every day. There are more than 170 slot machines that can give the gambler with the golden touch a quick payday. As well, there are twenty tables for games like roulette and blackjack that will keep casual and professional gamblers playing all day long. Those who are visiting Madrid need to stop by the Gran Madrid to get an appreciation of the casinos of Spain.

Perhaps the finest casino in Spain, however, is the Casino de Barcelona in the beautiful city of Barcelona. Once the home to the Summer Olympics, Barcelona is filled with great entertainment and cultural offerings. However, the Casino de Barcelona is a must see for visitors and gamblers. Those who visit the casino can dine at four different restaurants, including La Terrazza and Le Gourmand. As well, there are more than fifty gaming tables that allow tourists to sit down, relax, and play a hand of poker or blackjack. This casino also features video poker and slots for those interested in a quick gambling fix. With a creative modern facade and some of the best gaming in Spain, the Casino de Barcelona is a great place to be for visitors and Spaniards alike.