As posted at www.AdvantagePlayer.com on Jan. 28, 2004...
Well, as the developer of Speed Count, I guess it's time I wade into the fore and provide some hard data about the count system. Many very good and fair questions have been asked here about the Golden Touch Blackjack seminars and the Speed Count card counting system. I'll do my best to provide the answers I can...
First some background...
I am the President of DeepNet Technologies, makers of a wide range of Blackjack training software products for Palm, Pocket PC, and Windows (www.HandheldBlackjack.com). DeepNet has been selling blackjack training software for four years now.
Now, to answer some of the questions raised in this forum post...
"What is Speed Count, and why is it any better than other simple count systems?"
From years of selling blackjack training software, I've learned that the hardest skill to master to become a proficient blackjack card counter is keeping track of the running count as cards are dealt. Adding and subtracting 'on-the-fly' sounds easy, until you're chasing a modest to fast dealer at a full table! Although you may think you're accurately tracking the count, even small errors can be costly and cause the slim advantage you've gained to turn into a loss. If you're not betting properly with the advantage because you've tracked the count wrong, then you are most likely playing at a loss without knowing it.
Speed Count was designed from scratch to remove this barrier. By leveraging some consistent mathematically properties unique to blackjack, you can have a system that only takes a few hours to master, virtually eliminates count errors, yet delivers most of the advantage possible with popular high-end count systems.
Fred Renzey's Front-Count is a nice simple method, and you won't hear me saying anything negative about it. Nor of other super-simplified systems, like Uston's Ace-Five count.
But all such systems are not tracking enough play information to provide much of an edge, if any in multi-deck games, nor have they been exhaustively tested in blackjack simulators across a wide range of games. Some sound simple, but actually require more mental skill to apply (like estimating the shoe penetration, or back-counting before playing).
Speed Count is new, and depends on a unique and different mathematical property of blackjack, which is revealed in the course. It can't be modelled in any publicly available blackjack simulator.
I had our (DeepNet's) professional blackjack simulator, Blackjack Audit, modified to support Speed Count. This is how Speed Count was evolved and developed. We have detailed and exhaustive simulation data to back up our claim that Speed Count works as advertised... 70% to 95% of the power of High-Low (without play indices). This actual outcome depends on the game conditions.
As a teaser, here's some simulation data on a few games (exhaustive data provided in the seminars, of course):
For an eight deck game, DAS, S17, one player:
For a two deck game, DAS, S17, 6 players:
This might be greek to some folks, but those knowledgable in the stats of blackjack, it says Speed Count works (look at the similar EVs), and delivers comparable win rates. And, this data is for a 'pre-release' version of Speed Count without insurance, no 'Wonging' or hand spreading! The HL comparison is similar, and both used no **play indices** in the data above. Once you add aggressive play strategies (such as wonging, hand spreading), Speed Count yields close to 1% expectation in good games, still without complicated play indices or other complexity.
"Why should I spend 700 bucks on a 2-day course, instead of spending $20 on a good blackjack book like Wong's or Renzey's?"
The Golden Touch Blackjack Course, the exclusive licensee of Speed Count, provides detailed training, including actual table playing time to make sure players master the system. Until now, no effective blackjack card counting system has been easy enough to learn that it could be mastered in a one or two day seminar.
Our goal is to help average blackjack players become advantage players, rather than flood the shelves with yet another book about blackjack.
If books about card-counting alone were a sufficient tool to become a skilled advantage player, there would be millions of card counters and casinos would have stopped peddling blackjack years ago. The ideas behind card counting are easy and well known... mastering the skill is not!
I personally use High-Low, with all the play indices from -3 to +3. It took over 100 hours of training time, and I have to practice at least 4 hours before every trip. If I don't do this, I may well think I have an edge, but testing in my 'Blackjack Expert' software shows that in fact I'm making mistakes and playing at a loss.
Current card counting systems are either very hard to master, or too simple to provide any valuable edge.
Speed Count is a powerful system, that is trivial to learn. If you already know basic strategy, you can master the method in a few hours of practice, without committing errors. It's that easy, and that different.
"What type of player would benefit from Speed Count?"
Speed Count is for average blackjack players who have been leery of learning card counting, or who have tried already and failed. It's trivial to learn and use, yet delivers most of the advantage of good count systems.
For expert players already playing a high-end system well without errors, Speed Count will not provide further advantage, but could provide good cover since the casinos will not be familiar with it's different characteristics and uniquely optimized playing strategy.
"What does Shackleford have to say about Speed Count?"
We are currently having some well-known blackjack experts comment on Speed Count. We are providing full details and data on the system (under non-disclosure, of course). Michael is in the process of reviewing Speed Count. We'll provide his formal comments and quotea once they are available.
"Who is Henry Tamburin?"
Henry will probably post and reply on his own, but I'll add a few comments here.
Henry is one a well known blackjack expert and columnist, writing fantastic literature and guidance on gambling and blackjack for average players. He has 30 years experience teaching card counting to players in courses, videos, books and seminars.
Henry and I hooked up years ago, and quickly realized we shared a common view of blackjack... that the game is beatable, yet very few manage to do it! We both strive to teach more regular players to become skilled advantage players, through books, software, and our popular free blackjack e-newsletter "Blackjack Insider" (www.bjinsider.com).
After I came up with the idea of Speed Count quite a while back, Henry colaberated with me and helped evolve the system into the precision card counting system that it is today.
"What is the REAL cost for the GTB course?"
I'm just the creator of the system, not the marketing company! But I can say that all Blackjack Insider subscribers can sign up for $695, for a limited time. Note also that Blackjack Insider is a free e-newsletter, so there are no tricks attached to this deal! Just call the GTB order line (1-866-WIN-BJ21) to sign-up for the course, and mention you are Blackjack Insider subscriber.
You can subscribe to BJI at: www.bjinsider.com.
"What about the Optimal Basic Strategy in Speed Count?"
Speed Count does not use play indices, but instead uses a fully optimized set of basic strategy tables that delivers the greatest possible player advantage. Hal Marcus, maker of the Blackjack 6-7-8 Strategy Cards, hit on this novel idea for card counters who don't use play indices. This approach is highly dependent on the count system and characteristics (such as bet spread), and the Optimal Basic Strategy (OBS) for Speed Count is unique and exhaustively tested for maximum player advantage.
Mastering the skill of tracking a complicated plus/minus running count is bad enough, but adding play indices pushes today's card counting systems into the league of elite and devoted trainees. Sped Count replaces play indices with an amazing OBS that is simple to learn, yet delivers incredible performance.
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