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The true story of how a low stakes player beats the casino!.
You've read Barfarkel's articles in BJI, now
get the book about his wild
experiences as an advantage blackjack player.
As the creator of Speed Count, I guess I can try and answer your question. Henry may post as well of course, so please keep
an eye out for his valuable input too...
First, I've been spending a lot of time defending SC (Speed Count) in forums, including competitors to the BJ21 boards.
We've prepared a landing page at our "Blackjack Insider" web site that collects together our answers, and all the available
data on Speed Count that we are exposing publicly. Quite a bit of information beyond the GTB 'marketing pitch' is
The web page is:
We'll continue to update this site as a common repository of our answers and data, so that we don't have to keep posting at
I'm not going to repeat everything I've said, that is available there. But here's a summary:
A professional review and comments on Speed Count by Michael Shackleford, who runs "www.WizardofOdds.com"
A collection of forum posts we'v made. These include some of the actual simualtion data, including expectation, win rate,
standard deviation, and avg. bet sizes for Speed Count, in comparison to HighLow. Even to see that we're not talking
Now, a few personal comments on the reactions so far:
I expected some people to be very skeptical of Speed Count. Especially our claims that it can be *mastered* in a few
hours, over a two-day course.
I'm not a marketing guy, I developed the system. I back up that claim 100%. I've taught complete greenhorns how to track
the 'speed count' in a few hours over an evening. It's that easy.
And I've run billions (geting close to 100 billion now) rounds of blackjack simulations to test and prove SC works, and
works well in all games. I had to custom-modify my own blackjack simulator, Blackjack Audit, to support Speed Count.
The basis for Speed Count is very, very different. Yet, it's not a garbage progression count, or some other voodoo. It's
real, it's different, it works, and it's super simple.
We aren't claiming SC is a super powerful high-performance system. We are very clear that it slightly UNDERPERFORMS
HighLow, even without play indices. But it does get 70-95% of the performance of HighLow (without play indices, and it
depends on the game), and we aren't jacking up the bet ramp to fudge that. See prior note above the sim data we've revealed
that backs this up.
Part of what makes SC easier, but not only, is that we don't teach play indices. Instead, we use an 'Optimal Basic
Strategy' (OBS) that is tuned for non-index using card counters. Hal Marcus, creator of Blackjack 6-7-8 (which is a nice
simulator, I should add) showed that a card counter using a count system, but no play indices, can get an increased edge by
deviating some plays consistently. This turns out to be highly dependent on the system, especially the bet ramp. We've run
exhaustive sims to develop the *maximal* OBS for Speed Count. In effect, a perfectly tuned OBS replaces using the 'Fab18'
or other reduced index set (although some play deviations are surprising in SC OBS). This makes learning SC even easier,
since you don't have to memorize indices. In my experience teaching average players, learning even a reduced set of play
indices is hard, and they usually misplay them, sometimes on the wrong hands. Even a few errors can eat away a small
positive edge. Hence, why SC doesn't use, or need, indices to get 70 to 95% of the performance of HL (without play
We are very nervous about exposing SC publicly to masses of people. Also, it's not my decision... I've licensed SC
exclusively to the GTB folks for the course. If it were leaked, accidentally or otherwise, it would hurt the value of the
If folks have problems with this, talk to them: www.GoldenTouchBlackjack.com. Until then, more professional reviews are in
process, and will be published when done.
Ok sceptics... please try and keep your responses professional, and I'll try my best to answer specific questions not
already answered and posted at the BJI web site for Speed Count.
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