Unorthodox Calls

There are times when knowledge of the true count can lead to some very unusual calls. For example, let's suppose that my first two cards add up to 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16. The dealer's card, which is always face up, is a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. I know that the true count is -6; in other words, there are a lot of low cards left in the shoe. It's not a good situation for me, and the dealer is likely to win. Most players would stick.

Knowing that I am likely to be dealt a low card, however, I break with tradition and ask for more cards. Supposing the dealer has a 6 and I am on 13. I ask for another card, 5 say, and then stick on 18. The dealer takes a card, 6, and another, 5, making 17. I have won. If I had stayed on 13, however, the dealer would have drawn a 5, then a 6, making 17. I have lost.

It doesn't always work like this, of course, but it's a way of making the best of a bad situation. Whenever I make strange calls, it always amuses me to hear the accusatory comments and criticisms from other players at the table. 'You're obviously knew to this game, aren't you?' or 'Take my advice, if you want to win, never make a call like that.' Some people get quite upset and start claiming that my unorthodox calls are the cause of their ill-fortune.

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