by Norm Wattenberger

Peeking at Next Cards

What is the advantage if we know the first card dealt?

Suppose at the beginning of the deal we know the first card that we will be dealt. Clearly this should have a large effect on our bet. This chart looks at the advantage we will enjoy in the round if we know that the card is an ace through ten. The color key can be found at the bottom of the chart. Advantages are provided for each card value by true count using Hi-Lo with six decks. At a true count of zero, we see that drawing an ace as the first card has an enormous 50% advantage. The advantage ranges from 44% to 58% over the counts displayed. A ten is not as exciting, but still gives us a 9% to 21% edge. Most people would consider a nine to be a good card. But it is actually fairly neutral. All other cards are quite poor.

How about single-deck?

This chart displays only the advantage at a true count of zero with a known first card, but for both six-deck and single-deck games. The first red bar shows an increase to 52.6% with an ace in single-deck. This is not surprising since Blackjacks are more common in single-deck as seen in earlier charts. Differences with other first cards are minor.

Sim details

  • Six decks, 4.81/6 penetration, S17, DAS, LS, 1 player, Hi-Lo, Illustrious 18 and Fab 4
  • Single-deck, 4 rounds, H17, 1 player, Hi-Lo, Illustrious 18 and Fab 4
  • 250 million rounds each


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