Discount Gambling

Edge Sorting Groups for Mississippi Stud

Posted in +EV, edge sorting, mississippi stud by stephenhow on June 13, 2013

Mississippi Stud LogoYou probably know that I’m not much into advantage play based on edge-sorting cards. That’s the realm of Phil Ivey and Eliot Jacobson. It’s a pretty cool technique, but it’s way too involved for my attention span, regardless of the payoff. However, I did watch Warren Beatty in Kaleidescope, if that counts for anything.

Anyways, a reader who saw Eliot’s post on Edge Sorting (Jacks in) Mississippi Stud asked me if it’d be worthwhile to also sort the Queens, Kings, and Aces. That’s a pretty interesting question, since I can see how Eliot would start out with just the Jacks, as you’d know when you had a sure winner. But, maybe sorting the other “pay” cards would improve the return. You might not know exactly when you had a winner, but you’d have a good idea, and much more often.

I realised a Monte Carlo analysis would easily yield the ideal return for any selected sorting group. I modified a few lines of code, and violá, I simulated the estimated theoretical max return for the following sorted card groups in Mississippi Stud:

Max Return for Known Card Groups
Sorted Card Group Ideal Return
Jacks +39.7%
Jacks & Queens +48.9%
Jacks, Queens, Kings +59.0%
Jacks, Queens, Kings, Aces +63.4%

(I use the paytable that pays 5:1 for a straight.)

So it’s probably worthwhile to sort all the “pay” cards, unless it really complicates the practical strategy (not too likely).

While it’s easy to get the return for an ideal strategy for any sorting group, it takes time to work out a practical strategy. It’s straightforward, but tedious, so I’m not doing it. (Well, I actually did it for a reader, so it’s his now.)

2 Responses

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  1. FrankV said, on July 26, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Hello Steve,

    I’ve read virtually read (devoured) every posting and comment here. Almost feel as though I know you 🙂

    Can understand your position – interest – passion regarding gaming and dissecting it relative to educating folks as to if not a +ev then at least less of a bite out of their ‘fun time’ gaming budget.

    Clearly your position utilizing collusion in various games for advantage play is one of acceptance – it’s OK – not cheating or the other labels casino’s like to take or label it as being.

    However, one of your MS postings you state, “. . . that I’m not much into advantage play based on edge-sorting . . .”. Why is that?

    Is it that the player(s) are physically doing something (edge-sorting) to gain an advantage as opposed to communicating information as in collusion?

    Or is it just as simple as it’s just too much darn work and concentrated effort that diminishes the enjoyment aspect of playing?

    In either case the player is not playing in the ‘spirit’ as intended for play of the game (in eyes of the casino) in order to gain and advantage.

    As for me, I cannot distinguish any difference with either or both or a combination – all perfectly acceptable. However, any type of actual cheating is taboo (i.e. physically altering cards, dice, balls or whatever is used in the gaming event in addition to ‘inside’ help from employees of gaming operation who are then specifically breaking a moral code to protect the interest of their employer – doing what they are ‘paid’ to do).

    Having recently retired after 35+ years in executive casino management, I totally 100% agree with you on several points:

    1. People just don’t want help in understanding or playing to their best advantage or lesser house advantage. One could spend an hour disclosing the math expectation relative to blackjack, how much it costs them, how something as simple as 21 basic strategy would provide them with a greater long term playing experience, yada – yada – yada. Then when it comes to hitting a hard 16 against the dealer’s 10 or A up card – ‘nope can’t do that’ – ‘got a feeling’ or a myriad of other rationalizations to just gamble. Yes, I know that h16 against dlr made card is only a tiny, tiny fraction in favor of hitting (almost a coin toss) but tiny, tiny factors eventually add up and why deviate at all is the point.

    2. Assuming that a person or team are good at counting blackjack, the vast majority end up busting out. The primary reason is that the vast (change that to great) majority are not optimized re: bet to bankroll and gambler’s ruin. Additionally, almost all (not all) have leaks (drinking, ego, other sex, drugs or etc that opens door for gambling). At one of my last jobs to open up nine casinos for table games in Ok for a tribe where one particular location had almost an exclusive market to 3mil population, I told them to post right up on their marquee, “COUNTERS WELCOME”. The fact of the matter is there just aren’t that many really good or bankrolled teams around, relatively speaking and I’d get every Tom, Dick and Harry that had ever heard of counting beating a path to the joint. I knew I could defend against the tough crew but it’s like my grandmother used to say about gardening, “Sure the birds peck at some of the stuff but they eat a whole lot more bugs!”. Needless to say they thought I was out of my mind.

    3. Your attitude and position relative to toking (tipping) dealers is not only admirable but spot on. It is one of the most non-appreciated, non-recognized and self-esteem depreciating jobs around. Patrons constantly banging on the dealer (or floor staff) for doing them wrong. Management harping to the whole of dealers of not doing this or not doing that and non-verbally communicating that they are disposable in that a monkey could do their job. The patron or management 99.9% of the time couldn’t distinguish between a top quality truly professional dealer (attitude, tech skills, appearance, dependability) than the man in the moon. Patrons evaluate on if they win or the dealer has wiz kid social skills. Management generally leans towards those with internal networking abilities (butt kissing or who ya know) or emphasis on one particular skill that management thinks most valuable (dependability, speed, social skills) and, especially with the proliferation of tribal casinos, lowering the bar of excellence required for employment.

    Sooooo, without any further adieu – thanks again for your fantastic insight, visions and ability to share.


  2. wan said, on October 15, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Hi Steve,
    I have been visited an asian casino 2 days ago, I saw one of their game(texas holdem against house) was probable edge sortable in some degree. Since croupier always draw 7 cards(5 community card+2 croupier card) on face downward on layout. I watched carefully and found some defect on top and bottom diamond.
    But I’m wander if would it be profitable to sort out all the same suit(1 in 4) OR sort out the high cards(J,Q,K,Ace)??

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