Players, Seats and Positions

I have run numerous computer simulations of games with varying numbers of players at the table, as well as simulations which look at players' win rates according to their seating positions. I have also seen simulations and analysis of these conditions by other experts at the game.

The number of players at a blackjack table will affect your win/loss rates regardless of whether you are a card-counter or basic strategy player by the shear fact that the number of hands you can play in a hour will be reduced with each player at the table. As a card counter a slower game will proportionally slow down you hourly expectation. If you do not count cards, the more players at a table will more than likely slow down your hourly loses.

For card counters, most authorities advise that they play at a blackjack table with as few other players as possible. This increases the counters hourly action and win rate. The opposite is advised for players who do not count or for those big bettors trying to get max comps. A full table allows you to play, wager and enjoy the game while keeping your losses to a minimum.

There are some other effects that card counters need to keep an eye open for when picking a blackjack table. At a single deck game, a table a number of players will have the dealer shuffling quite frequently. This will affect a counters win rate. A shoe based game has a shuffle point put into the shoe which is not affected by the number of players. A single deck game could hit the shuffle point after each hand is finished. A second point to keep a lookout for is face down games. To count effectively you need to be able to see the cards being dealt. In a face down game it is possible that the counter will not be able to see all the cards as they may only be visible for a few seconds.

A single deck game will also affect a counter's accuracy because they will need to place a wager before all the cards are seen. Now the same is true in multiple deck games, but the proportion of cards in play in a single deck game is much higher than in a multi deck game.

Card counters tend to favour third base when sitting as this allows them to have the most up to date count available before making any decisions on their hand. In face down games you will generally find that counters prefer the central seat as this allows them the best chance of seeing the cards of the players to the right and left of them. For non-counters the seating position will not affect their game in any way. In face down games

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