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Card Clumping

By Howard Moon

Part of the Blackjack Betting Systems series written by the professional card counter who wrote our popular blackjack Card Counting turtorial.

There are many system sellers out there who will try to use some basic element of logic to convince their marks that card counting is a fraud and that the only system that really works is their system (which they’re prepared to share with you for some tidy sum). Usually the card clumping system seller’s pitch goes something like this:

“We all know that due to the simplicity of the regular casino shuffle, that shuffling does not completely randomize the cards. Far from it in fact. Casino shuffles do not even adequately randomize the order of the cards, leaving ‘clumps’ of high cards and ‘clumps’ of low cards. These can be devastating for the card counter who is expecting these cards to turn up in an even distribution, spread through the remaining decks. Unfortunately due to the non-random shuffles these ‘clumps’ of cards can persist shoe after shoe more than wiping out any advantage that a card counter could gain. This is why card counting does not work. What we need to be able to do is predict when a ‘clump’ of good cards is coming. We have developed a way of predicting when a clump of good cards is coming without card counting by using the results of previous hands!”

There are several problems with this theory. Firstly, card counting remains unaffected by clumps of cards as it is based on an average distribution, meaning that over time the average will right itself, but more importantly while it is possible to know when a particular area of the deck is rich in high cards through card counting or shuffle tracking, no pattern of wins and losses in any order what-so-ever will give you knowledge of what denominations of cards are likely to appear in the near future. This theory has been simulated to death by a great scope of experts on the subject and all of them conclude the same thing – while card clumping does happen it is not predictable by simply looking at the wins and loses on the previous hands.

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