You’ve already mastered card-counting in all its forms and you’re ready to take the next step up the advantage-play ladder. It’s called ace-steering, the art of taking advantage of ace-locations in a newly shuffled deck when you can pinpoint them.
The idea is to actually steer one or more aces to your hand or hands. To illustrate how it’s done we will use one deck. It’s the last round of the given deal and you’re at the table alone, which is the optimum condition to ace-steer. You receive the hand Ace-4 against the dealer’s up-card 8. You hit your hand, receive another ace, hit it again, receive a third ace, hit it again and receive the fourth ace. You stand with 18.
The dealer turns up a hole-card 6, hits it with a ten and busts. You win the hand, but much more importantly you now have a huge ace-steering opportunity as all four aces are staring you in the face!
Now, the idea is to get those aces into your hands.
You watch the dealer sweep the cards from that last hand into the discard rack. You know that when he removes the pack of cards to shuffle for the next deal, those cards will be on top of the deck. You have remembered the Ace-sequence of the card s: Ace-X-Ace-Ace-Ace-X-X-X.
The normal shuffle procedure calls for two riffles and then a strip. The riffle is shuffling two packs of cards into one, while the strip is the repeated process of pulling out a clump of cards and placing them at the top of the newly shuffled single pack. When dealers strip after the ripple, the sequence of the shuffled cards is disturbed. But some dealers strip before the riffle, or not even at all, both of which leave that sequence undisturbed—and ripe for the advantage card-steering player.
So pick a dealer who does not strip after shuffling.
You have to watch the dealer’s riffles and see how close to perfect they are, estimating the number of cards in the clump containing the aces. If two perfect riffles were performed, there would be three cards between each of the cards in your sequence.
It would be a 17-card sequence up to the last ace (Ace-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-Ace-X-X-X-Ace-X-X-X-Ace) with the aces in positions 1,9,13 and 17. So depending on the number of hands being dealt on the table, you can see on which ones the aces will fall, and you can manipulate that to your advantage by playing the amount of hands needed to get the maximum number of aces in your hands.
So now you cut the deck, trying to move this 17-card clump as close to the top of the deck as possible.
And don’t forget to take the burn-card into account in your new sequence.
You estimate as best you can when the aces will appear, and how many cards are between them given two perfect riffles are quite unlikely. You spread to multiple hands and increase your bet. You don’t have to worry about being a few cards off when you play multiple hands because you’re bound to catch that first ace on one of your hands.
Sometimes the dealer will catch it, but when he does, he does not get paid 3 to 2 on blackjack like you do. Nothing is ever perfect with ace-steering, so like in any other form of advantage-play, you take what you can get.
The bottom line is you have a 52% advantage against the house when your first card is an ace.
Ace-steering works well with multiple-deck games dealt from a card-shoe, and when you get good enough at the play, you will be able to memorize more than one clump of aces before it´s time for the dealer to shuffle again.
This article was written by former professional casino cheater, Richard Marcus. Richard Marcus is also the author of American Roulette, a controversial book that reveals how he and other professional cheaters ripped off casinos.
More articles from Richard Marcus:
Also read our section about various methods and strategies of Card Counting.