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Casino consultant Bill Zender discusses ace sequencing and shuffle tracking false key card probability errors in David McDowell's Blackjack Ace Prediction. Players should be aware that the shuffle tracking and ace sequencing methods provided in this ace location book will not give players an edge. The author of Blackjack Ace Location represents himself as a professional gambler, but the errors in this book would be impossible if he had ever actually tried blackjack ace sequencing in a casino.
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By Bill Zender
(From Blackjack Forum XXIV #2, Spring 2005)
© 2005 Blackjack Forum

It appears that my endorsement of David McDowell’s recent publication, Blackjack Ace Prediction, has dragged me into a controversial issue dealing with the author’s responsibility to provide true and correct information to the gaming public. After being alerted to the fact I may have endorsed a book that may be leading unsuspecting blackjack players into wagering their hard-earned money on false and misleading information, it has caused me to pause and reevaluate my position on the worthiness of McDowell’s information.

After first reviewing McDowell’s pre-publishing draft of his book regarding attacking casino blackjack through various manners of locating aces and using that information to a player’s advantage, I was quite impressed with his reference to ace location techniques, various card and shuffle tracking theories, and his application of these theories in an attempt to develop a different method of attacking the game. This information was also supported by numerous citations to works done by a host of gaming and mathematical experts ranging from Dr. Ed Thorpe to "The Bishop," Arnold Snyder. My first examination of David McDowell’s draft lead me to write that it was "…an interesting example of how the game of blackjack can still be exploited…and…a must read for any player interested in assaulting the casinos…" At this point I felt it was unnecessary for me to check McDowell’s math since his basic arguments sounded rational and, for that matter, I’m not an expert in mathematics.

Over the last several weeks I have been contacted by several gaming experts that have questioned my endorsement of McDowell’s book. The reason for this concern is based on errors found in mathematical equations that McDowell uses to support his theories on attacking the game of blackjack; specifically his reasoning that claims to provide the knowledgeable player an approximate 4% advantage over the casino. If these calculations are wrong and the advantage that a skilled player may obtain is less then 4% (or resulting in a negative situation), then I have personal concerns that a number of players may be unaware of the diminished situation that financially awaits them. To add to this concern the text in question happens to have my personal endorsement printed on its back cover.

Being an author myself, I more then understand that mistakes will happen. My first book, Pai Gow Without Tears, had over thirty grammatical errors that were discovered after the first printing. I know that mistakes will sometime be made and I also know they can be corrected. Before condemning David McDowell’s work as being worthless, I feel he should be given a chance to re-work his equations and review the theories he has established. Although I don’t know David personally, I can’t imagine he would ignore the chance to make corrections to his material and provide the gambling public a truer version of his work regardless of whether the corrections support a method of beating casino blackjack or prove the contrary.

If for some reason the errors are not re-worked and corrected, then the author’s intentions can be considered suspicious. If the correctness of this material is not the most important aspect of McDowell’s work, then at this point his work will be open to condemnation by the various gambling and mathematic experts as being on the same level with Olsen’s TARGET strategy and Ponzi’s pyramid investment scheme. Before I completely pull my endorsement of David McDowell’s Blackjack Ace Prediction, I would like to give him a chance to correct any errors or incorrect theories. To err is human; and I doubt McDowell’s intention was to deceive. Well David? What will it be?

[Editor's Note: McDowell has never publicly responded to the criticisms of his book.] ♠

Spring 2005 Blackjack Forum

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