Baccarat Great Learning, from Zuan Xin
By David Sofer
Chinese New Year greetings to all followers of Zuan Xin and his Baccarat Great Learning. My name is David Sofer, I was a Harvard classmate of Zuan Xin and knew him well. When he retired, he asked me to teach the Baccarat Great Learning to Chinese people in Los Angeles Chinatown during my sabbatical. And he asked me to write something for Chinese New Year 2008.
Friends, being that it is almost impossible to step into the shoes of Zuan Xin, I thought everyone would enjoy this memento of our favorite baccarat master. It is the last shoe we played together in Las Vegas a few days before he left for Hong Kong.
This is a classic Zuan Xin shoe. At the beginning, he told me, “Let’s just work Row 1 at the Tightest threshold and take a nice win and be happy.” So we did. My friend was obviously reinforcing the idea of patience and discipline.
As the shoe developed, we talked about the Baccarat Great Learning. Zuan Xin said to me, “You know, Chinese people are very suspicious of what is new. I wonder how much they are willing to lose at baccarat before they try a new way.”
I asked him, “Do you think Chinese people like to lose?”
He shook his head, then said, “No, no, no, no. It’s just that they know how to lose, so that’s what they do, they lose.”
The estimated worldwide Chinese baccarat loss in 2007 is US$10 billion.
As followers of the Baccarat Great Learning know, at the Tightest threshold, there are few betting opportunities, but they are good ones. A double tie generated excitement among the gamblers at our table, and we shared a good laugh. An anti-chop developed but fell away before it reached our threshold, and Zuan Xin smiled to himself.
There had only been eight runs of one consecutive player or banker decision after forty-nine hands, and only three sequences, two sequences of three consecutive runs of one decision and one sequence of two consecutive runs of one decision.
Zuan Xin said, “This is my favorite betting opportunity!” When the shoe is past the halfway point without a sequence of one consecutive run of one decision, and the pattern of the patterns says there should be four and a half such sequences per shoe, this is a highly improbable situation developing, a shoe without a sequence of one consecutive run of one decision. “We bet big the next Row 1 situation.”
Hand 50 ended an anti-chop sequence below the Tightest threshold with a player decision. Zuan Xin got a $1000 chip ready and he put all of my chips into my hand! After Hand 51 was a banker decision, down went our bets on the banker for Hand 52.
The player’s two-card six was bested by the banker’s two-card seven. Zuan Xin collected our winnings and said, “We won. Let’s go.”
I asked him, “That’s it?”
Zuan Xin, my cold college friend with whom I had translated the Analects of Confucius, simply repeated, “We won.” Friends, that is the object of the game of baccarat, to win each shoe.
He signed his scorecard with his distinctive nickname Xin and gave it to me. I folded it up and put it away until now. Enjoy this memento of our baccarat master Zuan Xin.
Chinese New Year greetings on behalf of Zuan Xin, and Chinese New Year greetings to you, Zuan Xin, old friend. Be well!
David Sofer is on sabbatical in Los Angeles and Las Vegas teaching the Baccarat Great Learning. Those interested in studying with him should contact him at DsoFer888@yahoo.com, he is offering a four-hour super-intensive program to fit the busy schedules of his students. David Sofer says, “Serious inquiries only please. One fellow Joe in Southern California called me and we went back and forth until he finally blurted out that he didn’t trust me. I told Joe this is not about me, this is about mathematics. If you don’t trust mathematics, you are lost.”
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