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Thread: Parker: Casino Verite - Software Review

  1. #1

    Parker: Casino Verite - Software Review

    Every now and then one comes across a product that is so superior to anything else available as to defy description. Casino Verite is such a product.

    This is, quite simply, the most sophisticated, visually stunning, and feature-laden blackjack practice program suite available at any price. Nothing else even comes remotely close. Using it, anyone with a computer can closely mimic any playing conditions that my be found at just about any casino anywhere.

    Calling it a practice program doesn't do it justice. It is indeed that, but it includes a great deal more. There is a package of drill programs, several calculators, and a testing program that allows the user to evaluate his/her skills. It does not include a simulator, although Qfit offers a couple of excellent simulator products that may be purchased separately (these will be reviewed at a later date).

    Complete Toolkit

    Casino Verite is a complete set of tools for the card counter which will allow him/her to practice counting cards, record the results of practice sessions, determine weaknesses and areas where improvement is desired, run drills specifically aimed at those areas, and learn and practice refinements such as side counts, cover strategies, and much more.

    It grows with the user. Beginners can use it to master the basics of card counting. Intermediate counters can use it to zero in on specific areas of weakness and correct them, as well as increasing speed and accuracy. Pros will find it invaluable for practicing cover strategies, adding side counts, etc. Tournament players will find a sophisticated and detailed tournament mode, allowing for development and refinement of those skills unique to tournaments.

    Trying to compare Casino Verite to other practice programs on the market is similar to comparing a stripped Honda Civic to a fully loaded top-of-the-line Mercedes Benz. The Civic may be a good little car, and both may reliably get one from point A to point B, but there the resemblence ends.

    Stunning Graphics

    So what makes this product so awesome? Let's start with the graphics. The typical practice program uses a birds-eye view of the table, as if one were suspended directly above the table. Casino Verite uses 3D photo-realistic graphics to provide an ultra-real image, with the perspective just as if one is seated in front of a blackjack table, complete with a photo-realistic fully functional shoe and discard tray. A variety of screen resolutions are available, all the way up to 1280 x 1024. The larger screens are generated at higher resolutions, not stretched, so the image is just as sharp and clear as in the smaller screen sizes. One may play from the center or either end of the table. These graphics simply must be seen to be appreciated.

    However, the graphics are only the beginning. There is much, much more. In fact, there are over 500 options.

    There are over 100 rule variations alone. The software can be set to mimic just about any game found in any casino anywhere. SuperFun 21, Spanish 21, Double Exposure, Royal Match sidebet - no problem. Want to duplicate the game found at a specific casino? There is a searchable database of over 700 casinos worldwide, with game conditions for all of them. It even includes maps showing the casinos locations.

    TrackJack Compatibility

    TrackJack subscribers have it even better. Casino Verite 3.0 can access the TrackJack database and import conditions for any game in the database (TrackJack login and password required).

    In the extremely unlikely event one should come across a rule variation not listed, it is possible to create new rule variations without being a programmer.

    All Counting Systems Supported

    All of the common counting systems are pre-loaded in database. Due to some licensing problems, the KO system was not included in earlier versions. Version 3.0 includes the "OK" system, which is KO with a slightly different index matrix. Most users will not notice the difference between matrices, or may even prefer the "OK" version (it is slightly simpler and just as powerful). If one must have the exact KO matrix, it only takes a few mouseclicks to change it. In fact, up to 10 custom systems may be created. Multi-level counts and side counts are supported.

    The Hi-Opt II counting system is now included.

    Both simple and complex betting schemes may be entered. Cover betting schemes may be incorporated.

    Game play may be controlled by a variety of methods. Cursor motions similar to actual play may be used - a scratching motion for a hit, side-to-side moteion to stand, etc. - or a panel of buttons may be clicked. Alternatively, all play can be controlled from the keyboard.

    Popup menus allow one to check the count (both running and true) between rounds, if desired, along with several other parameters . The program may be set to alert the player any time a playing or betting error is made. In fact, just about any aspect of the program may be customized by the user.

    The game is fully animated. The cards do not simply appear, they move in a realistic manner. All speeds - dealing, payouts, other players - are fully adjustable. It is even possible to set the speeds to vary, just like in a real game. Cards may be dealt face-up or face down. As the game is played, the shoe is depleted and the discard tray fills in a realistic manner, so that deck estimation may be practiced.

    Just about every vagary one might find in an actual casino can be simulated if desired. Players can jump in and out of the game. It can be set so that dealers make up to four different types of errors. Penetration levels can be made to vary from one deck to the next.

    Bottom line: I cannot imagine how it would be possible to provide a more realistic simulation of actual casino play on a computer. About the only thing it won't do is take your money or back you off.

    Details of all practice sessions are recorded in great detail. Naturally wins and losses are tracked, as well as errors made, hands played, and much more. Results may be displayed in a variety of charts and formats.

    As mentioned above, there are over 500 options. This could prove intimidating, but fortunately the package is exceptionally user-friendly. Installation is a snap - the disk is inserted and usually auto-detected, and the installation starts automatically. A few mouseclicks, and it is over.

    User Friendly

    The first time the program is run, the user is introduced to "Cassie," an animated talking assistant who guides the user through basic setup and operation. Microsoft should take note here - unlike the "Clippy" character in Office, Cassie is not annoying and actually somewhat sexy - sort of a butch Lara Croft. I think I'm falling in love. Cassie can be turned off if desired.

    In addition to Cassie, there are an abundance of popup balloons and 130 pages of online help.

    Also included is something that, sadly, is becoming an endangered species these days - a real 120 page paper and ink operators manual that is clearly written and easy to follow. The program itself is on a CD which also includes demo versions of other Qfit products such as CVData and CVCX.

    Should all else fail, an e-mail to Qfit will result in a prompt response from the developer.

    But wait - There's more!

    The practice program itself is worth several times the price. However, a bunch of other useful goodies are included.

    There is a package of drill programs which allow the user to concentrate on specific areas of card counting. In all, 35 different drills are included, including counting, deck estimation, even back-counting two tables, and much more.

    In addition, there are several calculators that allow for figuring off-the-top edge for specific rules, risk of ruin, etc.

    New to version 3.0 is CVTest, a series of test drills designed to measure skill at counting and determine areas of weakness.

    And there is even more. I have been using Casino Verite for several years, and have been playing with the latest version for a month or so, and I am continually discovering new features and things I did not realize that it could do. If I were to describe every feature, this reveiw would probably be, well, about 120 pages.

    Demo Available

    There is a downloadable demo version of Casino Verite available at the Qfit website. At 29 MB, this is probably only an option for those with a high speed Internet connection.

    Perhaps the most amazing thing about Casino Verite is that it retails for only $90. Microsoft Office XP Pro sells for around $400, Adobe Photoshop (full version) goes for nearly $600, specialized graphic software can cost thousands of dollars, yet a card counter can own Casino Verite for less than a single black chip.

    In addition, Qfit has one of the most liberal upgrade policies in the software business. Despite the fact that Version 3.0 is a major upgrade, anyone purchasing an earlier version within a year prior to the release of 3.0 got the new version absolutely free. Anyone who has ever purchased any version of Casino Verite may get Version 3.0 for half price ($45).

    Sure, there are less expensive "practice programs" available, but as I have attempted to convey in this review, Casino Verite is much, much more than a practice program. Besides, there is a certain pride of ownership that comes with owning a product that is, quite simply, the very best that money can buy, regardless of price.

    Casino Verite may be ordered from the Online Catalog link above or directly from the developer (link below).


    In my next software review, we'll take a look at CVData and CVCX.

  2. #2
    Norm Wattenberger

    Norm Wattenberger: Many thanks Parker...

    It constantly amazes me how complex a game can be with basic rules that can be explained in two minutes. I thought that I had finished CV years ago. Yet I still have a long list of features I want to add. Some think that BJ is a dying game. Some think it has been fully studied. Still looks alive and well to me.


  3. #3

    Alan: Re: Casino Verite - Software Review

    As a regular user of this software I heartily concur with and endorse Parker's assessment of this product.

    I started from scratch about 2 years ago and now consider myself a good player, in no small part thanks to CV software. It has helped teach me how to play well, and I continue to use it almost daily as a means of increasing my playing speed and verifying my accuracy.

  4. #4
    ET Fan

    ET Fan: Have you considered ...

    ... a more global approach?

    Imagine a program that took an "intelligent interest" in blackjack, and it's variants, and made up it's *own* list of features to investigate, and did sims on it's own as you slept, with only occasional input from you -- it's front end to the real world.

    I know the use of Intelligent Agents has been limited by their lack of common sense about the real world. But games like blackjack, which can be completely described in terms of set theory, should be *very* fruitful ground.

    Here's my theory, FWIW: highly advanced programs of this sort already exist, and are being kept from the public for the same reason advanced BJ techniques are kept from the AP community at large. There may also be the fear people could be frightened away from computer use altogether.

    Maybe with your contacts ...


  5. #5

    Cyrus: Awesome

    "This is, quite simply, the most sophisticated, visually stunning, and feature-laden blackjack practice program suite available at any price. Nothing else even comes remotely close."

    As a regular user of simulation programs, I completely agree with the above statement by Parker.

    The program is just awesome.

    Actually, this would be the only caution (and a very small one) one would impart to a newbie. That the Wattenberge suite is one huge facility. It may be very easy to navigate and user-friendly but one may be overwhelmed at the enormity of it! A plethora of riches, truly.

    The other "improvement" I would have liked to see at some point in the line, me being incorrigible in always having my eye on the marketing angle, would be for the program to have a snappier name!

    ...Thank you for all the invaluable effort, Mr Wattenberger.

  6. #6
    Sun Runner

    Sun Runner: Curious

    > Here's my theory .. advanced BJ techniques are kept from the AP community at large.

    Who do you believe to have devised these techniques and why would they keep them from the AP community? (other than for their own personal gain, of course.)

  7. #7
    Norm Wattenberger

    Norm Wattenberger: Advanced techniques

    My field, outside of Blackjack, is computer decision making. There are four main methodologies for automated decision making: expert systems, fuzzy logic, heuristics and analytical hierarchical process. The Blackjack Strategy Advisor on and in CV uses fuzzy logic. Most of my work is with AHP. I?ve looked at BJ a few times from an automated decision making sense and it doesn?t really fit. BJ is just too simple. These methodologies are designed for complex decisions. They are also designed for computer decisions. Not for development of human strategies. Computers are good at making decisions, good at aiding people in making decisions and good at fine-tuning a human-capable strategy. But, they are not good at devising from scratch an innovative human strategy.

    I don?t think there are many BJ techniques that haven?t been discussed to some extent in public. I believe that the problem with advancing to higher-level techniques has been the lack of practice tools. Take a technique like counting by inference. The concept is simple enough. The tables are not complex. But should you decide to use this technique, how do you know if you are using it correctly? How do you know you?re not harming yourself? Personally, I wouldn?t try such a technique if I didn?t have some method of verifying that my play is any better with it than without it. (To tell the truth, I think that most people that call themselves card counters don?t have the standard techniques down and don't play nearly as well as they think.) This thinking was behind my design for CVBJ V3, and CVData. Techniques like counting by inference, multi-parameter tables, varying indexes and betting by deck depth are included in both. Take a more obvious technique ? back-counting two tables at once. A valuable technique if performed accurately. I added this drill because I think many people try this and probably don?t realize that they are messing up the count and ending up with worse results than if they had just kept it simple. In this manner you can determine the gain through simulation and you can ensure that you are actually playing the game as simulated. No one in a casino is going to tell you that you aren?t doing it correctly.

    Of course one example where you are correct about the lack of information on advanced techniques is NRS. With CVShuffle, CVBJ provides the ability to practice counting adjustments when you use NRS. But, I don?t test the NRS calculations themselves or even mention NRS in the documentation as the area is still too sensitive.

  8. #8
    John Auston

    John Auston: Agree. QFIT products are without peer

    In their wildest dreams, I don't think any BJ player could have imagined that such great software would ever be available . . . and affordable, to boot.

    If there is a Blackjack Hall of Fame, Norm is in it, even if he'd never played a hand or won a chip.

  9. #9
    Viktor Nacht

    Viktor Nacht: $1M Question for Norm

    Why for "QFIT?" - V

  10. #10
    Norm Wattenberger

    Norm Wattenberger: Re: $1M Question for Norm

    1. You must have a company name in order to cash checks.
    2. Short names are easy to remember.
    3. Trademark searches show most short names are taken.
    4. URL searches show just about all short names are taken.
    5. Good trade names have one or two vowels and one or two of the rare letters.
    6. Tradenames cannot have any unintended meaning in any of the hundreds of world languages. (Tradename companies have dirty word search techniques.)

    Hence QFIT - short, unlikely to run into a trademark problem anywhere in the world in any language, pronounceable, easy to remember.

    Now the obvious responding question is why RGE? The old-timers know the genesis.

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