racquet
Joined: Dec 31, 2014
• Posts: 95
March 18th, 2017 at 7:43:51 AM permalink
So the running count is nine after the first round (assume a full table and a lot of low cards. Rare, but for this example...) in a six deck game. 23 cards were dealt to six hands and a dealer.

The true count is 1.619.

Assume further a strategy that says bet 1 unit at TC < +1, two units at TC +1, and 4 units at TC +2. Assume one unit = \$10.

At a table that would allow you to bet with chips and spare change, I think the bet called for with a true count of 1.619 would be \$32.38. That amount could be wrong, but it's good enough for this example.

Nobody has the agility to arrive at this precise number while sitting at the table. Nobody is going to bet even \$32 at a \$10 table.

If I were to see a running count of nine after the first round in a shoe (where I started with one unit - \$10) I might bet \$10 again, I might bet \$20. I'd think: RC of nine divided by six is... something more than one, but it's the first round, and anything more than \$20 is too radical a jump. 23 cards out of 512 is a very small sample, and uh-oh, the dealer wants to know whether I'm in this round, because I'm taking all this time to calculate.

At an early point in a shoe at a low TC, it might matter, but not as much as when the TC is high.

If you bet 7 units at TC +3 and 9 units at +4 however, an accurate TC of 8.2 makes a big difference. Throw in a split and a double, and we're talking real money - 6 or 8 units difference between TC +3 and TC +4.

I do the math in my head as fast as I can, but I get too excited at high counts. I think to myself that with this high a count, being accurate doesn't matter. I probably err on the side of putting out MORE than a precise calculation calls for, probably miss downward swings in the TC and estimate that more of the shoe has been dealt than is true.

I don't know how bad this tendency is. Being more aggressive at a high count - essentially increasing the slope of the ramp in mid-shoe - might be beneficial. But this is an endeavor that lives on a razor-thin margin, analyzed and strategized by folks with more than an "impression" or a "feeling". I am guessing that there are those who will say that more significant digits matter a lot. But are they in the real world betting \$32 at a \$10 table?

So how to arrive at a more precise wager? Is there a general approach? Truncate the TC so as not to be too exposed? Round up to gain an advantage? Bet 8 units when the TC is "not quite" +4? At a positive count, don't worry, be happy?
TomG
Joined: Sep 26, 2010
• Posts: 914
March 18th, 2017 at 12:59:00 PM permalink
Quote: racquet

So how to arrive at a more precise wager?

My solution is to not even worry about precision. To me, the most important thing is to know when the crossover point is from player edge to house edge. So long as you are sure of this (to make up for my lack of skill I use anything over +2, which covers just about every 3-2 game). Once we know the count is over +2, aggressiveness is more important than precision. At the low limit tables, stay at 4x the minimum at ~+2, lower the bet at +1 or lower, and if it's +3 or higher I just keep doubling the bet until the count drops or it's time to shuffle. Almost always able to spread from \$5 to at least \$120 (sometimes even \$200) within 40 minutes, even at a 55% double deck game.

At a \$25 table, determine what the count needs to be to justify a \$400 bet (to safely stay under \$500, hat tip: kewlj) given your current capitalization, then let that guide how to spread. Even without much money and staying around 1/2 Kelly, we still might say that we would want \$100 at +3, \$400 at +8 and just let all the other bets fall in the middle
OnceDear
Joined: Jun 1, 2014
• Posts: 1817
March 18th, 2017 at 1:45:32 PM permalink
Quote: racquet

...The true count is 1.619.

True count is true count is 1.69>1 : Decision made. To hell with precision. What's more important is accuracy: I.e. don't lose count. That said TC of +1 is pretty much break even and I'd be inclined to not start ramping till TC>2 (Not that I'm really into counting in practice)
If rounding does make your bets more aggressive, then you are increasing EV ( at tc>2) but so too are you embracing variance with all that that entails. See my sig for my opinion on that.
If you throw out what look like 'happy go lucky' bets of say \$35, when appropriate, then I just suspect that would look less like rigidly ramping with the count and more like playing like a ploppy. So it would get my vote.
Embrace the Variance
racquet
Joined: Dec 31, 2014
• Posts: 95
March 18th, 2017 at 4:12:56 PM permalink
Quote: OnceDear

If you throw out what look like 'happy go lucky' bets of say \$35, when appropriate, then I just suspect that would look less like rigidly ramping with the count and more like playing like a ploppy. So it would get my vote.

I have stopped being rigid in the amounts - always 10 - 20 - 40 - 70 - 90. The opportunities are rare above +2, but I'll mix 30s 50s and 60s in there. And I always cap my bet with a red chip - somehow I imagine that this disguises the larger ones.

I don't do any bets ending in \$5 to avoid complicated blackjacks and surrenders. And always less than \$100 to avoid "black action" or "chips play".

But happy-go-lucky might be a valuable cover. I'll consider it.

But the shoe always ends too soon, and often not as profitable as I expected. So then I start to second-guess either my "missed opportunities" when I could have been more aggressive in the amount, or my "screw-ups" when I was too much so. Hence the focus on my inability to arrive at a truly accurate true count that would, of course, always result in a more positive outcome.
ZenKinG
Joined: May 3, 2016
• Posts: 495
March 19th, 2017 at 4:13:39 PM permalink
Quote: OnceDear

True count is true count is 1.69>1 : Decision made. To hell with precision. What's more important is accuracy: I.e. don't lose count. That said TC of +1 is pretty much break even and I'd be inclined to not start ramping till TC>2 (Not that I'm really into counting in practice)
If rounding does make your bets more aggressive, then you are increasing EV ( at tc>2) but so too are you embracing variance with all that that entails. See my sig for my opinion on that.
If you throw out what look like 'happy go lucky' bets of say \$35, when appropriate, then I just suspect that would look less like rigidly ramping with the count and more like playing like a ploppy. So it would get my vote.

TC +1, you have the edge as long as it's a 3:2 game. People mistakenly think it's break even because they use the estimate of every true count is worth .5, which is simply not the case. +1 has about a .75 increase
Wong Halves Full Indices ------------ LoneWoLF
Wino
Joined: Dec 13, 2014
• Posts: 172
March 19th, 2017 at 4:21:23 PM permalink
Interesting thread. Unbalanced counts offer a compromise or solution for some. I've read about Grosjean eventually switching to KO. He believed that many overestimate their abilility to deck-estimate and true-count.
Wanda Wilcox: “I can’t stand people. I hate them.” Chinaski: “Oh, yeah?” Wanda: “You hate them?” Chinaski: “No, but I seem to feel better when they’re not around.” Barfly, starring Mickey Rourke
billryan
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
• Posts: 2191
March 19th, 2017 at 4:24:21 PM permalink
While he might believe that many over-estimate things, I've no doubt he could do it in his sleep, blindfolded. Why would he switch because of others?
It's what you do and not what you say If you're not part of the future then get out of the way
Romes

Joined: Jul 22, 2014