Solution
Solution
Joined: Aug 1, 2012
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September 2nd, 2012 at 11:19:11 PM permalink
I've been card counting for months never really going anywhere using hi-lo. I've been using a 1-5 bet spread. I have read many books and been under the impression that a true count of 1 called for me to bet 10, a TC of 2 called for 15 and so on. A couple weeks ago I tried out my system on a blackjack simulator and it said that I should be betting 5 until a TC of 1, and then bet 15. At a TC of 1.5 or higher I should bet 25. I was excited about this new system, because I thought it showed me I had been doing it wrong this whole time. My goal was to make about 40-50 dollars using this every time I sat down. My risk of ruin was calculated to be about 20% so I thought I would be able to make my goal about 8/10 times. I tried this 5 times and overbet my $100 bankroll each time. I need a betting system that will work without overbetting my bankroll. The books I've read have helped me significantly to increase my accuracy, and overall knowledge of the game, but don't supply information for my specific situation. Does anyone have a betting system to coincide with my hi-lo system at this 5 dollar minimum and 100 dollar bankroll? Please don't lecture about my bankroll. I know how bad it is to start that low, but I'm just starting as a counter, and trying to build my bankroll.
kewlj
kewlj
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September 3rd, 2012 at 12:31:55 AM permalink
In answer to your specific question: most blackjack games have an initial house advantage of somewhere between .2% and .65%, depending on the exact rules (excluding 6-5 blackjack which has a much larger house advantage). A good double deck game with s17 rules will be on the lower side of that range and most 6-8 deck shoe games (poorer games) with s17 rule will be in the .6% neighborhood. Unfortunately $5 games tend to be poorer games in this higher range. Now the general rule is that the player advantage increases by half a percent per true count using hi-lo. It is actually a little more than this, but for sake of ease, we will stick with this accepted rule. So if you have a good game, say 6 deck, s17 with an initial house edge of .43%, then at a TC of +1, this game has just barely flipped to the players advantage of .07% (barely break even). If it is a poorer 6 deck h17 game with a house edge of .64%, then you will not have even reached the break even point by the TC of +1, as it will still be a house advantage of .14%. The bottom line is that you are lucky to have a break even game at TC +1 for most games, so there is no real reason to raise your bet at that point. I personally begin to raise my bet at a TC of +1.5 and really the only reason I do so at that point is to avoid a big jump at +2. It smooths out the betting ramp.

Now on to a subject that you didn't ask about. A 1-5 spread is not enough to beat most games, with the exception of really good games, like the previously mentioned double deck, low house edge game. Most 6/8 deck games require a larger spread to get an advantage because the number of hands at which the player actually has an advantage happen very infrequently. You have to play many many more hands at a disadvantage to get to those few where you have an advantage, so when you get to them, you have to bet many times more to overcome all those negative expectation hands. You can help your cause by not playing some of those negative expectation hands...sitting out or leaving during negative counts.

Your goal to win any amount, EVERY time you sit down: Did you really think this? Not to be discouraging, but you have a lot more reading to do. Any advantage you have is a long-term advantage which you will see after thousands and thousands of hands. In the short run anything can happen. I will give you an example from my own play. I play at just about a 1% long term advantage. Over the course of a year, my expected win is upper 5 figures and I have come in around that mark for each of the last 4 years. BUT, in 2 of those years, I had 6 month periods in which I did not make any money. One of those six month periods actually showed a five figure loss (part of a year with a significant win). I am talking 6 months of playing almost everyday. Sitting down at a table 12-15 times (I play very short sessions), so most of those times sitting down at a table did not result in any kind of win. What I am trying to say is this idea of winning every time or nearly every time you sit down is a pipe dream. If only it worked that way. Well actually, if it worked that way, everyone would be card counting and the casinos would stop offering beatable games, but that's another matter.

Lastly, I know you don't want to hear that you bankroll is insignificant, but let me try to explain why this playing on a shoestring bankroll, even a small session bankroll is sooooo disastrous. 2 examples: 1.) you have lost $60 over the first part of the shoe. The count finally goes positive and you are playing at an advantage. A small advantage, but an advantage nevertheless. You put out your $25 wager and draw a 6,4 vs the dealer 5 card. A very strong double down offering you a very strong advantage. But you don't have enough money to double down, or only enough to partially double down. You are giving up a significant advantage from the strongest hand you have had all day. You played through all those crappy negative expectation hands to get to a favorable position and now you can't fully take advantage of it. Example #2, along the same lines. You played through many negative expectation hands to get to a point that there is a strong count and you are finally playing at an advantage, but now you are out of funds and unable to take advantage of it. Again, we play through all those negative hands to get to the rare point that you are playing with an advantage. You have got to have the funds to take advantage of those opportunities when they arrive. There is nothing worse than walking away from a positive count mid shoe. It defeats the whole purpose of getting there.
Just say no to 6:5 Blackjack, Continuous shuffle machines and Blackjack the Forum. All are Negative expected value.
brianparkes
brianparkes
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September 3rd, 2012 at 12:34:37 AM permalink
Ha. That was almost exactly what I was typing when I decided to check to read the column again and saw your post, KewlJ. Perfectly said.
Solution
Solution
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September 3rd, 2012 at 12:46:41 AM permalink
Okay, well let me clarify. I play a decent 6 deck game:

6 deck
H17
Split up to 4 times
Double any 2 cards
DAS
One card after ace split
3:2
Late Surrender
About 80% penetration

I know a counter that walks in with 100 dollars, and I see him increasing his bet by dollar amounts and walks out with 3-400$ each time he goes. I'm looking for specific betting instructions that will allow me to do something similar to increase my bankroll overtime into something respectable. I'm new to this compared to most people, but I've learned after this past year of breaking even that I never stop being a student of the game. What do you think I should do?
Solution
Solution
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September 3rd, 2012 at 1:00:54 AM permalink
Also, thank you for the reply. I feel quite rediculous asking now the way you put it, and I feel like I should give up. My math was based on the risk of ruin in the simulator telling me when i should stop. I didn't think I'd get very far with such a small bankroll without a goal. However, I do Wong around quite a bit if that helps with your explanation.
kewlj
kewlj
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September 3rd, 2012 at 2:01:34 AM permalink
No reason to feel ridiculous. I am not trying to push you in the direction of giving up. :( Just trying to steer you towards more reasonable expectations. Knowledge and preparation are the keys to success. I personally benefited far more from discussions on various sites than by reading the dozens of texts that I own on the subject. I think you learn from experience better than books and participation on different sites makes it possible to learn from other players experiences as well as your own.

A simulator is a great tool which can teach you not only about things like RoR, but also, what kind of return you can reasonably expect.

Wonging is quite valuable. Getting out of at least some of the negative hands can make a big difference. It will improve your win rate significantly, while lowering your RoR, as well as allow you to play with a smaller bet spread, as there are not as many negative EV hands to overcome. There are basically two forms of wonging. 'Wonging in' is the strongest method, where you only enter the game at counts where the player has an advantage. This eliminates ALL of the negative EV hands. You are playing every hand at an advantage. Unfortunately, the no-mid-shoe-entry rule, plus crowded conditions, especially at low limit games, makes wonging in difficult. 'Wonging out', or playing from the start of a shoe, but exiting or sitting out some negative hands, is a little less know. It is less powerful than wonging in, but certainly stronger than playing all. Playing off the top, but wonging out aggressively is my own method of attack.
Just say no to 6:5 Blackjack, Continuous shuffle machines and Blackjack the Forum. All are Negative expected value.
Solution
Solution
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September 3rd, 2012 at 2:18:37 AM permalink
Haha. I feel like I have a lot of knowledge of the game, but I just can't compose it all together. Specifically for my betting. I feel like I've tried everything. How do you think I should bet given my current bankroll? And even if I had a higher bankroll, what should my bet spread be?
dwheatley
dwheatley
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September 3rd, 2012 at 9:22:06 AM permalink
Quote: Solution

Haha. I feel like I have a lot of knowledge of the game, but I just can't compose it all together. Specifically for my betting. I feel like I've tried everything. How do you think I should bet given my current bankroll? And even if I had a higher bankroll, what should my bet spread be?



There is a big difference between you session bankroll ($100), and the total amount of money you are willing to risk on blackjack. Your session bankroll would ideally not be a problem, but in reality it is (see below). Your 'life-time' bankroll should be carefully estimated. Do you work, and have a reprehensible bankroll and disposible income? Or are you playing with the cash you have in your bank account?

Kelly betting suggests you should bet up to about 1-2% of your total bankroll as your highest bet. I made a cute calculator in Excel once where i figured the advantages at various counts, input my bankroll and then found the kelly bet at each count. This was nice, but not that important.

What is important is to bet more when the count is high, even more when it's higher, to not overbet your total bankroll (if you figure you could lose $10,000 before giving up completely, max out your bet at 100-200 a hand), and to not overbet your SESSION bankroll, as other posters have put it.

$100 is simply not enough to play through a single shoe if you are willing to spread to $25. I have dropped $200 in a single shoe with bets no higher then $20. You will be forced to walk away from a positive count at some point, and you will be justifiably sad. Also, a 1-5 spread is not enough to make a decent dent on any game.

I know you asked not to be lectured on your bankroll, but it is a serious problem that is, somewhat counter-intuitively, costing you money. To answer your question, you should not be trying to count, and thus not be betting anything, with a $100 bankroll
Wisdom is the quality that keeps you out of situations where you would otherwise need it
Solution
Solution
Joined: Aug 1, 2012
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September 3rd, 2012 at 10:58:13 AM permalink
Thank you for the advice.

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