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Romes
Romes
Joined: Jul 22, 2014
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September 9th, 2014 at 11:50:54 AM permalink
UPDATE 10/5/2015
This thread was actually converted in to 3 articles posted under the articles section of the Wizard of Vegas site. These articles cover everything in this thread, including thread responses/questions/etc, in a lot more detail. Feel free to check the articles out as well as the thread and post any questions here in the thread or on the actual articles:

Article 1
Article 2
Article 3

End Update


Note: After reading through the 99 pages of threads on WoV, 199 pages of threads on Blackjackinfo.com, listening to podcasts/interviews, reading books, I came across a lot of repeating questions over the years that I’d like to try to sum up in to one thread as sort of a beginner “How To.” This thread is for people who’ve heard of card counting, maybe heard a couple terms thrown around, but have no idea how to put the pieces of the puzzle together and/or don’t know where to start. Hopefully it will also teach/remind/point out one or two other things to some intermediate/advanced level players as well. I am a part time counter averaging about 5 hours per week. I have been counting for about 8 years, and can personally tell you I’ve learned most of what I’m about to share by going through the process entirely on my own the first couple years, before finding amazing sites like WoO!

A to Z Counting Cards in Blackjack
Basic Strategy
Pick and Practice a Counting System
Illustrious 18 & Fab 4
Define Playing Conditions
Define Bankroll
Define Bet Spread
READ A BOOK
Understand It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

EDIT: On the first few responses there's been a mention of automatic shufflers. Since it was more than one person to bring it to my attention (Frostie and Dieter) I'll throw it in here to avoid any confusion. DO NOT PLAY AUTOMATIC SHUFFLERS as in general, they can't be counted.

Quote: Romes

Thanks Frostie, and I'm glad you mentioned that. As I've been counting a while it's second nature to skip over some small beginner facts such as this. If I see a shuffler I don't even consider it a game of blackjack and just keep moving on =p.

For any beginners wondering... The reason card counting works is because on each deal, the previous cards used are not re-entered in to the shoe. This creates "state" in the game, where the cards played now effect the cards to come. The most simple example of this is if you have one deck and take all the aces out. Would you take a bet from me that you'll get a blackjack with the remaining cards? Of course you won't, the aces are gone, it's impossible! This again is a simple example showing how the cards played effect the cards remaining. So when automatic shufflers put the cards back together after each deal or two, this ruins the "state" of the game, and thus the new hands have no "memory" of the previously played hands.



Quote: Dieter

"Automatic Shuffler" is different than "Continuous Shuffler". Automatic Shuffler is something like an MD2, MD3, or DeckMate - load a discarded deck in, get a shuffled deck out. Continuous Shuffler is something like a one2six - discards go into the shuffler, and cards are dealt from the shuffler.

END EDIT

Basic Strategy
Basic Strategy is a set way to play the game of blackjack so as to give the player the optimal chance of winning any hand they’re dealt. Any number of basic strategy engines can be taylored to your specific playing rules, but even a basic strategy card from a casino is generally 99% accurate. Memorizing basic strategy is literally just that, memorization. There’s a link later in playing conditions for a basic strategy engine. Make sure you’re memorizing the right strategy for the right game/rules!

Picking and Practice a Counting System
There are many counting systems. Here is a fantastic reference I found on Blackjackinfo.com forums (actually points to Qfit) for their subtle differences: http://www.qfit.com/card-counting.htm ... I personally recommend the Hi/Low count, even after all of this time. A few others might feel high and mighty with their Uston SS count and their .99 Betting Correlation, but these more complex non-balanced counts will absolutely lead to more time needed training, and more player errors in the long run. The amount you give up in any one category to a more complex count you will make back 10 folds with less player mistakes. The system you’re most comfortable with (i.e. will make the least amount of mistakes with) is the “best” system for you.

Another big reason that I find is often unreferenced is the fact that the majority of other counters generally use Hi/Low as well. Thus, if you look over the questions in this forum (or others), I’d guess that 85% of counting questions have to do with the Hi/Low count. It will be a lot more difficult to get specific questions answered about other less popular counts that fewer people seem to use. A fantastic reference for a quick intro to the Hi/Low system can be found on the Wizards main site: http://wizardofodds.com/games/blackjack/card-counting/high-low/

I found practicing to be easy and fun, especially with a simpler count system such as Hi/Low. I got my poker chips out, went out and bought a shoe (novelty and not necessary), and was all set up for the real casino experience on my dining room table! First, practice counting in general by running a deck down. Having read up on your count (assuming Hi/Low), you should know that a deck will start and end at 0. Shuffle and pull 1 card out of a deck face down and set it aside (this can also be a cute magic trick at parties after people have been drinking), then flip cards over one at a time and count the rest of the deck. At the end you should know the card previously set aside’s value. When you can do this in under 30 seconds (ideally 20) then try a more advanced method of couting a deck down; flip over 3 cards at a time and count a deck down all the same. This will hopefully teach you the famous “cancelation” principle. When cards are coming out don’t count them one at a time, instead wait for the 2nd round of cards so you can cancel big cards with little cards. There’s a plethora of phone app’s, web app’s, etc, to practice both counting and basic strategy. Here’s some from BlackjackApprenticeship.com: http://www.blackjackapprenticeship.com/resources/blackjack-training-drills/. When you can do this consistently (key word) then you’re ready to learn some more advanced things such as indexes. Note: Practice with distractions (tv, convo, radio, etc). Casino’s aren’t quiet!

Illustrious 18 & Fab 4
These are deviations from Basic Strategy based on the count. The reason there’s 18 of them is they were found as the top 18 most valulable index plays. The Fab 4 references the 4 surrenders that are a better play than hitting/standing. There are dozens and hundres of index plays, but the opportunity to use them is less than a fraction of a % of the time because the situations with which they occur (true count +10 for example) are so rare, which is why it’s not wroth learning them for the most part. Again, these are changes in play because the count indicates the composition of the deck has changed (i.e. more ‘big’ or 10 valued cards, or more 2-6 ‘little’ cards). Thus, if a deck has a high composition of 10 valued cards, you’ll want to stand on a hand where you normally wouldn’t (i.e. TC +4, 15 stands to dealer 10). Both the illustrious 18 and fab 4 can be found just about anywhere online, even in the link above to the Hi/Low intro! This is again memorization. It takes no special tallent or skill other than remembering numbers.

Define Playing Conditions
To an extremely new counter this is one of the things I’ve found they often don’t think is too important. They think “I count cards, I can beat any game of Blackjack!” This is simply not true because you’ll find different rules at different casino’s. Hell, you'll find different rules at the SAME casinos! Whether or not you can double on any two cards, double after split, what number of hands you can split to, surrender, or if the dealer hits or stands on soft 17 (A-6) is very important! Enjoy this information provided by the Wizard on his main blackjack page at WoO (note this is in comparison to the benchmark rules 8D, S17, DAS):




Penetration
So one might think, for 6 or 8 decks early surrender or the dealer standing on 17 are commonly the biggest advantages I can get! Wrong again. While these are indeed important the most important ‘rule’ hasn’t even been listed yet; penetration. Penetration is how deep the dealer puts the cut card after a shuffle. So if a dealer cuts off 2 decks of an 8 deck shoe after the shuffle, the game is said to have 75% (6/8) PEN. A game with deeper penetration will yeild more variance in counts as less decks are left and more opportunities to have an advantage, and thus bet bigger. To sum that up again, the more penetration you get, the more opportunities you'll get to bet bigger! You want to find a 6 deck game with 1.5 decks cut off, or less (75%+). An 8 deck game with 2 decks cut off, or less (75%+). A double deck game with atleast 60% penetration (i.e. more than one deck cut off). This is the most valulable rule to the player, then follow the other rules as listed above.

Number of Decks
I want to expand on a playing condition briefly mentioned in the rules set above, which is the number of decks. The fewer the number of decks, the better for the player. Example: 1 deck you are dealt an ace, there are 16 (4x4x1) ten valued cards that could give you blackjack, and 51 cards remaining (dealers card face down not counted yet). Thus, your chances of blackjack after receiving an ace are 16/51 = 31.37%. Change that to an 8 deck game… There are 128 (4x4x8) ten valued cards that could give you blackjack, but this time there are 415 total cards remaining. So your chances of blackjack after receiving an ace are 128/415 = 30.84%. However, most of the lower deck games, such as double deck, quite often come with a higher table minimum. In Vegas however, you can easily find $5 and $10 DD games off the strip. Catch the names/places in threads or consult the Wizards Vegas Survey: http://wizardofvegas.com/guides/blackjack-survey/

Heat
Another playing condition that is not listed is “heat.” This is a term used to describe how much the pit bosses/casino are sweating your action. Some places are notorious for backing players off (El Cortez) if they’re just on a hot streak and not even counting cards! Every casino has a different tollerence for bet spreads, etc. Just as every casino has different tollerence at different betting levels ($10 tables, $25 tables, $50 tables, $100 tables, etc). You might be able to spread 20-1 on the $10 tables, but only be able to spread 8-1 on the $100 tables before getting asked to leave. This is a skill that can only be honed with experience over time. Suggested bet spreads that should get minimal heat will be provided later.

Wonging
While it could be considered by some to be an ‘advanced’ playing condition, I believe it’s just too important not to touch on. Wonging is the art of table hopping at the right time, essentially. It’s jumping on to a table when the count is good and leaving a table or sitting out once a count goes bad. Most casual players, such as myself, don’t hardcore wong (as in back count a table and only sit down in the positive and leave the moment the running count even goes negative). I start at fresh deals, so at 0. I generally will play down to a TC -1 then sit out for a bathroom break, phone call, or tell the dealer “I’ve lost too many in a row, I need a break!” Experience will provide you with endless ploppy excuses to sit out from a negative count, but this is absolutley something you should do. It’s harder to do at double deck games or games that have ‘no mid shoe entry,’ because once you’re out you can’t come back in. However, for any 6 or 8 deck game it should be a standard to not play (whatever excuse you can come up with) when the TC is -1 or worse.

In general when selecting rules, I wouldn’t play tables that are more than .45 house edge. This might be high to some, low to others. It depends on where you live, if you have multiple casino’s near you, or if you’re more/less forced to play slightly poorer rules. Again, this number can be defined with a basic strategy engine. Simply plug in the rules of the game and it will not only tell you the basic strategy, but also the house edge. Here is one from Blackjackinfo.com: http://www.blackjackinfo.com/bjbse.php

Define Bankroll & Define Bet Spread
In my opinion, from both my personal experience and having viewed thousands of threads on this forum and others, I most often see that people who are new to counting, or even some mid-level experienced counters (oh no!) have the same questions/issues… “What should my bet spread be?”, and “How much should my bankroll be?” Well here’s the answer!!! …It depends.

Quite often one will define the other. Sometimes playing conditions will define what spread you can get away with, which would drive your bankroll requirements. If you’re not a full time counter (most of us are not) and you’re just taking a trip, then how does that effect your spread/bankroll? I’ll break this down two ways, professionally, and non professionally:

1) Professionally – I’ve read over and over that you should never bet more than 1% of your bankroll as your big bet. I’ve also read over and over that you should have 100x your big bet as your bankroll minimum. Using Kelly Criterion you can determine what your average bet should be, as well as your bet spread. For example, here’s mine for a $10DD game: *Please note this is for a TRIP so it’s slightly more aggressive*



*Note for TC +2 and up the Bet is divided in to 2 hands*


** Bottom Calculations from WoO **

This is for a Vegas trip where I planned to play 3,000 hands. This is also pretty aggressive since it’s a 1-8 spread, but I go to two hands. It’s a trip and I have a lot of places to play in Vegas, so I’m being aggressive. Since I’m not doing this professionally, you might want to search for kewlj or another full time professional’s posts. Perhaps we’ll be lucky enough that they will chime in =D.

I understand these numbers can be quite overwhelming and confusing. Break them down one at a time. First, I used an online calculator (listed above) to get the house edge of the game I'm interested in. Secondly, I looked up the Frequencies in which the hands appear (you can find them in Wong's book, or online by googling 'Blackjack hand frequencies double deck'). Third, I took each TC and calculated the new advantage. I used a more exact method above, but for generics that are pretty close, each TC is worth ~.5%. Thus, if you're playing a 'standard' game where the house edge is -.5%, then when the TC is +1, all you've done is erased their advantage, and you're not yet the favorite! Once you have these factors, the rest are pure calculations. Play with the bet spread you believe you are a) comfortable with, and b) can get away with at the casino. From there the calculations are spelled out, except Gain Per Hand:

Gain ($ Per Hand) = (Bet * Frequency Per 100 Hands) * Advantage... *note: Excel rounds, thus why the image above 'looks' off by a fraction of a percent.


2) Non Professionally – I would consult the Wizards trip ROR calculator to define a bankroll and a risk of ruin (going broke) that you’re comfortable with: http://wizardofodds.com/games/blackjack/appendix/12/

Again this could be variable… What if you just want to do this part time, so it’s not a trip? Is your bankroll replenishable? It comes down to this: Find out what table limits you are comfortable playing at, pick a spread, and compare. So unlike the advice your mother gave you when you were younger, my advice to you is… play with it! Start out with a 1-15 spread for 6 or 8 decks, and a 1-10 spread for DD, at the limits you want to play. See where you stack up (not actually at the tables, but on paper). Let’s look at an example:

I want to play 6D $10 tables. My starting “unit” or bet is $10. So my big bet on a 1-15 unit spread would be $150. For this spread professionally you would need 150x100, or $15,000 as a minimum bankroll. Given that I’m part time and willing to risk 2% as my big bet though, here I would only need $150x50 = $7,500 (p.s. you should never go more than double kelly – 2%, it then becomes a mathematical certanty that you will eventually bust). If this is too large, then perhaps I’ll take a look at a 1-10 spread so that my big bet is only $100 (understanding that the less you spread the less EV you’re getting). Then I would only need $5,000. If this is still too large you can play with more risk of going broke with a shorter bankroll, but understand that is what you’re doing and that that is absolutely not advised for any level of serious or professional play.

In the end most players jump the gun (overbet their bankrolls) because they’re too excited to play. I say this because that’s exactly what I did. I practiced for hours a night for months, I was a machine. I had $1,000 and found an amazing double deck game that was $25 min bet. So what did I do? I played it… Spreading 8-1 over 2 hands (4-1 each hand). Variance was on my side, and I had 13 winning sessions in a row of at least $300. I later came to realize just how lucky I was (extremely), but my point is, you’ll probably jump the gun a bit too; just don’t expect the same results! For a trip, weekend, or part time player this is “ok” as long as you realize you’re jumping up your odds of going broke big time if you hit a down swing of bad “luck” (variance).

If over all you don’t want to do the math and you just want something that is ‘profitable’ as a part time player I can suggest the following:

6D/8D, HE .45-.55, spread 18-1 over two hands with a bankroll of 50 big bets.
2D, HE .25-.45, spread 16-1 over two hands (if you can get away with it) with a bankroll of 50 big bets.

A VERY simple and very barely profitable spread that would be simple to remember, thus good for practice, would be a 5-1 spread. You shouldn’t get any heat at 6 or 8 deck games either. Whatever the true count is, that should be your bet. TC +1 = 1, TC +2 = 2, TC +3 = 3, etc up to 5 units. Any TC < +1 is the table minimum, 1 unit.

*If you note 18-1 over two hands breaks down to 9-1 per each hand. I like to play $10 tables. This results in two $90 bets. Why? Because the dealer calls “checks play” to alert the pit boss of a big bet at $100 bet or more at my local casino. I found they don’t do that if I bet two hands of $90. These are things you must learn with experience per casino.

Bdc42 (casino surveillance who counts to check players): “first, to not catch heat, you must, in my opinion, wager well under the $100 max bet bankroll. a bet spread of $5 or $10 flat to $100 will work.”


READ A BOOK
The reason I listed this near the bottom is from my own experience. I actually think it was more valulable for me to learn counting through an online intro, practice, learn I18 and F4, try to figure out my bankroll/spread BEFORE reading a book. The reason being is I feel I took so much more away from the books I’ve read after having some base knowledge on the subject. They provided me with a ton of “ah ha!” moments to the long standing questions I had and other I wouldn’t have even known existed had I read them before learning things on my own. If you read them as a beginner I’m sure there will be several things that will go over your head and you might feel like they’re just throwing crazy numbers at you from out of no where (maybe you even feel like that now)! With a base knowledge in the subject you’ll at least be able to figure out what they’re talking about or where numbers came from. I would highly recommend the books I’ve read: Ed Thorp’s Beat the Dealer, Standford Wong’s Professional Blackjack, and Lawrence Revere’s Playing Blackjack as a Business. For my opinion Wong has the best when it comes to raw numbers, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading Thorp’s stories of how it all began, the back off’s, the cheating, etc. That’s where I recommend starting.

Understand It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Whether you’re a trip, weekend, part time, or professional player you must understand some things that most new players come to the subject not knowing:

- This is not a get rich quick scheme. You will not make millions of dollars (especially non professionals).

- Keep track/statistics of your play! This can be an indicator of your play after a while. How many hours you’ve played, what your bankroll started at and is currently, average house edge, average session win/loss, etc.

- Counting is a bit alienating. If you don’t have a partner/friend doing it with you, then you spend a lot of time going to casino’s on your own. When you’re at the casino you’re not yourself… You’re acting like a ploppy there to lose money. When your friends don’t understand the math or the game they might look at you as a degenerate gambler, so you’ll generally not tell them you go to the casino every weekend. At first this second ‘secret’ life is exciting, but after a while it gets lonely; hence why we congrigate to the forums =p.

- You will lose more hands than you win. You’re set up to lose ~48% of the time, push ~9% of the time, and win only ~43% of the time. That’s just the math of the game from the first card dealt ( http://wizardofodds.com/games/blackjack/appendix/4/ ). The reason the game is profitable is because you exploit situations that are favorable to the player. So you lose a lot of small bets, but win enough large bets in the long run to come out ahead.

- You shouldn’t expect to “win more often” in super positive counts. The dealer will bust more often, you will get more 20’s and blackjacks (so will the dealer), but do not think because the TC is +5 that you are a huuuuge favorite to win your next hand. You’re not. You’re a smaaaaaaaal favorite, something like 52.7%. This means that 47.3% of the time you’re still going to lose or push, even in large counts.

- You must have a tollerence for swings of bad luck (variance). As stated previously even in a positive count you’re still going to lose or push ~48% of the time. This can be frustrating after counting for hours for a positive shoe then losing all your big bets. This can be maddening when you have losing streaks that go for days, weeks, or even months (kelwj is a professional and had a 6 month losing streak, but still turned a yearly profit, yikes)! I have lost for months as well. You WILL question whether or not counting works. You WILL question whether or not you’re doing it correctly, and you SHOULD question these things to be constantly re-evaluating your play.

- This is a system that provides you on average a couple percent advantage. Thus, over the course of “the long run” (estimated at 1,000 hours for one standard deviation from my readings) you will grind out a profit over the casino’s. If you are not a professional then you should do this for your own reasons, but one of them should not be to become rich. I personally do it for fun (I have a math minor and enjoy probabilities). I’m rather competitive and I love beating casino’s that stack the odds against the player. I love using my brain to flip those odds back at the casino. I do it because I believe casino’s prey on the weak minded. I do it for the cat and mouse game knowing I’m doing something they don’t like, and they’re trying to catch me. I do it for the comps, because after beating the casino having them give me free things to try to keep me playing (because they think I’m a losing player like most others) is just ironic justice.

Lastly, I do it because it’s a great life experience. It’s taught me a tremendous amount about risk/reward, business, investing, patients, and statistics/probability. Not a lot of people can say they were comped rooms at luxorious hotels, given free food, drinks, and then took to the floor betting anywere from $10-$200 per one hand of Blackjack (I’m just a red chipper), and that they were the favorite! I’ve paid for my last 6/7 Vegas trips that I shared with girlfriends, friends, and/or family. While I doubt I’ll ever play the game professionally, as long as they don’t continue butchering the games beyond being playable, I’ll continue to play the game as one of my many hobbies, and I invite you to do the same.


Now, you’re ready to hit the tables

Perhaps after some real experience you’ll be ready for the advanced techniques and new games (such as Scavenger Plays, Cover, Flashers, Rat Holing, etc, and Blackjack Variants or Promotions).
Playing it correctly means you've already won.
odiousgambit
odiousgambit
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September 9th, 2014 at 1:09:25 PM permalink
Clearly you put a lot of work into this. Thanks.

One thing I don't get is saying that counting is easy. Maybe it comes easy to some.

BS I have down 99%. 100% except that I have to 'think' sometimes, not automatic yet.

But I can say with fair confidence I can forget counting. It would take a dedication in time and effort that is nowhere in sight.
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
FrostieFingerz
FrostieFingerz
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September 9th, 2014 at 1:32:47 PM permalink
This is a great thread!
There are indeed different rules in different casino's, sometimes very subtle like allowing to surrender except when the dealer has an ace. Another important one is to how many hands you can split, and if you're allowed to double after a split :)

On the topic of card counting, for the beginner it is worth to mention that continuous shuffle machines make card counting useless, so for a card counter tables with CSM's aren't worth playing. (In Europe, casinos are full of those things!)

I don't know how to count cards yet, but I believe anyone will be able to keep a running count. However, I think keeping the true count (running count divided by decks remaining) can be much more difficult in a casino environment with lots of distraction.
Romes
Romes
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September 9th, 2014 at 1:40:13 PM permalink
Quote: odiousgambit

Clearly you put a lot of work into this. Thanks. One thing I don't get is saying that counting is easy. Maybe it comes easy to some.


I think most counters quickly say counting is easy because at it's most simple form, it's just +1 and -1, so it is VERY easy. You are correct that putting it all together takes time, dedication, and tons of practice, which I mention a couple times :).

Quote: FrostieFingerz

This is a great thread! On the topic of card counting, for the beginner it is worth to mention that continuous shuffle machines make card counting useless, so for a card counter tables with CSM's aren't worth playing. (In Europe, casinos are full of those things!)


Thanks Frostie, and I'm glad you mentioned that. As I've been counting a while it's second nature to skip over some small beginner facts such as this. If I see a shuffler I don't even consider it a game of blackjack and just keep moving on =p.

For any beginners wondering... The reason card counting works is because on each deal, the previous cards used are not re-entered in to the shoe. This creates "state" in the game, where the cards played now effect the cards to come. The most simple example of this is if you have one deck and take all the aces out. Would you take a bet from me that you'll get a blackjack with the remaining cards? Of course you won't, the aces are gone, it's impossible! This again is a simple example showing how the cards played effect the cards remaining. So when automatic shufflers put the cards back together after each deal or two, this ruins the "state" of the game, and thus the new hands have no "memory" of the previously played hands.
Playing it correctly means you've already won.
1BB
1BB
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September 9th, 2014 at 1:50:39 PM permalink
Quote: odiousgambit

Clearly you put a lot of work into this. Thanks.

One thing I don't get is saying that counting is easy. Maybe it comes easy to some.

BS I have down 99%. 100% except that I have to 'think' sometimes, not automatic yet.

But I can say with fair confidence I can forget counting. It would take a dedication in time and effort that is nowhere in sight.



The more you count the better you become. Counting is as natural to me as breathing. I can easily do it while dealing with all the distractions of a live casino. If I use Hi-Lo I can count two tables simultaneously. I assure you I don't bring any extraordinary skills to the table but I do bring discipline, patience and attention to detail.

Perhaps you haven't found the right count. There are several to choose from that will get the money. You're not attempting a level 2 count are you?
Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth. - Mahatma Ghandi
Dieter
Dieter
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September 9th, 2014 at 2:14:27 PM permalink
Quote: Romes

you should have 100x your big bet as your bankroll minimum



Note that this doesn't mean you can't play with less - it means you're flirting with a high "risk of ruin".

If someone wanted to table hop aggressively on a $1000 bankroll and a ($0)/$5/$10 bet spread, it's possible. A grind, but possible.

"You guys mind if I sit in for 2 hands?" - an amazingly useful phrase.
May the cards fall in your favor.
aceofspades
aceofspades
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September 9th, 2014 at 2:19:37 PM permalink
Very informative!!! A great read indeed
Romes
Romes
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September 9th, 2014 at 2:24:33 PM permalink
Quote: Dieter

Note that this doesn't mean you can't play with less - it means you're flirting with a high "risk of ruin".

If someone wanted to table hop aggressively on a $1000 bankroll and a ($0)/$5/$10 bet spread, it's possible. A grind, but possible.

"You guys mind if I sit in for 2 hands?" - an amazingly useful phrase.


Thanks for making another great point about Wonging =). There are definitely ways to play with lower funds, but they might be more of a grind. Personally to new players I'd recommend not playing with a lower amount like this. Instead, save more for a bankroll and use that time to PRACTICE! You can never practice enough.
Playing it correctly means you've already won.
1BB
1BB
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September 9th, 2014 at 2:36:42 PM permalink
The 100 max bet bankroll comes from the days when we didn't have computers to simulate everything. I always had more. Today we can enter all the data for a game and run a sim that will accurately determine our optimum bankroll. It will vary. I still like 100 max bets and I still refer to it. It has good shock value. When someone playing $5 and spreading properly asks what their bankroll should be, the look on their face is priceless. "What do you mean I need $8,000 to play a $5 table"?
Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth. - Mahatma Ghandi
kewlj
kewlj
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September 9th, 2014 at 3:19:25 PM permalink
Obviously, you put a lot of time and effort into this 'project', Romes. It's a good read and useful as a reference piece to newer players, with some useful information in one convenient place.

After reading through it once, I did have a couple thoughts. The first, 1BB, has already brought up....the 100 max bet 'rule'. It was only a guideline type generalization from back in the day before simulations were so common. It really has outlived it's usefulness. Today it's really about simulations and risk of ruin, which you chose to leave that most important term (RoR) out.

Second and very much related is that you mentioned this 100 max bet rule in the 'non-professional' section, stating that a professional player would play with 100 max bets. I don't know any professional player that plays by that guideline. That would result in a RoR greater than any professional player would be comfortable with.

The final thing that caught my attention is the use of 'unit', and various spreads. But you didn't go into how those spreads are ramped. I personally don't like the to use the word unit when referring to my small wager, because that sort of infers that you raise your wagers by that amount. In this case, you would raising your wagers in increments of $10. $10-$20-$30-$40 and so forth. If that's the case you won't get to your larger bets until it is too late. Those counts will occur far too infrequently to do you any good.

In today's shoe games with less favorable conditions than when many of the reference books still popular were written, a player needs to have his top wager out by true count of +4 or +5 at the latest. That means to get from, say minimum wager of $10 to a max of say $160, you must raise by more than $10 increments. Therefore I don't like calling that $10 my 'unit'. It is misleading and if players actually raise by that amount they will never get where they need to be.

I don't mean to be critical, just some thoughts that popped into my head. Perhaps I am thinking above the level of the newer players that you are targeting. Again, overall, I think the information you provided in one convenient spot, may be very useful to many newer players.
Just say no to 6:5 Blackjack, Continuous shuffle machines and Blackjack the Forum. All are Negative expected value.

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