So a couple of weeks ago, I made this post:
Asking some stuff about counting. I went to Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore yesterday, Saturday 6/20/2015, and counted for the first time.
I was pleasantly surprised to find $10 stakes around noon when I arrived, but they went up to $15 after about an hour or so, and then only a shoe later it went straight up to $25, which was out of my bankroll. Rules were great, dealer standing on soft 17 and surrendering being available along with the usual double on any two cards, etc. House edge for this is about 0.38%.
I was pretty nervous when I first sat down, and it didn't help that my Asian dealer dealt very fast. Of course this is what you want as a card counter, but I felt pressured to make fast decisions to avoid slowing down the table.
Which wasn't good, because there were 3 mistakes I caught myself making.
1) I hit 12 against a 5 when I didn't take my time counting my hand total, which luckily for me didn't make a difference to me or the table.
2) I didn't take insurance since the dealer asks for insurance quickly and I didn't stop him to let me think and calculate the true count, and only after I calculated it did I realize I should've, and unfortunately the dealer had blackjack.
3) I doubled 11 against an ace when the count was over 1, but when it came to me it went under 1 and I already had my bet placed. Unfortunately, I lost this hand as well.
4) After the stakes went up to $15 I accidentally bet $90 instead of $75 and effectively played 6-1 spread instead of 5-1, but I don't entirely count this as a mistake since I was getting my money in at TC >= +2, I just need to stop playing when it goes up to $15.
I got pretty into it quickly though, and found myself counting pretty comfortably, although I did get a call from my wife in the middle and had to take it, then lost count when I got back to the table and just flat min bet the rest of the shoe.
Dealer was running so hot though, I ended up losing $700 in 2 hours. Considering I played a couple of hours and played 6-1 spread at $15 stakes, I'm guessing this is standard variance, just getting unlucky. Sucks as my first session especially considering I won't be able to get a lot of chances to go, but I do have a bankroll of $5,000, so I'm hoping fixing my leaks and staying at 5-1 spread at $10 will not get me this low (please give me some confidence).
Anyways, I will have to work on estimating the number of decks and playing faster, but all in all, a confidence building if unfortunate first session before I go to AC with my friends in a little over a month.
but they went up to $15 after about an hour or so, and then only a shoe later it went straight up to $25
They didn't grandfather you in at the $10 rate?
From the house edge, which I think may be slightly lower, I'm assuming 6 decks and if so a 1-5 spread is low. It's also all that your bankroll will comfortably allow. Just something to keep in mind.
Finally, do not be intimidated by your dealer. I know it can be easier said than done in a live game but you control the pace. I'm trying to find something positive to say about AC blackjack but I can't. How about you won't have to worry about the Fab 4 there? Nah, that's no good.
Horseshoe Baltimore is my home casino at this point. For whatever reason they pretty much don't grandfather people in when they raise the table limits, I can't say for sure I've never seen them do it. But I remember other players asking and being told no. I know that's customary other places...Vegas and AC. But not in this joint. They make up for it with good BJ rules though. State of MD mandated house rules. There is a proposal to allow H17 BJ though. Which would I suspect they would use at all the $10 and $15 tables. I suspect there is enough competition around that they might keep S17 at $25 and up tables.
This isn't necessarily true at CET properties in Vegas. I think PH is fine with it, but I remember for a fact that Flamingo did as you described (told people to meet the new min or leave).
Edit: All MGM properties allow grandfathering in without exception. Most (I think) CET do not, but the floor has discretion (seen it enforced and not enforced at CP after thinking about it).
Also, if my wife calls and the count is high, I don't think i would take the call :-P
Thanks for the trip report, R2D2. Horseshoe Baltimore advertises that it has $10 BJ 24/7 on the first floor near Guy Fieri's resturant during the day and on the second floor by the cashier cage at night. (https://www.caesars.com/horseshoe-baltimore/casino) Did you see those tables? Are they CSM or shoe?
I didn't go downstairs myself, but I have heard from enough reliable sources in previous threads on here that they're all CSMs. Also when they raised the table limits up to $25 I asked them if there were any $10/$15 left and they said "downstairs," basically confirming they're CSMs.
At a .4% HE 6D $10 game and a 1-5 spread ($10-$50), your EV is about: $6.48/hour. This isn't even minimum wage, but yes, I understand this is all your bankroll allows (for now). Are you willing to commit another $5k if you lose this $5k? If so, you don't have to have the $10k now, but you can play as though you have a $10k bankroll right now (so long as you are indeed willing to commit the 2nd $5k). This will also enable you to up your spread (which you will eventually NEED to do if you're going to actually try to make any kind of money at this).
So you said you played for about 2 hours... Let's give you the benefit of the doubt at the $10 tables (probably a bit crowded) and say you got 100 hands per hour. That's 200 hands. Your EV for your session was: $15.32 (200*GainPerHand). You'll notice this isn't $6.48*2 because not only is that based on 84.55 hands per hour, but also because you should always calculate your EV from your hands, not time; you may get 50 hands per hour today and 100 hands per hour tomorrow, so 1 hour could mean something different.
So your EV was $15.32... how about your standard deviation? Well, also shown in the thread I linked you to prior is that info too.
Standard Deviation (SD) for 1 hand = 1.1*AvgBet. Assuming your Average Bet is $16.67 (I have your max bet $50 out at TC +3), then your SD for 1 hand is 1.1*16.67 = 18.34. For any number of hands your SD = Sqrt(NumHands) * SD1Hand = Sqrt(200) * 18.34 = $259.37.
This means you expected to make about $15, give or take $260 in either direction, for one standard deviation (66% confidence). 2 SD's give 95% confidence (meaning for 2*SD you can be 95% sure your results will fall in to that realm)... Thus, with 95% confidence, you expected to make $15, give or take $520.
As you can tell this means you were outside 2 SD's. 3 SD's is 99.9% confidence. Thus, with 99.9% confidence, you expected to make $15, give or take $780, which yes, you fell in to this realm of numbers. So what does this mean? Well, being nearly 3SD out means you got quite unlucky. If this happens consistently I would absolutely re-evaluate my play to make sure I wasn't making major mistakes. If your play is solid, then you just got very, very unlucky and fell on the left side of the bell curve. In the long run of course, this means nothing. You're playing for the pennies per hand getting put in to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and you can collect all that money when you hit the long run (after you've played enough hands that SD's shouldn't matter, you'll be up no matter what).
I hope you see why all of this information and being able to understand the math is so important. If you were 5SD out after 20-30 hours, then I would say with confidence you are playing wrong, or you're getting cheated. Understanding these numbers gives you a ton of information and kind of a "review" of your game. It's the difference between thinking you have a winning game, and knowing you have a winning game! =)