Hi Pelicanbrief, and welcome to the forums.
The small advantage obtained by the Ace-5 count can't be changed, but you can change your expected value (EV) return... Let's break it down...
The reason you have an advantage is you're tracking certain key cards and because of the effect of card removal and the rules of the game and simulations that have run hundreds of millions of hands, we know you have X% advantage when so many of these certain cards are removed. So let's say when all the 5's are gone you have a 2% advantage. How would placing another bet make this go up, considering you need to remove more 5's to make the % go up? It won't. So while the advantage is swinging back and forth pending the cards removed, your advantage at any one point in time will NOT be affected by you sitting out or placing more bets.
HOWEVER, you most certainly can effect your return (EV) by doing these things. When you have a 1% advantage and place a $100 wager, you can expect (in the long run) to make $1 net profit every time this situation occurs. If you were to place 2 wagers $100 every single time you have a 1% advantage, then you would expect to get more net profit back. Be careful though... because of CoVariance your wagers aren't exactly one for one. Two wagers of $100 is the same as one wager of $150. So you're expectation of 2 hands of $100 (in the long run) would be $1.50 net profit per round. So yes, you just increased your expectation for that situation by 50%, but again no you did not change the house edge... You just took "more" advantage of it by betting more. Similarly when the count is negative, you're at a bigger disadvantage and you'd expect to lose $X per hand you play at -3... So by NOT playing at -3 you're "saving" that money and thus you would see more in your overall return (EV).
***NOTE: If you are willing to put some effort in to counting, you REALLY should just learn Hi/Low. The edge you get from A-5 is MINIMAL and to boot you STILL must understand concepts such as Bankroll Management, variance/co-variance, and Risk of Ruin (RoR) in order to have a winning game. You're not going to be able to "cut corners" and use this "simpler" count to make money in blackjack. It's just another counting system... in which you must still understand all of the other concepts. So simply by learning Hi/Low (another VERY EASY count) you'll be able to gain SO MUCH MORE of an accurate advantage and actual advantage (you can then use the I18 to properly take insurance, etc, etc). I definitely recommend you learn Hi/Low. It will take the same amount of time to master as the Ace-5 count but you will see MULTIPLES more profit in the long run.
If you're interested, I wrote 3 articles that are available on this site... Read and reread them, and I assure you with some practice you will have a winning game!
With literally 1 hour per day for 1 month every thing you mentioned is like breathing. It takes practically little to no effort at all, and to boot you still need to learn EVERYTHING else that goes along with card counting to use Ace-5... you're just using a weaker count. That's why most (including myself) don't believe the Ace-5 count is worth it if you're actually trying to make money. It is a very good way to have fun while recreationally gambling and trying to still pull what you can from the game... But I can pretty much guarantee you that NO real or serious counter uses Ace-5, and when I say real I even mean the people who only play weekends or on trips but want to definitely win money in the long run. None. So it depends on what your intent of the count is I suppose.Quote: camz1969
Thanks for the response. I have practiced Hi/Low but I would not consider it easy to stay accurate in a real casino environment. You have to keep a lot more in your mind versus Ace-5 (running count, true count, basic strategy, l while looking "natural" and managing bankroll). I would rather be 100% accurate every time on a less effective count than make a lot of mistakes with a more effective count...
It doesn't come off as lazy. I understand that you're trying to weigh each system and their time investment. All I'm trying to show you is that you're not saving much time at all. You must still research all of the things above. So you're still investing quite a bit of time in to Ace-5, and for a fraction of more time you can do something that returns so much more.Quote: camz1969
Hopefully we do not all come off as lazy for wanting to use Ace-5, but for some of us it takes practicing Hi/Low every day for months to even keep a 100% accurate running count for hours with distractions around you. Non-professionals may not have that kind of time but still do not want the house to have a long term edge over them when they play. Ace-5 is almost immediate if you have perfect basic strategy already. I actually have a little trick that is not visible to people or cameras to where I don't even have to keep the count in my head...
That's the other struggle. If you're playing (let's say) $10-$50 spread with Ace-5: I hope you realize your EV is maybe $1-$2 per hour. And this means ZERO mistakes with basic strategy, betting, etc, etc. You will make mistakes, everyone does. So at this point you're not playing a game that will have you "until I'm up" so you can bet even more. You're looking to get a lower variance cushion until you get some winnings, but since you're already spreading low and combine that with the weak count, you're going to struggle to get that cushion for years potentially... vs adding a fractional amount of time and effort in to learning any other more powerful count.Quote: camz1969
I definitely have bankroll management. Basically the reason I am wondering what my break even or slightly positive spread would be is I want to minimize variance until I am up (until I hit some positive variance). Assuming I play a break even (0% house edge) game, over the long run I realize it will swing up and down and I do have the bankroll to ride out the downs. On the ups I would then bet bigger (with their money) in positive counts and increase my edge. I just do not want to play with a negative edge at any point.
Without being rude, and especially to a former great member (AceOfSpades) Speed Count, if you're actually trying to make any kind of money, is a joke =/.Quote: camz1969
...I know that Hi/Low is your #1 go to, but are there any others that may be easier that are more effective than Ace-5? What is your opinion of Speed Count?
Nice to hear you're having some good progress with the count. While your trick may help you for now, it's a crutch you should be able to play without =).Quote: camz1969
Update: I've practiced hi/low a lot recently and I am getting pretty good at it. Thanks for steering me back towards it. I actually realized that the "trick" I used for keeping ace-five helps with hi/low as well. Basically I move my thumbnail slightly to different spots on my fingers on my left hand. I can mark from -3 to +3 on my first finger alone. I usually have that hand covered somehow or under the table, but even if it's out it's not that noticeable. It really helps if I get distracted for a few seconds. I know right where I left off.