gambler
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January 19th, 2010 at 1:12:05 PM permalink
Let us assume a good (for the player) 6 shoe game - 0.26% house advantage with perfect basic strategy

Now, let's factor in all the drunks, stupid people, non perfect basic strategy players, cheats, card counters, new players, etc.

What do you think the actual house advantage is for blackjack? Are they returning 1%, 2%, 3%, more?

I have read somewhere that even on 100.7% expectation video poker, the house still has a 3% house advantage on average due to all of the sub optimal play.

For blackjack I will go middle of the road and guess 1.5% advantage for the house on average. Your thoughts?
DJTeddyBear
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January 19th, 2010 at 1:36:18 PM permalink
You forgot to include the idiots that play BJ for 6:5 when a 3:2 is on the next table, etc.
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
DorothyGale
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January 19th, 2010 at 1:39:27 PM permalink
[edit] -- deleted, did not understand OP's question.

--Dorothy
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boymimbo
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January 19th, 2010 at 1:41:40 PM permalink
Hmmm... it depends on the distribution of the players. Out of a group of 100 players, I would say only 5% know perfect basic strategy. They get the .26% HA.

Another 20% are good strategists. They make a few errors, like standing a soft 18 on a 10, standing on a 12 vs a 3, and make a few iffy doubling and splitting decisions (Splitting 4 on 4, not splitting 9s on a 9, not doubling a soft 15 on a 6, etc). Let's say they make 10 errant basic strategy decisions consistently that costs them 10% of the EV vs the correct decision. Multiply this by the % of hands that this occurs (there are 26 different decisions and 10 dealer positions, so getting six wrong probably means the combination where the wrong decision is made on 4% of hands. So, .10 x .04 = .004. They get the .66% HA.

Another 50% make alot of mistakes but know some strategy, like to make a decision based on the dealer's up card. But they will always stay on 12 on a dealer 2 and 3, they will make bad splitting a doubling decisions. Say, out of the 260 combinations, they make bad decisions on 10% of hands which costs them, say 20% of EV (.10 x .20 = .02). They get assigned a 2.26% HA.

The other 25% are out to lunch and have no idea what they are doing. According to the Wizard, they follow a strategy like "Mimic the Dealer" or "Never Bust". They get assigned a HA of 5%.

So, when you put it all together .26% x 5% + .66% x 20% + 2.26% x 50% + 5% x 25% = 2.525%.

That's my guess anyway, about 2.5%. The thing is that a drunkie is far more likely to sit at a 6/5 table than stumble into a game with a .26% HA.
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pacomartin
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January 19th, 2010 at 2:37:26 PM permalink
Nevada publishes something every month called a "Win percent" for every game. Sometimes the win percent is called the casino hold. I will quote the wizard here:

The house advantage is the percentage you will lose, on average, of each dollar bet. The hold is the ratio of money the casino wins to chips purchased. This is going to be much higher than the house edge because in table games players circulate through the same chips for a while.

This percentage is larger than the house edge even considering wild unorthodox play, because the winnings are circulated back in. Sometimes when it goes up it is an indication that people are staying at the tables longer.

The win percent for the last year for blackjack in all of Nevada was 11.38%.

I don't think there is any way to actually calculate the true house advantage which is what you call house edge including all the stupid plays. No casino keeps track of the number of times chips get re-circulated. It would be possible if chips were replaced with electronic systems. However, the few systems (like Shufflemaster) that have all electronic systems don't publish that data. The Wizard has done some calculations to account for various bad strategies like mimic the dealer, or never double, or never split anything other than aces.

One of the most unlikely strategies I have ever heard was reported by a dealer in Ask the Wizard . The player never looked at his cards playing blackjack....just tucked them. The wizard calculated that under typical Vegas rules (6-deck, dealer hits soft 17) the house edge by always standing is 15.7%. But in the real life situation this player sometimes walked away ahead. It just goes to show you that empirical observations are almost meaningless.
Wizard
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January 19th, 2010 at 2:48:42 PM permalink
Peter Griffin devoted a whole chapter to the question of the cost of playing errors in his book 'Extra Stuff -- Gambling Ramblings.' His study was based on observing 11,000 actual hands of play in 1987. The following table summarizes his results of the cost of errors made.

City Cost of Errors Margin of Error
Atlantic City 1.13% 0.12%
Las Vegas 1.67% 0.17%
Reno 1.48% 0.19%
Lake Tahoe 1.39% 0.54%
Total 1.41% 0.10%



In my opinion, play has improved a lot in the 23 years since the study. If forced to guess, I think the cost due to errors is only about 0.5% now, based on total amount bet. The smaller the bet, the higher it tends to be. Griffin standardized the bet size in his study. I would agree with Griffin that Atlantic City players are more skilled than Vegas players.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
gambler
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January 19th, 2010 at 4:14:02 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

If forced to guess, I think the cost due to errors is only about 0.5% now, based on total amount bet. The smaller the bet, the higher it tends to be. Griffin standardized the bet size in his study.



I don't know Wizard. If what you say is true, then a good blackjack table (0.26% house edge) only has a 0.76% house advantage when you factor in errors. While I agree with you that a $5 per hand player is likely to be less skilled then a $100 per hand player, I have seen more then my share of bad "high rollers" out there.

On a side note, let's say you were a god awful blackjack player. Would you get more comps then a good basic strategy player with the same per hand play? Or would they just rate you as the same $100 a hand (for example) player.
Wizard
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January 19th, 2010 at 4:40:56 PM permalink
Quote: gambler


I don't know Wizard. If what you say is true, then a good blackjack table (0.26% house edge) only has a 0.76% house advantage when you factor in errors. While I agree with you that a $5 per hand player is likely to be less skilled then a $100 per hand player, I have seen more then my share of bad "high rollers" out there.

On a side note, let's say you were a god awful blackjack player. Would you get more comps then a good basic strategy player with the same per hand play? Or would they just rate you as the same $100 a hand (for example) player.



I know of one major casino in Vegas that assumes a 0.75% house edge in blackjack (source). Griffin also said about 5% of hands were not played correctly. It seems to me that most errors are relatively minor ones, like standing on 12 against a 2, and/or don't happen often, like not soft doubling when you're supposed to. It isn't just blackjack, players are more skilled across the board than they used to be. It is much easier to get good information about gambling. Hopefully I've played a part in that.

To answer your question, most casinos generally don't take skill into consideration. Jim Kilby's 'Casino Operations Management' shows a rating slip with three levels of skill, but everyone I speak with says they just go by average bet and hours played. There would be exceptions for whales, where play gets watched more carefully. Indeed, they could expect to be treated better if they played badly, but it would likely be an informal adjustment.

However, mark my words, the day will come where every bet and every mistake will be recorded, and your exact skill level will be known. This will be done by sensors for the bets, and either card readers or cameras for the cards. This will be true for all games of skill. Milk the comps now, while you still can.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
pacomartin
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January 19th, 2010 at 5:30:25 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard


I know of one major casino in Vegas that assumes a 0.75% house edge in blackjack (source). Griffin also said about 5% of hands were not played correctly. It seems to me that most errors are relatively minor ones, like standing on 12 against a 2, and/or don't happen often, like not soft doubling when you're supposed to.



That's an interesting statistic. Even allowing that 0.75% is for traditional blackjack, and must be increased to cover 6:5, superfun, and other variations, that means that each chip is played on the order of ten times to get the win percent reported in the NGCB publications which is currently 11.38% statewide.


I wouldn't have though that people replay their chips that many times.

Side Question Players must be passionately attached to chips. You would think that casinos could still play with dealers, cards, felt and dice, but replace chips with electronic devices that would allow them to easily collect data, distribute comps, look for cheating, and check disputes. I must assume that all experimental moves in this direction have met with dismal failure.
Wizard
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January 19th, 2010 at 8:55:13 PM permalink
They might have a higher theoretical for 6 to 5 blackjack, but I'm not sure. Perhaps croupier can tell us.

Player tracking will be able to be done with chips and live dealers. Sensers under the felt will be able to read bet amounts. Shufflers can read cards as the come out, but something else would have to indicate which player received it. Such technology was displayed at the Global Gaming Expo, but I heard it was still buggy. Just give it 5-10 more years.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.

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