Was in Vegas on a biz trip early this month, and decided to see what $100 could do. Not knowing any better, I played a S17 CSM table with $25 mins and 6/5 BJ payout (iirc) at the Cosmopolitan. A nice man came by after the first few hands and started giving me what I think now was basic strategy advice. Worked out well, and the $100 turned into $375.

Still a noob, with no real clue about strategy or AP, on this recent family vacation to Vegas, my wife and I tried out the tables at a MGM property. Started out on similar tables with 6/5 payout but shoe for $25, made 300 turn into $455. Then later that day tried out $50 tables with 3:2 payout (since I'd started reading online and learned about the advantage). Tables are still soft 17 hit. Grew the $455 into $1000 by just asking the dealer what the basic strategy is for each play. Feeling pretty good about it, we decided the next day to try $100 tables, since they were 2 deck tables and that must mean even better edge, right? Ha. Lost $900 in about 15 minutes to a really mean dealer who wouldn't even small-talk.

So... I found this website: /blackjack-strategy and printed out the strategy cards for 4-8 deck, dealer hits s17. Got another $500 from the atm, and sat down with $500 (I'd forgotten the $100 in chips in the hotel room) and the sheets. The dealer made a funny face but started dealing. After about 5 hands, where we were precisely going by what the sheets said, up came a hard 12 for me against the dealer 2. So we doubled down. (LOOK at the basic strategy sheet - I'm figuring now it must be wrong - but this guy's strategy sheet says to double down or hit for all hard 12s). The dealer got upset - called over the pit manager to ask if I was allowed to do that. Pit boss asked us why - we showed him the sheet saying this is the strategy for hard 12s. He strongly disagreed, discouraged us, but ultimately let us play it. We won the double.

This happened 6 times total - each time we did exactly what the sheet said - and we only lost 1 double down on 12. Every time we did, the dealer would shout loudly DOUBLE on HARD 12. My wife said the whole time after that first 12 double the pit was watching us carefully, everyone was eyeing us, especially her, and they asked for her ID twice.

Long story short, we ended up walking away from the table with $1755, just following the strategy and never deviating.

When I went to cash in, they asked for my ID and copied it in a machine before giving me the cash.

So questions:

Have I ruined my chances to try to become a real AP player at MGM properties due to this experience and giving up my Identity?

I'm sure this basic strategy chart I followed is wrong - but just how wrong is it, since we did win doubles 5 out of 6 times? Is there ever a time to double down hard 12 vs a 2 or 3 or 4-6?

Doing my online research for good books and training materials on how to really develop a skill as an AP, I found this website: /. They offer annual 'membership' for a couple hundred, with various tools and such. Is this worth it? Do these guys offer truly good advice. I saw somewhere that some AP folks say never to buy training from an AP who is wanting to make a profit off you.

Much appreciate anyone's time who gives a response. Looking forward to participating in this community and good luck to all.

Can you give us a link to the site with the bunk strategy cards?Quote:jake271Introductions: I'm a truly new player. Year ago or so played BJ for about 30 minutes and won $75 on a $40 start. But never trusted 'gambling'.

Was in Vegas on a biz trip early this month, and decided to see what $100 could do. Not knowing any better, I played a S17 CSM table with $25 mins and 6/5 BJ payout (iirc) at the Cosmopolitan. A nice man came by after the first few hands and started giving me what I think now was basic strategy advice. Worked out well, and the $100 turned into $375.

Still a noob, with no real clue about strategy or AP, on this recent family vacation to Vegas, my wife and I tried out the tables at a MGM property. Started out on similar tables with 6/5 payout but shoe for $25, made 300 turn into $455. Then later that day tried out $50 tables with 3:2 payout (since I'd started reading online and learned about the advantage). Tables are still soft 17 hit. Grew the $455 into $1000 by just asking the dealer what the basic strategy is for each play. Feeling pretty good about it, we decided the next day to try $100 tables, since they were 2 deck tables and that must mean even better edge, right? Ha. Lost $900 in about 15 minutes to a really mean dealer who wouldn't even small-talk.

So... I found this website: /blackjack-strategy and printed out the strategy cards for 4-8 deck, dealer hits s17. Got another $500 from the atm, and sat down with $500 (I'd forgotten the $100 in chips in the hotel room) and the sheets. The dealer made a funny face but started dealing. After about 5 hands, where we were precisely going by what the sheets said, up came a hard 12 for me against the dealer 2. So we doubled down. (LOOK at the basic strategy sheet - I'm figuring now it must be wrong - but this guy's strategy sheet says to double down or hit for all hard 12s). The dealer got upset - called over the pit manager to ask if I was allowed to do that. Pit boss asked us why - we showed him the sheet saying this is the strategy for hard 12s. He strongly disagreed, discouraged us, but ultimately let us play it. We won the double.

This happened 6 times total - each time we did exactly what the sheet said - and we only lost 1 double down on 12. Every time we did, the dealer would shout loudly DOUBLE on HARD 12. My wife said the whole time after that first 12 double the pit was watching us carefully, everyone was eyeing us, especially her, and they asked for her ID twice.

Long story short, we ended up walking away from the table with $1755, just following the strategy and never deviating.

When I went to cash in, they asked for my ID and copied it in a machine before giving me the cash.

So questions:

Have I ruined my chances to try to become a real AP player at MGM properties due to this experience and giving up my Identity?

I'm sure this basic strategy chart I followed is wrong - but just how wrong is it, since we did win doubles 5 out of 6 times? Is there ever a time to double down hard 12 vs a 2 or 3 or 4-6?

Doing my online research for good books and training materials on how to really develop a skill as an AP, I found this website: /. They offer annual 'membership' for a couple hundred, with various tools and such. Is this worth it? Do these guys offer truly good advice. I saw somewhere that some AP folks say never to buy training from an AP who is wanting to make a profit off you.

Much appreciate anyone's time who gives a response. Looking forward to participating in this community and good luck to all.

They asked for your ID twice so they could make sure they had all your information correct, that way they could make sure you were on their preferred customer mailing list.

This was what they were all thinking as they watched you guys closely.

Sounds like you've run the typical gambit of gambling and then trying to learn a bit more about exactly just what you're doing with your money. I'm not sure what website you found, as a new member you can't post links I don't believe, but it was most obviously not a very good one if it told you to double hard 12, ever.

For basic strategy, 12 hits vs a dealer 2 or 3 up... it never doubles. This is a pretty poor play. The fact that you won it 5/6 times in one night honestly doesn't mean anything. One session of blackjack, or hell even 50 sessions don't really tell you too much as the natural variance of the game could swing you either way. So what I'm saying is yes, it's unlikely, but someone who doesn't use basic strategy COULD be up after playing 10-20 sessions. The math of the game all comes down to expected value and standard deviations. Expected Value is what you'd expect given the number of hands you play, your average bet, and the house advantage. Here's the general formula:

EV = (NumHands*AvgBet)*(HouseEdge)

So for example let's say you played the $50 tables for 2 hours, getting about 80 hands per hour. Let's say the house edge is ~.5%... well, a couple things already. One, the house edge that gets calculated ASSUMES perfect basic strategy. If you play poorly (such as doubling on hard 12) this will go up to even 3-4% pending how poorly the person plays. Next, if you were playing a 6:5 table, the average house edge would be more like 2% because 6:5 is so awful it adds an additional ~1.4% to the house edge. So I hope you can see why 6:5 blackjack is "in general" about 4x worse of a game! Okay, so with our assumptions that you were playing with about a 1% house edge, let's look at your EV for 2 hours at the $50 tables (assuming you flat bet and never raised/lowered your bet):

EV = (160*50)*(-.01) = -$80

Thus, if you went back to that game and played it for 100,000 hands, on AVERAGE you'd lose about $80 every 2 hours. I say average because there's variance with gambling (luck). It's the same as if you flipped 10 heads in a row on a coin. In the long run of 100,000 flips a fair coin will average out to be about a 50/50, as it should be... but if you just flipped it 10 times in a row you might end up with some random lopsided results such as 8 heads and 2 tails. This is what happened with your double downs. You got very lucky to win them and you'd lose a lot more than you'd win if you continued to do it, but that day/night you happen to get lucky.

As for your next "AP" steps. Some people find great value in the websites that cost money to be a member. There are definitely benefits to them, but at the stage you're at you definitely don't need to sign up for them. There's tons and tons of FREE information and practicing tips/drills out there if you really wanted to learn how to play the game better.

1) If you just wanted to learn Basic Strategy you can pull open the Wizards Basic Strategy Calculator ( https://wizardofodds.com/games/blackjack/strategy/calculator/ ). From here you could get some decks of cards and just practice until you have it memorized.

2) If you wanted to understand what the rules do to the house edge of the game, then you can see the Wizards House Edge Calculator ( https://wizardofodds.com/games/blackjack/calculator/ ). Here you can plug in different rules, numbers of decks, etc, and see how they effect the house edge.

3) Lastly, if you wanted to learn how to count cards and actually beat the game, then again there's FREE information to teach you from "A to Z" just how to do that. I wrote 3 articles that are in the articles section on this very site. Here are the links:

http://wizardofvegas.com/articles/A-to-Z-Counting-Cards-in-Blackjack/

http://wizardofvegas.com/articles/A-to-Z-Counting-Cards-In-Blackjack-2/

http://wizardofvegas.com/articles/A-to-Z-Counting-Cards-in-Blackjack-3/

Best of luck in your journey! Feel free to reply here with any additional/followup questions.

black jack class room dot comm forward slashy blackjack-strategy

That's the website.

They asked me for my ID only at the time when I cashed out. My wife's ID they asked for twice before that.

Question: I work in the kind of job that allows me to have a decent amount of discretionary income if I choose to. What would AP players consider is a sufficient bank roll to play at tables that have the lowest house edge, while still keeping ROR around 5-15%. I like playing with around $25-50 per bet as a unit, but what does that mean I need to consider as a 'bank roll' to make the long term math work out if I play at advantage.

Quote:RomesHey Jake, and welcome to the forums.

Sounds like you've run the typical gambit of gambling and then trying to learn a bit more about exactly just what you're doing with your money. I'm not sure what website you found, as a new member you can't post links I don't believe, but it was most obviously not a very good one if it told you to double hard 12, ever.

For basic strategy, 12 hits vs a dealer 2 or 3 up... it never doubles. This is a pretty poor play. The fact that you won it 5/6 times in one night honestly doesn't mean anything. One session of blackjack, or hell even 50 sessions don't really tell you too much as the natural variance of the game could swing you either way. So what I'm saying is yes, it's unlikely, but someone who doesn't use basic strategy COULD be up after playing 10-20 sessions. The math of the game all comes down to expected value and standard deviations. Expected Value is what you'd expect given the number of hands you play, your average bet, and the house advantage. Here's the general formula:

EV = (NumHands*AvgBet)*(HouseEdge)

So for example let's say you played the $50 tables for 2 hours, getting about 80 hands per hour. Let's say the house edge is ~.5%... well, a couple things already. One, the house edge that gets calculated ASSUMES perfect basic strategy. If you play poorly (such as doubling on hard 12) this will go up to even 3-4% pending how poorly the person plays. Next, if you were playing a 6:5 table, the average house edge would be more like 2% because 6:5 is so awful it adds an additional ~1.4% to the house edge. So I hope you can see why 6:5 blackjack is "in general" about 4x worse of a game! Okay, so with our assumptions that you were playing with about a 1% house edge, let's look at your EV for 2 hours at the $50 tables (assuming you flat bet and never raised/lowered your bet):

EV = (160*50)*(-.01) = -$80

Thus, if you went back to that game and played it for 100,000 hands, on AVERAGE you'd lose about $80 every 2 hours. I say average because there's variance with gambling (luck). It's the same as if you flipped 10 heads in a row on a coin. In the long run of 100,000 flips a fair coin will average out to be about a 50/50, as it should be... but if you just flipped it 10 times in a row you might end up with some random lopsided results such as 8 heads and 2 tails. This is what happened with your double downs. You got very lucky to win them and you'd lose a lot more than you'd win if you continued to do it, but that day/night you happen to get lucky.

As for your next "AP" steps. Some people find great value in the websites that cost money to be a member. There are definitely benefits to them, but at the stage you're at you definitely don't need to sign up for them. There's tons and tons of FREE information and practicing tips/drills out there if you really wanted to learn how to play the game better.

1) If you just wanted to learn Basic Strategy you can pull open the Wizards Basic Strategy Calculator ( /games/blackjack/strategy/calculator/ ). From here you could get some decks of cards and just practice until you have it memorized.

2) If you wanted to understand what the rules do to the house edge of the game, then you can see the Wizards House Edge Calculator ( /games/blackjack/calculator/ ). Here you can plug in different rules, numbers of decks, etc, and see how they effect the house edge.

3) Lastly, if you wanted to learn how to count cards and actually beat the game, then again there's FREE information to teach you from "A to Z" just how to do that. I wrote 3 articles that are in the articles section on this very site. Here are the links:

/articles/A-to-Z-Counting-Cards-in-Blackjack/

/articles/A-to-Z-Counting-Cards-In-Blackjack-2/

/articles/A-to-Z-Counting-Cards-in-Blackjack-3/

Best of luck in your journey! Feel free to reply here with any additional/followup questions.

Quote:IbeatyouracesThe fact that you consistently doubled 12 vs 2 and played 6:5, you'll have no problems playing at ANY property.

The table I was doubling 12 vs 2 was a 3:2 table with H17, just for the record. Thanks for your comment!

Quote:jake271The table I was doubling 12 vs 2 was a 3:2 table with H17, just for the record. Thanks for your comment!

I hope you took it meaning it's a horrendous way to play. Definitely read Romes' articles. They'll be of great help.

Quote:IbeatyouracesI hope you took it meaning it's a horrendous way to play. Definitely read Romes' articles. They'll be of great help.

Yes, I understood. :) I just didn't want it thought I was consistently playing at 6:5. That would be embarrassing haha.

Where can I find a good spreadsheet for tracking sessions? And I seem to find conflicting answers about tipping. Some people say its good karma/good luck, and some people calculate its very expensive to the winnings.

I discuss bankroll considerations in the first article, but one thing to note that if you're going to try to make money you'll need to spread your bets to a much wider range, like $25-$300, or $50-$400. If you wanted 5-15% RoR in the 3rd article I show how to do some rough hand calculations that should give you a very good representation of a bankroll, given your average bet, etc. If you just want to play with low RoR and the best house rules (which you should be able to find 3:2 easily at $25 tables, and good rules even at $50 tables) then you can apply the same theory but with the house edge instead of an advantage in the calculation. That will all make more sense later =).Quote:jake271...Question: I work in the kind of job that allows me to have a decent amount of discretionary income if I choose to. What would AP players consider is a sufficient bank roll to play at tables that have the lowest house edge, while still keeping ROR around 5-15%. I like playing with around $25-50 per bet as a unit, but what does that mean I need to consider as a 'bank roll' to make the long term math work out if I play at advantage.