NYGambler
NYGambler
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June 16th, 2016 at 7:29:30 AM permalink
I just signed up here and saw the immediate disclaimer ease know that all betting systems are equally worthless and none of them have ever, or can ever, beat the house in the long-run." Does this also mean the different card-counting systems for blackjack do not work as advertised?
beachbumbabs
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June 16th, 2016 at 7:54:52 AM permalink
Quote: NYGambler

I just signed up here and saw the immediate disclaimer ease know that all betting systems are equally worthless and none of them have ever, or can ever, beat the house in the long-run." Does this also mean the different card-counting systems for blackjack do not work as advertised?



No. Mike differentiates between systems that rely on bet structuring due to past performance, streak prediction, or combining different -EV bets (some examples from many), and bj card counting, where events of prior hands do affect remaining cards, and an advantage can be found.

The effectiveness of various counts is the subject of much debate, but the concept is sound.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
MrGoldenSun
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June 16th, 2016 at 8:24:23 AM permalink
Yes, Mike's point is really about games where the trials are independent. The roulette ball has no memory, the craps dice have no memory. The blackjack shoe does, so there is a way to take advantage of that info.
Romes
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June 16th, 2016 at 8:50:14 AM permalink
Quote: NYGambler

I just signed up here and saw the immediate disclaimer ease know that all betting systems are equally worthless and none of them have ever, or can ever, beat the house in the long-run." Does this also mean the different card-counting systems for blackjack do not work as advertised?

You're comparing to apples and oranges. Counting Systems are not the same as Betting Systems. In blackjack the advantage swings back and forth between the player and house depending what cards come out. Counting Systems track these cards to know when the advantage is on the players side, and then you bet more. Thus, counting systems track the CHANGE in the house edge.

With betting systems they're worthless because it doesn't matter if you bet $10 or $100, if you have no additional information to go off of (such as the actual changing house edge in blackjack) then you're gambling all the same and the more you bet the more your expected loss will be. A lot of betting systems are focused on games like craps and roulette where every spin and throw of the dice is an INDEPENDENT TRIAL. Thus past actions have NO EFFECT on future actions, yet some people dilute themselves in to thinking "10 red came up in a row, black must be coming!" which is the gamblers fallacy and false.

If you'd like to learn more about card counting, and the math behind it, feel free to check these out:

https://wizardofvegas.com/articles/A-to-Z-Counting-Cards-in-Blackjack/
https://wizardofvegas.com/articles/A-to-Z-Counting-Cards-In-Blackjack-2/
https://wizardofvegas.com/articles/A-to-Z-Counting-Cards-in-Blackjack-3/
Playing it correctly means you've already won.
TomG
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June 16th, 2016 at 9:40:58 AM permalink
Quote: MrGoldenSun

Yes, Mike's point is really about games where the trials are independent.



So it should say "All betting systems are worthless, except for ones that aren't."
Romes
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June 16th, 2016 at 9:47:23 AM permalink
Quote: TomG

So it should say "All betting systems are worthless, except for ones that aren't."

No, all betting systems are indeed worthless. What's not worthless is additional information. When you change your bets with no additional information (betting system) then it's 110% worthless.
Playing it correctly means you've already won.
TomG
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June 16th, 2016 at 9:59:31 AM permalink
Quote: Romes

When you change your bets with no additional information (betting system) then it's 110% worthless.



I may have some examples that would disprove this. Is the definition of a betting system "Changing bets with no additional information?" Or is there anything else to it?
MrGoldenSun
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June 16th, 2016 at 10:09:55 AM permalink
Quote: TomG

I may have some examples that would disprove this. Is the definition of a betting system "Changing bets with no additional information?" Or is there anything else to it?



I think he's referring to "betting systems" mostly as varying your bet size, or sometimes the specific bet made (e.g., at roulette, bet red instead of black), based on results of prior hands. Like "I jump my bet if I win two hands in a row, and then I keep increasing until I lose a hand."

I am confident you have counterexamples, as it's indeed not correct to say "all systems are worthless." However, for the people who need to hear someone say that, it is.

In other words, if you already know enough to correctly identify counterexamples to disprove the statement, you don't need Mike to explain EV to you. If you already understand the reasons why craps systems can't work, but card counting does, then you aren't really the audience for the statement. But if someone hears about the martingale and is all jazzed to try it, and so they come here to discuss it, it's very useful to have someone slap them upside the head and say "this will fail."
Last edited by: MrGoldenSun on Jun 16, 2016
TomG
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June 16th, 2016 at 10:28:32 AM permalink
Quote: MrGoldenSun

I am confident you have counterexamples, as it's indeed not correct to say "all systems are worthless." However, for the people who need to hear someone say that, it is.



That's how I've always read it. What it lacks in accuracy it more than makes up for in eloquence and succinctness.
MathExtremist
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June 16th, 2016 at 10:23:30 PM permalink
Quote: TomG

That's how I've always read it. What it lacks in accuracy it more than makes up for in eloquence and succinctness.

The nature of what Mike means by "betting system" is that it has nothing to do with the game being wagered upon. Most betting systems use even-money bets (Martingale, cancellation, etc.) but which even-money bets don't matter at all: pass line, red, blackjack, player, coin flip.

If there is a betting system that happens to alter the edge of a game like blackjack, it's not because the betting system itself works, it's because there is a correlation between when the betting system increases the stakes and when the shoe goes player-positive. The same betting system would be wholly ineffective when applied to roulette, for example.

I personally don't consider any game-specific strategy to be a betting system. Playing wheel bias in roulette, hole carding, counting, edge sorting - none of those are betting systems.
"In my own case, when it seemed to me after a long illness that death was close at hand, I found no little solace in playing constantly at dice." -- Girolamo Cardano, 1563
RS
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June 17th, 2016 at 12:41:23 AM permalink
TL;DR: A betting system is when you change your bets based on wins or losses. Since you're playing against a house advantage, your bets are on average made at a disadvantage, since your previous wins or losses do not correlate with the current advantage. A card counting system tracks the cards that have been played, thus being able to determine the current advantage in the game. Betting more money when you have an advantage will outweigh the small amount of money (or no money) wagered when at a disadvantage...overall, playing at an advantage.

With a system like martingale, it is quite simple to figure out you're not going to make money over the long haul. For instance, say your win goal is $1, after every loss you double your previous bet, up to 10 bets (ie: $1 + $2 +$4 +$8... = $1027). On a game like roulette, betting on black, you have an 18/38 chance of winning, or 20/38 chance of losing. Chance of losing two in a row is (20/38)^2...chance of losing 3 in a row is (20/38)^3....chance of losing 10 in a row is (20/38)^10.

Prob to lose 10 in a row:
(20/38)^10 = 0.00163103766 = 0.163103766% = 1 in 613.

Out of 613 trials, 612 times you'll win $1 (for a net profit of $612)...and 1 of those times you'll lose $1,027. Overall, you'll lose $415.

You can do this for however many bets you'd be willing to lose. You can do it for 15 bets, 25 bets, 50 bets...or however many you wanna do. The math is easy and always shows the same thing, you'll end up a loser. (Plus, I'm pretty sure you're not going to be able to have enough money to make 50 bets in a row...well....at 20 straight losses, you'd be down over 1 million dollars).
billryan
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June 17th, 2016 at 9:32:53 AM permalink
All betting systems are worthless, but some are more worthless than others.
The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction is supposed to make sense.
TomG
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June 17th, 2016 at 10:29:38 AM permalink
Quote: RS

TL;DR: A betting system is when you change your bets based on wins or losses. Since you're playing against a house advantage, your bets are on average made at a disadvantage,



It is possible to turn multiple -EV bets into +EV with nothing else other than changing bet sizes.

Quote: RS

since your previous wins or losses do not correlate with the current advantage.



This is what you need to overcome. Of course as soon as you do that, somehow it is no longer a system, even though it fits the definition of one perfectly
darkoz
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June 17th, 2016 at 11:00:41 AM permalink
Quote: TomG

It is possible to turn multiple -EV bets into +EV with nothing else other than changing bet sizes.



I don't see how that is possible. everything I have read says that two negatives in math (relating to HE) do not make a positive.

I know I looked into trying to see if I could find an advantage playing Craps/Sic Bo E-games. The idea was by betting on Sic Bo on the left table and Craps on the right, could I find a combination of bets between the two games that would give me an advantage.

I was unable to find any. I did play it that way for fun but it's a losing system over-all.
For Whom the bus tolls; The bus tolls for thee
TomG
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June 17th, 2016 at 11:39:53 AM permalink
Quote: darkoz

I don't see how that is possible. everything I have read says that two negatives in math (relating to HE) do not make a positive.



The bets are correlated
darkoz
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June 17th, 2016 at 11:47:01 AM permalink
Quote: TomG

The bets are correlated



I'm not saying it's impossible. I'm just saying that's my understanding.

Math guys, wanna help me out here a little?
For Whom the bus tolls; The bus tolls for thee
LuckyPhow
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June 17th, 2016 at 1:32:57 PM permalink
Quote: darkoz

I don't see how that is possible. everything I have read says that two negatives in math (relating to HE) do not make a positive.

I know I looked into trying to see if I could find an advantage playing Craps/Sic Bo E-games. The idea was by betting on Sic Bo on the left table and Craps on the right, could I find a combination of bets between the two games that would give me an advantage.

I was unable to find any. I did play it that way for fun but it's a losing system over-all.



You might want to check out Parrondo's Paradox. It's basic premise is as follows: There exist pairs of games, each with a higher probability of losing than winning, for which it is possible to construct a winning strategy by playing the games alternately.

Any serious application of this to Game Theory gets complicated in a hurry. But, here is a simple example of the paradox: Consider two games, Game A and Game B. In Game A, you lose $1 every time you play. In Game B, you count how much money you have left in your starting bankroll. If it is an even number you win $3, and if it is an odd number you lose $5.

Each game is a loser by itself. But, if you play Game A when your bankroll is odd, alternating to Game B when your bankroll is even, you come out ahead.

Parrondo's Paradox is beginning to be used in finance, where loser investments that cycle up and down can be crafted into a portfolio that has a positive return over time. Other researchers are investigating ways to split bets in multiple games to turn a negative median return into one with a positive expectation.

I hope this is helpful. As I said, it's sort'a complicated, don'cher know?
darkoz
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June 17th, 2016 at 1:53:45 PM permalink
Quote: LuckyPhow

You might want to check out Parrondo's Paradox. It's basic premise is as follows: There exist pairs of games, each with a higher probability of losing than winning, for which it is possible to construct a winning strategy by playing the games alternately.

Any serious application of this to Game Theory gets complicated in a hurry. But, here is a simple example of the paradox: Consider two games, Game A and Game B. In Game A, you lose $1 every time you play. In Game B, you count how much money you have left in your starting bankroll. If it is an even number you win $3, and if it is an odd number you lose $5.

Each game is a loser by itself. But, if you play Game A when your bankroll is odd, alternating to Game B when your bankroll is even, you come out ahead.

Parrondo's Paradox is beginning to be used in finance, where loser investments that cycle up and down can be crafted into a portfolio that has a positive return over time. Other researchers are investigating ways to split bets in multiple games to turn a negative median return into one with a positive expectation.

I hope this is helpful. As I said, it's sort'a complicated, don'cher know?



Thank you. I am fully aware of Parrondo's paradox and wrote about it in one of my book reviews here https://wizardofvegas.com/forum/off-topic/general/24574-god-doesnt-shoot-craps-btp-3/

Parrondo himself claims that his paradox does not work when combining negative expectation games in gambling because the rules of those games do not permit the paradox to occur unlike in finance.
For Whom the bus tolls; The bus tolls for thee
LuckyPhow
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June 17th, 2016 at 2:24:37 PM permalink
Quite a nice review of a book unknown to me. I enjoy authors who leverage a good story on some obscure aspect of math or science. Many thanx.
mbrother11
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June 25th, 2016 at 6:30:52 AM permalink
sorry for the "Dumb Question", but I am a novice to gambling...what does EV mean?
AxelWolf
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June 25th, 2016 at 6:36:51 AM permalink
Quote: mbrother11

sorry for the "Dumb Question", but I am a novice to gambling...what does EV mean?

Expected Value.
♪♪Now you swear and kick and beg us That you're not a gamblin' man Then you find you're back in Vegas With a handle in your hand♪♪ Your black cards can make you money So you hide them when you're able In the land of casinos and money You must put them on the table♪♪ You go back Jack do it again roulette wheels turinin' 'round and 'round♪♪ You go back Jack do it again♪♪
OnceDear
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June 25th, 2016 at 6:52:25 AM permalink
Quote: mbrother11

sorry for the "Dumb Question", but I am a novice to gambling...what does EV mean?

Expected Value. Google it for full explanation.
Psalm 25:16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Proverbs 18:2 A fool finds no satisfaction in trying to understand, for he would rather express his own opinion.
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