Posted by odiousgambit
Dec 07, 2019


Posting this as a blog post to show the number-crunching. That has been double checked but please advise if there are errors that survived. I also started a thread, https://wizardofvegas.com/forum/gambling/blackjack/34025-blasphemous-blackjack/#post749278

Am I now to be an Apostate now in the Church of the Wizard?

I've considered this for a long time and now I'm going to do it. My next planned opportunity at BJ will be an 8 deck, dealer hits on soft 17s game. In the past a $5 game has been available, but I think that has changed to $10. 

For -EV play, which is pretty much what I'm about , it's seemed to me for a long time that it is a reasonable thing to trade increasing the HE in return for greater variance, an un-Wizardly approach it must be admitted. In fact advocating this may actually horrify the Wizard. Yet I submit* for the negative expectation player, Variance can be more valuable than lower house edge, especially when it involves modest surrender of edge. In a game that is too low in variance like Blackjack [flat-betting], I think it may be the way to go, along with some precautions and some caveats. 

Previously I was happy with the idea that my BJ play and my Craps play, all I ever do anymore in table games, were about on the same level, i.e., against something around 0.5% HE. But I have really found that I enjoy the Craps play while the BJ? ... not so much. The difference I feel is pretty much around the difference in the Variance, high [because of free odds] in Craps and low [flat-betting] in BJ. 

To fix this in BJ, there are plenty of folks who have said to apply card counting techniques, and certainly doing that would be the end of flat-betting and low Variance. I have considered this and have gotten far enough long to have learned BS - but that's it, and not to the level of reflex either. The fact of the matter is that I don't put the time in at the casino like I'd have to, this for a number of reasons, including that I just don't live close enough to one. Yeah, there are ways to learn it outside a casino, but I'm going to say that won't work unless you combine it with casino time - it wouldn't work for me for sure. 

Randomly varying bet size on hunches or whatever would increase Variance too, but who is going to advocate that? Nope, not going down that road, even though I wonder if it makes more sense than flat-betting. 

I currently believe the way to increase the Variance is to increase doubling and splitting, though it is said that double, double means toil and trouble. Take those 'precautions' ? The cost in HE should be reasonably low. 

from Wizard's table, see link, which views it from player's edge:

If the standard for the no-brainer is in a dealer stands on 17, 8 deck game
soft 18, doubling vs 2 [apostasy]0.120669... against standing [BS] 0.123432 
the difference [or delta], in absolute value, is 0.002763  ...

... then I will postulate that any similar penalty in HE can also be deemed a low penalty, but how otherwise to define low? On a search for some possibilities [suggestions welcome] with dealer hitting soft 17 I find:

soft 13, doubling vs dealer 4, 0.068239 [apostasy].................. against hitting, 0.104016 [BS]
delta 0.035777

soft 14, doubling vs 4, 0.067545.................. against hitting, 0.082320
delta 0.014775

soft 14, doubling vs 3, 0.050574...................against hitting -0.001503 
delta 0.052077

soft 18, doubling vs 7, 0.222746 ............... against standing,  0 .401292
delta 0.178546

soft 19, doubling vs 5, 0.410465 ............. against standing, 0 .438984
delta 0.028519

doubling with 10 vs 10, -0.006376.......... against hitting, 0.026417 [sampling player 6,4]
delta 0.032793

doubling with 9 vs 2,  0.065231.............. against hitting 0.074560   [sampling player 6,3] 
delta 0.009329, yes indeed

doubling with 8 vs 6 , 0.080627 ............................against   0.106038 [sampling player 6,2]
delta 0.025411

splitting, das allowed, 4,4 vs 4, 0.003880................ against hitting 0.043972
delta  0.040092

splitting, das allowed, 6,6 vs 7,  -0.255866 ...............against hitting  -0.218600  
delta 0.037266

If low is to be defined as a delta that starts with zeroes in the first two decimal places, then only one, doubling with player 9 vs 2, qualifies.  On the other hand, 0.009329 is a sacrifice of 9.3 cents per $10 bet in that circumstance, and I think we can go further than that. A change to a zero in the first decimal space only means getting into dimes, and I am going to declare that to be acceptable. 

Should it be no more than about 4 dimes? I'm thinking so, and that will mean [if $10]

soft 13, doubling vs dealer 4, 0.068239 [apostasy].................. against hitting, 0.104016 [BS]
delta 0.035777, less than 40 cents anyway

soft 14, doubling vs 4, 0.067545.................. against hitting, 0.082320
delta 0.014775, it's on!

soft 19, doubling vs 5, 0.410465 ............. against standing, 0 .438984
delta 0.028519, a good qualifier

doubling with 10 vs 10, -0.006376.......... against hitting, 0.026417 [sampling player 6,4]
delta 0.032793, likewise

doubling with 9 vs 2,  0.065231.............. against hitting 0.074560  [sampling player 6,3] 
delta 0.009329, yes indeed!! 

doubling with 8 vs 6 , 0.080627 ............................against   0.106038 [sampling player 6,2]
delta 0.025411, qualifies

splitting, das allowed, 4,4 vs 4, 0.003880................ against hitting 0.043972
delta  0.040092, squeaking through with round-off

splitting, das allowed, 6,6 vs 7,  -0.255866 ...............against hitting  -0.218600  
delta 0.037266, qualifies

while the below would be rejected:

soft 14, doubling vs 3, 0.050574...................against hitting -0.001503 
delta 0.052077, which really isn't too bad but I want to draw the line somewhere

soft 18, doubling vs 7, 0.222746 ............... against standing,  0 .401292
delta 0.178546, whoa, getting into dollars

So that is where I'm at for the moment and for the next anticipated circumstance. It gives me eight additional opportunities to increase my bet and thus the variance; I wish there were more but I do have to mind the cost. 

Further caveat has to be to limit amount of total action. Negative expectation betting just turns from 'no big deal' into foolishness. I am thinking I will do one shoe per day, and I hope it means increased enjoyment . I'll go so far with my blasphemy as to say I think every negative expectation player out there should double 9 against a dealer 2. I wish I could calculate EV/SD on this but I don't know what the change in Variance actually is. I'd really be impressed if someone knows. 

12-15-19 additions

soft 15, doubling vs 3,-0.002766 .......................... against hitting, 0.029292
delta 0.032058 

soft 16, doubling vs 3, -0.005661 -0.005661.............................against hitting, 0.008799 0.008799  
delta 0.01446

soft 17, doubling vs 2, -0.005768 ..........................against hitting, -0.000625
delta 0.005143

splitting 2,2 vs 8, das, -0.176800.....................against hitting, -0.157443
delta 0.019357

splitting 3,3 vs 8, das, -0.231032.....................against hitting -0.218685
delta 0.012347

splitting 7,7 vs 8, das, -0.391334............................. against hitting -0.376254
delta 0.01508 

This gives me a total of 14 deviations from BS, 15 as it shows up in a strategy chart as 5,5 is shown as a splitting decision on charts even though 5,5 is to be just considered a player 10 .

*I'm curious as to whether anyone has seen a bonafide gambling writer cover this topic


Posted by odiousgambit
Dec 01, 2019

Charles Town V

TLDR: Back again at Charles Town, fifth visit, staying at the hotel for the first time. The sportsbook is changing for the worst, but still there. I apologize to the Wizard. Trying to get casino credit was a bummer. Craps went well, but my old quest to find the right kind of darksider is a bust again. 

I have other business that brings me close to the casino at Charles Town WV, so taking the otherwise-a-little-bit-too-far trip there when I have that other reason was in order again recently. To be honest, I probably could have put this other business off for a while, but my last trip awakened their marketing department and they had been sending me some fairly nice offers, including a room and plenty towards food . It worked, it was on. 

This was the first time I had stayed at their associated hotel, which for some reason is not attached to the casino. This has them running a shuttle every 15 minutes, 24/7, and I never heard anyone complain it ever runs late. It also goes to other hotels, but I don't have those details. Room, comped 2 nights, was plenty nice, no complaints from me. The booking desk failed to mention the $10 per night un-comped fee, but I was expecting it from talking with them before. So I don't have a beef, except I think it is worth mentioning such lapses, which just shouldn't happen. The Trip Advisor reviews constantly mention dirty carpet, but I can confirm what the manager, in responses there, is pointing out: the carpet is actually just worn and needs to be replaced, a quality of modern carpet fibers that I was familiar with [they don't wear out, they ugly out]. Some reviews didn't like the continental breakfast, but honestly I don't know what such people are expecting, I never expect much from those things and frankly, judging by the clientele, which I am sure you can picture, I have to believe few of them ever stay at a place nice enough to have something better laid out - sorry.  The gripes are just sour grapes from losers? The employees were all trying hard and very nice, and nobody claims otherwise in those reviews. 

The sportsbook, while improving the quality of my experience there immensely,  is showing signs of WV tax fatigue, I'd say. The last time I was there, just a few months ago, there were tables in front of every piece of furniture with pencil stubs aplenty. There were sheets printed up with betting information on every sport neatly set out, with a special desk there to print up whatever else you needed. This time the tables were nearly gone, and pencils were hard to find, what happened to these things? Pre-printed information sheets had disappeared as well. The electronic board on the back wall was going strong, but that thing is necessarily incomplete. There was no separate desk to provide information, it had turned into a bar [that was closed to boot]. I could see I had to get into line to get information; I asked for NHL this and that. The evidently quite new clerk's only training seemed to be "you should be surly toward these schmucks so they don't bother you too much".  She printed out what I asked for on a flimsy slip, looking at me like I had two heads for wanting it. 

Bear in mind that so far the operation there, William Hill, does not have the mobile app so you can bet using your phone, so you normally would go to the sportsbook to both bet and collect. It just seems to me the place would be in its heyday now for these reasons. Though there could be other reasons for its evident current depression, possibly there are reasons for the blues I just don't know about, like getting clobbered by Pennsylvania operations that do have the mobile apps going. But I smell the bean counters in operation. Things like removing the pencils just reeks of those guys in action. They get called in when an outfit like this finds out they are doing all the work and the state of West Virginia is making all the money. Plus the casino gets a piece of the action somehow too; the sportsbook runs there independently of the casino, just using their facilities. 

In any case, though I doubt he reads my blog much, I have to apologize to the Wizard. At times he has confessed he's found old betting slips past their expiration date. When I heard this sort of thing, from him and others, I was going 'tsk tsk'. Back when I was working I had to be careful about details, and none of them were more important than the ones involving money. I was just convinced no way could I ever be so lax about my bets that I'd just misplace the slips or forget about them, the flimsy little things they are notwithstanding. So when it was time to go, I gathered up the slips - puzzled that there seemed to be more slips than I expected - and stashed them into a briefcase, not wanting to take the time to look at them. Once I got to the book, instead of studying them, I handed them in mass to the clerk and indicated I wanted them all checked though "surely some were losers". To my surprise quite a few got handed back to me as "not resolved yet". I almost couldn't understand what was going on. Naturally I then took to time then to look at them closely and realized they were proposition bets that I had forgotten I had even made! So, yeah, looks like one of these days I'll also find an expired betting slip, though I have a little system that's supposed to prevent that. Ye who have confessed to this already, I humbly apologize for my arrogance, I'm next no doubt. 

Although I have resolved to quit using casino credit, mostly due to the irritation of having to renew, I was going to apply for the first time at this particular place. Member Mdawg has been contending that the casinos conduct a hard inquiry on your personal credit, while I have been maintaining they do not, and that this is something I've made sure about with the annual free check we can do. His response is to ask if you have checked with Experian and I've had to admit that I haven't. So, once a player goes to the trouble of getting approved and does have this approved casino credit in his back pocket, it's something you have to admit is plenty convenient, and I could do this and then do a free credit check making sure it's with Experian. Having two reasons to do it I tried to apply. To my surprise, I find out you can't apply at the casino anymore! What? They indicated that now you must apply online only, and that you can forget about getting a quick response too. 

I don't want to apply online, that doesn't seem like a safe thing to do though I can't prove it is more secure to use SS numbers etc. in person only, still that is as far as I'd like to go. It seems obvious to me that this casino has gotten itself into some trouble with collections and has decided to discourage the entire practice. This would normally be very shortsighted, in my view, as there is so much about it that is win, win for the casino - I have posted about this many times. However, I think it is possible that it depends on the state as to what happens in the legal process of collecting the bad debts. Clearly in Nevada, what with the District Attorney fully cooperating in treating debt as a crime, ready to throw folks in jail, things are greased along quite well for collecting that money. Perhaps in WV a debt occurred with casino credit is treated like any other debt, and not as the act of writing a bad check as in Nevada and probably other states? But I would say sheer stupidity of the decision makers here, with bean counter led crackdowns already in evidence, is also a possible explanation. In any case Mdawg's contention will just have to be taken at face value for now. 

The gambling I did was a bit of sports betting and Craps, which I posted about in a thread named "why you should always make a Come bet". In fact it has been mostly here that I first got a little stingy with the Come betting [or DC betting, depending] due to finding the table minimums to be higher. When it was only $5 [that's never at Charles Town] I have been very free with the Come betting, when it was $15 I only did Come betting, no line bets [which limits your action], and it has been 'something in between' if $10. Now I am vowing to always have a Line plus Come bet going and am going to have to figure out how to keep my total action under control. 

My luck at Craps went well this time, all of it against negative expectations. As I've blogged before, currently my only shot at any +EV wagering is concentrated on trying to take some of the discarded darkside action I see. That was a bust again, it is really pretty difficult to get the right circumstance. Once I was right next to a friendly guy [important] who was alternating, going darkside when he thought the table was cold, but he kept his action on all his bets. That makes him the wrong kind of darksider! Otherwise I hardly saw any darkside action going at all, that happens a lot, and when it does go on you need to be next to it. I'll keep trying.

Posted by odiousgambit
Oct 11, 2019

Casino Credit/Markers

In case you missed it, and are following the "Fico score" thread, here are some blog posts covering markers and casino credit. The first link is MDawg's blog on the unique credit bureau casinos use to set you up for markers. Be sure and read the comments, which becomes a timeline for me discovering that he is essentially correct with what he says, perhaps not putting things the way I would.

the second link is about my initial experience with markers, again, the comments are interesting. 

btw I may have decided to quit getting set up for markers, don't like the process of renewing them. 



Posted by odiousgambit
Aug 06, 2019

Hapless Happenings

So in the previous blogpost we reviewed that the basic formula for determining the HE of the DP or DC bet in Craps is

the probability of winning
3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) +(5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11)+ (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9)
minus prob. of losing
8/36 + (3/36)*(3/9) + (4/36)*(4/10) +(5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11)+ (4/36)*(4/10) + (3/36)*(3/9)

and that deleting parts of this formula will tell us the change in the house edge if a player rejects all the action on the 6/8 points to be resolved. No one has disputed the latter while one member at least, Mission146, has confirmed it [in fact got me past my initial error]. 

So the next question that comes to mind is, assuming it will be the wisest move to bet on the same DP/DC line, and not just stand there and greedily take the declined action only,  " does another player taking that same action from the player declining it, make his overall betting +EV?". Mission hashed a couple of scenarios out.

That number crunching was not preserved and we will see if I can get it right again altering the above formula. I'll call the accommodating player, giving up his action, "Hapless", as surely no one gives up this action unless he has been unlucky either in education or in perception of his "luck", seeing as how no one who knows 7 is easier to roll than 6 or 8 gives it up unless he believes himself to be an unlucky person.*

Scenario #1. Hapless bets the same amount, always is on the same bet as you, and always gives up the 6/8:
Prob. of winning, simply adding the additional action
3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) +(5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11)+ (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9) + (5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11)
minus prob. of losing
8/36 + (3/36)*(3/9) + (4/36)*(4/10) +(5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11)+ (4/36)*(4/10) + (3/36)*(3/9) +(5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11)

I get +0.0116161616161616 

Scenario #2. Hapless bets twice as much, same as above otherwise:

3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) +(5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11)+ (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9) + (5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11)
minus prob. of losing
8/36 + (3/36)*(3/9) + (4/36)*(4/10) +(5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11)+ (4/36)*(4/10) + (3/36)*(3/9) +(5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11)

I get +0.0368686868686869

Thus it would seem possible every time you would get a cooperative person you will be +EV for your betting even with needing to be betting on the line.  I am not getting the same results as Mission so I am not claiming this is correct yet. Anyone see an error? 

Calling Mission, come in Mission, Mission are you there?

*what is such a person doing in a casino?


Mission146 Aug 06, 2019

Okay, here we go:

The first thing that we want to do is greatly simplify the problem, so let's first get the expected value (per one unit bet) of assuming the hapless action on the six and eight:

(6/11) - (5/11) = 0.0909090909 (Units)

Okay, so that's the expected profit, in units, every time that we get to assume this action. That's also the house edge of the Big 6 or Big 8:


Because you are effectively playing the part of the casino.

Your Expected Loss

Your expected loss betting the Don't Pass is .0136 units, and you make this bet every single time. Looking at it in terms of all 36 possibilities, for each possible initial come out roll your total expected loss is:

.0136 * 36 = 0.4896 (Units)

On ten of these 36 occasions, we will get to assume the action of our friend who would otherwise be pulling the 6 and 8 back:

0.0909090909*10 = 0.909090909 (Units)

(0.909090909 - 0.4896)/36 = 0.01165252525

Therefore, it appears that OdiousGambit is correct and the ability to take the action of our hapless player yields a positive expectation of .01165252525 (Call it .0116 or .0117, difference due to rounding) every time that you make a bet provided that bet is matched by someone who will let you take the 6/8 DP action.

odiousgambit Aug 07, 2019

OK! good to know we get the same answer, might explore it a bit more.

Posted by odiousgambit
Aug 01, 2019

Hall of Fame, Sucker Division

using the Wizard's work at
for the don't pass, and skipping the process of finding the common denominator, I get the same answer he does for the house edge using an online calculator with the formula
[3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) +(5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11)+ (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9)] - [8/36 + (3/36)*(3/9) + (4/36)*(4/10) +(5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11)+ (4/36)*(4/10) + (3/36)*(3/9)]
which preserves the details of winning and losing on 4,5,6,8,9, or 10 as numbers to resolve along with the other ways to win and lose. The calc. can handle that just fine. That is, I get  -0.0136363636363636 for house edge, the familiar figure when you count pushes. 

So it occurred to me I can take the segment for 6 and 8 to resolve wins, (5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11), and change that to 0, but also remove the ways to lose that bet and change that to zero! This is what I got wrong in my first go, which I have preserved in the spoiler. We should get the formula for the house edge if 6 and 8 pushed instead of won. That basically is what happens when a player 'takes no action' on darkside 6/8 bets, no?

With the altered formula 
[3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) +0+ (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9)] - [8/36 + (3/36)*(3/9) + (4/36)*(4/10) + 0 + (4/36)*(4/10) + (3/36)*(3/9)] .............. putting in a zero there for the missing action in both places.
I get a house edge of -0.0388888888888889 ... which matches Mission's numbers done in a slightly different way in the comments. To be clear, it was Mission who discovered the error, thanks.

-1.36% goes to -3.89% ; not quite tripling the house edge

Still qualifies for the Suckerbet Hall of Fame, on the stupidity of it.  

using the Wizard's work at
for the don't pass, and skipping the process of finding the common denominator, I get the same answer he does for the house edge using an online calculator with the formula
[3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) + (5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11) + (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9)]-[2928/5940]
which preserves the details of winning on 4,5,6,8,9, or 10 as numbers to resolve and otherwise just uses his work. That is, I get -0.0136363636363636 for house edge, the familiar figure when you count pushes.

So it occurred to me I can take the segment for 6 and 8 to resolve, (5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11), and change that to (5/36)*(0) + (5/36)*(0), and we should get the formula for the house edge if 6 and 8 pushed instead of won. That basically is what happens when a player 'takes no action' on darkside 6/8 bets, no?

With the altered formula
[3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) + (5/36)*(0) + (5/36)*(0) + (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9)]-[2928/5940]
or simply [3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) + (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9)]-[2928/5940]
I get a house edge of -0.1651515151515152

We go from -1.36% HE to an amazing -16.5%, turning one of the best bets in Craps into one that rivals the "any 7" bet for Hall of Fame Suckerhood.


Mission146 Aug 01, 2019

Come Out + Point Results and Outcomes:

Come Outs 2 & 3 = Automatic Win (3/36) = 0.08333333333

Come Outs 4 & 10, Point Missed, Win: (6/36) * (6/9) = 0.11111111111

Come Outs 5 & 9, Point Missed, Win: (8/36) * (6/10) = 0.13333333333

Come Outs 6 & 8, Point Missed, Win: (10/36) * (6/11) = 0.15151515151

Come Out 12, Push = 0

Come Outs 7 & 11, Loss: (8/36) = - 0.222222222

Come Outs 4 & 10, Point Made, Loss - (6/36) * (3/9) = -0.05555555555

Come Outs 5 & 9, Point Made, Loss = - (8/36) * (4/10) = -0.08888888888

Come Outs 6 & 8, Point Made, Loss = (10/36) * (5/11) = -0.12626262626

Add them together: (0.08333333333 + 0.11111111111 + 0.13333333333 + 0.15151515151) - (0.222222222 + 0.05555555555 + 0.08888888888 + 0.12626262626) = -0.01363636341

That's the correct house edge, which agrees with the above, now we account for removing the winning AND losing possibilities because the player is pulling back the bet:

The player would win an expected 0.15151515151 units when this happens and the bet is left up and would lose an expected 0.12626262626 when the bet5 is left up and would lose. Combined, this means that the player is giving up, (0.15151515151-0.12626262626) or 0.02525252525 units per initial bet. When we add this to what would be the house edge of .01363636341 or 1.36363636341%, on a bet made basis, we get -(0.0252522525 + .01363636341) = -0.03888861591

Which represents a new house edge, per bet made, of 3.888861591%, or an expected loss of 0.03888861591 units per unit bet.

odiousgambit Aug 01, 2019

the bet can't win if pulled but also doesn't lose, mission points out, i went wrong there

i 'll see if i can now get the same answer stay tuned