Posted by OnceDear
Sep 27, 2015

Concerned about Beginners Luck

Beginners Luck Good or Bad in The Long Term?

I'm lucky at Blackjack. It freaks me out how lucky, and it's starting to worry me. Let me explain and share my thoughts.

My Blackjack life started in Jan 2014 when I signed up with an online casino. I'd printed off the basic strategy card and credited £100 to my account. With sign up bonuses I had £250 to play with. This is where my beginners luck began. I've posted about this on the forum, but basically, on day one, I turned my £100 sign up into over £6,000. Beginners luck doesn't come much luckier than that.

At that time, I cashed out my winnings and put the money towards a new car. I knew that if I continued playing, it was only a matter of time before I gave all the money back, and I was damned if I was going to do so in a hurry. So, I restricted my play to an amount I'm comfortable losing as 'entertainment spending' I'd credit a few hundred pounds a month and play with that. Sometimes I'd cash out, and sometimes I'd lose. As expected, I was trickling the money back. No big deal as it was entertaining and I can afford it.

But luck came back to haunt me a few times now. Along the way, with the help of some aggressive play and a few bonuses, I've had a few sessions where I've won significantly. £2000, here, £4000 there. The wins keep wiping out my losses and my attempts to send the money back to the casino. :)

I'm starting to worry now that this is not a blessing, but is more a curse!

I'm afraid that I'll get cocky and will submit to a compulsion to play and that there is a big comeuppance awaiting me. I need to take stock - Maybe slow down.

So, I'm posting this, as a warning to my future self and as an invitation to comment.

Below are two charts from my 'Cashier History' The first shows how my running balance has changed over time and the second shows my transactions on the account. Note my spectacularly lucky first day and note the equally amazing luck I had in the last month, where I again took about £5K profit. I'd expected the initial downward trend to continue. On the second chart, positive values are withdrawals from the account to my bank and negative values are transfers from my bank into the casino account, which I like to maintain with a modest value.

Note that I'm making more transactions and that they are progressively greater in value. I'm afraid of that trend. Is that a symptom of something?

I invite comments, not so much about how lucky I am, but more about how I should proceed to not get addicted.

I'll update these charts occasionally to show how I actually proceed ( to be a dick and give it all back plus more?)


odiousgambit Sep 27, 2015

Regarding getting addicted, just speaking for myself, I can say for sure I would be obsessed and wanting to play all the time, if I won all the time. Just saying .

The pattern you *might* be able to avoid is to be addicted to increasing the size of the bets progressively. That is almost for sure to have you giving it all back. Personally, I have found myself doing this, but very modestly, so I think it is possible once you know that is a pattern to avoid. If you can, you might be able to stay a winner for a long time. To be a lifetime winner at BJ purely based on luck has to be hard to do IMO due to the fact that the variance is low.

teddys Sep 27, 2015

I don't think you have to worry about addiction. You have just been lucky. Remember, there is someone on the other side who has the opposite luck as you (probably me :) )

You might be playing at Plus E.V. with the bonuses. It's not hard to buck a 0.5% house edge with bonuses. So, keep playing if you enjoy it. Winning helps it be more enjoyable. If you find yourself chasing and making bigger and bigger deposits, that's not a good sign.

OnceDear Sep 27, 2015

Cheers Teddy,

I sure as hell am getting +EV with the way I'm doing bonuses, and not just a little bit.

It's only recently that I've shown an interest in bonus acquisition.

It's not dead easy, but I'm going to attempt to never credit real money to my account again.


OnceDear Sep 27, 2015

Thanks OG,

At least I know the risk. Posting my concerns here should help me to focus on taking appropriate care.

I do see that by increasing the size and frequency of my buy-ins that I am effectively increasing the size of the disaster that could get me.

I've done a back of the envelope assessment of my Action placed over this period ( >£1m) and I've estimated my position on the distribution curve. I reckon I should currently stand at a balance of about -£7k and that my lifetime SD is about £8k, so I'm very roughly 2 SD away from where I should be: I.e. pretty damned lucky, but not extremely so.

I'll state for now my medium term objectives.....

To attempt to use the top £1.5k of my bankroll to explore meaningful advantage opportunities.

To not allow my running balance to drop below £5K at any time over the next 2 years. If it goes below £4k, to stop playing real money.

To not waste too much time playing. Time is something that I'm currently losing rapidly to the game.

To ENJOY it and not have the game become a chore.

and of course...

To embrace the Variance

EvenBob Oct 21, 2015

"which is highly inconsistent with our philosophy of rewarding players who take risks and enjoy gambling."


OnceDear Nov 14, 2015


As a reminder to myself of the joys or horrors of gambling, I've updated those charts.

With a recent spectactular run, I clambered over £10k lifetime profit. Then I had a bad few weeks and chucked £2.5k back.

But now, since I've reigned in my play, I'm at a comfortable £8.1k. The x-axis is not linear and the latest £900 climb was over just 3 evenings.

ps. Yes. i know I'm just small fry. This is for my benefit.

OnceDear Nov 22, 2015

Charts updated 22 Nov.

Thanks, gods of variance, for another easy £500 today.

Note the dramatically scaled back activity since they p1553d all over my bonus exploit.

OnceDear Nov 22, 2015

Tee Hee. Did I say £500?

Scratch that, make it £900

OnceDear Dec 19, 2015

Charts updated after a few short and successful sessions messing about with Martying.

I know. Martying is dumb, but it was fun getting that last £2,500. Nice to be north of £10k profit.


OnceDear Jan 23, 2016

Charts updated after a successful few days messing with Marty. Yeah. I know :o)

And again after another session takes me through the £12K line

OnceDear Jan 29, 2016

Just to confirm that I'm not always lucky: With Starting credit of £150 won my way up to just over £1200 over a LONG evening of online play. But then over the course of less than an hour lost it all. Ouch. I don't buy into the concept of it only being house money or paper profit.

Sort of proves that I am putting myself at risks that are growing out of my comfort zone. Lucky so far that my 'gambling' has not left me at my expected value of about -£10K.

I'm conscious that just because I'm ahead now, I should not become bold if I want to stay in profit.

Still above £12K and aspiring to stay there. If that means by abstaining, then that's what I shall do.

OnceDear Feb 28, 2016

Charts updated after my most recent three buy-ins of £50, £50, £200 turned into £0, £0, £4280.

I'd actually been further ahead by another £1200 or so before losing that bit back. (RNG BlackJack with HE of <0.4% after comp bonus)

But the £4280 is cashed out (£1250 completed, £3030 pending for 4 days)

So...My humble £100 buy in a couple of years back is now worth £18088.61 in withdrawn hard currency. That's profit of 17988%

£20,100 is an alluring psychological target now.

By my estimation I could throw all my bankroll behind trying for that and have a probability of success of just a bit under (18088/20100)=89%

I won't be doing that though!!! The £1200 squandered reminds me I'm vulnerable.