Blackjack Winning without card counting?

Tolly

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#1
Everyone seems to talk about card counting as being essential to winning at Blackjack. Are there any alternative strategies out there that can be used instead of card counting and actually work?
 

tito

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#2
I don't think that card counting is absolutely necessary in order to win at blackjack, but I do think that it's a skill that is worth having in the long run.
 
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#3
There are a few alternatives, but most of them depend on players having basic strategy down pat to work. If you really can't count cards, there are situational betting techniques like Leon Dubey's which rely on key indicators in play. The problem with these are that it is really easy for a dealer to tell if you are using them, and it doesn't give the same degree of advantage as most card counting techniques.
 

dante7

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#4
Well, I agree with you that as much as card counting skills are important, this doesn't mean that you have to have them so as to win in Blackjack. There is a guy by the name Don Johnson who actually won $15M without counting cards.
 

Sevens

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#5
Don Johnson had a good system, but he enhanced his funds by using some major comps by the casino, which aren't available to most gamblers. He got a 20% loss rebate, which meant he could win up to $500K a day but only lose $400K, and the casino paid him $50,000 a day just to show up and play. Whether his system would be so successful without those benefits, I don't know.

If someone paid me $50,000 a day to play, I'd probably be showing a profit by the end as well!
 
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#6
Yes, Don Johnson was an advantage player and it seems to me that he's on his way to the Blackjack Hall of Fame. Other publications claim that Don capitalized on the greed of Atlantic City casinos. Either way, would we call him a cheater since he was able to obtain information that other players weren't privy to?
 
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#7
I believe Don Johnson won by exploiting a cash rebate program they agreed to give him because he was a high roller. More power to him!

But yes he is a Hall of Fame level player.
 

Orton

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#8
I think it's only fair if they were to strip all of that away and let him play from scratch like all the other players do and then see if he still would have had that level of success.
 
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#9
While he swung the edge to his advantage, Don Johnson still had to learn strategy perfectly, negotiate the benefits from the casinos, and have the nerve to gamble on $100,000 hands a time. Keeping your head under those circumstances takes some skill. Not many people can play for twelve hours at a stretch without making mistakes.
 
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#10
Either way, would we call him a cheater since he was able to obtain information that other players weren't privy to?
So, the perspective is that the casino made these offers innocently and with no expectations. Let's be clear, the casino made these offers because they thought they had a whale and could fleece him out of large amounts. They were just stupid about understanding the game and its math. They made a mistake.

Don benefited from their mistake. You think he should give back the money? Do you think if he lost the casino would give back the money?

Don did nothing illegal or unethical for that matter. He merely beat them at a game they set up, made the rules for and agreed to the playing conditions.

This thread ask "can you win without counting cards" and the pure answer is no you need to have information to beat the game. Do you really think he played without counting?
 

AlltheAces

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#11
This thread ask "can you win without counting cards" and the pure answer is no you need to have information to beat the game. Do you really think he played without counting?
Don Johnson himself said he did it without card counting. He played basic strategy, after making sure the game was arranged before he ever started playing to give him an edge over the house of 0.26%, and worked out maximum win and loss per day figures to guarantee a profit. He also admitted knocking the dealers off their games by causing trouble at the tables. It was a really spectacular piece of playing.
 
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#12
Don Johnson himself said he did it without card counting. He played basic strategy, after making sure the game was arranged before he ever started playing to give him an edge over the house of 0.26%, and worked out maximum win and loss per day figures to guarantee a profit. He also admitted knocking the dealers off their games by causing trouble at the tables. It was a really spectacular piece of playing.
Again, his play was to get an advantage over the money, not beat beat the game, he beat the casino with rebates and appearance money. This is so rare and unavailable to the masses that it is not a statement of "another way to beat blackjack".
 
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#13
So, the perspective is that the casino made these offers innocently and with no expectations. Let's be clear, the casino made these offers because they thought they had a whale and could fleece him out of large amounts. They were just stupid about understanding the game and its math. They made a mistake.

Don benefited from their mistake. You think he should give back the money? Do you think if he lost the casino would give back the money?

Don did nothing illegal or unethical for that matter. He merely beat them at a game they set up, made the rules for and agreed to the playing conditions.

This thread ask "can you win without counting cards" and the pure answer is no you need to have information to beat the game. Do you really think he played without counting?
I completely agree with you @Stealth and anyone claiming that Don won unfairly isn't being realistic. Who doesn't fancy it when a player beats the house? A man who won nearly $6m in a single night surely deserves some applause. Interestingly, he claims not to remember the exact cards.
 
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#14
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#15
There are a few alternatives, but most of them depend on players having basic strategy down pat to work. If you really can't count cards, there are situational betting techniques like Leon Dubey's which rely on key indicators in play. The problem with these are that it is really easy for a dealer to tell if you are using them, and it doesn't give the same degree of advantage as most card counting techniques.
One needs to consider Leon Dubey's book in its own time and place. He described a form of counting and money management. He bet in single deck games where the closed universe was of only 52 cards. I think that his system would be effective in such an environment and it would surely restrict bet sizes so that few large losses would be present. Dubey said that his system would likely be less effective in a shoe game but did not elaborate. When his book was marketed, single deck games were becoming rare although there were double deck games as a holdover. I tried the Dubey (with a couple of modifications) while testing another non counting signal "If you are dealt a winning hand and the dealer breaks, increase the size of your next bet." I bet in both double deck and shoe games. Testing was in relatively few sessions. It is not necessary to eat all of a rotten apple to know that you have a rotten apple. I've forgotten the amount of losses but they were minor. It appears unlikely to get a good match of betting strategy to any "card signals" when betting to a shoe, a CSM or an electronic deal. The best betting of casino Blackjack is likely to be betting a good defense algorithm using a minus three true count basic strategy in Round Robin Rotation using cumulative bank resets.
 
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#16
Everyone seems to talk about card counting as being essential to winning at Blackjack. Are there any alternative strategies out there that can be used instead of card counting and actually work?
Single deck blackjack had a 52 card universe. Card sense, casing the deck and card counting were almost synonomous terms. With a four deck shoe (a 208 card universe), card sense and casing the deck became excessively difficult. Card counting still had viability. Eight deck shoes (a 408 card universe), a CSM (continuous shuffle machine) and electronic deals are intend to deliver a perfectly random game. For a bettor, the problem with a random deal is that it is randomly not random. Anyone can defeat Win 1, Lose 1, Win 1, Lose 1 if the series continues. Series are discontinuous and are subject to "clumping" and "clustering." Bet selectors to isolate clusters are used with other table games. Blackjack card counting is intended to isolate clusters. The short answer is that for a typical blackjack bettor, there are no dependable card signals to estimate the duration of a cluster. A bettor does not handicap randomity, but handicaps the flow of money. Randomity is outside bettor control, but control of money is directly the responsibility of the bettor. Yes, there are strategies that can be used instead of card counting and actually work.
 
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#18
Have you ever studied accounting? Do you know why to use a minus three true count basic strategy? Have you ever bet in Round Robin Rotation format? Do you understand about cumulative bank resets? Do you have any idea of what is a good defense algorithm? Accounting is to acquire capital and to protect capital once acquired. The accounting of betting is designed for survival and gain during any set of circumstances. To make a statement of "Absolute nonsense" requires that you have competence to evaluate the accounting routines described. Your comment indicates total ignorance of accounting.
 
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#19
Have you ever studied accounting? Do you know why to use a minus three true count basic strategy? Have you ever bet in Round Robin Rotation format? Do you understand about cumulative bank resets? Do you have any idea of what is a good defense algorithm? Accounting is to acquire capital and to protect capital once acquired. The accounting of betting is designed for survival and gain during any set of circumstances. To make a statement of "Absolute nonsense" requires that you have competence to evaluate the accounting routines described. Your comment indicates total ignorance of accounting. Regardless of your other sterling accomplishments, you are not competent to evaluate that of which you do not know.
 
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#20
My statement was directed at your comments and the premise you presented.

If you have empirical data to confirm you hypothesis then present it, otherwise refrain from spreading malarkey.

You have no knowledge of either my accomplishments or my competency and I would find no value in your assessment of either.

I have real data that confirms card counting works. Not bullshit hypothesis or algorithms. I look forward to seeing your proof.
 
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