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Blackjack Winning without card counting?

#21
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.
In certain limited circumstances, card counters can expect long term gains of about 1.5%. For a counter to expect to earn a living playing blackjack, he must have available capital of about $150,000. There are limited opportunities to use the art. At tables using a CSM or an eight deck shoe with poor deck penetration, the art of card counting is useless. In the past, there were "networks" that kept counters informed of which casinos had playable games. Winnings are so tenuous, card counters frequently formed pools of multiple counters with distribution of winnings among the players to average out winnings. Many pools failed and they did not publish. Ken Uston's "Million Dollar Blackjack" describes pools, and operation. Uston stated that his last group took excessively long to hit the target win. Card counters use a variable interval attack betting algorithm for such times as a "clumping" of "advantage" plays is isolated. Uston said it well "Bet the true in green."

If card counters choose to be struck on stupid, be my guest. A typical bettor has perhaps $200 - $1000 available capital for occasional trips to a casino. Card counting has little, if any, value to such a bettor. The only advantage play available to the typical bettor is use of a "Basic Strategy" that isolates favorable doubles and pair splits. Zero True Count Basic Strategy may be statistically accurate but a Minus Three True Count Basic Strategy provides better capital retention for typical sessions of perhaps 100 - 200 bets. This is "Not bullshit hypothesis or algorithms" but plain decent accounting.

A thinking bettor observes the accounting system of the table. The first observation is that while he is 100% at risk for every round that he bets, the table is not 100% at risk for every round. The table deals multiple hands every round. Some win, some lose. The table collects losses first and then pays winnings. This is Round Robin Rotation format. Multiple card counters individually betting as part of a group are using a form of Round Robin Rotation. Betting in Round Robin Rotation is a method of risk diversification. An individual bettor can achieve the same effect as either the dealer or a betting group. The concept is simple. The individual bettor uses chip stacks (files or folders) as a paperless ledger sheet and bets as if he were three or four bettors. The first bet would be from the right most stack. After every bet, rotate to the next stack. Round Robin Rotation format is most appropriate for defense algorithms.

Defense normally provides for win retention betting by reducing the size of the next bet after a win. When a decent algorithm is bet in Round Robin Rotation, bet sizes are biased to the lowest end of the betting range. When the inevitable six or eight losses in a row occurs, it tends to take six or eight of the lowest bets and losses are normally minimal. A bettor may be subject to a series of periodic losses, that is, a loss every fourth hand. A Round Robin Rotation bettor copies the betting of the casino. The cumulative bank is king. When a win occurs (even if it is only one chip), the bets in all folders are reduced to the base bet. If the next bet wins, the cumulative bank is reset again. Cumulative bank resets (chip eating) makes for having many winning sessions in a row. This is "Not bullshit hypothesis or algorithms" but plain decent accounting.

A limited attack/defense betting algorithm (used in each file) might be "base bet $5, win or lose the next bet is $10 (unless there was a cumulative bank reset with the win of $5), If the $10 wins, reset that file to $5. If the $10 bet loses, the next bet is $15. If the $15 bet wins, reset that file to base bet of $5. If a $15 bet loses, go to a variable interval loss recovery, increase the next bet by $1 - $2 and any additional losing bets are increased by the same amount. When an increased bet wins, decrease the following bet by $5. Continue the "up 1 or 2, down 5" until the file is back to base or until salvaged by a cumulative bank reset."

A $5 base bettor will have a buy in bank of $200 and a defined betting range of from 1 to 8, that is from $5 to a maximum of $40. A ($2) variable interval loss recovery starting after loss of a $15 bet would very rarely reach a bet size of $40.

Table departure might be "only leave the table with a win (of any size)." Tables can be stuck on stupid. I don't know why. If you sit down to a buzz saw, leave early. This is "Not bullshit hypothesis or algorithms" but plain decent accounting.

Some other betting algorithms work well in Round Robin Rotation. Hoyle's Press (miscalled Oscar's Grind in the USA) has OK results but Bet Backs perform better. In a Bet Back or Hoyle's Press, a winning bet is followed by a larger bet in the same file.

Attack algorithms are bet lineally (not in Round Robin Rotation) or follow the pattern of winning bets are followed by larger bets in the same file. There is no gain from betting in Round Robin Rotation with attack algorithms. Attack might be bet as "Bet $5 after every loss. Bet $10 after every win." This algorithm works very well when there are streaks of either player or dealer wins. It falls flat when the table is choppy, that is win one, lose one, win one, lose one.... Casino Blackjack is a tough game because much of the available betting technology is not practical in a game that can only be bet to win. Both the dealer and the player may be bet to win but the compound bet may only be put for the player to win. This is an improvement, but the gains are slight.

To the negative reviewer of my comments: This is "Not bullshit hypothesis or algorithms" but plain decent accounting. It is based on the accounting practices of the casino and represents what card counters wish they had but refuse to believe. You state "If you have empirical data to confirm you hypothesis then present it, otherwise refrain from spreading malarkey." I described accounting practices, I did not present a hypothesis. Your field glasses have a hole in them.

I have no idea of your competence in playing chess, pinochle or poker but it is apparent that you are not competent in the field of accounting. Contrary to your belief, investment betting is a fine art, on par with playing chess or pinochle.
 

June

New Member
#22
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?
I think that the average person can win at Blackjack if you know when to hit and when not to. Not everyone can count cards effectively but I know people that have actually won without counting cards. They weren't trying to make a living, just trying to have fun.
 
#23
I think that the average person can win at Blackjack if you know when to hit and when not to. Not everyone can count cards effectively but I know people that have actually won without counting cards. They weren't trying to make a living, just trying to have fun.
Sure, anyone can win in a trip or session while having fun. They can not win long term.
 
#24
Casino Blackjack is unusual in that while the deal is a random event (modified by the number of cards in the deck, shoe or card universe), player decisions about how to play the hand affect the chances of a win. Hit and Stand rules are critical but such things as when to double down and when to pair split must be incorporated into the playing strategy. These rules of play are normally described as Basic Strategy. The most accurate play of Basic Strategy does not quite produce a break even game. Close, but no cigar. This statement applies to those who flat bet, the same bet size every time.

It is too simplistic to say that Blackjack is a game of probability. Assume a delivery of Win 1, Lose 1, Win 1, Lose 1.... indefinitely. It is possible, but not probable. That delivery system is defeated easily by increasing a bet size after a loss and decreasing a bet size after a win. Actual probability of delivery includes "clumpings" or "clusterings" of two wins or losses in a row, three wins or losses in a row, and so on. In a random universe, there is no requirement that clumping average out. After nine losses in a row, there is no expectation that in the future there will be a bias to include nine additional wins. The card count takes place in a limited universe of cards and there is some correlation with the clumping and the values of the cards in the remainder shoe. Faced with a probable favorable clump, the counter increases the size of bets. A problem exists in that a cluster of high cards favors the dealers hand also. The card play includes a plus true count basic strategy but the advantage to the counting bettor is still weak. None the less, over a lengthy period, a counter can bet with an advantage.

Clumping or clustering is the key to either winning or losing. Having smaller bets while in a losing clump and larger bets in a winning clump will take the game over a reasonable period. In other binary games, this can be accomplished with betting a "straddle" betting long and betting short at the same time just as betting options in the stock market. Blackjack is a binary game but you can only bet to win. There are "buy/sell" bet selectors in a Blackjack game such as "If you were dealt a winning hand and the dealer breaks, increase the size of the next bet." Personally, I have not found such selectors to be particularly effective but an argument might be made for them. The most widely known bet selector for casino Blackjack is the card count. My favorite was the Einstein count (Charles Einstein, not Albert) later sold as the Hi Opt (short for Highly Optimum). Counters use a lineal Attack betting system and typically have modest wins over a reasonable betting period.

Unfortunately, your question does not have a simple answer. Some believe the only answer is card counting. Casino Blackjack can be bet as a highly intellectual game, on par with Chess, Bridge or Pinochle. There are other answers but it takes a book.
 
#25
Casino Blackjack is unusual in that while the deal is a random event (modified by the number of cards in the deck, shoe or card universe), player decisions about how to play the hand affect the chances of a win. Hit and Stand rules are critical but such things as when to double down and when to pair split must be incorporated into the playing strategy. These rules of play are normally described as Basic Strategy. The most accurate play of Basic Strategy does not quite produce a break even game. Close, but no cigar. This statement applies to those who flat bet, the same bet size every time.

It is too simplistic to say that Blackjack is a game of probability. Assume a delivery of Win 1, Lose 1, Win 1, Lose 1.... indefinitely. It is possible, but not probable. That delivery system is defeated easily by increasing a bet size after a loss and decreasing a bet size after a win. Actual probability of delivery includes "clumpings" or "clusterings" of two wins or losses in a row, three wins or losses in a row, and so on. In a random universe, there is no requirement that clumping average out. After nine losses in a row, there is no expectation that in the future there will be a bias to include nine additional wins. The card count takes place in a limited universe of cards and there is some correlation with the clumping and the values of the cards in the remainder shoe. Faced with a probable favorable clump, the counter increases the size of bets. A problem exists in that a cluster of high cards favors the dealers hand also. The card play includes a plus true count basic strategy but the advantage to the counting bettor is still weak. None the less, over a lengthy period, a counter can bet with an advantage.

Clumping or clustering is the key to either winning or losing. Having smaller bets while in a losing clump and larger bets in a winning clump will take the game over a reasonable period. In other binary games, this can be accomplished with betting a "straddle" betting long and betting short at the same time just as betting options in the stock market. Blackjack is a binary game but you can only bet to win. There are "buy/sell" bet selectors in a Blackjack game such as "If you were dealt a winning hand and the dealer breaks, increase the size of the next bet." Personally, I have not found such selectors to be particularly effective but an argument might be made for them. The most widely known bet selector for casino Blackjack is the card count. My favorite was the Einstein count (Charles Einstein, not Albert) later sold as the Hi Opt (short for Highly Optimum). Counters use a lineal Attack betting system and typically have modest wins over a reasonable betting period.

Unfortunately, your question does not have a simple answer. Some believe the only answer is card counting. Casino Blackjack can be bet as a highly intellectual game, on par with Chess, Bridge or Pinochle. There are other answers but it takes a book.

I was dissatisfied with my answer. I elected to post part of a (slightly edited) chapter from one of my books.


ROUND ROBIN ROTATION, the silver bullet

The “Bug-a-boo” of amateur bettors is the “eight losses in a row” which they have been told will break any “progression” betting system. Amateur bettors get betting information from the inaccurate sources.
“Eight losses in a row” are disastrous for lineal negative progression (double up after losses) bettors but that betting style has been debunked and obsolete for centuries. Uninformed sources still devote space to coverage of obsolete routines rather than describing accounting routines that do resolve problems.
Double up after losses routines were truncated after three or four consecutive losses and loss recovery would be to continue betting at the minimum amount until a win. There were elaborate loss recovery tiered systems built around this logic but they were rendered obsolete by betting in a Round Robin Rotation format.
Round Robin Rotation is the reverse of part of the casino accounting system; a dealer dealing to multiple players. Round Robin Rotation is one bettor simulating being multiple bettors opposite a single dealer.
A Casino Blackjack game with four players is as an example. Players will have been dealt different hands versus the single hand of the dealer. The casino may lose some chips on any given deal but it is somewhat rare that the four players all win, making it unlikely that the casino will lose all bets.
By collecting first from losers, and then paying winners, on average the casino profits from every deal. It is unlikely in the extreme that the dealer can lose all bets eight deals in a row. The problem of eight complete consecutive losses does not exist for the dealer.
In Round Robin Rotation used by a lineal bettor, each chip stack (column, file or folder) represents an individual synthetic bettor.
Round Robin Rotation may be used when each file represents opposition bettors, but appears to only deliver equal performance to a lineal bettor using a high density bet selector such as Shark (bet selection is not available to casino Blackjack bettors). Round Robin Rotation is a critical betting tool for most casino Blackjack betting systems.
Round Robin Rotation lineal bettors bet from several files in rotation, diversifying risk from a contrary series of events. The rotation is to bet #1 from the first folder (each folder or column represents a lineal bettor or it may represent a “team” of opposition bettors), bet #2 from the second folder, bet #3 from the third folder, bet #4 from the fourth folder, bet #5 from the first folder,..
Defense betting algorithms bias bets toward the lower part of the betting range. When an inevitable negative streak occurs, it typically only takes the lowest of the algorithm bets. Loss recovery betting starts from four files that typically have not more than two or three accrued losing bets that are the smallest bets in each algorithm.
If six or eight consecutive losses are disbursed into multiple files, it almost causes the negative streak to become harmless.
A lineal bettor is one who makes an immediate response to the results of the last betting event. Casino Blackjack fosters lineal betting, where only betting that the next bet will win seems possible. This stimulus-response action leads to intermittent failure of most lineal defense betting systems and casino Blackjack is infamous for bankrupting “system” bettors. There are better options, even for casino Blackjack.
ROUND ROBIN ROTATION, 28 decision, lineal bettor, worst case. This exhibit is a worst case example of lineally betting a single side of a paired chance, such as betting Player (Baccarat), non factored (Blackjack), Do (Craps), or Black (Roulette).
The exhibit shows the Round Robin Rotation betting format with four betting files, each file using a betting algorithm of: 1, 2, 3, 4, variable interval loss recovery betting. Any initial bet of 1 chip (win or lose) is followed with a bet of 2 chips. Any losing bet is followed with a bet, one chip higher. After any winning bet, the next bet is two chips less. This partial front load betting algorithm is loss carried forward followed by recovery betting.
Each bettor [file] [folder] prepares a bet according to the betting algorithm. The lineal defense bettor places a single non factored bet. Dual or opposition bettors would put a single factored bet.
In the following array, Player wins are shown as P and Player losses are shown as DP (Don’t Player). Seven tiers of decisions are shown:

Unfortunately, my copy and paste could not transfer the accompanying exhibits. Sorry. If you need to see the data, check my identity profile and send me an email.
 
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#26
While it's nice to have a PhD on board, I think the analogy that blackjack is a thinking man's game on the level of chess is a bit of a stretch. I have played both and I consider chess to be on a whole other level. For starters, the possible number of moves by both players in a chess game FAR outnumber the possible card combinations in a standard deck. Even if there are only 32 pieces in a chess set.
 
#27
While it's nice to have a PhD on board, I think the analogy that blackjack is a thinking man's game on the level of chess is a bit of a stretch. I have played both and I consider chess to be on a whole other level. For starters, the possible number of moves by both players in a chess game FAR outnumber the possible card combinations in a standard deck. Even if there are only 32 pieces in a chess set.
At one time, a PhD meant something, now they are pretty meaningless except to impress the grandkids and they are more interested in Disney Land. I hold a B.S., an M.S. and a PhD. You are aware of what BS stands for in popular jargon. M.S. is more of the same. PhD means Piled higher and Deeper. I recite my PhD (Business Administration) to impress others to buy my books (which I labored over). Degrees do not impress me personally. They are as passe as heraldic emblements.

Now for the comparison of Blackjack to Chess: I have read that there are something like 550 unique blackjack hands possible in a single deck (I did not check this, I read it somewhere). Presumably in an eight deck shoe there would be either eight times that many possible hands or possibly eight factoral times as many. The number of hands possible is disregarded and play of the hands is normally reduced to a Basic Strategy. Most amateur blackjack bettors do not know there is a whole family of basic strategies. Zero True Count Basic Strategy changes with minus or plus true counts and the strategy changes are in conjunction with the amount of variation of the true count. Memorizing and working with a basic strategy true count family will tax the mind of an expert chess player (and I have played a bit of chess with those who beat me consistently). Working with basic strategy becomes more complex when you consider the strategy changes are not stable from one counting system to the next. Counters may use single or multilevel counts. When cards have a point value of perhaps one to five, this is somewhat analogous to the variable values of chess pieces. I would hate to have the assignment of counting how many possible point values might be possible within an eight deck shoe. An eight deck shoe and the number of possible points has some similarity to the number of moves possible in a chess game. It is a large number. Fortunately, a blackjack bettor does not need to know all of this nor does a chess player need to know how many moves are possible. A blackjack bettor considers his buy in bank as King. He castles when possible by winning money. If he loses money, his king is captured. If he doubles his buy in bank, he checkmates the casino. A blackjack game is not of a single hand; a session will normally be of 50 or more hands. An investor does not care about a count. He will observe the table action and if most of the bettors lose in a round, he will bet a minus three or a minus six true count basic strategy. Actually, he will normally be a minus three as his workhorse. The thread through the game is not the count but the discontinuous money flow. If we compare the mathematical actions of the betting algorithms used to the point values possible, we get large numbers which are actually meaningless. The point is, do we carry away some money that once belonged to the casino. Blackjack is a board game much like chess, except the board is invisible. Strategies are designed to protect pieces (loss recovery betting) and to capture piecesThe dealer cann0t see the board and can only use casino defined strategy.

Betting Blackjack is a highly intellectual game that is disguised to appear simple. Casinos operate a business. Do you think they would be in business if the offered a game that was easy for customers to defeat?

My approach to betting blackjack is not as difficult as that of professional card counters. I write of betting as an investment. The most successful blackjack bettor is the casino. An investment bettor learns the operating practice of the casino and develops a betting around it.

I am posting this on my birthday. I was born August 9, 1941 so I am celebrating my 40 third birthday. This is only the third time that I have turned forty. To give me a birthday present should go to: amazon.com/author/larryhaight If you feel like splurging buy HAIGHT ON CASINO BLACKJACK, the Art of Investment
 
#28
That all makes sense, so if I may. With chess, you have to factor in the reality that the "dealer" knows exactly what his move will be based on the opponents' probable response. With cards, that isn't possible. We can figure out the probability of what will come next, but we certainly cannot choose it ourselves.

And I hope you're better at math on the table than when it comes to your birthday(s). You put yourself at 120 with a birth year of 1941. :)
 
#29
That all makes sense, so if I may. With chess, you have to factor in the reality that the "dealer" knows exactly what his move will be based on the opponents' probable response. With cards, that isn't possible. We can figure out the probability of what will come next, but we certainly cannot choose it ourselves.

And I hope you're better at math on the table than when it comes to your birthday(s). You put yourself at 120 with a birth year of 1941. :)
My birthday was a personal decision. I won't be limited to what others believe to be true, even when it is. I consider that to be a common law right of elderly men. Just as high and low cards in a shoe demonstrate clumping or clustering, so do series of wins and losses at the game. It does seem that many more streaks of losses are present but that is mostly fiction.

In Blackjack, you don't know the value of the dealer hand in advance but you do know exactly how he must play the hand that he is dealt. You also know the size of the dealer bet, it is exactly opposite yours. With some other games you may bet both sides at the same time (in the stock market this is called a straddle) and stabilize cash flow. You can do something similar in casino Blackjack. You and the dealer bet algorithms in differing amounts. You factor the size of your bet with the size of the dealer bet and put the difference on player. It will not be as profitable as with games where you can put the difference where it falls (as in betting high and low in Roulette) but risk is substantially reduced. When you understand the mechanics, it is not a difficult betting style.

This line of exploration gives rise to the player defining the dealer betting algorithm. (I am not a high roller, I always use minimum bet size) Define the dealer algorithm of betting $10 after every win and $5 after every loss. Your bet is $5 greater than the dealers. Your betting range is $5 - $15. If the dealer won the previous hand, your bet is $5. If you won the previous hand because the dealer broke, bet $15. If you won the previous hand and dealer did not break, bet $10. When dealer side streaks, player loses $5 per hand. When player streaks, player wins $10 per hand. A choppy table is destructive to the system.

It should be a winning system (use a minus three true count basic strategy) but has not been tested in a casino. Consider the betting style to be experimental but it with entertainment value. The system is weak but should produce some profit over a session of 50 to 100 bets.

If someone reading this will give the system a fair trial and report back to me I would appreciate it. I do not trust a computer test and have no interest in hearing of one. This is a low risk system and if it has no value at all, the expected loss would be to the table edge for minus three (perhaps 1-2%).

I didn't intend this lengthy a reply, but I wanted to show that it is not necessary to consider the size of the dealer bet to be equal and opposite. A firm solicited a comptroller. There were three applicants. Each was asked "What is 8 + 3? Two applicants answered "11." The accountant asked "What do you want it to be?" Guess who got the job.
 
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