How long (how many hands) qualifies "long-term"?
  • Hi Folks, I have been lurking around this board for a while and find a lot of things interesting.

    I have been playing blackjack ever since I turned 21 but only recently I became an almost flawless basic strategist. I said almost because in a situation when I have a larger bet on the table and I have 3 consective splits and 3 double downs in one hand against a dealer 3 upcard I chicken out. I got burned several times this way and the dealer will always pull out a 4 card 20 or 21, I lose more than half of my bankroll if not all and always end up empty pocketed.

    I know counting gives me a 1% advantage and I have counted several times, but I just felt counting is useless because a 8 deck shoe with average penetration and more than 1 player at the table, you really don't gain that much of advantage. I think it all depends on fluctuations during the short-term play, that's why I quit the table when I achived my reasonable winning goal. Theoratically I will lose in the long term without counting, so how long qualifies for long term? If a non-counter plays very frequently and is up for the year with basic strategy, is that not long enough? This is a game with such a large variance and I need to know when can I see the expected results.

    Sorry about the long post. Good luck on all your plays.
  • Consider a random process with an expected value (EV) of 0.01 and a standard deviation of 1.1. After 1,000,000 samples, the expected value is 10,000 and the SD is 1.1(1,000,000))^.5=1,100. There is a 95% chance your actual results will be between 7,800 and 12,200.

    If you play 10,000 hands, 95% chance of actual results between -10 and 210.

    Say you're a counter with a 1% advantage. After 1 million hands, which will take you at least 10,000 hours, there's a 95% chance your profit will be between 7,800 and 12,200 times your average bet. If you play 40 hours/week, 50 weeks/year, it will take you 5 years to reach this level.
  • Seven – Welcome to the Forum……You have asked a very good question, and one that will probably bring on all kinds of discussion. I will go first so others can take “pot shots” at me, :wink: and you probably won’t like my answers, especially in regard to “time”.

    I use 500,000 hands as “long term”. Some “jammie boys” (math weenies) will say that is not enough and a few will say you don’t need that many, but so be it. 500,000 hands reduces SD to a point that is acceptable to me.

    Time?.....500,000 hands is about 5,000 hours of blackjack.

    1. If you really take blackjack very seriously, make it a “half time” job, and play 1,000 hours a year………you will reach long tem in five years, and you will see your expected results.

    2. If you play seriously, and play 20+ hours per month, you will make it in 20 years.

    3. If you go to the casino say 6 weekends a year and play 20+ hours, it will take you 40 years.

    4. AND, it you are a typical blackjack “enthusiast”, but play only play about 50 hours a year……….it will take you 100 years to get to “long term”, and see your expected results.

    Good Luck………Grifter
  • Well, I thought I was going first :wink: ...... I "guess" what our resident math guy said above is right because he usually is, but at least consider my answer in "plain English"......Grifter
  • Thanks guys,....that just depressed me. I get so little time to play, my "long term" will take forever. Oh well, there's always retirement!
  • Sorry, D. - I knew when I was typing it that it was going to surprise and discourage a lot of folks on this forum.

    Remember the 500,000 hands is just what I use, but I believe anyone will tell you between 200K and 1M (note that Mr. Ed used 1M).

    Grif'
  • thanks for the replies!

    I think 99% of the players don't ever reach the long-term results, even for the serious counters, let's say a counter actually played long enough to get his expected results with 1% advantage, but he has to constantly camouflage himself to avoid heat by making dumb bets and not bet as much as he should and tip the dealer, that reduced his already very small advantage... All these hard work and all these long hours, is this really worth it? Have any of you know anybody who actually succeeded and made a fortune on blackjack?
  • Seven, If all gamblers were guided by the theoretical they would
    have a tuff time going to the casino at all. If you look at real life
    you know very well that is not the case, nor does it explain the fact
    that there are people who win year in and year out. So, be aware of
    possibilities both good and bad, apply some common sense to the
    situation and go beat the hell out of them........................

    Ray
  • Ray said:
    Seven, If all gamblers were guided by the theoretical they would
    have a tuff time going to the casino at all. If you look at real life
    you know very well that is not the case, nor does it explain the fact
    that there are people who win year in and year out. So, be aware of
    possibilities both good and bad, apply some common sense to the
    situation and go beat the hell out of them........................

    Ray

    Amen
  • Here's a new angle to the answer, based on running simulations.

    Suppose a player has Blackjack as a job. From age 21 playing 100 hands per hour 8 hours a day 5 days a week for 50 weeks per year for 50 years results in 10 million hands of Blackjack. To get a feel for whats expected in a lifetime as presented above, a 2 sigma variation would require 20 lifetimes of study throwing out the most deviant result. For 2.5 sigma 100 lifetimes, and for 3 sigma run 1,000 lifetimes and toss the worst 3 results. Thats a lot of hands dealt in order to be reasonably sure about outcomes!

    N&B
  • Seven, there are much easier ways to make money. Play BJ for fun, but don't quit your day job. If you have the bankroll, the commitment and the emotional stability to play professional blackjack, use your talent in the stock market - you'll make millions instead of $100k or so, and you'll get the recognition and respect you deserve.
  • Mr. Ed said:
    use your talent in the stock market - you'll make millions instead of $100k or so, and you'll get the recognition and respect you deserve.


    OK, where do we find BS for the market? :lol:
  • certainly not from your broker......ask Martha
  • Basic strategy for the "market" is the same for blackjack: Knowledge, time, and consistency.
  • Try Investor's Business Daily (IBD), and the Wall St. Journal. IBD will make you tons of cash if you stick to it. In the last 3 years (bad ones at that) I have gone from 10 to 70 thousand with out kicking in more cash.

    It IS work, and diligence, and time. All are well spent. IMHO IBD will get you there with style, and its direct, and to the point. Pick 3 stocks and go for it.

    N&B

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