• hello all,

    one topic pertaining to blackjack that i haven't been able to find much information on is variance. i'd very much appreciate some discussion from members on this topic.

    cheers, sagefr0g
  • think about this. The best teams in football win consistently, but they don't win every game, and they don't always win every year. But there are lots of teams you could look up, and bet "to win, no handicapping" and win over the long haul. But you would find years where you lose more than you win. That's variance. The advantage for counting is long term. But you have to play in the short-term, and it will get ugly at times...
  • as i understand it variance can sometimes make life at the blackjack table heaven and other times hell in the short run...
    so the big question is:
    is there a way to avoid the negative variance dramas or is variance something thats just going to happen regardless as one spends time at the table.

    regards, sagefr0g
  • you can avoid negative variance easily. Just don't play.


    Otherwise, get ready for it...
  • gorilla player said:
    you can avoid negative variance easily. Just don't play.


    Otherwise, get ready for it...

    hi gorilla player,

    i'm new at this game and i'm trying to sort out various issues with respect to it. another poster on another forum advised me that one deals with variance essentially by maintaining a sufficient bank roll, using standard deviation and risk of ruin factors for determining play strategy.
    does that sound like the way to handle the variance situation?

    regards, sagefr0g
  • that is all you can do... There is no way to control those negative swings. They will happen. Walking away from that table does not necessarily mean the negative swing is over, it may well continue the next session. There have been reported negative swings that last a year although that is way rare. One pro posted once that he had a losing year overall, which is something I have not yet experienced. I've had a losing week playing every day. For example, I played god only knows how many sessions over a week in Vegas back in June, and no matter what happened on a single session, I ended up down about $500. not a lot of money, but any amount that has a negative sign is bad. I recently had two consecutive losing trips, and the third trip was a one-day deal that saw me play a 6d game for some length of time. On one session, I won a whole $18.00 after 1.5 hours of play. So that one was positive, but _barely_. I've also seen a couple of "those" sessions that always happen in the movies. I played a $25 table a few months back, (2d game) where the first few shuffles never produced a + TC. Yet after buying in for $500, I doubled my money basically flat-betting for 30 minutes. Then the shuffles turned positive and I hit my biggest + session ever, spreading from $25 to $300 or so (guy by me was spreading $100 to $1200 and didn't do nearly so well so go figure) and I ended up after 3+ hours, being $9,500. That is positive variance. I will probably never lose that much in a session as I won't carry that kind of session BR around...

    Point is, all you can do is keep playing. Eventually things will go your way if you are not making serious mistakes. During that losing week in Vegas, I recall one shoe where this young female came parading through the MGM grand, with this completely see-through outfit on. The game stopped, all eyes were on her, after she got out of sight I realized I had absolutely no idea what the running count was. It could have been 36, or 24, or 36, maybe. :)

    But if you don't make mistakes, you eventually win. That's where the ROR stuff is so important. As I like to say, and say often, any idiot can play through a positive variance, we do it all the time (get way ahead but you can keep playing and if you play long enough you will certainly drop it all, although you will probably win it back and then some later if things go well. But if you can't play through the negative swing because you run out of money, you have a guanrateed failure, just plot your BR ups and downs with a good SIM and you'll better understand this.

    Fortunately there are software packages that take the guesswork out of this. So that you can choose your BR, the rules for the game you are going to play, the betting spread you want to use, the betting ramp you want to use, and then sim enough rounds to see how it will work over the "long haul"... That's invaluable in answering the age-old question "what kind of spread is necessary to beat an N-deck shoe?" Now you can answer that quickly and accurately.
  • you gave me a real good overview there gorrila... thanx much
    excellent post IMHO.
    regards, sagefr0g

    [quote="gorilla player"]that is all you can do...

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