Short-Term / Long-Term
  • Why so much talk about the short-term and long-term in blackjack?
    In most cases it highlights the difference in good theory vs myths. Ideas
    that are developed via experience are generally referred to as empirical evidence & lacking in sound theory. All kinds of myths are manifestations
    of short-term experiences. Some examples:

    - I played this great betting system last night.
    - The dealer is due to bust after X hands.
    - That idiot at 3rd killed us tonight.
    - I played these new variations to B/S and won a pot of money.
    - Every time I get a good run going some moron enters the game and
    screws up the flow.

    Ok then, what about long-term?

    The purpose of long-term considerations is to prove if a theory is sound
    thru actual application over a long period. Why such a long period? The
    idea is to factor luck out of our evaluation, make it a non-factor. The
    following can be said about luck over the long-term:

    good luck + bad luck=0 (more like somewhere close to zero)

    You can't make that statement for short-term experiences where luck
    tells many stories and most of them you should not believe.

    The reason I made this post is that we are creeping back to Mythville that
    is generally passed from one poster to another.
  • Hi Ray...enjoyed your post here...

    In my experience (of almost 20 years Blackjack & 7 years Day-Trading),
    most folks "out there" just don't have the Discipline, Focus, nor Patience
    it takes to do the Long Term "Sit & Grind" that is absolutely necessary
    to be a Full-Time Professional Blackjack Player...

    IMO, the only ones that are truly "in" the Long Term (24/7) are the Casinos themselves,
    and a person would definitely have to seriously
    play at least 40+ hours per week
    to even begin to "enter" the Long Term...

    IMO, Basic Strategy and Card Counting are definitely Mathematically "Correct" in the Long Term,
    but the "difference" for most folks "out there",
    is that in the Short Term,
    neither are Realistically "Correct",
    because all too often,
    they just don't "work" consistently for most people
    in the Real World of Real Casinos, Real Cards, Real People, and Real Money,
    where things are very often much "different"
    than the computer "simulations" upon which BS and CC are based...

    I prefer a Short Term "Hit & Run" Strategy in the Casinos and in the Stock Market...

    I have implemented most of the "Illustrious 18" on a permanent basis,
    no matter what the Count is,
    because that is what "works" most consistently and profitably for me.
  • I always play for the short-term,and let the long term figure itself out.
    For example-if you divide your play into mini-sessions and play to win the one particular mimi-session,you will about 99% percent of the time.
    That is the theory behind Oscars Grind,and one I'm quickly becoming a believer in.
  • Both short-term and long-term begin NOW and that is why there is no real difference in how one should view the game. The best move in
    the next 20 minutes is the best move for the next 20 years. You can't cntl
    luck, but if you vary from proven fact, you become best friends with bad
    luck. If we don't promote the facts and suppress fantasy, the forum does
    an injustice to serious individuals.
  • FACT- There is no such thing as a mini-session. If you play for two hrs.
    and take a 2hr break before you play another 2hrs, what can you say
    about that? Do you consider each hand a new session? What possible
    difference could it make how much time/breaks occur between play.

    Your life-time is just one long session. The terms we use are just easy
    ways to describe some window in time. Otherwise they have no real
    meaning whatsoever.
  • Ray say,"Your life-time is just one long session"...excellent quote,
    I definitely agree with that...

    For me, each time I sit down to play Blackjack is a new and separate "session".

    the Real "Acid Test" Proof of the Validity of any Strategy is in a Real Casino,
    with Real Cards, Real People, and Real Money,
    and not in any Computer "Simulation".
  • Sorry,Guys,but I disagree.
    You can absolutely break sessions down into mini-sessions.
    I'll be happy to explain it to you.

    I sit at a $5 table with my goal being to win $100.Simple enough ,no?

    I now break my goal into 20 mini-sessions of winning $5 each.
    Once I've won $5 ,that session is done.Money goes into the vault,so to speak.If I start with a $200 bankroll and win 17 sessions,I still have a $200 bankroll to play with. The $85 in winnings never goes into play.
    On my 18th session,I start losing badly.Either I play until I get back to being 1 bet ahead,or until I lose my bankroll.
    Well over 98%,I'll get back to being 1 unit ahead.
    By breaking down the longer session(life) into smaller sessions(today) and then into even smaller mini-sessions,it helps me by giving me an immediate short-term goal.
    Is it a crutch? Perhaps,but what works,works.
  • Surfteg- You agree with me in one sentence, but, in the next, totally
    disagree by example. How can you do that?

    Computers have been used as an excuse for irrational thinking for a very long time. From an insiders point of view, they don't deserve that rap.

    Computers are the real world (starting on a large scale about 1960)
  • voodoo warning.

    If you quit after winning $5, most of your playing sessions will be winning sessions. But those winning sessions will be _more_ than offset by the sessions where you lose your session bankroll before getting to +$5 for that session.

    Whether you play N sessions of 1 hand each, or one session of N hands, your win/lose result is going to be _identical_.

    You are going to win exactly the same number of hands, lose exactly the same number of hands, and push exactly the same number of hands, whether you break the sessions up or not. To believe anything else simply violates the basic principle of statistical sampling theory and the underlying central limit theorem...
  • 20 sessions,$500 bankroll

    19 sessions,I achieve my goal of $100= $1900
    1 losing session=-500
    - 500
    = 1400,plus whatever I won the last session before it went south.

    I don't quit playing after I win $5,I start a new mini-session. Big Difference.I quit when my goal of the day is achieved,or I lose my initial bankroll.It's not about how many sessions or mini-sessions you win,its how much money you leave the casino with. This system helps me take more money than any other way I've tried.Can't really put it any simpler.
  • You can make up any kind of numbers to show how to win money. But you can't overcome the fact that you have a -.5% EV. Sampling theory says that if you take N samples from the population of playing sessions, some will be better than -.5% EV. Some can even be +2% EV. But when you average them _all_ you are going to end up at -.5% and there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop that. That's just pure probability theory that can't be overcome.

    In your example, you have somehow made blackjack a +EV game, which is not possible without counting cards. There is no way to win 19 sessions of $100 each, starting each session at zero, and quitting when hitting -$500. It just isn't possible to win 19 of 20 sessions ending up that far ahead, without having losing sessions that exceed $1900 total. Otherwise you just found a way to play a coin-toss game and win reliably, when the rest of us can only break even. Or you have found a way to beat the roulette wheel even though the american wheel has a -5.28% house edge built in with two zero/zero-zero slots...
  • Let me also add a point of clarification.

    You _can_ win more sessions than you lose. You _can_ win _many_ more sessions than you lose.

    You can _not_ win more money than you lose, unless you use some sort of advantage play, including counting cards, or shuffle tracking, or card steering, or hole-carding, or spooking, or whatever. Money management, and "quitting when reaching some sort of goal" can make you feel better when you have more winning sessions than losing sessions. But at the end of the month, or year, or whatever, you are _not_ going to be ahead in terms of dollars, because the losing sessions, although less frequent, are going to more than offset your more frequent (but smaller) wins.

    This just doesn't work.

    Another way to think of this... you quit when you lose $500, or when you win $100. If you do some simple risk of ruin calculations, you are more likely to win $100 on any session than to lose $500. -$500 is farther away from the "expected value" than +100, so you will see more +100's. But if you are betting $10 units, and play 100 rounds per hour, on average you are going to lose $5.00 per hour, because of your -.005 (-.5%) EV for the game. There will be samples where you win significant sums, and samples where you lose significant sums. But add 'em all up, multiply by the total hours played, and you are going to be coughing up $5 per hour to the casinos, and there is just no way around that. If you can overcome that math, you have just invalidated the entire field of statistical sampling and probability theory...
  • point (in contrast) was that Long Term
    computer "simulations" (based upon millions of hands),
    are NOT the SAME as Short Term Real Casino Sessions with Real Cards, Real People, and Real Money.

    SSR... Blackjack is NOT a "coin-toss game" (i.e., Independent),
    like Craps or Roulette,
    it is Dependent.
  • I would point out that computer programs can also break-down a single long-term run into thousands of of segments. Some will win and some segments will lose. For example, a 1 Billion round run that updates every 100,000... or 1 Million rounds. And within that one can surmise that EVERY SHOE can be seen to vary.

    Computer sims do not take into account the expected values of a system and compare outcomes: they play blackjack and inform the operator what is to be expected.
  • Surfteg- Congrats, you are correct... they are different. I'm talking about
    the comp sim vs the "Real" inside the casino game. The sim will not use
    ESP, intuitive notions, AI or gut feelings. For any 320 hands(4 hrs) who do
    you think does better?
  • Surfteq:

    Black is a game of "independent trials" if you are a pure BS player using a progression to try to beat the house. Because even though the remaining deck composition is altered as each card is dealt, a non-card-counter does not know about the remaining composition, so it doesn't matter whether they play a DD game or an infinite deck game, other than for the slightly worse house edge of the infinite deck game.

    Second, if you don't believe simulations are "real-world" then you really have a long hard road to travel. By the time you play 20,000 rounds, which is maybe 200 hours at the tables, you ought to be getting real close to the simulation results. Not way better nor way worse. (so-called N0 or N-zero number of rounds).

    Of course, it is _your_ money to do with as you see fit. But all the voodoo stuff will do is lose it at a faster rate overall-- nothing more, nothing less...
  • Again,I respectfully disagree.
    While I will certainly win and lose hands in the percentages you describe,by having different amounts of money bet on the hands,I can dictate when I stop my sessions.Were I flat-betting,I'd agree with you.But as my goal in any mini-session is to simply win a 1 unit bet,and I am not constrained by time,nor hands,but only a willingness to risk 100 times my initial bet in order to achieve my goal,I will achieve my goal at a very high percentage.
    Will there days when it takes me so many hands to win 1 bet in a particular mini-session that exhaustion or simple boredom will prevent me from achieving my stated goal of a 20 unit win-Yes.Will there come a time that I lose 2 consecutive bankrolls? Its possible,but extremely unlikely.
    Were I to play for $10 a hand,with a $500 bankroll,the risk of ruin would be much,much higher.But as I play in $5 units thats not relevant,is it?
    I know BS and CCing, and when I need to have a bigger bet out against a
    negative deck(I play SD or DD),I know enough to stand up and grab a smoke while the deck plays itself out.
    It works for me.Will it ever make me rich? No.
    But as I lay in my free room,thinking about the free dinner I had,I check out my room and think to myself "This trip I win enuff for the clock-radio and the blow-dryer. Next trip I'll win enuff for the TV." One trip at a time,one mini-session at a time.
  • "This trip I win enuff for the clock-radio and the blow-dryer. Next trip I'll win enuff for the TV." One trip at a time,one mini-session at a time.

    you should really rethink that plan and take a closer look at the mathematic disadvantage you have in the long run my friend.
    sure you could win 300$ to pay for a tv during one session of blackjack, but hey next session, you could watch 300$ plus some disappear 10x faster than you earned it, because thats how it is. the casinos have way too many people tricked thinking they can make money on this game by playing basic strategy, or some stupid progression. dont become one of those sheep
  • This idea of "sessions" is fundamentally flawed. Here is an example.

    We flip a coin 10 times, and I am lucky enough to hit 5 heads and 5 tails, the commonly-expected result of 50-50. I am betting on heads each time for simplicity. Here are the 10 flips:

    T T T H T H H T H H

    If I played 10 sessions of one flip each, I won 1/2.

    But what if the sessions were played like this:

    [T T T] [ H T H] [H T H H]

    Dang, I won two sessions and lost one,


    [T] [T] [T] [H T H H] [T] [H H]

    And there I lost 4 and won 2.

    What is the point? Sessions are meaningless break-points in a long-term set of trials. You can stop when you want, start when you want, but you are really playing one _long_ session. Clearly you can take the same data and depending on where you arbitrarily set the "session breaks" you can win more sessions or lose more sessions, while overall you are breaking even. Or in the case of the pure BS player in blackjack, he's going to lose his 1/2% over all the sessions regardless of how many winning or losing sessions he has.

    This idea of "winning sessions" is purely meaningless in the context of trials like this. If I can get the same final result (5 heads and 5 tails) but wildly different "session results" then clearly the session results are meaningless.

    But we do manage to keep coming back to this idea over and over and over. And it will never work. Not now, not later, not ever. Never.
  • blah blah blah.
    blah blah blah.

    Minds,like parachutes,work best when they are open.

    What can I tell you but this system works for me.I'm certainly not out to convert anyone to anything. If you are making enough money playing your way,good for you. Stick to what works for you and I'll stick to what works for me.Believe it or not,it works for me.Anyone thats not happy with the amount of money they are making might want to look into it further,but if you are happy using your system,stick with it and tell us about it.
  • It is a simple logical fact: There is no such thing as a mini-session when it
    comes to results. SSR just demonstrated that point very well. The idea
    that we can somehow time or schedule our results within some specific
    period in time just don't jive. This gets back to the idea that: No program,
    guess or schedule can overcome the unpredictable nature of the unknown.
    e.g., the future........
  • You talk about "closed minds" but you don't realize that it is not me you are talking about. The math is absolutely correct. Believe what you want of course, but that won't make it true.

    If self-deception is the game, I'm not interested in playing. The CC edge in blackjack is razor-thin. Voodoo about session wins/losses is meaningless. I read. I test. I simulate. And I reach _exactly_ the same conclusions other successful advantage players reach. Counting works. Money management does _not_ turn this into a winning game by itself. No amount of stop-losses, quit while winning, or any other form of snake-oil superstition will work.

    Enough said on this topic... Hopefully those that really care have read, and will continue to read, and not get sucked into this superstitious nonsense...

    One thing is absolutely sure, just like death and taxes. If you are not counting cards, you _will_ lose more than you win. You might be lucky and it might take a while, but the math doesn't suspend itself for certain players forever.
  • Where,in any of my posts,did I say that cc doesn't work,or that simple money management can produce miracle results?
    A combination of the two works better than either done alone.Setting goals and having the discipline to work towards and achieve the goal you set works. In BJ and in life.
  • If you count cards, then talking about "playing sessions" really should be something you have outgrown. Because in the game of blackjack there are no "sessions". Just one long series of hands, stretching for as long as you play the game. Sessions are meaningless. If you want to see how meaningless, and have any computer savvy, write a program to throw a pair of dice one hundred thousand times. Write the various numbers out to a file. Now look at that file to see how many oddball things you can find. How many consecutive 6's? How many consecutive 7+ vs how many consecutive 6- throws? The dice are going to "do their thing" over 100,000 rolls, even though short consecutive strings might look extremely odd. Ever played 3-card poker and got three consecutive straight flushes? I have. Ever played 3-card and lost 20+ consecutive hands? Ditto. But long term, the game will settle in to hit you up for the house edge * your average bet, even though there are big winning sessions as well as big losers.

    Individual "sessions" just don't mean a thing, other than to provide "breaks" for whatever reason. It would be about as sensible as an hourly employee looking at each day's pay as some sort of special event. Made 64 dollars today. Made 80 dollars yesterday. Made zero on Sunday, I was off. Only number that makes any sense is how much was made over some interesting period of time, such as a month, since that is the frequency at which we have to pay most bills. The daily amounts are meaningless, other than they contribute to the long-term income...

    I'm therefore not sure why we need to even discuss "sessions" and whether we win or lose for an individual session. Why not break it down to the finest granularity possible and count wins and losses for each individual hand?

    Oh, you don't _care_ how things go on a single hand because you know things even out over time? Apply that to sessions to get my drift...

    As a card counter, I don't stop when I win X dollars. I would no more walk away from a + deck than I would walk away from any other opportunity where I know I have an advantage over the house. Even a mythical stop-loss would not cause me to walk away from that + count, any more than reaching some arbitrary "win amount". Just because I walk away today, the "string" continues where I left off the very next round I play, whether it be the next round dealt or next year...
  • SSr,
    You have your opinions. I have mine.As mine are shared by folks such as Arnold Snyder and Angie Marshall,I keep mine. Thanks just the same.
    Since you bring up computer simulations,would you be willing to try one?
    Set it up to perform Oscars Grind,but you can't set a specfic # of hands,you must finish the last sequence,or just discard whichever hands at the end that are part of an unfinished sequence.
  • Sorry but your view is _not_ shared by Arnold. If you like, I'd be happy to send him an email asking, and post the email here. I'm sure he wouldn't mind, since we communicate regularly via email anyway.

    Arnold understands the game perfectly, which includes the idea of "sessions".

    The _only_ benefit to any sort of "stop-loss" idea is to be able to play for a finite number of sessions. For example, you go to Vegas for 5 days of playing, taking $2500 with you. If you set a $500 loss per day limit, you will at least have money to play every day that week. Otherwise you could lose it all the first day and have nothing left for the remaining 4 days.

    But this does _not_ improve your winning level whatsoever, nor does it hurt it. It is a "neutral" strategy. If you believe Arnold has said otherwise, please provide the quote. I even have his newest version of BB in BJ here, and _nowhere_ does he suggest that "quitting when ahead in a session is a good idea". And I do mean _nowhere_...

    If you prefer, you can go to blackjackforumonline and ask him directly since he responds to questions there daily. You can even mention me by name if you wish to point out what I have said...

    Oscar's grind has already been simulated to death. It loses just like any other progression, at the rate of .005 * average bet size. Martengale is the only progression that works in theory, but even that fails in practice due to table limits cutting it off.

    I'll say it again, and you can confirm it with Arnold. Or with Norm Wattenberger (qfit software author) Or with Cacarulo, or mathprof, or mathboy, or grifter, or Eliot Jacobson, or any of dozens I could name. Some of which I know personally, some of which I know by reputation. Or with any other BJ authority you want to ask. No form of money management can turn BJ into a winning game. No form. No progression. No stop-loss. No session limit. No incantations. No potions of eye of newt, batwings, etc. It is all voodoo, and it is all nonsense.

    You only get to play _exactly_ one session in the game of blackjack. Only _one_. A lifetime session.
  • Did I ever mention that I know Steve Wynn?.......or that I once played at the same table with Max Rubin........and listen to this, folks. I once rode in the elevator at Caesar's with Sonny and Cher. :roll:

  • Hey, my wife rode in the elevator with the Gibbs brothers (BeeGees) at the MGM grand when they did their "one night only" concert there. :) She played slots beside Maurice Gibb in fact. :)

    But back to the topic at hand, do you think any actual AP authority would buy into this "session" malarky?? As if by somehow stopping and starting play, you can somehow influence the long term in a positive way???
  • Some blackjack players are romatics for which there is no cure. I grew
    up with Liz Taylor's stand-in for several movies. She was beautiful and
    I did all her tech stuff all thru high school. Later in life, a mutual friend told
    me she was in NY city and one day in Grand Central station I decided to
    give her a call. There were just too many names. It came down to miss
    my train and a meeting on our first release of OS or give up trying. I
    made the meeting, but to this day, wish I had not................
  • SSr,
    Are you a real life player?
    I ask because in two responses,you've mentioned something about a couple hundred hands per hour.In my casino experiance,even playing two handed solo against a dealer,you rarely get to even two hundred hands.
    In the archives of blackjackforums is an article that Mr Snyder wrote about non-counters using oscars grind to achieve short term success.NON-Counters.People that normally have no advantage whatsoever can achieve short-term success,according to Mr Snyder.
    Now,since you insist there is no such thing as the short term,does this mean its impossible,or that they can extend the success to the only thing that exists in your world,the long-term.
    Combining the grind with the changes in play according to the count,and sitting out the remainder of negative decks works.
  • Yes, I am a real life player. I hope I did not mention "a couple of hundred hands per hour" unless I specifically mentioned using CVBJ for practice. In a real casino, 100 per hour is not hard at all playing heads-up, and if you get a dealer that is fresh, and up to a challenge, it can go significantly faster than that.

    As far as Arnold's comment, you do understand what is meant by "short-term success"? As opposed to "long-term success¨?? Who cares about short-term when you are forced to live with long-term also. As I have said multiple times, there are several ways to play so that you have more winning sessions than expected. But there is nothing to do about the long-term losing prospects.

    I have _never_ said "there is no short-term". I _have_ said that the "long-term" is composed of many "short-terms" played end-to-end. If you think it is OK to play several "sessions" and in a couple you come out ahead and you say "I won in more sessions than I lost" that is OK. But you need to do the final bit of math as well, and add _all_ those sessions wins and losses together to get an actual dollar amount won or lost rather than a useless winning session count. There the non-AP is absolutely going to end up losing.

    If you play the grind, and don't bet according to the count, you are not going to be a long-term winner. The grind depends on the results of previous hands, which have nothing to do with the count in general. I've won while the count was tanking, I have lost while the count was high. But if I fail to bet big when the count is up, and small when the count is down, I am tossing any advantage out the window.

    IMHO the concept of a progression does not mix with the concept of counting cards, except for when considering "cover". One can't always ramp up or down with the count without being noticed and ejected. So I at least sometimes have to resort to a "progression-like" scheme where I don't increase my bet after a loss, even if the count climbs, I don't decrease my bet after a win, even if the count drops, so that I look like a gambler to an overly interested pit. But I merely "look" like I am parlaying or using a progression, when in reality I am counting and betting as close to the count as I can without being too obvious. Beyond that, I don't see how a progression has anything to offer a counter, since the very principal of counting cards is based on bet correlation with the count, not on previous wins/losses during the immediately preceeding few hands.
  • SSR - NYB asked a legitimate question, and I think you owe him an honest answer......No one can claim to be a "real life player" when they only play 20-30 hours a year.

  • OK. this year I played about 100 hours, plus a visit to vegas that I can't accurately account for. I'd guess I probably played an average of 4-6 hours per day for just over a week, but my notepad was shipped to Timbuktu or somewhere, along with my suitcase and clothes, when we returned home. Never been found.

    I (prior to Katrina) managed to play a day or two every two-4 weeks on the MS coast, as I made several business trips to that area (N.O, Baton Rouge, Hattiesburg MS, Picayune MS, etc). Was always easy to work in a stop on the coast going, coming, or both. :) Not much play since Katrina, however, one trip to Tunica that was profitable, one trip to Pearl River (which has really lousy games) that was so-so has been it since Sept.

    I don't claim to be a professional player of course. 2004 saw me play just under 160 hours total, which is really not a lot, but it is not a "once a year thing" either. I have gone to Vegas and put in close to 50 hours in 1.5 weeks, but that was a rarity as my wife was out that way visiting family and I had lots of free time.

    Does that make me a patzer or a pro or something in-between? If you factor in my practice sessions using CVBJ, I would probably triple that, as I try to practice every single night to keep my skills up for the unexpected opportunities to hit the casinos during a quick trip. Of course, right now, those quick trips are pretty well zapped although I hear that the coast casinos are getting ready to start offering limited play if they have not already done so.

    That's as precise as I can be. But let me add, I have 38 years worth of experience with computer science, math, and probability theory/sampling theory/simulation theory and so forth. It doesn't take casino experience to pick up on the "session voodoo" thinking. Any probability teacher I ever had could point out the holes in that reasoning never having set foot in a casino in their lives... For example, I don't have to understand physics field theory to know that if I throw something up, it is definitely coming back down. I work with random numbers and Monte Carlo simulations all the time, and even give a blackjack simulator project in a programming course I teach. Participating in the current discussion doesn't require "inside casino" experience at all, just a small dose of common sense, and a bigger dose of "thinking about it..."


    BTW, what does "real life player" have to do with "only playing 20-30 hours a year"??? I can think of a few "real life" players that don't play _any_ in a casino today... :)
  • SSR,
    You are continuing to misunderstand,or misinterpet my posts.
    Let me try to simplify.
    Over a lifetime,you'll play X amount of hands,losing more than you win.
    But by winning more big bets than small bets,you can end up with a profit.
    Even if this is done only with a flat bet,by doubling down at proper time,taking insurance at the proper times,and surrendering at the right times,you can squeeze out a small profit.
    These same rules and scenerios apply to the short term results as well as the long term.

    Second point- There are two distinct variations that a card counter can use. 1)He can vary his bets,bettnig small when the count is against him and big when its for him.2) he can adjust his strategy according to the count,hitting when BS says stay,and so n.
    While the two are usually used in conjunction with each other,they are effective if used seperately. Not as strong as when used together,but still fairly strong.

    Anything here you disagree with,so far?
  • First, let's define "player" here. Are we talking about a card counter? Or about a non-counter that is using progressions, BS, stop-loss, etc to try to win?

    The basic idea of card counting is that you will not necessarily win more hands than a non-counter (although you should because of using BS departure indices) but that you will recognize those situations where you are more likely to win, and you ramp your bet up to take advantage of that information. So you might not win more hands (and in a shoe game, playing decisions from departure indices are not very important) but you will come out on the + side of the ledger when you finally add up all your wins and losses. Do we agree there?

    Next you mention that you can flat bet, and double down or take insurance to eke out a profit. There I believe the correct answer is "no", again unless you play one of those rare SD games where the player has a very small advantage right off the top, games that are not found very often and last even shorter.

    Yes, the same principals apply to short-term and long-term. But the problem is, you have _zero_ control over short-term. How do you know that a winning streak is nearing its end, until you play through the end and see? Ditto for winning streaks, up streaks, down streaks, break-even streaks and the like. So BJ is really about long-term. Short term you can end up on either side of the bell curve, way right or left on occasion. Long term you are going to end up in the center. Else the central limit theorem is all wrong...

    Next, you mention two ways to win. One only applies to SD games at best, that being the BS departure plays. And except for rare SD games, dealt very deeply, with very good rules (DA2, RSA, etc) you can flat-bet and win a modest amount. For DD and beyond today, BS departures will _not_ win any money. You might trim the house edge a small bit, but not take it to zero or above. That means that betting with the count is the only real hope for winning money, particularly if you are talking mainly shoes, or at least DD and bigger.

    So on your second point, we probably disagree. You can vary your bets correctly and beat any game with no index departures at all. But you can't flat-bet and only use BS departures and beat any game today unless you luck onto an outstanding SD game. If you notice, the way to win is all about betting according to your advantage. That's why most use the so-called "Illustrious 18" BS departure indices, which provide 80% of the total advantage gained by using 100% of Wong's 150+ departure indices. With a lot fewer headaches and mistakes.

    Now, that's where I stand on all this. We can't control short-term nor long-term. But we can eventually "reach" long-term by playing enough. But long-term is a pretty precise number of hands played (varies according to the game, the rules, the penetration, etc) and it doesn't matter whether we play all those hands in one long session, or N sessions of one hand each, or anywhere in between. We are playing to the _same_ long-term advantage, just taking longer to reach the long-term if we fiddle around and play very short sessions and move to another table, casino, or wait for another day. All you can do is control how many days it takes you to reach the long-term, everything else is dictated by the math. A good simulator will give you an N0 (N-zero) value for the game you are simulating, which simply tells you "how many rounds to reach the "long-term"?? Better games have smaller N0, worse games have larger N0. But no games have N0 in the 1,000 range or less. 20,000 is pretty good, representing 200 hours at the tables or so heads-up.

    So, do we agree or disagree?

    My point is that to play a good game and get to long term requires some number of hands, say 20,000. You can spread that 20,000 hands over 200 one-hour sessions, 2000 6-minute sessions, or 20,000 one-hand sessions. Or any combination you choose. And assuming we both play the same game, after 20,000 hands we both are going to have earned roughly our EV * our average bet * 20,000. Our EV comes from how we play. If all you do is vary your bets with no correlation to the count, then that EV is about -.005 (.5%) and no amount of bet fiddling, and session stop/start fiddling will change the result when we both reach 20,000. A card counter that averages $20 per bet ought to hit 20,000 rounds with a total profit of 20,000 * 20 * .01 (assuming he is playing with a counting system that gives him a 1% edge over the house overall). Or about $4,000 ahead. Assuming 200 hours, that is about $20 per hour, which is typical for a $10 player that will average about $20 per hour in a decent game with decent penetration.

    Hope that clears up where I am coming from.
  • I want take one side or the other here, but let me make this one point.
    You can't beat a blackjack game with basic strategy and basic variations
    alone. There is just too much to overcome........................

    Maybe in the old single deck days, but not now.
  • I absolutely agree. I have played single deck games in the past where the player had a small edge right off the top (very small edge, but still greater than zero). Those are not to be found except for special promotions, say terrible's $5 bonus on any snapper that is going on today I think. There flat-betting is a +EV game because of the promo until they realize it and turn it off. :)

    The BS departure plays are flashy, and sometimes produce big wins, although overall they are pretty minor EV changers unless you play mostly SD/DD games. But depending on them entirely for winning is certainly not going to work, except for exceptional and rare occasions such as the Terribles promo for today.. (I think today).
  • First things first.
    My question about you being a real life player was to see if you play the game in casinos or are simply one of these math weenies that has a million statistics and no casino experiance. I don't care if you play 10 hours a month or 100,I just wanted to know if you were speaking from experiance or simply in the hypothetical.As far as I'm concerned you are a real life player.

    We seem to agree on a great deal,although I think you can beat a decent SD or DD without changing your bet due to the count.
    Having raised my BR from $500 to $8,000plus is the only evidence I can offer.

    About these short term sessions,I don't understand your thinking.
    Would you agree that if I sit at a $5 table with the sole purpose of either winning $5 or losing my $500
    bankroll,that I will be able to achieve that goal thru bet variances the vast majority of the time?
    That if my goal was to do this 20 times in a session,I would still be able to do this the majority of the time.
  • OK. I can answer the SD/DD question. But before I do, I'll let you set the rules for the game. I can run the sim (you pick the counting system unless you like hi-lo, as I have run a ton of those sims already). I can set the bet spread to 1-1, which means flat-betting only, then I can try both the I-18 and full Wong indices for BS departures, holding the bet at one unit per hand. Here's a sample for sd:

    S17, DAS, DA2. betting $10 units, hourly win rate is $2.81 per hour. Change that to flat-betting black and it is 28.10 of course. Not bad. This is full Wong indices, SD dealt to RO6.

    DD, S17, DAS, 67% pen, loses $.05 per hour at $10, or $.50 per hour at black.

    6D, S17, DAS, LS, 5/6 pen, loses $1.71 per hour or $17.10 per hour at black. Rather than all of Wong's indices, dropping to the I-18 and fab-4 (surrender) gives -$2.36 per hour or -23.60 per hour at black.

    So just indices can barely beat a SD game and I do mean barely (for the example given, using a 1-4 (normal) spread turns the win rate into 22.70 per hour betting $10 units, or $227 per hour betting black.

    For your second question, yes I believe you could win $5 the vast majority of the time, before losing $500. But here's the point. For each time you bust out, you _must_ win 100 $5 sessions just to break even. That is what I don't believe you can do, namely to win 100 sessions for every one you bust out on...

    If I had my stat tables here at home, I could tell you the exact probability of that happening. But I believe it is in the <1% probability of happening range, it is _way_ out on the edge of the tail....<br />
    Just remember that "minority event" is hugely expensive, compared to making $5 and quitting the majority of the time. If you win 80% of your sessions, you still end up a big loser since you won 400 and lost 500 the other 20% of the times... That is the issue I have with the idea of worrying about the sessions won or lost, rather than the actual units won or lost...
  • so if you started with 500$ and now have 8000$ playing by the rule of winning 5$ then stopping the session, then that means youve have 1500 winning sessions in a row :roll:
  • Once again,either I'm not communicating properly or you folks are reading what you want to into my posts.
    A session,as I've described is 20 winning mini-sessions.
    Five winning sessions equals one losing session,not 100 sessions.
    Nowhere have I said that I've won $1500 straight sessions. What I have said and what I have done is turn my starting BR from $500 in Sept of 2001 into over $8,000 today. Of course there have been losing sessions along the way,and my style of play and system of playing have changed as my understanding of the game has evolved.
    In fact,next week I will be dedicating part of my play to seeing how the OPP system works
    both stand alone and in conjunction with the grind.
    When I started,I used basic hi/lo,then switched to ko,now I use
    a slightly less effective method,although it is one that lets me play for longer periods without getting mentally wiped.Using the grind is a recent addition to my arsenal.
    While I certainly enjoy playing BJ,I want to be fresh enough to enjoy my free meals and the free shows the casinos give me.
  • I'm missing the point I think.

    a mini-session is winning $5 or losing $500?

    A full "session" is 20 of those?

    Does that mean a full session wins $100? And could lose $10,000?

    What I don't get is the "grouping". Because whether we are talking mini-sessions, regular sessions, groups of sessions or whatever, the same math holds. Given the concept of winning $5 or losing $500, you must win 100 mini-sessions for every losing mini-session... And still, the probability of doing better than winning 100 for every session that goes bust is not good.

    I can't give accurate numbers as I don't keep round-by-round bankroll totals, but I can recall _several_ sessions this past year where I started off losing and never even got back to even before blowing my session bankroll. I played one session at the Tropicana where I bet $5 per round, and after 22 rounds I had lost $100, with 20 losses and 2 pushes, not a single winning round mixed in. That's a gross extreme, but as a card-counter, I had a +bunch+ of losing sessions in Vegas this summer, all in the course of just over a week. But more importantly, with a couple of pretty good-sized losses, I ended up a week plus play almost breaking even, after a couple of winning sessions outside of Vegas proper. How one would overcome the math to beat a game without counting and using bet spreads is beyond me...
  • In a "session",you either win $100 or lose $500. Achieving either ends the session.
    You don't really need to win 20 mini-sessions to win $100,as you'll win some doubles,some splits and get some BJs.

    Yes,you need to win $500 to offset every loss you suffer,but having done many,many practice rounds-I'm finding the w/l ratio is closer to $850/$500. You win $1.70 for every $1 you lose.

    To use your example,if I lost 20 out of 22 rounds, starting with a $5 bet, I'd be down $195, and betting $10 a hand. Not a good place to be,but one that is easily recoverable from.Should the tide shift and I win 4 out of the next 6 hands,lets see where I am.
    hand23-bet $10,win,down 185
    hand24-bet $15,win,down 170
    hand25,bet $15,lose,down185
    hand26,bet $15,win,down 170
    hand27,bet $20,lose,down 190
    hand28,bet $20,win,down 170.
    Pushes don't have any effect,so I ignore them. We are now 26 games into a rather rare extended losing streak. We are down $170 and betting $20. We are down roughly 1/3 of our losslimit of $500,and are way below the table limits.
    Now,after 26 games,and however amount of pushes we have gone thru in this streak,we can reasonably
    expect that one of our hands will
    produce a BJ.It may or may not occur,but it can be expected,which will reduce our deficit even more.
    As we just went thru a terrible losing streak,lets assume that we win the next 3 hands in a row,but none are BJs.
    hand 29,bet$25,win,down$145
    hand 30,bet$30,win,down$115
    hand 31,bet$35,win,down,$80.

    See where this is going? After losing 20 straight hands,by winning
    7 out of 9,I'm in postion to WIN the mini-session if I win the next two hands. Without ever getting a BJ. I doubt I would win the next two hands,as 5 wins in a row is pretty rare,but so is 20 losses in a row. Either way,a winning streak of 4 has brought me from being $190 down to $80 down.
    I've overcome the horrendous start,am within two bets of winning,and am banking some nice comps as the pitboss observes me placing green plus bets.
  • i dont know if you can assume to win anything, more the casinos want you to think that.

    what if bad luck kicked in or something and you lost those 3 hands? its not impossible, its far from it, it can and actually will happen.

    what do you do from there, youd be down 260 "assuming" you lost all those hands, now what? up your bet till you hit the 500$ loss limit? for most thats a tough loss to walk away from
  • You only raise a bet after a win,so the three losses would cost me $75, and I'd be down $245.
    A win would raise my bet to $30 and the next win would up it to $35.

    Had I lost $500 the first or secondtime out,I'd have been upset,but as I didn't,I'm now playing with house money,so to speak.
  • OK. More information needed.

    Main question: when you play are you counting cards or using any other form of advantage play?

    If so, that changes things completely, because then the sessions become completely irrelevant, and you are expected to win at somewhere around a 1% rate, typically. It won't matter whether you play to win $100 or lose $500, or win $1000 or lose $5000, or anywhere in between, your long-term expectation is simply

    win = .001 * average bet * hands played

    the sessions don't mean a thing, unless you like to notice oddball facts that don't affect anything at all. For example, how many winning sessions as opposed to how many dollars won.

    Now if you are not talking about counting cards, but rather just playing with a -.5% advantage using pure BS and a progression, then there is no expected "win". Yes, you could be that one in 1000 that wins a lot of money playing pure BS. There was a story in Vegas a few weeks back about a guy winning several hundred grand in a high limit room, playing a CSM game using pure BS. But that is not his "long-term expectation" and if he plays enough, he's going to end up a loser as the math says he should...

    Your examples for winning and losing really are not much help, since it is always easy to construct any sort of string of wins/losses to make a progression look good. We had lots of such discussions last year by AlexD30 and his mythical progression scheme that kept changing weekly. In your case, winning 7 of 9 is rare. Here's the question: what is the probability of losing 20 in a row, then winning 7 of 9?

    The answer is that the probability of losing 20 in a row is the probability of losing a single hand, raised to the 20th power. Let's use 43% win rate, which is often quoted. .43^20 = .000000047, or 1 in 21.4 million trials. To offset this horrible streak, which actually happened to me this past summer, now you need to win 7 of the next 9. which is about 1 in 1000 (eyeball estimate, not calculated). So it takes another rare event to overcome the first rare event. What is more likely to happen, and what happened to me, was that I just lost $100 quickly. And I had to take my hourly EV of about $20 per hour and play another 5 hours to get back to "even". That's where the math takes me every time... You also can see huge wins, but your EV is still your EV, and over 20K hands, you are destined to win your EV unless you just happen to hit out in +1 or +2 SD-land, which will happen. About 67% of the time you wind up within 1SD of your EV, 98% you wind up within 2SD of your EV, etc... It takes a _rare_ event to push you out past 2SD with enough hands played to make sense. For one hand, you can go _way_ outside your EV. But the more hands you play, the closer you get "pulled back in" toward the mean...

    Now, once again, if you are not counting cards, it is just as probable that after that horrible losing streak, big cards have fallen, your EV is way below -1%, and yet you are betting big. Of course, your EV could be + since small cards could also have fallen, but without knowing, all your progression has done is raise your average bet (again assuming no counting) and increased your rate of loss in the process...

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