Thomason progression
  • I have been playing blackjack for years. After reading Fred Renzy's Blackjack Bluebook I have been using the Ace-Ten front count for over two years. I read about Walter Thomason's book, 21st Century Blackjack,
    here and ordered it from Amazon. Just finished reading it. I decided to practice it on my computer for at least two hours a day and post a running count of the results here. Will start now, and report results for 30 days. Won't know for 30 days how many hands that will be.

    Will use the $10-15-20-25 dollar progression. Increase bets on a win. Back to $10 on a loss. After 4 wins bet $25 until a loss. In other words Thompason's rules.

    Game rules:
    1. Stand on soft 17.
    2. 3 to payoff on blackjack.
    3. Double down on any two cards, and double down after splitting pairs,4.
  • 4. Resplit to 4 times. No resplitting of Aces.
    5. No surrender.

    Will start playing now for at least 2 hours. Will play at least 2 hours a day for 30 days. Will post results each day. Not long enough for a real sample, but should be interesting.

    Charles
  • Forgot to mention: 6 decks. Quit after 4 straight losses, but continue playing at $25 per bet after 4 straight wins until losing. Then back to $10 bet.

    DAY 1 results.
    (1) hours played 2 hrs. 31 min.
    (2) total bet $3810.
    (3) average bet $15.25
    (4) total amount won $168
    Nice start. Will see what follows. Will post again after at least 2 hours today.

    Charles
  • Tuffy - I have about 8,000 hands of Walt's Progression on computer. After you finish your test I will post my results.......Grifter
  • Day 2

    (1) hours played 5 hrs. 18min.
    (2) total bets 525
    (3) Total amount bet $8095
    (4) Average bet $15.40
    (5) Total amount won $295

    The figures are all cumulative. The totals to date, not the one days figures.More bets per hour than could be made at casinos around Chicago as $10 tables here are often full, always at least 3 or 4 players.

    Grifter: Look forward to reading what your results were.

    Charles
  • Day 3

    (1) hours played 7hrs. 51 min.
    (2) total bets 784
    (3) total amount bet $12092
    (4) average bet $15.22
    (5) total amount won $358

    Charles
  • Tuffy: Neat stuff! Keep up the posts... I'm curious to see when the first losing session occurs, and how much it effects your building bankroll.
    Two questions: Are you keeping track of how many times you hit a four-loss stop point? What software program are you using?
    Truthfully, I'm skeptical of computerized analyses of my betting system, but as long as it's showing a profit I won't complain!
  • Walter: I'm using a 9 or 10 year old Avery Codoza program to do this. I haven't been keeping track of the 4 losses or 4 wins progressions. The Cordosa program does not do this. I could do it manually I suppose. A little more work, but not much. May do it. I don't have a count on the 4straight wins & losses, but I have have had 4 or 5 five straight wins and one 6 straight win. About that many 4 straight losses. No string of more than 4 straight losses as I quit that shoe after 4 straight losses and start another shoe. I finish less than half of the shoes I start as I hit 4 straight losses on more than half of the shoes I start.

    When I go to a net loss it will be posted here.

    Charles
  • Hi everyone,

    New to this forum and had a couple of questions. I will be able to say more later. What is progression play and what is a must to read about blackjack strategy. I hate to be so short and do app-reciate any responses. Thanks, Brett5.
  • Progression play means changing you bet based on whether you win or lose. For example: increase your bet by one unit each time you win a hand; decrease each time you lose. On this board, it is often compared to card counting, where the size of your bet is determined based on your expected advantage: bet more when you have an advantage, bet less (or zero) when the house has the advantage.

    I read "Take the Money and Run" by Henry Tamburin (I may have spelled his name wrong - I apologize) and found it to be very good (and it was cheap, too!)

    Fred Renzey often posts on this board, and although I have not read his book, he has a very good understanding of the game and explains it clearly.

    Blackjack Attack II, by Don Schlesinger is often toted as the "bible" of serious BJ players, but it is for advanced players and a casual beginner would find it tedius and dense.

    If you're looking for fiction, "The Counter" by Kevin Blackwood (I think that's his name) is very entertaining and Kevin went to great pains to make it realistic.
  • Brett- "Progressions" covers a lot of ground. There are "positive" progressions, where you only increase your bet after a win (or two) and the "negative" progressions, where you increase your bet after a loss. Two very good books are Walter Thomason's book Twenty-First Century Blackjack and Fred Renzey's book Blackjack Bluebook II. (not that Bluebook I wasn't also good) There are several other BJ books, but I would start with these two. Then you can read Wong and the others, if you want to.
  • TOUGHY 88: I think a vital part of your experiment should include keeping a total of hands won/lost/pushed. That will tell you whether your sample contained a "normal" number of wins and losses, though not necessarily an appropriate amount of streaks. Keeping a record of both wins and streaks would be awesome.
  • Brett,

    My favorite must have for blackjack is the attached link:
    http://www.blackjackinfo.com/bjbse.php
    This will provide you with correct basic strategy for any rules. Memorize whatever rules you play the most first and then work on the alterations for other games.
    The most important rule for a new player is know basic strategy COLD. It is the essential first step whether you decide to bet progressively or count cards.
  • Day 4

    (1) hours played 9hrs. 55min.
    (2) total bets 1025
    (3) Total amount bet $15090
    (4) average bet 14.85
    (5) total amount won $243

    Finally had a losing session. Knew it had to come. Sure many more.
    Fred: My softwear doesen't keep track of wins, losses and puts.
    Walter: Will start tomorrow keeping track of winning & losing streaks of 4 or if wins 4 or more.

    Charles
  • I've recently finished Walter's book (excellent read, highly recommended) and I'm amazed at the depths of the unique comparisions of the systems. I was happy with what the results seem to indicate, but then I'm pretty much sold on progression already. Nice to see it analyzed and compared in this way. Thank you, Mr. Thomason.

    I've also come across what seems to work best for me. I'm trying a combination of Labourchere (with Bruce Irwin's modifications) and applying Mr. Thomasons' "quit points". The Labby/Irwin progression worked well before, but since applying the "quit points" I've had much more success overall, and less frequent bad runs. Thank you again, Mr. T!

    There was one thing on quit points I wasn't quite clear on though. I understand your point about waiting for a new shoe after four quit points. But when you mention changing tables, does that in itself apply, or would you wait for another shoe at the new table?

    In my case, just changing tables at that point mostly worked.

    Anyway, your book is much appreciated!
  • Thanks to Mr. Ed, Midnite and BJ Fan and anyone else who might respond to my questions. Now a little bit about me. My name is Todd and I live on the East coast in the US. Ive always loved playing BJ but havent had any success. I went to the Bahamas in the late 80's and lost about $700. I started playing online in November 2002. ive lost about $15000 doing that. I will never play online again. I know basic strategy somewhat but not like I should. I went to Harrahs Cherokee in NC last weekend with a BR of $500 and left with $700. Its a start anyway. The rules arent that great: 6 decks, Dealer hit soft 17, Double on 10 and 11 only and no doubling after split. Thats around 1% house advantage I thinK. Oh, and its digital BJ. What about that? Im 2 hours from the casino but should I be traveling further to say Miss. for the better odds? Anyway, Im really enjoying reading the posts here and learning what everone has to offer. Feel free to respond with any advice. Its greatly appreciated. Todd.
  • O.K. Todd, I am going to have to give you the "Dutch Uncle" talk. First don't play anymore BJ until you "know" basic strategy. Not sort of know it or kind of know it. That is the first thing to learn. Well, maybe the second. I think you have already learned the first thing.... Don't Play On Line. I see a lack of disiple, that you will have to work on. You can do it. Take it a step at a time, like climbing a stair case or a ladder. The First step is Basic Strategy. Your post was open and honest and I will be glad to try and help. I am sure the others will too. The BJ game on this site is great practice. You can contact me at [email]midnitegambler@cox.net[/email]
    if you have any questions.
  • brett5: I hope that was a typo, you didn't really lose 15 k on on-line BJ I hope. If you want to learn the game I think you came to the right place, and if you pay heed to folks like Midnite you should get to step 1, which is to have an enjoyable casino experiance, even if you don't come out a winner that day, because you know the game and know how to play it well enough to give yourself a chance.
  • jm: I generally wait for a new shoe, or wait to be invited to join the game if it's near the start of a new shoe.
    Glad you found the book interesting.
  • Todd:

    I definitely agree with midnite. Know basic strategy: exactly, totally, automatically. Play the blackjack game on this site. You'd need to alter your rules a bit as the site allows double any 2 and double after split. The proper basic strategy is listed under "rules and strategy" at the top of the website. Also, look into the books by Fred and Walter. Not only are they two excellent blackjack references but you have the authors here to "fill in any blanks" you may experience after reading them.
    After you have BS down, you can decide if you want to take the progression or counting route :lol:
  • Hey everyone, Brett5/Todd mentioned it and someone else did too: What the heck is Digital Blackjack? :?:
  • DAY 5

    (1) Total hours played 12hrs. 04min.
    (2) Total bets 1274
    (3) Total amount bet $18410
    (4) Average bet $15.01
    (5) Total amount won $246
    (6) Number of 4 straight wins (4) one 6,two 5, one 4
    (7) Number of 4 straight losses (5) Quit after 4 straight losses & went to another shoe, so never more than 4.
    Will repeat these totals are cumulative, not just one day.
    Only one shoe finished without 4 straight losses. In a casino this method would cause a lot of table hopping. Wins-losses pretty even today.

    Charles
  • Desert Dog said:
    Hey everyone, Brett5/Todd mentioned it and someone else did too: What the heck is Digital Blackjack? :?:


    Desert Dog,

    Here is the description....Not exactly sure why anyone would want to play it however

    Live Digital Blackjack games have arrived. This innovative game combines real dealers and casino chips with state of the art video displays and digital cards to deliver the ultimate in Blackjack action, all in a table game atmosphere. Play Live Digital Blackjack

    Bill
  • WILDBILL729 said:
    [quote=Desert Dog]Hey everyone, Brett5/Todd mentioned it and someone else did too: What the heck is Digital Blackjack? :?:


    Desert Dog,

    Here is the description....Not exactly sure why anyone would want to play it however

    Live Digital Blackjack games have arrived. This innovative game combines real dealers and casino chips with state of the art video displays and digital cards to deliver the ultimate in Blackjack action, all in a table game atmosphere. Play Live Digital Blackjack

    Bill[/quote]

    So the dealer essentially just handles chips and presses a button to deal? Do the players or the dealer press a button for hit, stand, split, double, etc.? What do they say they're dealing "digitally" from? A virtual six deck shoe with 80% penetration, or is it continuous shuffle?
    I'd never play it. At least a CSM has real cards and dealers that are actually handling them.
  • DAY 6

    (1) Total hours played 14hrs. 13min.
    (2) Total bets 1517
    (3) Total amount bet $22140
    (4) Average bet $15.10
    (5) Total amount won $248
    (6) Total four straight wins (6) 4 3Times, 5 2times, 1 7times
    (7) Total four straight losses (9)

    Today a very volital day. Lost 4 straight 4 times befor winning 4 straight once. Then won 7 straight. Would have changed tables 8 times in little over 2 hours. Still very little change in bankroll. So far a very even progression in 6 days and over 14 hours. Bet over $22000 and less than $250 from what I started with. I don"t think it can stay this way, but we will see. Also I did not realize this game was so streaky.

    Charles
  • To avoid confusion all posts except 6 and 7 are cumulative. The 4 straight wins and 4 straight losses are for today only.

    Charles
  • DAY 7
    (1) Total hours played 16hrs. 32min.
    (2) Total bets 1517
    (3) Total amount bet $25945
    (4) Average bet $15.05
    (5) Total amount won $174
    (6) # 4 straight wins (7) 4 3times, 5 3times, 7 once.
    (7) # 4 straight losses (9)

    Profit slowly droping, but still on the + side.

    Charles
  • TUFFY 88: Need to update total number of bets.
  • Fred: Your right. I just copied the old number. Correct Total # of bets is 1765. Thanks for catching that.
    Charles
  • Desert Dog,

    Ive played digital BJ on two different occassions. The dealer has a set of buttons that he pushes to correspond to the players choice of hit, stand etc. The player does everything he would do at any other casino except handle the cards.It is six decks but Im not sure about the shuffle you refer to. I Played BJ online for the past few months and can say this. The practice sessions were definitely different than the playing for real sessions. And it took my 15 K later to realize it was a rip off. At least at the online casino I was playing. I know Im an idiot for losing that much money before I realized what was going on. Anyway,my point is that having played online where cards are shuffled by a computer and playing at a land based casino where they are also shuffled by computer. So far I feel that The digital BJ games have been fair and are not cheating. I have walked out ahead on both ocassions. Hope this helps, Todd.
  • Tuffy: A quick calculation through Day 7... My claim is that my system will beat flat betting, even when the flat bettor has the same average bet as the progressive bettor. A flat bettor playing your same hands would have wagered $26,563.25 at this point in time (1765 bets @ $15.05). Assuming a house edge of one-half of one percent for your game, he would theoretically be losing $132.82 at this point.
    Also, either player would have received "average" comps of $53.10 for their action. (Calculation: 2% of total action divided by 30%).
  • Also, either player would have received "average" comps of $53.10 for their action. (Calculation: 2% of total action divided by 30%).[/quote]

    Walter,
    Is this a typical comp calculation?
    Mike
  • TUFFY: With regard to Walter's comment about where the basic strategy player would be expected to be at any given point -- is why it would be very useful if there was a way for you to track the actual number of bets won/lost/pushed. Then you'd know how the progression did next to flat betting $15.03 every hand.
  • DAY 8
    Got Hammerd Today.

    (1) Total hours played 18hrs. 36min.
    (2) Total bets made 1968
    (3) Total amount bet $28855
    (4) Average bet $14.95
    (5) Total amount LOST - $172
    (6) # 4 in row wins (2) 2 four times
    (7) # 4 in roe losses (7)

    Bad day. Many more 4 in row losses than 4 in row wins. Also choppy. Win then loss. Over and over. Win $10 on first bet-lose $15 on next bet. If I was really in a casino would have quit after about 45 min. Although Fred says it woulden't matter in long run, and he is probably right. Anyway tomorrow is another day. That loss is for the total 7 days. That is the loss to date.

    Charles
  • DAY 9 Better today.

    (1) Total hours played 20hrs. 58min.
    (2) Total bets made 2203
    (3) Total amount bet $32815
    (4) Average bet $15.02
    (5) Total amount LOST - $36
    (6) # of four straight wins (6) 3 four times--3 five times
    (7) # of four straight losses (2)

    Luck ran a little better today. No big deal. I just kept beating the dealer the whole 2 hours. Not all the time, but on balance. Made up a little, but not all, of yesterday's loss.

    Charles
  • TUFFY 88; Point of Interest on your Sample Run - At 2200 hands played, the "standard error" for your result is about $900. What that means is about 2 times out of 3, you can expect your result to be within $900 of what would be "perfectly normal". One out of 3 times, your found result will be more than $900 away from the true value of the experiment.

    Now $900 divided by $32,800 in action is 2.7%.

    After 4400 hands, your "standard error" is down to 2.0% of your action.

    After 10,000 hands, it's down to 1.3%.

    After 100,000 hands, it's down to 0.4%.
  • Fred

    That is interesting. I did not have any idea about the math of what I am doing. I guess I have thought of it like I think about my wife's & my rollover IRA'S in our retirement portfolio. I believe in the efficient market theary as propounded at the University of Chicago. I understand it in general, but not fully as a profesional financial man would. But I know how to construct an assset allocation portfolio of low cost index funds, & that is really all that is necessary. Believing in an efficient financial market has always made me favor card counting in blackjack but I thought trying this would be fun. And being retited I have the time.

    Charles
  • TUFFY 88: I think what you're doing is valuable. I look for your results every day. I'm hoping you don't tire of it soon so we'll all have a look at the Thomason progression over an extended period.
  • Mike: The comp rating system I used is fairly typical... Some casinos might figure 1% as house edge, bu allow 40% in comps. Whatever formula they use, the results are about the same, depending upon competition. The more competition, the better the comp rewards. Also, most casinos look for at least four hours of play per day, and the big strip casinos usually won't comp much at less than green chip level.
    Huffy: Keep up the good work! Your short sessions show how volitile the game can be. My hope is that you will hit one of those "long string" winning sessions, which really boost the bankroll and allow for lots of small losing sessions.
  • DAY 10 Another pretty good day.

    (1) Total hours played 23hrs. 04min.
    (2) Total bets made 2437
    (3) Total amount bet $36485
    (4) Average bet $15.26
    (5) Total amount WON $232
    (6) # of four straight wins (8) 5 four straight, 1 five straight, 1 six straight, 1 seven straight.
    (7) # of four straight losses (4)

    Good day. More winning streaks than losing streakes & three of the winning streakes were longer than four. Whenever that happens it is a good day.

    Walter: You are right comps do count. In Illinois they are a little skimpy on comps due to a special tax situation here.
    Fred: Twenty more days. I will do it.
    Charles
  • Not that it's a perfect comparison to what Charles/Tuffy88 is tracking, but just FYI, I'm running a six-deck shoe game on my software, counting and betting using Fred's KISS II system. After 871 hands, 387 wins (44.4%), 389 losses (44.7%), the other 95 (10.9%) pushes. To put it another way 49.85% wins and 50.15% losses. These are unusually favorable cards for the player so far. But the dollar position is even more favorable. The initial buy-in of $500 is now up to $2,600. Base bet at count of 19 or lower is $10, highest bet at 23 or higher is $100. Software reshuffles at 80% penetration. It's heads-up play. Normally about 46 hands played per shoe.
  • "Desert Dog,
    Ive played digital BJ on two different occassions. The dealer has a set of buttons that he pushes to correspond to the players choice of hit, stand etc. The player does everything he would do at any other casino except handle the cards.It is six decks but Im not sure about the shuffle you refer to." (from Brett)

    Brett, I play Digital BJ at Cherokee casino you mentioned in your post. Dealers there tell me that after 3 decks are played, the cards are "shuffled" back into the 6 deck total. If you have walked away winner twice in a row, you might expect the tide to turn on your next (3rd visit). Still, is much better than online BJ.
  • DD: Re Fred's system, can you calculate your average bet size at this point?
  • Walter Thomason said:
    DD: Re Fred's system, can you calculate your average bet size at this point?


    Walter, unfortunately my software doesn't track that and I don't have the time to write down each bet for each hand. I can tell you that a large majority of bets are at the $10 level. Sometimes an entire shoe stays there. I'd be surprised if more than 25% are at higher than $10, but what's interesting is that of those that are, many if not most of them are at the $100 level (count of 23 or higher).
  • DAY 11

    (1) Total time played 25hrs. 06min.
    (2) Total bets made 2674
    (3) Total amount bet $40370
    (4) Average bet $15.09
    (5) Total amount LOST $50
    (6) # of four wins in roe (2) two 4 times each.
    (7) # of four losses in row (8) eight

    Many more losing streaks than winning streaks. That about tells the story.
    8 times 4 straight losses.
    Charles
  • Walter/Desert Dog: If Dog is betting according to the schedule laid out in the book, he'll be averaging $21 per bet with about 82% of all bets being $10. I have to say though, that 80% penetration is uncommon, and will produce better results than most "real game" scenarios. 70% is more typical. In fact, at 80% penetration, his average bet will actually be somewhat larger since so many "20+" counts will occur in that extra 10% of penetration.
  • DAY 12 Another bad one.

    (1) Total hours played 27hrs.--20min.
    (2) Total bets made 2905
    (3) Total amount bet $43815
    (4) Average bet $14.98
    (5) Total amount LOST $273
    (6) # of four straight wins ((3) Two 4 straight and one five straight
    (7) # of four straight loses (8) eight

    Loosing streaks are killing me.

    Charles
  • Renzey said:
    Walter/Desert Dog: If Dog is betting according to the schedule laid out in the book, he'll be averaging $21 per bet with about 82% of all bets being $10. I have to say though, that 80% penetration is uncommon, and will produce better results than most "real game" scenarios. 70% is more typical. In fact, at 80% penetration, his average bet will actually be somewhat larger since so many "20+" counts will occur in that extra 10% of penetration.


    You're right. The last few hands between 30% and 20% are often the ones with the highest counts. I'm going to finish this series at 1000 hands and then for the next series I will watch for the "30% left" message and hit the button that will reshuffle then rather than wait for the automatic reshuffle at 20%.
  • I was just wondering exactly what software everyone is using? I, being a programmer, was thinking about writing my own, but haven't got around to having the time to actually do it.

    My guess is that by tuffy's remark that it's an Avery Cardoza program, you're probably talking about his Casino (2000) software, which I have. I really like it (and paly around with it often).

    As for Desert Dog, I am baffled - I have looked around for a while now, but cannot find a program that is similar to what you are saying.

    Any help would be appreciated.
  • Jeff - I personally feel that "Casino Verite" is the best on the market and have been using it since 1995 when it first came out.

    It is a tad "pricey" but worth the money.......The stats and graphs it produces are almost worth the higher cost in themselves.

    Regards.....Grifter
  • Jeff, I have two programs. One on my PC which is Hoyle Casino 2003 by Sierra entertainment. The handheld software that comes with it is terrible, but the PC version is very good.

    The other is on my Handspring Visor (a Palm OS handheld) and it's called Blackjack, available at this web page:

    http://www.pilotzone.com/palm/games_casino_default.html.

    It's the one with the "four cows" rating. Now at ver 1.1. This is the one I am running the current simulation on, mainly because it is more convenient.

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