Why count?
  • Why should I count cards if it takes hundreds of thousands or even millions of hands to get to be a winner. In the meantime my results really can be the same as some schmuck who just plays any old way he wants. Who really is going to play that many hands anyway. It could take a lifetime, I don't have that kind of patience, nor do most I bet. Counting seems like math theory that works on paper but in reality is its not practical for the average joe. Its a good way to sell books to wannabe gamblers, but I know of nobody besides of maybe a professional that will ever play enough to see it through. In the meantime the lucky suckers have a better chance of winning than the counting suckers do. Do yourself a favor, if your going to play 10,000 hands a month, count cards. anything less just play and don't expect to win,expect to have fun, and occasionaly get lucky.
  • Do YOURSELF a favor, and don't give advice if you don't know what you're talking about.
  • Aceten-

    You don't have to count cards if you don't want to. And if you know basic strategy, forget that, and just play hunches. It's more fun that way, and you might get lucky!

    Those of us who want to win in the long run, and who want to play the game as well we possibly can, will continue to play BS and count cards.
  • I'm not looking to give advice, I apologize if what I say is taken that way. My opinion however, is counting will not truly work for the recreational player. If you only go to the casino even 5 or 6 times a year you will never have played enough in your lifetime for the mathematics of counting to work in your favor. I believe the experts will agree if your counting cards and you win alot of money right off the bat, that can be attributed more to luck than anything else. Because you're way over your expectation, winning a lot early goes against the math, and you will lose most or all of it back before you reach the long term winning goal. Its very similar to the lucky gambler. I may win big one time, than lose the next. Point is if I don't play that much I have a good a chance to win as anybody. The long term theory would be I would eventually lose it all, but what if with my limited amount of times I play it never takes me to what counting deems the long term. Same for the counter, what if he doen't play enough for long term success. Aside from full time players, I don't hear any great success stories from counters, just frustration waiting for the overall winning to happen. On the other hand I've won big, and lost many times, but its been fun.
  • AceTen -- So many veteran gamblers have this misunderstanding about the odds and the long run.

    Understand that the better you play, the better your chance to turn in a winner each and every time you play. But because card counting gives you the upper hand in the game by such a small margin, you'd need to play very long to be ASSURED of a bottom line win. However, that increased chance of a win begins with your very first hand! There is no point where a card counter is more likely to lose, or even just as likely to lose as a typical player. Here are some quick mathematical probabilities.

    After 10 hours of play, the chances to make a net winner are:
    Typical Player: 32%
    Basic strategist: 43%
    Card counter: 56%

    After 100 hours:
    Typical Player: 10%
    Basic Strategist: 33%
    Card counter: 65%

    After 1000 hours:
    Typical Player:.0001%
    Basic Strategist: 9%
    Card Counter: 87%

    And it goes on from there.
  • aceten if you feel this way why bother playing BJ. There are plenty of other games that are fun that you can play by feeling or by hoping to get lucky.Speaking for myself for 20 years I played all the loser games in the casino" piagow poker-roulette-let it ride etc...and just sucked up the free cocktails and had a blast but NEVER came home with any money. Then I found BJ and card counting and for the last 3 years have been counting cards. It is not that hard. It does make a difference!My bank is small and I only play about 120 to 140 hours a year but since I have kept track I am up 200 units.It is a nice feeling to walk into a casino and say to yourself that I am going to play BJ with a 1/2 or more percent edge over the house rather than them having that kind of edge over me. You should try it.
  • Renzey, where did you get your percentages...... Counting is the way to get
    "RICH" I am going to Pauma friday night and should make at least $10,000 counting..... I have counted and not counted and still haven't been able to figure out what the next card out of the shoe is going to be, or what card the dealer has face down......
  • Mr. Renzey, I can't argue with your numbers there but I do have questions. What about the bottom line of money won? Even if the counter has an edge on winning % isn't it possible he's not winning that much money due to conservative betting based on the count. My example is this. When I go to a casino I bring 500 dollars a day for gambling. I usually play $10 to $15 dollar tables, most times thats plenty for me to enjoy myself. I do play basic strategy, but I know I make a mistake from time to time. I don't keep perfect tabs on wins and losses but I do know this, I've won $10,000 once, $8000 once, $5000 twice and a few other notable but lesser wins. I will admit I have lost more times than I've won. But if I lose all my daily allotment for gambling I stop. So the most I can lose is $500. I know two fellas that use some type of counting system and they usually go to the casino with me. True, they don't lose as many times as I have, but their wins are so much smaller so that they're always hovering around the even mark. Those 4 lucky wins, and I know its just luck, basically assure with the amount of times I play that I'm going to be a lifetime overall winner. While my buddies there still have to keep up the fight. My point being I don't care if the counter has a better % of winning, I care about money won, with counting you really are not going to get those disproportionate wins because you betting in a very controlled and calculated way. But just like me, the counter can still lose his gambling allotment for the day. And since you believe its all one long lifetime session The counter has a chance to lose more than I will for the day, because ther is no reason for him to stop. I believe your % numbers, but I'll take the money anyday.
  • The percentages were derived from realistically assuming that the typical player has a 1.5% disadvantage, the basic strategist a 0.5% disadvantage and the counter a 0.7% advantage. These EV's were then used to perform Standard Deviation calculations for each.

    As for bottom line money, here's how those percentages would shake out using a $20 average bet for each.

    After 10 hours, each player's result would be:
    Typical Player: -$300, plus or minus $1100 -- 90% of the time
    Basic Strategist: -$100, plus or minus $1100 -- 90% of the time
    Card Counter: +$140, plus or minus $1900 -- 90% of the time

    After 100 hours:
    Typical Player: -$3000, plus or minus $3400 -- 90% of the time
    Basic Strategist: -$1000, plus or minus $3400 -- 90% of the time
    Card Counter: +$1400, plus or minus $5800 -- 90% of the time

    After 1000 hours:
    Typical Player: -$30,000, plus or minus $6600 -- 90% of the time
    Basic Strategist: -$10,000, plus or minus $6600 -- 90% of the time
    Card Counter: +$14,000, plus or minus $11,000 -- 90% of the time

    Note: the Card Counter's higher standard deviation is due to a 1-to-10 betting spread that averages out to $20 per hand. Flat betting was assumed for the other two players. If they used any kind of spread, such as some progression, then they're standard deviations would also be higher. But their bottom lines woould be the same as long as the average bet remained at $20.
  • Okay Mr. Renzey I will say that is another impressive set of numbers that I cannot dispute. My whole argument on this though, is the human factor. We all know numbers will add up on paper perfectly. But lets say one of these counters is doing everything right, but after 100 hours of play he's down $4400. With your calculations this is very possible. I'd be willing to bet this guy will abandon ship way before he gets to 1000 hours. Hell, I'd bet he'd have been questioning the system after losing only $2000. Real life needs more than calculated numbers. You can't perform experiments in a vacuum the results on paper are true, but highly in accurate. You could say a human could get into a rocket and travel for 500 years and land on jupiter and on paper that would be correct. But is it feasible, of course not. Just like most counters will not be up to those figures you stated due to human emotion, frustration and error. I built houses for 34 years. I worked with many smart architects and engineers, their plans always worked on paper. Many more times than I'd care to remember though, their brilliant ideas were just not feasible in the field. Whether it was due to site conditions, or just cost effectiveness, whatever the written plan didn't cut it . So yes counters can make some money, but most I believe won't make it that far.
  • Aceten said:
    Okay Mr. Renzey I will say that is another impressive set of numbers that I cannot dispute. My whole argument on this though, is the human factor. We all know numbers will add up on paper perfectly. But lets say one of these counters is doing everything right, but after 100 hours of play he's down $4400. With your calculations this is very possible. I'd be willing to bet this guy will abandon ship way before he gets to 1000 hours. Hell, I'd bet he'd have been questioning the system after losing only $2000. Real life needs more than calculated numbers. You can't perform experiments in a vacuum the results on paper are true, but highly in accurate. You could say a human could get into a rocket and travel for 500 years and land on jupiter and on paper that would be correct. But is it feasible, of course not. Just like most counters will not be up to those figures you stated due to human emotion, frustration and error. I built houses for 34 years. I worked with many smart architects and engineers, their plans always worked on paper. Many more times than I'd care to remember though, their brilliant ideas were just not feasible in the field. Whether it was due to site conditions, or just cost effectiveness, whatever the written plan didn't cut it . So yes counters can make some money, but most I believe won't make it that far.



    Card counting is not for everyone. Most would be counters do not make it due to underfunded bankrolls. Personally i was up $2500 after about 25 hours of playing. Then over the next 25 hours giving all of it back due to overbetting my 'trip' bankroll and going bust several sessions. The reason why i have worked to learn counting is because i love blackjack, and i was sick of losing my ass using sub par basic strategy. Im not planning on going back to the casino until i have a 10k bankroll. I would recommend card counting to any player who plans on playing at least once a month.
  • Cass- I'm sorry to say but you"re a perfect example of why card counting is a theory best worked on paper. Overbetting on your bankroll is a mistake, regardless how much money you have. Human error can wipe out any computer stats reliability. I have heard about these blackjack simulators where you can factor in mistakes. What I don't believe is that anyone really realizes how many mistakes they're actually making. From errors on basic strategy, betting units, revised strategy due to different counts, to just plain messing up the count. I do believe there is a very small percentage who can count successfully, I also believe they do very little else besides play. I read somewhere that some casinos actually liked having counters play there. I believe it was Arnold Snyder who said this, the reason being, a bad card counter plays worse than an average player. He also said most counters will never last to see the long term. This is a man in the blackjack hall of fame who also has written books on the subject of blackjack and counting. Until robots sit on our blackjack stools and play for us, making the math theories unfold perfectly, I think most of us will give in to human tendancies and play a good game, but nothing like the math implies.
  • bottom line-i used Fred Renzeys' kiss III count this past week-end and won alot of money.
    best of luck to all,
    Prog
  • Mr Renzey I like the ASSUME factor.... My honest opinion of most Blackjack theories are like the "Anderson's" doing roofs for the elderly..... B/S is close to being right and if followed will give you a chance.... but in multiple decks even B/S is risky. The book sellers like to talk about counting but again you have to ASSUME to many things.... Gambling is gambling and you will never change that by any method. I am going to play again on Friday, by the way I play 3 to 4 times per week depending on if I win or lose. I doubt anyone on this board plays any more than I do. On Friday I am going to ASSUME to win a little money. I also am ASSUMING that I might lose a little money.

    I ASSUME that I will post on this site another time..

    UncleNorm the ASSUMER
  • Aceten- You said: "most I believe want make it that far" ....Well, I think Fred
    will agree with you on that and so will any good BJ mentor. He/they will also
    tell you that the way you play BJ depends on the way you think. One thing
    is for sure, you nor I will ever change our beliefs, no matter the argument.
  • There are only two kinds of BJ players. The devil may care; I'll take a chance; I feel lucky; win or lose, I'll have fun player, or the serious money maker. You can't have it both ways. I was the former for over 20 years. I have been the latter for nearly 5 years. Believe me, the past 5 years have been great. Make no mistake, being a consistent money maker is a lot of work, but the rewards are well worth it. In 25+ years of play I have seen, heard, read and tried just about everything. Take it from me, there is no substitute for counting embellished with money management, shuffle tracking, etc. At best, your advantage is small. Therefore, you must use all of the advantage you can. I am not terribly bright. My brain is too small to track all that I must. Therefore, I have a partner. We each manage our own areas of expertise and are able to constantly and consistently beat the house.
  • On a practical and realistic note; I keep in close contact with 3 or 4 other card counters regularly and everybody is ahead over the past several years.
  • unclenorm said:
    Mr Renzey I like the ASSUME factor.... My honest opinion of most Blackjack theories are like the "Anderson's" doing roofs for the elderly..... B/S is close to being right and if followed will give you a chance.... but in multiple decks even B/S is risky. The book sellers like to talk about counting but again you have to ASSUME to many things.... Gambling is gambling and you will never change that by any method. I am going to play again on Friday, by the way I play 3 to 4 times per week depending on if I win or lose. I doubt anyone on this board plays any more than I do. On Friday I am going to ASSUME to win a little money. I also am ASSUMING that I might lose a little money.

    I ASSUME that I will post on this site another time..

    UncleNorm the ASSUMER



    These ideas are based are not based on assumption. they are based on mathematical facts. B/S is the best play for the non card counter. Card counting gives the player a advantage over the house with proper rules and betting spreads. Playing 3-4 times a week i think it would be worth the time and effort to learn to count cards unless you like throwing your money away. Gambling is gambling, but i would rather put my money into a game that i have the edge in.
  • If you want to talk about the bottom line, counting can and will work. I will agree lots of counters will fail at it. Its not for everyone, it takes a lot of time and practice to even have a chance. The few who really stick with it and learn all they can still need to have a real determination to see real profits. I think what Arnold Snyder meant was, too many people consider themselves an advantage player just by learning to add and subtract one. And when all is said and done, only the people who put the real effort into learning the nuances of the game will remain. You are right humans make mistakes, but through constant drilling humans can become creatures of habit. Not exactly like robots, but to a point where actions can be done almost mistake free. Riding a bike, learning to swim, even driving a car are things that takes a concious effort to learn, but once learned become second nature. Counting can to a degree be just like that, once you're comfortable with it it. After that than its all up to the math, and we all have to agree that once you know how to apply it math is indisputable.
  • Aceten said:
    Okay Mr. Renzey I will say that is another impressive set of numbers that I cannot dispute. My whole argument on this though, is the human factor. We all know numbers will add up on paper perfectly. But lets say one of these counters is doing everything right, but after 100 hours of play he's down $4400. With your calculations this is very possible. I'd be willing to bet this guy will abandon ship way before he gets to 1000 hours. Hell, I'd bet he'd have been questioning the system after losing only $2000. Real life needs more than calculated numbers. You can't perform experiments in a vacuum the results on paper are true, but highly in accurate. You could say a human could get into a rocket and travel for 500 years and land on jupiter and on paper that would be correct. But is it feasible, of course not. Just like most counters will not be up to those figures you stated due to human emotion, frustration and error. I built houses for 34 years. I worked with many smart architects and engineers, their plans always worked on paper. Many more times than I'd care to remember though, their brilliant ideas were just not feasible in the field. Whether it was due to site conditions, or just cost effectiveness, whatever the written plan didn't cut it . So yes counters can make some money, but most I believe won't make it that far.


    Aceton

    I just peeked into this board 15 minutes ago and will come back eventually. I have been a counter for a long time.
    What you described is a big part of the reason that most people who start counting never will become winning counters. There are other reasons like not playing good games, but the lack of faith and guts to spread while losing is perhaps the biggest. Every counter out there will, much more often than we want, find themselves with a positive deck, big bets out and losing hand after hand after hand. When this happens to a begginner, it is quite natural to start questioning everything and then the next time the count is high not spread as aggressively. Some will just give it up, others will never have the fortitude and be too conservative always.
    When that kind of day comes a few times in a short period of time, it will definately play games with your faith, but that is that human factor.

    If you can overcome this, you can be a winning counter, if not; you are not an advantage player.

    ihate17
  • Aceten -- you're making a big assumption -- that people don't enjoy counting cards. Everyone I know that comes to this site, reads the books, and practices counting, loves to use it in the field. It makes the game that much more fun. So while you may not have patience for counting, others find that it actually increases the fun of the game.

    I'll reiterate what the others said, though. If you believe strongly in luck and find it most fun to try to get lucky streaks and the likes, by all means play however you like. Why you prefer blackjack over roulette I'm not sure, but have fun.
  • I never said, nor did I assume that people don't enjoy counting cards. What I did say is a good amount of card counters get frustrated if they're not winning. I first stepped into a casino 36 years ago. I've seen all kinds of gamblers playing blackjack, from progression players, to counters, basic strategy players (Which is what I consider myself) just plain throw caution to the wind lucky and unlucky players, to down right cheaters. My point is, and again this is also the opinion of some blackjack experts, that the average counter won't make it to the long term. I have seen supposed good counters totally give up their strategy because of losing streaks, only to say they'll go back to it later. I'm no expert but I believe that throws a monkey wrench into the whole equation on reaching long term success. I have walked out of a casino with $10,000 playing basic strategy and having a whole lot of luck. I will never walk out of a casino with losing more than $500 because I am very disciplined in gambling only my daily allotment. Thats why I play blackjack. Playing basic strategy lets me play a good while even if I don't win. At this point in my life, I'm no spring chicken, I am assured at being an overall winner based on the amount of money I've won by being lucky, and the amount I'm willing to lose. So count away counters, good luck to all of you, just remember there's a negative deviation side to those expectation numbers. You could very well fall on that side too. There is an old saying "I'd rather be lucky than good" at this point in my life, that suits me just fine.
  • All of that I agree with. And certainly while it doesn't matter mathematically if you have a stop limit or not, it does matter psychologically.
  • If the card counters are getting frustrated because of short term loss than they haven't understood what has been explained to them clearly in the black and white they paid $20 for at the local bookstore. They also probably didn't bother with br management either but I'd love to see you play pure basic strategy and me use whatever count system I choose have a little side wager and see who comes out ahead at the end of the month? =) You are certainly welcome to quit playing any day at any time (as when you lose your standard $500) as long as I'm allowed to play as much as I like (I don't mind losing my $500 ;) Takers?

    Stick

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