• This afternoon two dealers, one I know pretty well because she is a basketball fan told of this individual that ran a small buy-in (100-200) to 37K in one session. According to the better dealer he knew very little and was asking other players how to play some of his hands. Everything he did came out right. At one time he had all their big chips and a host of observers, more like a red hot craps table. I wasn't there, but I bet half of those watching were casino personnel.

    I've had runs before and so have most of you, but I would guess nothing like this dude in such a short period of time with such a small dollar start.
  • As a dice shooter... been there and done that for a fellow (and he tipped rather well). Haven't had that experience yet at BlackJack, at least of that magnitude. My best return on two bennies is "only" $1850. Took all nite.
  • A couple of weeks ago,at El Cortez,I saw a guy buy in for $20 on the $3 table.He went from betting silver to red in a few hands.Then to playing two hands. Everything fell perfect,getting 11s on each,followed by tens,ect,ect.Within about twenty minutes he was betting green and still winning.When I left he was up about $600.Best streak I've ever seen on a BJ table.
  • I've tried to figure how this guy pulled it off and at first it seemed hard to believe. But, sometimes our brain gets in the way. You, I and most players could not bet 500-1000 when we only have maybe 2K max. But, if you don't know any better, winning 37 units in an hour or so would not be that far fetched. That's the same as a $5 player winning $185 in an hour or so. Big deal, happens every day and often.

    Example from experience: About this time of year in 2004 (also posted around that time), I won 9 hands in a row playing two hands at $35 each (2U). Never lost a single hand for something between 1000 and 1200. All in about 12-15 minutes. So, now I've got around 3K, but no way in hell could I bet big because of that. Nor could anyone else that knew something about the game.
  • Frank Scoblete interviewed waitresses and dealers who waited on "the bum."
    He walked into the Treasure Island casino in 1995 (as I recall) and cashed a $400.00 social security check. They say he played terribly and and ran it up to like 1.5 million then his luck ran out and his fortune dropped to $50,000
    They say Steve Wynn himself asked him to leave at that point because he was very very rude and some described him as vile.
  • Is it possible to run it up so high with table bet maximums as they are today?
    $ 1.5 mil in chips is a lot of chips!
  • According to Frank Scoblete Steve Wynn retains the movie rights just in case they ever to decide to turn this story into a movie. In his book he may have said the total win at its' height was between 1.5 and 1.7 million, best as memory serves me anyway.
    And what really kills me is they say the guy did all kinds of off the wall plays-but just kept winning and winning!
  • First time post but have been here for awhile. Had a run at the Hilton in AC last May. At a $25 table, the max bet is $3k. On a trip with some friends, a non-counting trip, we were playing at a $25 table. I was ahead over 9K and put $7k in my pocket and started firing. First two bets were around 800, hit them and went to 2k and hit. Won the next 12 hands betting the max, two triple splits dd, one double split dd. The whole trip of two days netted about 95K. While the run was in progress, purposely turned my back to the table or away from it so the casino people knew I wasn't counting and there were plenty of them around.
  • A thread like this is at least a partial answer to the question: Why is the variance of blackjack so big?

    I have had runs of winning a dozen or more hands in a row. For a counter if these happen during a negative or neutral count you understand that there was no logical reason to raise your bet but you have probably heard the opinions of the players, dealers and pits who lack logic. They will tell you that you blew a chance at the run of a lifetime and hindsite being the perfect being that it is, they are right. But it is hindsite!

    I have also had a couple of super runs that went on as the count went up and continued as the count went down. A fairly high count, increased bet and win as more and more small cards come out and I keep winning. Then the big ones start coming and you continue winning. Generally you expect to do your winning as a high count goes down but in these cases you are doing this but also winning earlier as it rose.

    Then, since I am speaking about variance here, you have the hated "shoe from hell". Here you are losing just about every hand and the count just keeps getting higher and higher. A steamer act really looks convincing in this situation and you just keep increasing your bet because the count says so. The trouble is that on this particular shoe the ugly end of variance has decided to take a bite out of your bankroll and now you just continue to lose max bet after near max bet.

    The only thing, I think, about great positive or horrid negative variance is this: You are much more likely to lose your hole triproll in a negative variance situation than the likelihood of the casino running out of chips in a positive variance situation, so your upper win limit (whatever that is) is higher than your upper loss limit.

    You also never know when it will happen, when it will start and once started, when it will end (except negative must end when you run out of money).

    ihate17
  • This is the exact reason Arnold Snyder's "you won't win" paper was published. The up and down swings are often dramatic, while that narrow edge will slowly make itself known. But during that 40,000 rounds it takes you to approximate your expected EV, the ride is always wild when you have to spread your bets wildly to beat the game...

    flat bettors can lose a lot of money in a short time. When you are spreading to 10x-20x, you can lose a LOT of money in a short time. And it is not a rare occasion either. Roller-coaster is an accurate description of playing this game...

    I think this is the hardest lesson of all to learn about any sort of narrow-advantage method like straight counting...
  • That's about the only reasonable explanation that I can give. Audacious as it may appear, I think blackjack is a challenge to the thinker that is hard to resist. It sure as hell can't be the money, no matter what we say.

    ADDED NOTE, EDIT:


    But, there are some that have the opportunity to play strictly for the money and they are the exception. The opportunity to organize and fund something like a corporation with good management skills is not possible for most of us. We have too much baggage and not enough connections to like minded individuals. Others, who live close to casinos and can pop in and out as they please have an advantage in hands played that would be hard for most of us to match.

    Other problems related to obligations, of all sorts, just want allow for the organization and planning necessary to approach playing blackjack as a business, individually.

    You can still make a little extra money as an individual, but don't expect to get rich.
  • I had a bad run earlier this week at the Borgata.

    Very positive count and lost 7 of 8 hands until the shoe ended. Two of them, the dealer had BJ with 10 showing and the Ace buried, so I didn't even have a chance to take insurance.

    And the whole time I'm cursing under my breath, "variance, variance..."
  • 21forme said:
    I had a bad run earlier this week at the Borgata.

    Very positive count and lost 7 of 8 hands until the shoe ended. Two of them, the dealer had BJ with 10 showing and the Ace buried, so I didn't even have a chance to take insurance.

    And the whole time I'm cursing under my breath, "variance, variance..."



    What really sucks is you get a tap on the shoulder right after taking the hit from the variance.

    Chuckn
  • OK, it's been a few weeks since this happened, so I'll relay a horror story that happened at me at a casino in the South (unnamed for obvious reasons):

    Played at a SD game, spreading between $25 and $100 with a little trickery tossed in. Played at a _very_ uncrowded time and got a dealer that was somewhat new to dealing single-deck. This was a Ro6 game, me playing heads-up, and in that kind of game I always play 2 spots since it improves penetration (1 spot = 5 rounds to player and dealer, 5.4 cards per round, 27 cards dealt, 2 spots = 4 rounds to player and dealer, = 12 hands or 32+ cards dealt.)

    But this dealer didn't quite understand Ro6 and dealt 5 rounds with me playing 2 spots, which turned into 15 hands dealt or 40+ cards dealt. So far so good. Played two shuffles and was up about $500 when the bottom fell out. Over the next 30 minutes I managed to drop $2300, hardly ever winning a big bet, winning a few small bets off the top, before I decided to hang it up. I managed to recover about half of that over the next 1.5 days before we left, but it was intensely painful to get outstanding penetration, outstanding + counts, and watch the dealer pull the aces and give me the stiffs even in + counts...

    Usually a game like this would be like an ATM to a counter, but this ATM worked in reverse apparently...
  • SSR
    That kind of game is like money in the bank but for one short session nothing, as you know, is gauranteed. You are getting 2/3 of the cards but the best 1/3 seems to be landing up in the dealers hands. Nothing you can do except hope to get the same situation again and again and you know you will be up.

    ihate17
  • I've played 5 times sense getting off Jury duty in late Dec. and in two of those sessions I've managed to lose every single hand in a DD pack. Sounds unusual, but it isn't. I've played 9 sessions total and the first day I won 80 units (two sessions). Third day I won 65 units (two sessions), but those other 3 days and 5 sessions were not a part of my plan. Currently I'm around 18 units ahead for that period. Certainly nothing to retire on, but it does demonstrate why/how your good runs should out distance the bad ones.

    And, why you should not expect to get rich quick.................
  • Ray - Get rich quick? Absolutely not, but look at the bright side. Using a $25 unit and rounding off.........That's about $100 clear per visit from the game, and then you got free drinks, and probably a couple meals, maybe a room, whatever.

    So you got paid $100 a shot/day for doing something you really love to do. Sounds pretty good to me. How many people are just they opposite?......They gladly pay $100 (and a lot more) for entertainment for a day.

    Go Bucks..........Grif'
  • ihate17 said:
    SSR
    That kind of game is like money in the bank but for one short session nothing, as you know, is gauranteed. You are getting 2/3 of the cards but the best 1/3 seems to be landing up in the dealers hands. Nothing you can do except hope to get the same situation again and again and you know you will be up.

    ihate17



    right. but I'm pretty certain I won't find that circumstance again. Was just a stroke of luck to find a dealer not knowing how to handle Ro6. But that goes back to a frequent point I have made, namely that it is always worthwhile to scout every table if you have time. You can run into a nugget here and there buried in piles of cow crap...
  • Grifter-Ever so true regarding a bird in hand, no matter how small. After the last trial I was on, where the Judge was ready to kill anyone that made a false move, a few days of blackjack was a welcome relief.

    The Bucks have a potential C. Anthony (the big dude) come march.
  • Good discussion. I have a question here that relates to streaks and cover plays.

    My theory relates somewhat from opposition betting theory as I mentioned on the other thread. You don't lose a lot by varying medium-sized bets in a random fashion when the count equates to a +/- 0.5% advantage. The critical bets are min/max when the count goes outside the opposition range, especially the extremes. You start in this opposition range off the top of a new deck or shoe. So surely a medium-sized bet as a cover play with the pit boss watching could be a good cover play.

    But what about making a max bet off the top of the shoe? You would be making a bet with about a 49.5% expectation when your counting system might not call for such a bet unless you had a an expectation of 52-53% or so. Once gain, doing this once should not make much difference in the big picture, but a nice way to get the pit boss to move on to another table.

    Ok finally my question. Make that max bet cover play (5 or 10 units, whatever) off the top. If it wins, you make the same bet regardless of count. If it loses, you drop the bet at least 50% or more, depending on the count and level of pit poss attention.

    My theory here (I rarely prove anything) is that you are capitalizing on any random positive variance while reducing heat. Killing two birds. I'm interested on any opinions ya'll have on this strategy.
  • I don't like a huge bet right off the top. The deck is neutral, but the house edge is certainly alive and well, and the big bet will (a) increase your loss rate since you are an underdog off the top and (b) increase your variance as well.

    quite often you might want to try a half-way bet. Say you want to spread 1-8 in a DD game but that might be a bit much if you are playing $25 min table that is watched more closely than other games. Start with 50, if the count tanks and you lose the hand, drop to 25. But from that initial 50 you can go to 100 or 200 and it looks like a 1-4 spread rather than a 1-8.

    You could use CVdata and specify a particular betting ramp including that big first bet, and then discover exactly how it affects your expected win rate.

    I still consider this kind of software an absolute necessity so that you can know exactly how various games should be ramped for max effect...
  • Great play for local casino. a $50 bill is cheap to ride in the fast last lane extending relationship.
  • maybe not. If you are betting $5 units, spreading 1-10 so $50 is your big bet, your hourly win rate is usually in the $10 range. That one big bet in a non-advantage situation can wipe that out instantly... It doesn't take a lot when you are working with a thin 1% edge overall..
  • It may then help green chip players to play a $100.
  • Ray said:
    This afternoon two dealers, one I know pretty well because she is a basketball fan told of this individual that ran a small buy-in (100-200) to 37K in one session. According to the better dealer he knew very little and was asking other players how to play some of his hands. Everything he did came out right. At one time he had all their big chips and a host of observers, more like a red hot craps table. I wasn't there, but I bet half of those watching were casino personnel.

    I've had runs before and so have most of you, but I would guess nothing like this dude in such a short period of time with such a small dollar start.


    Ray, you have to be mentally prepared to deal with incredible fluctuations in your bankroll when playin BJ. There are times when the true count will be very positive, and your bets will be at max, yet there's nothing you can do to win a hand. Every huge bet you put up, you keep losing. What a life, eh? -

    In the short term, amazing things can happen. As I've said, I've got from $1,000 buy-in to $10,000 on many occasions. This could never ever happen if I were playing flat bets or 5:1 spread. Hot streaks are inevitable in blackjack, you have to takes full advantage of every single one.

    In Atlantic City, even if you can count cards, its hard to get more than a .5% advantage over the house. You must have a large bankroll to be able to pull this off. Its tough to get good penetration, and the dealer can shuffle anytime he wants. Even if the conditions are good, counting doesn't guarantee winning. When I speak of long term, I'm talking about millions of decisions. But short term, over the next 500 decisions you could end up hitting a streak that wins you $20,000. If you have the courage to bet bigger and bigger from your profit pile as you win using count for playing decisions and insurance you could reach table max in short order and hit the BIG score. It happen with me many times in the past and most recently on my last trip in Reno where in about 20 minutes I’ve reach the table max and won the hand too. It was a $25 table where I start with a $500 buy-in. I never re-buy any chips after that.

    I know that the scientists and math professors don’t believe in rushes but that’s why they only make $2,000 per month. I make my living playing blackjack and a big part of my income comes from playing the rush. Of course I use card counting but probably 50% of my winnings are because I overbet the profit pile and have the courage to go all the way up there into the table limit. When I lose that big bet I probably have lost 2/3 of my profit. Not a big deal! You see, you have to think what will happen if you win that big bet and not be afraid of losing it. If you lose, you still have some profit left to take home.

    You see, when you play 5:1 spread it doesn’t amounts to anything until you accumulate some profit. Doesn’t matter if the profit comes from positive fluctuation. As long as you got some decent profit in relationship to your original buy-in you start playing for real. You look forward of reaching the table limit in one or two big bets coming from the profit pile. You have to think that even if you lose it you still be OK. But if you win then don’t stop because you think may lose. Just keep betting that table max until the end of the deck, or until you lose one time or they stop you. If the count tells you that you have an edge for the next hand than you bet BIG. The bigger the bet coming from the profit pile the better you are. The bigger bet you lose in the end the more money you are ahead.
  • Alex- I've got to agree with you to some extent. How else can your winning sessions out distance the losing ones? Runs happen, but agree or not, how you approach betting will determine how you do over time. If I'm going to try to turn a good session into a great session, I don't do that on the fly and it sounds like you may. But, I suppose you could do the math and planning at the table. I don't.

    At some point in the session I'll increase my unit, but still play at two SD based on hands and time. I've been a session player for years now and that means I have a limited amount of time and a session BR for my quick run to one of three casinos. I'll control/limit ROR to the session BR. This approach has worked very well over the years and I've not had too many of those cases where variance takes most of my money.
  • Ray, I’m going as far as to say that rushes do exist in blackjack but probably are related to the count. I am a mathematically-based player. I bet big when I have an edge, and I pass when I do not.

    So, do these blackjack streaks really exist?
    Many years ago, while living in Vegas, over a solid two month interval, I did a study on the "rush phenomenon". The study went like this: I played countless hours of blackjack between single and double decks. I guess, I put about 250 hours in two months. Or about 25,000 hands. My betting strategy was to get 2:1 minimum spread to make sure I get an even game. If I manage to get some profit chips then I planed to over bet if I was on a rush and I still got the edge based on card counting. If I didn’t have any profit pile then I would bet 2:1 based on the count. The 2 units was my max when I didn’t have any profit yet. Every time I ‘ve got couple black chips as profit I would bet like half of them on the next positive count. I was playing cards at absolute random, I based my figures simply on the likelihood that as long as I have some edge on the next hand I overbet the profit. After two months playing like that, I find out! So, what did I find? I'm reluctant to even say.

    I discovered that over the course of 250 hours, and probably 25,000 hands, there did appear to be a trend towards winning more money if you bet that way. It looked like I won about 50% more while I was "streaking" than the statistics can account for. Had I discovered a sort of magic at the root of all these numbers? In my attempts to reason away this "magical" phenomenon I suspected that the statistics were really being skewed in some way. My best guess is that you win more money when playing more aggressively and gambling more with your profit pile. By betting “sub optimal” I made more money. I find out that, although I was winning more money at the expense of losing some big bets coming from the profit pile. Actually I was profiting by playing these rushes.

    Well, I haven't stopped playing like that. But I stop looking for a logical reason.

    Ray, If you are a professional at blackjack, you are not a gambler. A professional blackjack player must make his own luck. Luck is all you need to be successful in anything you do. In the case of blackjack, in order to have luck, you must study all aspects of the game. You must put yourself in a position to be present when luck happens. I would say this: If you want to take the money off, I mean, make a big score, then, you've got to play your rushes. It's that simple. Even if you lose your profit pile. So what? Start over. Just don't make mathematical mistakes based on "feeling". Bet big from the profit when you have an edge.
    Playing blackjack for a living is probably one of the most extreme stressful jobs you will ever find. But, that’s my opinion. Play professional Blackjack if you want to make big money and need stress in your life. Card counting, shuffle tracking, basic strategy, getting comps, go to the shows, eat at the finest restaurants. All amounts to stress. I studied the game enough to know that I don't need a 9-5 dull job while playing 21. I don't need a boss telling me what to do.

    Couldn't hurt, right?
  • That is simply called "overbetting your bankroll" and it is murder to your risk of ruin.

    this is all voodoo...
  • When I got up this AM, there in my e-mail was an article by Fred Renzey over at casinocitytimes.com. Very much on topic with this thread (runs), but deals mostly with why and when you've got to get the money out there. A good read.

    Also, for the new folks, Renzey now has a small booklet that describes the A/10 count that may be of interest. Cost is around $9.
  • Thanks Ray, it was interesting. When the apple's ripe it falls, and the smart guys catch it prior to hitting the ground. I believe most AP's can identify positive situations, but lack the heart to "send it" when necessary to win.

    Thirty years ago when I selected the Standardbred Industry as a business write-off and hobby I met a handicapper from Canada by the name of Al Stanley. I didn't know him prior to 1975, but from 1975-85 he was rated in the world's top five. I played with him many times during this 10 year period at Pompano Park in South Florida during the winters. He was at the track kitchen every morning at 5AM eating breakfast and bullshitting with all the people on the backside. He watched every qualifier, race, etc., but limited his actual betting to a few times a night. Once I was with him for three day watching 27 races and he failed to place one bet. Patience. In short, the man made his living betting the pacers.

    He never once the entire time I played with him used his own money. He didn't make his money in Florida, he made it at the large Canadian tracks and the Meadowlands. (Most tracks then closed for the winter-too dangerous) On any given night a half dozen people would walk into my owner's box attempting to get a piece of his action for the evening. Never once did this entitle them to his pick prior to a race. Reason being, the mutual pool was small and a couple of his well heeled followers would knock a legit 8/1 down to even money with a $200 win bet. He never made a play unless he received 5/2 or higher. The best runner/pacer handicapper's winning average ranges around 33%. His was the same but his win value doubled average.

    I also believe that if you in this game for the money and not the fun and enjoyment of relaxing and playing you should upon entering the casino give your money to a pro and watch.

    I believe that many good AP's would make money at this game if they had a sponsor (s)...you just have to continue to recruit like some guy who advertises selling blackjack books. New beginning players or realistic AP's who know they just don't have what it takes...balls. OPM takes a lot of pressure off a good blackjack player.

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