martingale system
  • i dont see many people talking about this system...doent anyone use it..I understand the rist involved. But I always seem to do better with it. Even the times I have lost my limit hand i have had enough profit to atleast recoup my money to break even. Rare so far has been the case that I simply lost it all. I have not try the progressive betting...although tonight I might play two hands and use both and see which one does better.
  • Cpt, I'm no mathmatician but one of the things I wonder about is how blackjack with its optimal win % of 43% is suitable for the martingale at all. I would expect that the field in craps, red black in roulette and the bank at baccarate give you a constant set of odds that are much better than the %s you will get at BJ, there you have to depend on double downs, splits and BJs to make up the difference in house advantage from the relatively poor win rate. That means that somewhere along the line in the martingale you are going to have to double or triple a very high bet. One of these days I will experiment with a martingale on those three games but knowing what I do about blackjack I would never touch it. I'll let the mathmaticicans address the real change in risk with our favorite game.
  • I've tried laying out the math of the Martingale in print before and it seems to miss making its point. So here, I'll just briefly recount a true story from about two years ago.
    A fellow poker player I know had a fair amount of money. He played in some fairly high stakes poker games. He was also fond of blackjack. He fancied the Martingale a good idea. He used that system at casinos that had at least a $5000 betting limit, or get them to raise the limit to $5000. He would start out at $75 and double up with each loss. He brought enough money with him to lose seven hands in a row. That seventh bet would require a $4800 wager.
    For months, he went on winning at blackjack. When he "tapped out" at a casino poker game he would often go out to the blackjack tables and soon bring back another buy-in to the poker game. This he did so consistently that he began to affectionately call this system his little "blackjack machine". His blackjack winnings grew well into six figures in spite of occasionally losing seven straight hands and dropping $9525.
    Then he ran into a mode that we all experience sooner or later. He began "running bad" at blackjack. Instead of losing seven straight hands "occasionally", it began happening "regularly". With crushing swiftness, his six figure profit evaporated entirely -- and a good deal more along with it.
    He lost much more money than he should have while chasing the "good old days" at blackjack. But it was inevitable. He merely ran up against the eventuality of using a "break even" betting system while playing a losing brand of game. Today, you can't find him in any poker game and word has it that he's busted.
    It's a true story. If you're not inclined to interpret the math, then learn from the experience of others.
  • Renzey said:
    He merely ran up against the eventuality of using a "break even" betting system


    Fascinating (and scary) account.

    Renzy, is it your opinion that the "cancellation" method is also a break even system? And do you hold a similar disregard for it? My obvious thought is that it would be break even, but given the intricacies of math, I'm wondering if you hold this method in a better light. As opposed to Martingdale. Everything I've read says to avoid Martingdale like like the plague. Just curious on your opinion.

    John

    (PS: (to anyone) why can't I find any info on Bruce Iwrin, who described this cancellation method in his 1962 book? I'm guessing he'd be in his 70's or so now, and I'd like to know more about him, but cant find any references anywhere. Any clues?)
  • Sorry, I meant Martingale! It's late...

    John
  • All betting systems which size their next bet according to the previous outcome are "break even" systems by mathematical design. That is, they'll break even in the long run if the game is a break even game. If the game is a losing game, then these systems will lose an amount equal to the player's disadvantage in that game.
    It's not hard to see why this is so if you can digest a small snipet of information -- then expand it to fill a larger picture. Here's what I mean:
    Take a three step betting progression that steps up one unit after each win and retreats to a one unit wager after each loss. Let's call it the "1-2-3" progression. Now we'll just examine its performance over the course of only three bets. Here is what that betting system would yield for every possible win/loss sequence og three bets in a game where you will end up winning as many bets as you'll lose:
    WWW = +6 units
    WWL = 0 units
    WLW = 0 units
    LWW = +2 units
    LLW = -1 unit
    LWL = -2 units
    WLL = -2 units
    LLL = -3 units
    Notice that all the units won equal all the units lost. This is no accident. It will be true for any progression you can dream up. Go ahead and try your own favorite concoction on this win/loss sequence right now.
    But that's not all! You'll find that the same will also be true for 4 bets, or for 7 bets, or for 100 bets -- as long as you win as many bets as you lose. But if you lose more than half your bets, you come out behind.
    Now the thing to realize is that a 100 bet session, as large as it is still contains just exactly so many possible different win/lose sequences. And when you sit down and make 100 bets, youll draw one of those sequences out of a hat for that session. Since all possible sequences add up to zero, YOU"VE GOT NO EDGE. In fact, if you're going to lose more bets than you'll win over the fullness of time, then those sequences with a surplus of losing outcomes will occur more often than the winning sequences by a margin that equals the house advantage.
    Am I making sense?
  • Cpt, I'm no mathmatician but one of the things I wonder about is how blackjack with its optimal win % of 43% is suitable for the martingale at all. I would expect that the field in craps, red black in roulette and the bank at baccarate give you a constant set of odds that are much better than the %s you will get at BJ, there you have to depend on double downs, splits and BJs to make up the difference in house advantage from the relatively poor win rate.


    Doc - Correction on your numbers so others don't get mislead.
    1. The expected winning percentage for blackjack (excluding pushes) is 47.5%, not 43%.
    2. Plus you have the 3:2 payoff on blackjacks.
    3. Basically, blackjack is a 'dead even' game until you add the variables of number of decks and rule variations.

    Regards....Grifter
  • Thanks Grifter for the clarification. To make it almost dead even requires getting the extra money out for those splits and doubles, nerve wracking enough, but with a martingle it would seem especially stressful since you may be at a high bet. I guess the 'math' is not much different than the other 3 games, but I just wouldnt have the intestinal fortitude for it in BJ, but can certainly imagine it at the games which are more 'coin flip' like in their play and outcomes.
  • Well I see the progression debate continues...I don't think i'll
    comment. I just finished Blue Book II and found it to be a
    verry good read. Honesty goes a long way with me and the
    book, as near as I can tell, contains no BS. The A/10 count
    was interesting because I thought with a little tweaking here
    and there it could blossom into something even better. For example:
    add the 9 and by default count all the cards(with some minor 8 contamination of course). The magic numbers in this case would
    be 24, 48, 72, 96 etc. and how about sub-sets of 6,36,etc. Well
    anyway it is a thought that could have value.

    One minor point that I take issue with is the hand interaction
    strategy. When I play, I see nothing, say nothing, and want
    nothing from the individual next door. If I double with A8 and
    then ask to buy half of Jacks hand the dealer is going to wonder
    even more than she is already. Add to that 10 v A and I'm in
    real trouble. Very minor point........
  • RAY: The Ace/10 Front Count could be improved into a bonafide count system simply by adding two more checkpoints at which to monitor the further dispersion of Ace/10's. These readings would be taken at the 3 and 4 deck marks in the discard tray. At 3 decks, you'd bet multiple units with a count of 56 or lower -- and at 4 decks you'd do it at 77 or lower.
    This would be an ideal method for the player who just doesn't want to or can't use a "plus/minus" count. I can't envision beating the game getting any easier than this.
  • jm2552 said:
    [quote=Renzey]He merely ran up against the eventuality of using a "break even" betting system


    Fascinating (and scary) account.

    Renzy, is it your opinion that the "cancellation" method is also a break even system? And do you hold a similar disregard for it? My obvious thought is that it would be break even, but given the intricacies of math, I'm wondering if you hold this method in a better light. As opposed to Martingdale. Everything I've read says to avoid Martingdale like like the plague. Just curious on your opinion.

    John

    (PS: (to anyone) why can't I find any info on Bruce Iwrin, who described this cancellation method in his 1962 book? I'm guessing he'd be in his 70's or so now, and I'd like to know more about him, but cant find any references anywhere. Any clues?)[/quote]

    I have AOL. AOL has a function called "keyword". Just enter Bruce Irwin's name in the "keyword" box and click "go". There are several references to Irwin on the internet.
  • The correct name of the "cancellation" method is "Labouchre", most commonly known as the "Labby". It has been around for at least 200 years (probably more).

    I would suggest using a search engine and the word "Labouchre".

    Grifter
  • Labouchere. There's an e before the r.

    -- Desert Chien
  • Gracias, Dawg........Good catch......My error......G
  • Grifter said:
    Gracias, Dawg........Good catch......My error......G


    De rien, mon ami Monsieur Grifter.

    As someone else pointed out a few weeks ago, the Labouch
  • Well my friend and I went to play..he is the one that exposed me to and is fond of the martingale system...I usually start with enough to play 6 losing hands..he had enought to play 5. ( not enough but funds were limited ) I have alwasy had good luck with it..consistenlty only reaching the 4th and 5th hand or when I do lose the sixth hand its well into the night and im up enough to start over......although Im not disiplined..and usually take the net profit at the end and put down a big bet.and try to win big....with the thinking Ill either go home really happy or break even.......So what happened.......Well he lost his first 5 hands..LOL I had 3 wins before losing 6......we went in all cocky only talking about at what amount we were going to stop.....and the RISK of this system slapped us right in the face...literally 5 minutes of play and it was time to drive home...unbelievable. I think i will try a system that keeps losses at a minimum bet...and at least prolong the misery...so I can drink enough free beers..LOL
  • Cpt, thanks for the report. I am continually amazed by how many times I sit down at a table and am blown away hand after hand at this 'dead even' game, of course the times I win hand after hand I ascibe to skill.
  • Many thanks for that very informative report, cptcrash. That's exactly the kind of information that needs sharing here. Dust yourself off and get back in the game, but use another strategy.

    The Martingale progression is just plain wrong for Blackjack, because -- to recap recent posts by Doc and Renzey -- hand for hand you're not playing a 50-50 game. (Dollar for dollar because of splits, doubles and the 3-2 BJ payoff, you get close to 50-50, but it's hand outcome that's relevant to this discussion.) A few weeks ago we had another report of someone getting blown away using Martingale and only by sheer luck over at the horse race lounge he got it back by picking the right trifecta. Skillful Blackjack players shouldn't need horses to rescue them. (Or lucky wins by their wives at video poker. :wink:)

    Question: I know you keep doubling your bet when you lose in Martingale. What do you do about sizing your bet when you win?

    Final comment: Martingale is a "negative" progression. When I play progressions, now less frequently than I used to, it's a positive progression such as Walter Thomason's, Dahl, 1-2-3, or some lesser-known hybrid. On the occasions I've hit my limit earlier than I felt like leaving, it was because I had hit my WIN limit, not my loss limit. (Keep in mind that like most of us who set limits, my loss limit is twice the size of the win limit.) I'm not saying positive progressive betting strategies are the key to success. They've also taken me to my loss limit, but it takes a lot longer and I've usually had my fill of playing by then anyway. I'm pretty sure the only way to success in Blackjack is long term card counting and a deep bankroll to start with. But if you're going to use a progression, don't use something as dangerous as Martingale.
  • i just made a similar post...

    first off, i suck at math. but it seems logical to me that if you have lost 5 hands in a row, there is higher likelyhood that you will win your next. not because of "streaks" or the "im due" theory, but based on the smae theory as any card counting strategy. you are more likely to win when big cards are left and more likely to lose when small cards are left. so if i have lost 6 straight hands, isnt it liely that many small cards have come out... leaving more 10s and aces for my next gigantically huge bet? i dont play like this, but its just a thought.
  • i just made a similar post...

    first off, i suck at math. but it seems logical to me that if you have lost 5 hands in a row, there is higher likelyhood that you will win your next. not because of "streaks" or the "im due" theory, but based on the smae theory as any card counting strategy. you are more likely to win when big cards are left and more likely to lose when small cards are left. so if i have lost 6 straight hands, isnt it liely that many small cards have come out... leaving more 10s and aces for my next gigantically huge bet? i dont play like this, but its just a thought.
  • Drew - I'll delete the first one.....Grifter

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