Losing and loving it
  • Last Saturday afternoon I was trying to make it home from the casino
    for the BB games. I was down $400 for the day, but happy as a crow
    in a corn field. Why so? Earlier I had got as close to losing my compete
    session BR as you can get. At one time, I was all in on a 3 hand split that
    had one double. Lose it and I'm done, less two red chips which would have
    went to the dealer. Normally I play with 50 x35 so you can see that I had
    a problem and was lucky as hell to do that well. Couple of times last yr I
    was not so lucky..............................
  • I hear ya... Happens to all of us. My recent brush with bankroll failure involved me being down $400 of $450 at a $15 table in just 2 shoes, only to come back to a $50 loss upon the 3rd. I stuck it out one more shoe and was very happy to have only the $50 loss again. And I left the building right behind Elvis. ($15-30-50-100 using A5) I cudda left $75 ahead, but noooooo I had ta keep thinking "turn around", and it did.... right back to the -$50.
  • I reported here a while back that I started with $1000, with the intention of seeing how long it would take to double it playing $5-$40 DD BJ. Got down to my last couple of hundred with a big count, and lost multiple $40 bets, ending up with $35 left. I made that my last bet on this +8 or so TC, and won, and slowly came back from that point. Before I quit, although it took about 50 hours of total playing time spread over four weeks, I actually managed to double that. One more loss and it would have been over. I've seen something similar more than I would like to remember, although I have not gotten down to my last bet and come back like that. I have gotten down to my last bet and lost of course. :)
  • Nickels_n_Bullets said:
    And I left the building right behind Elvis.

    Hey Nickels, we'll be at Mohegan next Saturday to see Elvis. LOL. I'm hoping that will be surreal enough that I won't mind any losses I incur!
  • If you are happy with a losing a session you are setting your self up to lose more. You don't make basic stragedy plays and you just play all in all bad. The casino make millions if not billions of dollars a year why would you want to give them your money? They can easily afford to pay you especially if you are a low ball player only playing for a couple of hundred dollars.
  • Losing IS part of this game, as it is with ANY game of chance. Its gonna happen wether you like it or not. What counts here is if you limit your losses to less than your wins both in frequency and amount. The only way to stay on top of THAT is to keep an unbiased journal. These last two items go a long way towards separating the winners and losers.
  • I definitely agree with keeping a running journal of your wins and losses. Although I have been practicing counting, I do not feel good enough to do this consistently while drinking in a casino enviroment. So, I am your regular consistent good basic strategy player. I have noticed over a long time that the majority of the time I play I have periods of being on top, and periods of losing.

    I could sit at a $15 table with $500 and within 4 hours have periods where I'm down to $100. My journal shows me that I average about 3 periods (during the 4 hours) where I'm up $300 to $400 betting $25, and then go back down to a scary $100 or so. There have been times where greed has told me to stay and I lost the whole BR.

    I have two ways that I play. One way is I play till the first time I come close to doubling my BR ($300-$500), at this time I consistently increase my bet from $25 to $50, playing the same way I have been playing, but now taking a bigger risk with the casino's money. If I get close to a profit of $500 then I cash in and walk, if I start dropping then as soon as I get down to a $100 profit I cash in and walk.

    The other way I have to play is to be profit-minded. This is where the FIRST time I come close to a $300 profit I cash in and walk. This is not good if you enjoy playing BJ like I do, and also not good for comps because you can sometimes make this in a short time, BUT, I do walk away with a $300 profit ro close to it. Just a note, I now always set a goal. When I reach it, I cash out and walk, or take my losses and walk.

    Just to relate an experience I had with progressive betting. Although I walked home with $600 of winnings that nite, it was the most scariest thing I have ever done. I went against everything written about it on this site and went and did it. I showed up with a $900 BR at a $15-$1000 table. I bet consistently $15 and every time I loss I would double my next bet. So, if I lost a bet, my next bet would be $30, if I lost that one, my next bet would be $60, etc. Several times I had bets of $480 which scared the sh*t out of me. My heart was freakin' palpitating at the thought of having to put up a $960 bet if I loss the $480 bet, and if I loss the $960 bet I would not have enough to double my bet, and even if I did the table max was only $1000. I cashed in my $600 profit to that point and ran to the bar. LOL!!!! Too scary, I'll never do that again. I got away with it that night. By the way, the way I made my $600 profit was because on several plays with high bets I had opportunities to double down and/or split and I won!

    Since I keep a journal the following are my exact figures up to april 9, 2005. I have made a profit of $3100.00 since the beginning of the year (this does not include an additional $2200 profit I made in an 11 day cruise in January 2005). The figure of $3100 is my Atlantic City winnings. At this rate, if continued, it would amount to $11,500 a year. Not bad for pocket change. And this does not include all the free drinks I receive, the free shows, the free rooms, free means, etc. And as I said, the FIRST time I reach my goal I cash in and walk. Since the odds are against me I figure the longer I stay and play the better the chance the casino will take my money.
  • I have also started a progression journal since last year. From 1980 to mid-2004 All I've played was A5. I did some research from here, and coupled it with some tools, and have a few progressions at my site. The scariest entries by far are the CSM progressions... a few $450 banks get down to $40 ($15 unit) and then break even, and I leave. When a shoe is used I do much better, and have had two 80-unit wins @$25. The worst loss is 12 units a few times. Nothing that good at $15 units but slightly ahead after a few 3-session trips.

    Lately I've been practicing the hybrid (3-win) at home and will have a few more trips based on it. This already has a journal with a few entries in it.
  • Don't you often have these days where as soon as you start you start dropping and you're never even close to breaking event? You mentioned up-and-down swings around the break-even point, but my feeling is that there's often a downhill-only streak.
    What do you do in these cases ?Do you have a stop-loss point, or do you just hope the trend completely reverses and compensates for itself before your bankroll runs out entirely ?
  • slgpgh...I know what your saying. It's a bitch when you start off the first shoe down $300. That' why I'll never enter a shoe again without front counting until I at least have the advantage entering the first shoe. I can't keep moving within the Teepee, but I'm going to attempt to at least start the first shoe off with an advantage. What happens after that is to be seen. I'll also take more breaks after the first two decks of a 6/8D game if the shoe is high in low cards. I'll start off by telling the dealer that I have a blatter problem and have to go to the restroom oftern. I'll work this statement in somehow...lol
  • But if you enter at high counts, you probably enter with a higher starting bet as well... You could wipe out even faster than usual...
  • Those unexpected "sucker punches" the casinos throw are part of BJ. It really does s*ck when you sit and start straight down the slope to loosing the BR. If it happens that soon, first two shoes or so, then my stop loss is $0 = total loss. I will stay and kind of fight it out till hopefully I recover. Recently I was down from a $400 BR to about $45, and this was like instant. I couldn't win a hand, including double downs and/or splits. Mentally I told the casino "f*ck u," reached into my pocket with the attitude of a defiant last standing warrior, and took out my other $300 of play money. Ultimately, after about 5 hours of play, made a $200 profit and cashed in. They really made me work for it that night.
  • Good observations and bad things happen to good people, but have
    I told you lately: There will always be a level of uncertainty in everything
    that you do. If you tell your wife that your going to the store down the
    street, you may not return; you may not wake-up in the moring; you
    may never get out of the chair you're sitting in at this moment.

    You can't worry about what you can't change, so jump in there and give
    them hell.....
  • Well, a lot of gambling books that I've glanced at (although, admittedly, pretty bad ones like Patrick's that also tout progressions), talk about losing streaks, quit points, etc. Some suggest magic numbers like losing 40% of your session bankroll, etc., or quitting after four losing hands in a row.

    There is a certain sense in a stop point, because then you never go completely broke. On the other hand, a good bankroll is needed to endure variations. So it seems to me that the balance in a lot of these books is essentially a virtual bankroll figure: quit at 40% loss, but bring in a lot more to begin with.

    Which brings us again to the good old bankroll question...
  • Surveying the tables before play helps but isn't a valuable tool. You pick your table come what may, and play. Personally, a table with bad losses is avoided... you know pat 20's losing, while people stand on a pair of 6's, 7's, 8's, or 9's, or the no-hit wonders that abound (no hit 12, no hit 15 or 16 when dealer shows a 9, Face or Ace) are doing their small card conservation thingy (very bad... the house gets them ALL and wins too often, or YOU get them when DD on 10 or 11). I guess, bad play discourages me from play at that table. I figure the more player mistakes I avoid, the better my chances.... but we argue about that a lot in here.
  • N&B...when you refer to surveying a table, are you also including front counting in your observation?
  • What's "small card convervation"?
  • I'm a bit confused by the term "front-counting". Unless you mean the A-10 front count. But if you are using a normal counting strategy, why not count naturally using that, and sit down when the count reaches +2 or whatever threshold you want to use. Also, this is called "back counting" which comes from counting from the back of the crowd I believe. It also falls under "wong-in/wong-out" as defined in Stanford Wong's PBJ book...
  • SSR...Yes, I mean the Ace/Ten Front Count described in Fred Renzey's book Blackjack Bluebook II. I understand it's not actually card counting described in most of our discussions, but a tool to use to either enter or stay in a game based on two decks of multi-deck games. I'm not confident in my counting at this point and it gives me an advantage of determining the benefit of entering or staying in a shoe at this point in my learning. I have to gain some casino experience in the casinos and believe this is a good start at this point.

    Hope I explained it correctly...lol

    Best, Jim
  • No , I don't front count. I just look for the small card conservation by players.
  • Small card conservation: the unerring ability of scared money not wanting to bust. Being afraid to bust means no hit 12 when the dealer has a 2 or 3 showing when the scared money has a 12. It also means no hit when holding a 15 or 16 when the dealer shows a 9, 10-value, or Ace (Stand is the worst decision possible short of doubling). When surrender is offered and I see scared money standing on these hands, I bypass the table, things will only get worse, as no one is trying to remove the house advantage by chancing a draw for a little card. Dealer and the shoe winds up having an excess of the little cards, and as most counters know, that favors the house.

    I remember a story told to me by an old-timer who thought that with all these cards (4-deck game), the best possible strategy might as well be, "Hit until you get to 14 when the dealer shows a 2,3, or 4. The house pays even money for 7:6 odds in your favor." How nearly correct he is, failing in that it is the draw of one card by the player against the possible draw of two cards by the dealer. But the gist of the mantra was BE AGGRESSIVE in removing cards from the shoe...
  • Nickels- I wonder what the effect would be if 4-5 players at the same
    table played to 14. Could you engineer enough advantage to offset
    any bad plays that may or may not occur?
  • I'm not sure I follow all of this.

    For example, "scared money" could mean "big bet". When I have a big bet out, it is because the TC is up, and I certainly won't be hitting a 12 against a 2,3,4,5 or 6 in that circumstance. On - counts, I will have a small bet out, and at the same time BS departure indices do recommend hitting many stiff vs stiff hands...

    I also don't see how this is "small card conservation". If I hit a 12 vs 2 or 3, I have a significant chance of drawing a 10 as well as drawing a small card. And drawing the 10 hurts the shoe rather than helping...

    If you count cards, and the count is minus, taking an extra hit could pull an extra small card. Even better is going to the restroom...

    As far as 16 vs 10, surrender if you can. But if you can't, and the count is 0 or higher, then stand is the correct play, not hit. And many games today don't offer late surrender anyway, making stand the only sensible play. Most counters have heard of "the counters basic strategy" which is simply basic strategy modified to be correct for a true count of +2 or +3, which means the "counters basic strategy for 16 vs 10" is always "stand" because that is where the big bet is out, and standing is correct at TC >= 0.

    Remember, that "ploppy" next to you might be me, trying to convince the pit that I am a gambler or an idiot or worse... ;)
  • Small bets coupled with conservation of small cards. Large bets with the same actions are expected. Just to clarify my point.
  • The house edge for the even-money gambit is about 1% WORSE than Basic Strategy (ie: 1.5% for H17, and 1.3% for S17). Not too much one can do there to fix that problem. (This is stand or surrender with 15 or 16, and stand with 12-14 if dealer shows a 5 or 6)

    Even if modified so that the player draws on 15 or more when the dealer shows a 7 or higher, the House Advantage is still 0.5% greater than Basic. Thats doable but tough with a 0.8% HA for 6D S17 DOA DAS LS. So even hitting 12,13,14 when the dealer shows a 2,3,or 4 hurts.

    Quite frankly, I'm amazed that more people don't do this from the "simple logic" point of view the old gent presented. Most are "intelligent enough" not to take the hook-and-worm. But then, they don't split 8's against a 5 "because I have 16". Go figure.
  • If that was addressed to me, I am not sure I understand "the even money strategy" and I know I don't understand Hi Opt I or II. :) I can speak HiLo fluently of course. :)
  • SSR: I busted the last response and replaced it. On my web-site main index page is a link to the "Unusual Strategy" in which BlackJack is played as a coin-flip... NO DAS, SPLIT, OR DD. Just hit/Stand. The house Advantage is 3%. The player does NOT hit with 15 or 16 because the odds are greater than even-money to survive the hit. The player hits 14 or less because the odds are less than even money to survive the hit. However the correct strategy of just hitting 12 vs. a 2 or 3 is the best possible strategy for player with 12-14 and dealer with 2,3,4 showing, and is shown on that table. It was just a curiosity thing in response to alexd30.
  • Ray:

    It would be tough, if as the old gent said we hit 12,13, or 14 when the dealer showed a 2,3, or 4. Best guess is 0.5% increase to House Advantage due to these situations being fairly frequent. Confronted with a table-full and trying to play hi/lo might be worthy of a badge of courage, or purple heart. Then again, a player that hits the 12,13, or 14 against a 2,3, or 4 might do better than expected when 4-5 others simply will not draw to 12 vs. 2,3 or any 15 or 16 vs. 9,X,A when surrender ISN'T offered.
  • are you talking about the new game Shackleford has going in Reno (I think) at the time? No splitting, etc?
  • No, Mike's version allows ties to pay 1/2 and BlackJacks to be paid at even-money (JUST SAY NO to 1:1).

    If however, one gets 2:1 for BlackJack in my version, the House Edge is right back to 0.5%. That caused me to investigate a little further and do some research, which is still on-going from time-to-time.

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