Aggressive play (good or bad)
  • First, let me say I wonder about myself regarding this play technique.
    Broaching the subject at all may not make a lot sense to some folks, but
    every experience that I can recall suggest to me that there may be a
    fundamental difference in winners and losers that may be a direct
    result of this state of mind. For example: How did Bobby Fisher play
    chess? I think we all would say very aggressively. Five card stud poker
    and 9 ball pool are two other games that demand or at least identify
    the aggressive winner. I've played both of these games all my life and
    I can tell you that I've never seen a good non-aggressive player in
    pool or poker. What do you sharks in the water think??????

    P. S. How am I suppose to know how to get around at this site? I've
    used my intuitive swag method so far. Was there a trans. from one
    board/sys to another?????
  • Ray said:
    First, let me say I wonder about myself regarding this play technique.
    Broaching the subject at all may not make a lot sense to some folks, but
    every experience that I can recall suggest to me that there may be a
    fundamental difference in winners and losers that may be a direct
    result of this state of mind. For example: How did Bobby Fisher play
    chess? I think we all would say very aggressively. Five card stud poker
    and 9 ball pool are two other games that demand or at least identify
    the aggressive winner. I've played both of these games all my life and
    I can tell you that I've never seen a good non-aggressive player in
    pool or poker. What do you sharks in the water think??????

    P. S. How am I suppose to know how to get around at this site? I've
    used my intuitive swag method so far. Was there a trans. from one
    board/sys to another?????


    Ray, what do you mean by "aggressive play" in Blackjack? Yes, we did switch to another forum software. You'll get the hang of it after a while.
  • Dog, sometimes I wonder if I can define aggressive play but I'll
    try. Take the case of betting as an example: At the lower counts
    I'll stay pretty much with the bet spread but when the count is at
    or near the top(of spead) I, extend my bet above the spread if I think I
    can get by with it. Like two green covered with two reds don't look
    as bad in a 5 dollar game as a stack of reds. I'll ride that bet as
    long as the count stays close. Also, take the case of a 50-50 bet
    (you nor the house has the edge). I'll go against B/S in this case if
    lets say its on a double. For example: with a neutral deck at mid
    shoe A5 vs 3 thats 50/50 if you hit and thats what B/S suggest. This
    hand, most of the time , will allow only one hit one way or the other.
    I'll double that hand every time for a chance to win two rather than
    one. Good or bad its my nature. Thats about the best explanation that
    I can give. Pool is much easier to relate this question to.
  • Wow Ray what a question, especially from a person with such a Renezyian background, that is newtonion, mathmatical, computer engineering, trust the math kind of background. But it is something that has plauged me since I've started, I find my passive cheap side has really kept me from 'testing' this game. Maybe I don't have what it takes to be a true gambler, but I think you have hit on something that is a true criteria to playing blackjack like it should be played, whether using a progression or keeping the count, you have to put your money where your mouth is and the bottom line is to can you show some aggresiveness when it needs to be shown and is that what it takes to put winning numbers up. I'm wondering if the lack of that ability is both the downfall and/or the savior of a lot of medium ability blackjack players.
  • Doc, Yes you must put the money out there........I don't think that
    you will have any trouble in the future because you will adjust your
    thinking and playing accordingly......Your too bright to do otherwise.
    Look at it like green fees.....having fun requires some investment , but
    in blackjack there is the possibility of a rebate.

    Ray
  • Hold on! Please do your self a favor and rethink your definition of "aggressive" play when making BJ decisions. There are only correct or incorrect choices. You might have a hunch and make an incorrect play - you might even win when you make an incorrect play. But it's based more on luck than being "aggressive".

    Unlike like pool, poker and most competitive sports, "aggressive" play does not pay for the BJ player. In the long run, it pays MORE to play perfect BS than to make "aggressive" moves.

    When counters talk about being "aggressive", they mean making betting decisions in lock step with the count, ignoring heat and using zero cover. The paradox is that the "aggressive" counter is about as passive as you can get - he uses ZERO judgement and follows very specific rules exactly.
  • Good post, Mr. Ed. I was puzzled about "aggressive" too. There's really only "correct", with each version of Correct being tied to your level of play: Basic Strategy, Basic Strategy taking table conditions into account, and Counting. And I agree, a counter who bulldozes ahead without some cover strategy is not really being aggressive (though I've heard at the Borgata in AC they don't care right now). If I'm counting or planning to, I'll make sure someone sees me not hit 12 vs 3 or A-7 vs 9, 10, or A.
  • What about agressive progressions?

    I almost always use a very agressive progression... 1,2,4,8, 5 units till a loss.

    I buy in with Either $100 or $250... depending on how many sessions I intend to play and my BR. Bet in $10 or $25 units.

    On a winning sequence, I renew my base stack, and pocket the profit. I play till my base stack is depleted... in other words I fail to make a sequence 10 times in a row.


    I know this is a really agressive progression, but when it works it works very well... when it doesnt, the most I can lose is my $100 or $250 buy in.

    PS. The only time I dip into my pocket winnings is for a double or split with high odds... like a dealer 6, Vs my 10-or 11
  • Mr. Ed and Desert Dog, I'll agree that basis strategy is the best move
    99.9% of the time. That don't give us much to talk about so lets
    move on to betting: We have two card counters both have their own
    bet spread, which is not uncommon. Jack has 1-9, Bill has 1-12 and
    both individuals alter thieir bet based on the same counts. They are
    playing at the same table. Now I ask you; what is the difference in their
    play. Could it be that Bill is a more aggressive player than Jack. If
    they both have the same bankroll what other answer is possible.

    Now lets take a look at opportunity and how it separates the gambler
    from a robot. Both men move on and front count some table. They luck
    out and find a fair count to work with that would normally support a
    two unit bet. They enter the game and Jack bets 4 units and Bill is
    betting six. What has happened here is that two decks have passed and
    there are only 6-8 hands left to play. Both men are, by robotic standards,
    playing aggressive, and once again bill is more aggressive than jack.
    Both can afford to play this strategy because of the risk management
    they used by not playing those high risk hands off the top. All i'm trying
    to say here is gambling is still gambling. Blackjack or otherwise. And
    I would think that a fundamental difference exist between Jack and Bill,
    slight as it may be.

    Its also true that the greater perecentage of time a player is going
    thu this rote and boring by the numbers play and that is unavoidable.

    As for cover and the like; every site, game and yes even players at
    the table can and will determine what you can or can not do.



    Ray
  • Well, neither Jack nor Bill are playing optimally - if the count calls for two units and both players are (consistently) betting more, they have just increased thier risk of ruin. But then again, if they are lucky, they will be a LOT richer than Norm, who plays optimally. Are they "agressive"? Sure. Could I beat a world class marathon runner? YES! but only for the first 50 yards or so. After that I'd blow my lead and he'd pull away. My agressiveness would pay off for the first 10 seconds and that would be that.

    But don't get me wrong - it's not a matter of stupidity, only taste. Maybe Jack and Bill or not in it for the long run (which is reasonable - if they make one trip a year, it will take several hundred years to approach the "long run"!) Maybe they like the thrill of taking a risk, or would like to move up the risk/reward continuum. That's perfectly fine.

    In case you haven't guessed it, my personal goal is to play as much like a card-counting "robot" as I can get away with. Call me boring if you like, but I enjoy a game where I KNOW what the optimal move is at ALL times. I get my enjoyment from seeing that I am right and winning the game and beating the casino. I'm fine knowing that my "judgment" has zero value. I think if I ever graduated to being a green or black chip player, my enjoyment would decrease, as I would have to employ cover (i.e. meaning making incorrect plays).

    By the way, only considereing that Bill's spread is 1-12 vs. Jack's spread is 1-9, Bill is more aggressive BECAUSE he is playing MORE like a card-counting robot.

    Anyway, I apologize - I have completely forgotten what your original question was! I hope I haven't gotten too far off track. Good luck.
  • Well, we had a rational from Ray. A dessertation from Desert Dog. A doctoral from Doc. An exemplification from Ed and a testimonial from Tim. Might as well have a manifest from Midnite. :D
    IMHO some players/people are just naturally more aggressive than others. Like the golfer that may try to clear the water hazard, to reach the green in two, where most would just lay up. Or the pool player that may choose a difficult combination shot, where the next may just shoot for a safety.

    While an aggressive style may be rewarding, an over aggressive style can be a detriment.(and a trip to the ATM machine) I think "discipline" is more important than aggression.(no trip to the ATM) We all have different personality traits, betting comfort levels and a host of other things. That is just the way were were made and it would be pretty boring, if we were not all a little different. Heck, if we were all the same, we couldn't even have a horse race, or super bowl bet....
  • Midnight.....Great you put the thing in a nut shell and that is about the
    size of it. You may wonder why anyone would make a post like this
    in the first place. Well one incredible hand two weeks ago has played
    on my mind ever sense: It went like this: I had managed to accumilate
    about 400 in a long 5 hour session, all red and some green play. My
    back was killing me so I collored to black with 2 reds left. I got up and
    was ready to go home. I had not tipped this very nice dealer, so what
    to do. Everyone knew I was about to leave so I decided to make one
    last bet, tip the dealer and go home, win or lose. The three players to
    my right caught 14,13,15 and all stayed against a dealer 2. I had
    a pair of 6's and I thought now what. I could hit my 12 vs 2 and win
    or lose go home or I could make the right play and split, which I did.
    Off came the third 6 and yes I split again. Next came a 4 and yes I
    doubled and caught a crushing 7. Then came a 9 and a 10 and I had
    three losers and every cent of my winnings on the table in one hand.
    The dealer turns over a second 2 and proceeds to a 6 card bust. The
    pit watched all of this but he knew it was pure look that things turned
    out the way they did. At this point I had no clue as to the nature of the
    deck but I knew that it had to be good. I decided to play the
    the last three hands of the shoe and won two, lost one and went home.


    I' ve been trying to decide how I played that situation ever sense.
  • From your description of the round the effect on the running count was about +7. If that's the only round you saw, that's enough to make the shoe (slightly) favorable to you. You made the right decision by playing the last few rounds (but I hope you stopped betting black!?!)

    Just a concern here - don't feel pressured to put a black chip on the table JUST because you recently colored up. Players break black chips all the time.

    And finally, no dealer would mind if you just handed him a chip and said "keep it" - you don't have to play a round.
  • RAY: The two counters who bet different numbers of multiple units at a high count are both playing their rounds at an advantage. Who's doing it better can be debated - but they both are making profitable moves. That's OK.
    Here's what's not OK. When you have A/5 against a 3, you're even money if you hit - but a small underdog if you double! That's because when doubling, you won't be able to get a second hit the times you catch an Ace or a 6. In fact, most hands you double on reduce your chances to win the hand as compared to hitting for this same reason. The qualifier is, "How much does doubling reduce your chances compared to how much of a favorite do you remain when you double your bet?" Here's an example:
    When you have 11 vs. a 10, you're 56% to win if you hit and 54% if you double. Hitting nets 12% of one bet, but doubling nets 8% of two bets. So doubling is the bigger moneymaker.
    Now let's take 9 vs. 7. If you hit you're 59% and if you double you're 53%. Hitting nets 18% of one bet and doubling nets 6% of two bets. So here, just hitting is the best play. Other plays like 9 vs. 7 are 8 vs. 6 and 11 vs. Ace.
    With some hands you actually go from a favorite to a dog if you double. The classic example is A/2 vs. 2. There, you're 52% if you hit and 48% if you double since you can't hit again when you catch an Ace, 2, 3, 4 or 9. On a $25 bet, hitting nets an averaged $1 profit. Doubling loses just under an averaged $2. So be careful about being aggressive/imaginative at the blackjack table. That works best in poker.

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