# how to play a small BR

#### WumpieJr

##### Member
Hi, I'm an "AP in training." I've read Renzey's book and am in the middle of Professional Blackjack. I have been practicing counting diligently and I want to set myself a betting schedule so that I can test my game (fake money). I'm using the KISS III count described by Renzey (level I, unbalanced). It includes a betting schedule, but I'd like to modify it to reduce the variance. I have some money to spare, but I couldn't legitimately bankroll even a \$5-\$50 spread without getting nervous. With that spread, Renzey advertizes a win rate of \$8 per hour (assuming 100 hands per hour) with a median hourly swing of \$135 (this is for a 6D game).

I am wondering how I should bet if I want to minimize the variance and am willing to accept an expected long-term earning of about \$5 per hour. Renzey's betting levels are \$5 min - 15 - 25 - 40 - 50 max, each step representing a change of 1 in the count. I assume that in order to minimize variance I should probably pare the whole thing down to something like 5 - 10 - 20 - 30 - 40, but it's hard for me to tell whether that is too much of a cut, too little, or what. I'm not asking anyone to do sims for me, but if anyone has a general estimate of what would still yield around \$5 an hour I'd appreciate the input. If that type of thing is impossible for the average person to predict w/o sims I'd also appreciate that knowledge ^_^

Thank you.

#### zengrifter

##### Banned
To minimize variance use 10-2x25 and ONLY play +EV counts (wonging). zg

Last edited:

#### Renzey

##### Well-Known Member
"If anyone has a general estimate of what would still yield around \$5 an hour I'd appreciate the input."

Here's a quick sim result. Six decks, S17, DAS, deal 4.25/6.0. Use KISS 3.
Running Count...........................Bet Size
4 or less at 1.5 dealt decks...........wong out
...5 thru 8.......................................5
.......9....................................... ...10
.10 thru 19......................................5
......20..........................................10
......21..........................................15
......22..........................................20
......23..........................................25
......24..........................................30
......25..........................................35
......26..........................................40
..27 & up.......................................50 (occurs 4% of the time)

Hourly win = \$5.50
Median Hourly Swing = \$106
EV = +0.62%
Average bet = \$9
Session Stake = \$500
Chance to lose \$500 within 300 hands = 6%

#### WumpieJr

##### Member
Hey, thanks a bunch for running that sim. I really appreciate it. I'm going to give it a shot for a while with fake money.

It's convenient that there aren't any casinos nearby tempting me to throw away all my money before I train enough ^_^

#### Kasi

##### Well-Known Member
Renzey said:
"Here's a quick sim result. Six decks, S17, DAS, deal 4.25/6.0. Use KISS 3..........
I'd just like to hold this up as an example to all you wannabe AP's out there, that this is exactly the kind of detailed plan you need to have BEFORE you play!

#### Mimosine

##### Well-Known Member
Kasi said:
I'd just like to hold this up as an example to all you wannabe AP's out there, that this is exactly the kind of detailed plan you need to have BEFORE you play!
what are the best programs/means to run sims like this?
especially for KO

does "Blackjack Attack" offer any advice (i still haven't bought it)...

#### rogue1

##### Well-Known Member
Isn't this website great!

You have a question and the author of the book you've read comes on and has the answer for you! God bless America, know what I mean?

#### Sonny

##### Well-Known Member
WumpieJr said:
Renzey's betting levels are \$5 min - 15 - 25 - 40 - 50 max...I assume that in order to minimize variance I should probably pare the whole thing down to something like 5 - 10 - 20 - 30 - 40
I would advise against that approach. Many new players think that using a smaller bet spread will reduce their risk, but it isn’t that simple. Using a lower max bet will reduce your short term risk (hourly standard deviation) but it will increase your long term risk (risk of ruin).

However, in order to use a larger max bet you will need to have a large bankroll to match it. Since you are starting with a small bankroll and can’t afford to make large bets, here are a few alternatives:

-Use aggressive backcounting. At the very least, walk away from the table when the count drops too far (I don’t know the numbers for unbalanced counts, but someone here must know). Ideally you should be waiting until a nice positive count before you sit down as well. This alone will lower your risk considerably (both long term and short term).

-If the casino is too crowded for backcounting then you might be able to get away with a backline strategy. This is described in Wong's "Basic Blackjack" and a bit here:

http://www.gamemasteronline.com/indexa.shtml (Archive copy) (click on Secrets at the top right, then look under “1999 Articles” for the Rider Bets article)

-Use coupons as often as you can. Many casinos give out “funbooks” or other coupons at their promotions desk. Always ask for one every time you go to the casino. Use a players card and always get rated (for now at least) and they might send you coupons in the mail.

-Play two hands whenever possible. Instead of betting \$20, bet two hands of \$10, etc.

-Try to add a little more money to your bankroll each month. It will start to add up, especially when you are also adding your winnings. Patience is the key.

It’s not going to be a glamorous life by any means, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

-Sonny-

Last edited:

#### WumpieJr

##### Member
rogue1 said:
You have a question and the author of the book you've read comes on and has the answer for you! God bless America, know what I mean?
Definitely! The AP community seems like one of the most friendly out there.

Sonny, thanks for the advice. I'm going to follow the specs that Renzey put up there rather than what I suggested. I even did a quick calculation as to the difference to my EV if I changed that last \$50 line to \$45 and realized it would seriously eat into the EV without changing the variance much at all. It's funny how sensitive the betting schedules are.

I also plan to do as much wonging in/out as I can whenever I start playing live. Any trip I make in the near future won't be serious playing for profit (hence my desire to lower variance), rather a fun time with some friends where I'll break off and do some counting for a little while. For now though I'm just practicing at home.

#### Knox

##### Well-Known Member
For KO, you want to Wong out of 6D shoes when the running count is about 1 decks less than it should be. I start the KO initial running count a zero, no matter how many decks. Each deck dealt, on average, should increase the RC by +4.

So wong out as follows (KO with IRC adjusted to 0, 6D):

1 deck dealt: RC 0 or less
2 decks dealt: RC +4 or less
3 decks dealt: RC +8 or less

In practice, I don't normally wong out before two decks dealt because it can turn quickly. Don't forget to mix a few fake cell phone calls in with your bathroom breaks!

#### p8ntballsk8r

##### Well-Known Member
knox where did you pull those numbers from? or did you just make them up based on a guess?

the numbers I got for exit strategy are
1 deck = -2 or less
2 deck = 3 or less
3 deck = 8 or less

numbers are above the IRC

I think it's in the book cuz I wrote it down on one of the notecards that I made from looking through the book.

Also for a wonging in strategy, someone on this site posted that if you are looking for the equivalent of a 1.5 TC these are the numbers

1 deck = 12
2 deck = 14
3 deck = 17
4 deck = 19

obviously if the numbers were higher that would be even better, and these numbers are above the IRC.

#### Knox

##### Well-Known Member
p8ntballsk8r said:
knox where did you pull those numbers from? or did you just make them up based on a guess?

the numbers I got for exit strategy are
1 deck = -2 or less
2 deck = 3 or less
3 deck = 8 or less

numbers are above the IRC

I think it's in the book cuz I wrote it down on one of the notecards that I made from looking through the book.
As I stated, wonging out after only 1 deck is dealt is usually pointless. It can turn quickly and rarely can you find the right conditions to jump around tables like that. I don't have the book with me either to verify your numbers, but the point is a conceptual one. I modified the KO book's number to the nearest increment of 4 to make it easier to remember. I notice that your 3 deck calculation is identical, and 2 deck is within 1 digit. That should be plenty accurate for the inexact science of wonging out.

The ZG interview has some good comments about rounding of indexes. Rounding of indexes is the foundation of several strong counting systems, some of which would be virtually unplayable without it.

#### mdlbj

##### Well-Known Member
Kasi said:
I'd just like to hold this up as an example to all you wannabe AP's out there, that this is exactly the kind of detailed plan you need to have BEFORE you play!

You are right one would want to build off of this and make adjustments etc.

#### tthree

##### Banned
Renzey said:
"If anyone has a general estimate of what would still yield around \$5 an hour I'd appreciate the input."

Here's a quick sim result. Six decks, S17, DAS, deal 4.25/6.0. Use KISS 3.
Running Count...........................Bet Size
4 or less at 1.5 dealt decks...........wong out
...5 thru 8.......................................5
.......9....................................... ...10
.10 thru 19......................................5
......20..........................................10
......21..........................................15
......22..........................................20
......23..........................................25
......24..........................................30
......25..........................................35
......26..........................................40
..27 & up.......................................50 (occurs 4% of the time)

Hourly win = \$5.50
Median Hourly Swing = \$106
EV = +0.62%
Average bet = \$9
Session Stake = \$500
Chance to lose \$500 within 300 hands = 6%

The bet of 10 for an RC of 9 doesnt seem to fit the rest of the tables pattern. If this isnt a typo can anyone explain why it is like this.

#### swamper

##### Well-Known Member
I noticed that too. Doesn't seem to fit in.

#### Tarzan

##### Banned
Up against Godzilla with a BB gun

One of those big fat main reasons for an "aspiring card-counter" to fail miserably is an insufficient bankroll. The fluctuations and fear of variance cause ineffective money management of a short bankroll, thereby increasing ROR as Sonny mentioned. The rule of thumb is that if you are "sweating" the amount of money you are tossing out there at risk then you shouldn't be there and you shouldn't be tossing it out there! A 1-10 spread is what you have to do and you have to accept when it goes way bad, because sometimes it does! To be pumping max bets out there and losing every one of those hands lose is not out of the realm of possibilities in the short term.

They say (the experts) that the absolute minimum to work with is 1000X your minimum bet. I am assuming that this is with a replenishable bankroll because I go with a LOT more than that. Any less than that is financial suicide and if you don't play correctly there is no amount of money that will help you. Sounds grim? It is!!! If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. There might be easier and less risky ways to try and scrape out 5 bucks an hour, quite frankly. So how do you play with a small bankroll? The honest answer is that you DON'T!

A casino is an amazing environment because of it's money-making potential (and I am talking about the casino making money, not the patrons). The carrot is dangled out there and they flock in, oblivious to house advantages and the odds, putting up their meager sums for a shot at that carrot, that brass ring. The casino does not have to back up their end of the equation with actual cash money like you do; They merely have to put up "chips", pieces of clay to represent their money and only have to put up actual money if you win! It doesn't get any sweeter than that, does it? They are equipped to ride out any variance much better than you are. They can put their stack of clay as high as they need to match the cash you put up! To go at them with a short bankroll is like trying to take on Godzilla with a BB gun.

The only thing I can recommend is what others said about heavy heavy wonging because carefully selected games is out, the reason being that low stakes games these days have the worst possible rules. By doing this, you can select choice moments to slap flat bets out there with the drawback being that you will spend hours standing around just to play a few hands.

#### WRX

##### Well-Known Member
Look, if you're truly "willing to accept an expected long-term earning of about \$5 per hour," then you're only in this for fun. Which is OK. And in which case the fine details of how you size your bets don't really matter much. Understand that you will never get to the point of making anything approaching a decent living from blackjack by playing this way, before you turn old and gray. Heck, you can't even cover expenses.

On the other hand, if you want to make blackjack profitable, but have limited resources, consider saving your money for a while before really attacking the game. At the beginning, play for the smallest stakes you can find, just to hone your skills. When you know you're ready, consider following the "hail Mary replenishable bankroll" approach. That is, overbet, and hope you get lucky and run up your stash quickly. If you lose everything, big deal, just go back to work for a while. If you can't afford to lose what you declare as your bankroll, guess what, you have no business playing.

AND--look for better games.

Thinking about it this way seems to violate principles of Kelly betting. However, understand that proportional betting theory assumes that your goal is to preserve your bankroll while maximizing its long-term growth, and that if you lose your bankroll you will be permanently out of the game. If that's not true, then you may be better off with a different approach. The cold hard truth is that blackjack CANNOT be profitable unless you get the stakes up to a point that gives you an acceptable return on your investment of time. Look for information on generalized Kelly betting theory with a bankroll that is subject to payment of expenses. And realize that your TIME is an expense, because if not playing blackjack you could be using that time to earn money at a--GASP--job.

#### alwayssplitaces

##### Well-Known Member
If your risk of ruin is greater than 51% you're better off betting your entire bankroll on the pass line at craps.

#### horse_johnson

##### Member
My max bet is \$50, so I definitely qualify as a "small BR" player. I have put aside 5 grand to do this. If you don't even have 5 grand, you should not do this.

Card counting is a really crappy way to make money if you don't already have multiple tens of thousands of dollars that you're willing to wholly devote to the venture. Not money you need for ANYTHING else, but just money you're willing to put up for the investment.

I've been counting for a short while, and if I really look at it rationally, I've been wasting time better spent on other activities. But for whatever reason, I like hanging out at a casino by myself and seeing what I can scrounge up. Here are some observations that may help illustrate to you what a threadbare operation low-stakes counting really is:

--Whenever you play, remember two things: First, EVERY employee in the casino--the dealer, the cashier, the janitor--is making more per hour than you are. Second, unlike the drink server or the janitor, you stand a non-trivial chance of losing your ENTIRE trip roll on ANY given day.

--Play as optimally as you can and don't worry about heat. It's not that heat isn't an issue for the low-level red chipper, it's that you simply can't afford to do anything about it. Leave after a short session and come back? You'll eat up your EV in gas money. At low amounts, the miserable dicks who work in the pit don't care if you count or what the hell you do as long as you don't win, and plenty of times you won't win. So to bring scrutiny, you must be winning in an obvious fashion, the eye or pit must have nothing else better to do, and both these conditions have to happen at the same time.

When I play 6D shoes, I never play a single negative count. Ever. I will sit and watch forever and only play a tiny fraction of hands when the count is high enough. There are better players than me who can do any number of things to justify playing through negative shoes, but I'm just a straight up counter, and a poorly bankrolled one at that, so I spend at least 80% of my time watching. I buy in, decline to play, sit back, put my feet up on the chair next to save a couple spots, and pretend to watch sports. Then I come in when the count goes up. What are they going to do? Sweat my \$35x2 action? Fine. Whatever.

Lately I ran into an unbelievable streak of good luck and won about 10 "large" bets (here it was 3 hands of a quarter apiece) in a row during consecutive shoes. Those were the only hands I played. The pit began to form a small audience in front of me and every one of them was staring. It takes a special kind of jerk to sweat a kid playing three hands of ONE MEASLY QUARTER as a max bet at a six-deck shoe game. But anyway, I pocketed my quarters at the shuffle, hightailed it for the exit, changed my shirt in my car, came back a half hour later, cashed in my chips, and after a break at the bar I was playing the next shift.

--Don't play bad games. Easier said than done, of course, because most games are bad, but if you don't have a marginally decent game in your area, just don't count. Learn poker or better yet get a job at McDonald's. The typical game offered in the Midwest, 6D with >1.5 pen, H17, and no surrender, is in my opinion a bad game. Add a little something extra like slightly better pen, surrender, a good casino promo, etc. and it becomes playable.

--A good part of your EV at the casino does not come from counting. Hassle the pit into giving you a free buffet. That's worth like an hour of play to you and I've found that I can get buffets even after extreme wonging and playing like 10 hands in an hour. You can eat an entire day's worth of food at a buffet.

A low-level red chipper should always play rated. At some casinos you'll rack up free slot play or comp money simply by having the pit put you in the computer. Where I play, they often are not going to notice if you hardly play any hands.

In all that time you spend watching, you can scavenge plays from ploppies. If someone wants to double their 11v6 for less, even in a bad count, you'll make money putting up the difference.

Be cheap. Never tip in a casino. This may sound like a jerk thing to do, but these people are making more money than you. Casinos are ripoff joints by design. And they are glad on the days you lose \$500 of your tiny bankroll to their enterprise.

Just remember, in shoe games, your margin is very, very small.

Last edited:

#### kewljason

##### Well-Known Member
I know my friend, Avenger, is going to accuse me of having my mind in the gutter, but what kind of handle is Horse Johnson? Sounds like a porno actor. :laugh:

Anyway, Mr Johnson, I am wondering about your statement of "never" playing a single hand at negative count. Thats a good strategy for a low limit player if you can employ it. Many places have NMSE, especially at the low limit games, which pretty much eliminates this strategy. Next best thing is to play off the top but aggressively leave at negative counts, which is my style. I take it you can jump in the middle of a shoe where you play?