OK, I know what I'm about to suggest flies in the face of all the sound math underlying AP, BUT.....
The thing that defeats most counters, psychologically and financially, is betting big into strong pos counts and still losing, hand after hand after hand. BJ is a game of streaks, and these inevitable positive-count big-bet losing streaks are infuriating, and costly. Likewise, it's the inevitable hi-count winning streaks that make it all worthwhile. So.... what if, when count is hi, you immediately reduce the big bet way down after a losing hand, but then go right back up after the next winning hand (and stay there as long as you keep winning)? You literally guarantee never having a horrible big-bet losing streak, but also guarantee participation in every big-bet winning streak. In other words, if it's the horrible losing streaks of big bets that kill us and demoralize us, and the winning streaks that make us $$$, why not be assured of never losing 2 big bets in a row?? Please tell me why this doesn't make sense? Any sims on this?
The sims on this sort of thing...

... indicate that due to the randomness of the events you are describing, lowering your bet will only reduce your profit over the long-haul.

Notwithstanding my response, IF we could ever get beyond the static statistical model(s) that we use, something like you propose could be workable.

Look at it this way - when meteroligists analyse annual weather probabilities they produce annual-statistical rainfall expectation... BUT when it is raining, predicted or not, they are free to come in from out of the rain, yes?
- zg(closet voodooist)
Psychologically it may have value

It also provides betting cover. Letting your average big count bet bounce around provides cover but increases the effect variance because being it's an average, some of those bets are going to be higher than what your advantage would justify. This isn't something a low level player should ever have to do.

Lowering the bet has the same psychological benefit without the increase in variance. I'm a guy who has had to leave the table with chest pain due to the stress of one of those losing sessions. Fortunately stress was all it was, but stress of that level is unhealthy anyway. When you're properly capitalized relative to your bet you can shrug off those losing streaks; it's when you're betting your balls that they hurt you.
ZG, your profundity overwhelms me! Seriously, how can profit suffer in long-run if you literally guarantee that you never, ever lose 2 big bets in a row? You're still taking full advantage of inevitable win streaks, but avoiding ALL losing streaks. Is this too simplistic? Where's the flaw? Mayor??
It just doesn't work that way...

You are trying to recognize a streak before it happens, and this can't be done in 21. If you bet big, and lose, and then bet small and win, when you should have bet big and won, you just lowered your EV.

Best way to beat this game is to play a lot at home with chips, so that you get used to the idea of "playing with plastic" and don't associate dollars with chips until you get ready to cash out.

One reminder: your AP edge comes from betting big when you have an advantage over the house, and betting small when you do not. If you bet small when you do have an advantage, you are just lowering your EV. You can't lower it very far before it goes negative, since it is not that big to start with...
I'm not trying to recognize

streaks in advance, I'm simply avoiding them. As long as I continue playing, I know they WILL occur, whether I recognize them in advance or not. I understand, math-wise, that by not betting big in every pos situation, I'm not maximizing my edge. But I also know in the real world there are countless times I could lose 4 or 5 or 10 big bet hands in a row despite wonderfully hi counts, despite my edge, despite all my skill as an AP player. And it's those inevitable losing streaks that seem to turn sessions into DISASTERS. My thought is to play all winning streaks to the hilt, but avoid disaster by simply not allowing big losing streaks to occur at all.

LV Bear

Forget about individual session results/"streaks"

My thought is to play all winning streaks to the hilt, but avoid disaster by simply not allowing big losing streaks to occur at all.

The losing "streak" many continue into your next session and far beyond. Not betting big when you have the advantage is just plain silly. There is no way to recognize a streak before it happens. Concentrate on playing good games well and forget about short-term results. Assuming your skill is adequate and you are playing decent games under good conditions, the long-term results will take care of themselves. If you need to worry about any individual losing streak, you are probably overbetting your bankroll and/or your comfort level.
The losing streak may continue

.... That's just my point! Long continuing losing streaks, where strings of big bets are repeatedly lost, one after the other, session after session, seemingly w/o end. That's the kind of thing that can wipe us out, financially and/or emotionally, no matter how big the bank. So my thought is to prevent that from ever happening. Ever! I'll just never permit the loss of even 2 big bets in a row. In the real world, if you just keep betting big into long losing streaks, while I cut back after every big losing bet and never experience successive big losses, won't I lose less and live to fight another day?


Well-Known Member
Try this situation

You and I are in a hypothetical situation where we are playing the exact same cards against the exact same dealer cards. We have a monster count. We both throw out the same max bet. We lose. You drop to a min bet (or a lower than max bet), I throw out another max bet. We win. You throw another min bet. I throw out another max. We win. Because you have won two in a row, you place a max bet. I place another max bet. We lose. The count is still high, I place a max bet, you place a min bet. We lose. Next hand I place a max and you place a min. We get a blackjack.

Results: (m)=min bet, (M)=max bet
You: (-M)+m+m-M-m+m = Up three min bets, down two max bets. (overall loser)
Me: (-M)+M+M-M-M+M = Even.

I come out ahead. In your attempt to avoid a bad streak, you cost yourself the EV to break even for the session. You will probably think that this situation was specifically cooked up to thwart your idea, and it was. But what the others are stating holds true, by not playing optimally, you are giving up EV. In the long run, this lost EV will cause you to break even or lose.



Well-Known Member
It is mythology but

In my opinion it is one of the main reasons that many folks who learn how to count do not ever become long term winning players.
The so called streaks will happen and sometimes you get your butt kicked and other times they end and before the count goes back down you have more than made up what you lost earlier.

On a personal note, I once lost 10 in a row heads up with a dealer in a nice positive shoe and left once the count went down. Wonged into another shoe at +2 and lost the next 6, so that was 16 positive count hands in a row. Two hours later, at another casino, I play heads up, the shoe goes positive and as it keeps going up, I keep winning. Must have won eight of nine with a couple of BJ's and a split with a double and made almost all of it back in a matter of 5 minutes.

Many people do not have the makeup to continue to keep putting out the proper bet no matter what happened the past one or ten hands. These people are the counters who land up most likely long term losers. Because I think many have this problem, there is merit in this thread.

Yes and No...

Yes, this certainly is mythology. But the original post has a tone of inquiry. So it probably shouldn't be cut.

Barbie, I hope you truly try to digest what everyone is saying. I know you are frustrated because you have had some bad sessions, but what you are proposing is absurd.
Limit session losses instead

By sometimes betting small when the count is high, you are effectively lowering your bet spread and therefore your EV. Instead, try taking a breather after you've lost more than a certain amount of money. Then return fresh and ready to play well.

Sun runner

Well-Known Member
20/20 Vision

> Seriously, how can profit suffer in long-run if you literally guarantee that you never, ever lose 2 big bets in a row?

What if that was all you ever got!?

You BC, the count goes up, you bet big, lose two in a row, and leave. And you do it time after time after time. It happens. Where is the guarantee that you ever hit a short term winning streak? How can you not be sure that your winning streak is about to follow those two lost bets that you bailed on?

A gambler bets big when he has the advantage. Period. And this is gambling, make no mistake.

Having said that, I will admit to owning one Jerry Patterson book and further admit that I do wonder sometimes, late at night, when no one is around, about .. card-clumping.

you missed his point...

Just because you quit playing _now_ because you lost N in a row, does _not_ mean that you won't continue that streak when you start to play at the next stop. Streaks can just as easily continue across multiple sessions as they can extend across multiple hands or multiple days. Or, on those really ugly times, across multiple weeks. I've had that happen. I haven't yet lost for multiple months, but have heard others report such results...

If you believe in "fate" and believe "fate" has it in mind that you lose 10 in a row, then stopping after 3 will not deprive "fate" of her just rewards. When you decide to play again, she is right there to extract the other 7 losses to give you that 10 in a row. I don't believe in such nonsense of course, but that's the idea. You can't stop a streak unless you stop play for all time...


Well-Known Member
Blackjack: A Winner's Handbook

> Having said that, I will admit to owning one Jerry Patterson book...

Actually, his chapter on shuffle tracking is incredible! Unfortunately, the other chapters are complete crap.

> ...I do wonder sometimes, late at night, when no one is around, about ..
> card-clumping.

Card clumping is not the issue, predicting it is the problem. For some reason I doubt that looking for empty ash trays will predict slugs of high cards as Patterson suggests. When all is said and done I'd prefer to WATCH the shuffle, SEE where the cards go, and KNOW where those cards end up after the shuffle. Call me old fashioned but if you want to know where the cards will end up you should be watching them, not the ash trays.

not a violation

although we might only consider BJ that pays 3:2 it is still BJ when paying 6:5. at least it's not roulette or craps. it's even BJ when it pays 1:1. maybe it's unplayable, maybe it's not but the name of the game is the same.

I also disagree with Al re: gaming control. within the past year i have gone to gaming twice to resolve disputes and both times they've resolved the case in my favor and in a reasonable period of time.

truthfully complaining to gaming about 6:5 BJ and what casinos call it is a waste of time. truthfully, i wish there were more 6:5 games. if you don't understand why then you shouldn't ask the question.