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Advantage Play, Does it Really Matter?

Discussion in 'Casino Gaming' started by Ben Jammin, Apr 10, 2014.

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  1. Ben Jammin

    Ben Jammin VIP Whale

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    Either you're lucky or your not.

    Now it helps to know how to play the game, with correct basic strategy, and know which games have a lower house edge, and perhaps a higher frequency of winning.

    An Advantage Player looks at the long term probabilities of perfect play, (or as close as is humanly possible) accounting for the variance (peaks and valleys).

    But a short term player might be more cavalier with their bank roll, make larger and riskier bets, press it up, and even play hunches and win a bundle.

    Skill is important, but Lady Luck also has a hand in this deal.

    My point? Well, if you're having a bad day at the tables, don't worry, your luck will change. And if you're on a hot streak....Quit while you're ahead!

    .
     
  2. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    For any given blackjack session, playing properly and increasing your bet on positive counts can fail to produce a win.
    But in the longer run of things, over many sessions, it will produce greater wins (or fewer losses) than not doing so.

    It's also very important to establish stop-points/protect-points when you're winning.
    For example, you might set a protect point at +$100 when you are up $130...and have a stop point set at $100 or $50 increments after that.
    So, if you turn your $130 into exactly $150 or $200, you've decided ahead of time to end that session.
    If you have $165 or $225, then $150 or $200 become your new 'protect-point', and you continue on.

    I have found that playing blackjack this way has consistently led to having more winning sessions than losing ones. They're not "huge" wins, mind you, but add them all up? Yeah - it's kind of nice.
     
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  3. Dentastic

    Dentastic Tourist

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    Like the old saying: "I'd rather be lucky than be good".
     
  4. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    Sit down at a quarter 9/6 Double Bonus at the Orleans, the ones that used to be 10/7. Bring a pad of paper and a pencil. Every time you hit a flush or a full house put a slash on the paper to keep track.

    //// and so on.

    Just play for a few hours.
    Whether you are lucky or not, when you quit, multiply the total number of slashes by $1.25. Whether you won or lost, even if you hit three royals, the total amount of slash mark money is what you tipped the casino for the privilege to play. Compared to what you would have gotten a few years ago on that same machine, they have short paid you that much money and luck had nothing to do with it. Sometimes the casino is lucky and sometimes they are not, but if they can get you to tip them like this, they make money.

    And notice that there is no long term necessary to see this difference.
    Generally, had you not tipped the casino that amount of money over a few hours of play, you would have enough for a nice steak dinner.

    Think of full pay machines this way. A few hours of play earns you a steak dinner, whether you win or lose. Think of it as a built in comp.

    Now, if you play the 10/7 at the back of the Four Queens, another comp will also come when you hit a royal. I guess I have hit three in the last ten years there. Because of the progressive (not paid for by the paytable, but an extra) I probably won over an extra $300. That was a bit long term, but playing that machine and getting lucky almost pays my entire airfare for one trip. Another built in comp.
    And even the long term statistic is not millions of hands.

    You have no control over being lucky or not. But playing a full pay table will make a difference in dollars and sense whether you win or lose, whether you are lucky or not. You will have perhaps a steak dinner for free or a round trip ticket for free, but you will have something.

    When I go to the grocery store, I use my SW credit card and that pays most of my airfares to Vegas.
    Whether I am lucky and get a sale at the store, or unlucky and overpay, the comped air points are built in. Whether I buy a good piece of fish or one that has gone by, the comp points come regardless, and over the short time of a year the credit card has built into my "play" at buying groceries, my free air fare for Vegas.
    Those who pay with cash subsidize me, just as those who play the poor pay tables in Vegas subsidize me with fountains, and castles, and free music. Some are lucky and some are not, but they all subsidize me by giving those extra tips to the casino.
    As old Gherig used to say, "Somebody has to pay the light bill."
    The advantaged players pay less of the bill.
     
  5. merlin

    merlin VIP Whale

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    In the short run luck can and will determine what happens, but that in no way means you should do stupid things(like split tens) because you dont know ahead of time what will happen.
    In the long run, and many hours of play over several days is closer to the long run than the short run, bad play will cost you big money.

    I see people all the time come to a table , lose, and then talk about how they "just cant win", and I'll think " well, the cards were there for you, you just blew it".
     
  6. cf84

    cf84 Tourist

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    Agree completely. If you are someone who plays even a few hours, it's best to maximize your return. The more hours you play in a year, the more important it becomes to play the best games. Math does work!

    Play a 99.5% game with .25 in points and then throw in free rooms, food and usually at least $100 in free play and that equals FREE vacations.
     
  7. Blacklegs22

    Blacklegs22 Low-Roller

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    I agree with the general assumption stated above that "game selection" and "advantage play" is a wise course of action for any frequent gambler....but for me, it's primary function is "defensive", in the form of bankroll protection, chasing comps, etc.

    But lets get real, there are only two ways of achieving wealth when playing a negative expectation game...get very, very lucky, or own the game (casino)...
     
  8. WrongWayWade

    WrongWayWade VIP Whale

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    It's fun to stop when you're ahead and think you've done something like 'protected your profits', but it's all illusion. As long as you are going to gamble again, sometime, ANYTIME, you can't protect anything. That money will be at risk again. All you're doing is interrupting one life-long gambling session at some random points. The points at which you interrupt it, whether that session shows a win or a loss is irrelevant and can have no impact on your long term result.

    If you go to Vegas for 5 days with a goal of winning $1000, and get ahead $1000 on the first day then, yes, stopping after the first day and eating buffets for the next 4 will lock in that goal. But that's just a short-term goal reached. There's no other reason to stop gambling other than this artificial goal.

    You can't alter (expected_loss = house_edge * amount_wagered) by ending a gambling session, only to start again later.

    If you're actually playing at an advantage, you should never want to stop when you're ahead because you still have the advantage. You'd only stop because you're tired, bored, need a change of scenery, need to avoid heat or need to eat dinner. The exact amount of money in front of you should never be a factor.

    Every time I hear "money management is the key" I roll my eyes a bit. If people say it to mean "here is a way to stretch your gambling budget over your whole vacation", then yes, I'm all for it. If they mean "you can win more and lose less by managing your wins/losses/sessions using stop loss, stop wins or other triggers or targets", then that's just voodoo math.
     
  9. AnabelleT

    AnabelleT Tourist

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    I guess it's human nature to think you can beat the game, whatever the game is. I'm fairly new to gambling (a few months) and I still think I can do it somehow playing Baccarat (my favorite) with an intuitive edge, Pai Gow Poker by studying it hard, and different betting strategies and gambling budget controls.

    I tend to stop when I'm winning a fair amount and for a while I was up, but I agree, if I'm going to come back another day to play again, then I'm risking it all again, right? What's the advantage?

    I've mentioned this here before, but I absolutely LOVE going to the casino! I LOVE the excitement and high I experience while there and while playing games like Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, and even Three Card Poker sometimes. I am so hooked it's crazy! But even so, I remain in control of my budget, and in the end (even though I've been losing more because I've been betting higher) having control over your gambling budget is probably the only "advantage" if you choose to continue to gamble.
     
  10. grosx2

    grosx2 VIP Whale

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    Anabelle, since you've only been gambling a few months, I'm curious as to what you did on your 11 trips to Vegas?
     
  11. AnabelleT

    AnabelleT Tourist

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    Hi, not sure what this has to do with the discussion about advantage play but I've been to Vegas 11 times for different reasons. As a new gambler playing tables games like Baccarat, I've been to Vegas once, just a few weeks ago at the Rio. Other times I went to Vegas I played slots, the only gambling game I used to play until a few months ago.

    I'e been to Vegas with my dad who lives in LA, with my ex boyfriend who is a part time poker pro, a couple of dance conventions, etc.

    Should I change my "trips to vegas" count? Does it only count if I went for the purpose of gambling?
     
  12. flamingogo

    flamingogo Tourist

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    Exactly. It's purely a psychological thing.
     
  13. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    Hmmm...I understand the math...I understand what you're saying about long-term play being no different than session play (in the long run).
    But the reality has been, (for me, anyway), that when I'm keeping a reasonably good count, spreading my bets based on that count, and locking in session wins, I have far more session wins than session losses.
    No, they're not huge - but I have a lot of them.
    I'm not sure that I buy the notion that, eventually, I'll have an equal number of losing sessions.
    This goes to the basic advantage of counting in the first place.
    If I lose less on losing sessions than I win on winning sessions, the house will still win its 52% of my bets...and I'll still win 48% of my bets.
    If my wins are, on average, larger than my losses, then I don't see how having a stop-loss or win-protection point hurts me (unless I stop on a positive count or continue on a negative one.)

    Breaks really are an important part of my trip-play strategy...I cannot play continuously for 16 hours a day - although, there have been times when I've come close! The breaks help clear the mind...allow for more comfortable social interaction, and make the trip generally more enjoyable.

    Compared to most folks here, I probably gamble a lot more than most - typically from 7am to midnight each day, with breaks during that time-span.

    From my point of view, the breaks are inevitable - so why not take them when I have secured a session win?
    How is that foolish or even any kind of self-deception?
     
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  14. Rush

    Rush High-Roller

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    Nope! Keep on keepin' on!
     
  15. flamingogo

    flamingogo Tourist

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    When you're counting, you have the advantage; the 'hurt' from walking away when you're winning just to lock in a win is that you're not playing as long as you could be. Every hour you put in when you have an advantage translates into $ (in the long run), depending on many factors of course. If you're at a good game, it doesn't matter much if you win/lose; the goal is to play it as long as possible (without exposing yourself obviously). You should be looking at the hours you put in, rather than the win/loss. The math will catch up with you, regardless of how long or short each session is. As long as you plan on playing again, all your play might as well be considered one long session.

    If you're going to take a break anyways, then I can understand why some would rather finish on a winning note. I'm like that too sometimes, but the danger in that is risking exposure from staying too long.

    I'm sure Wade can (re)explain it better than I can.
     
  16. MikeOPensacola

    MikeOPensacola VIP Whale

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    For an advantage player, i.e. card counter, one fact that is often overlooked is the very large bankroll one needs to overcome the variance. Think about it in reverse: We've all had some pretty good short term wins in games where the casino has the advantage. The casinos can handle this because they're playing 24/7 with a house edge and an essentially endless bankroll.

    An advantage player could play 24/7, theoretically, but without the proper bankroll the variance will knock him out of the box sooner or later.

    I have had a lot of miserable sessions where the count was in my favor and still ended up losing. It happens. A deep bankroll will help the advantage player bridge these gaps.

    I suspect that there have been many promising card counters that never really made it because their bankroll wasn't sufficient enough.

    As to money management, of course it matters. Just because someone is an advantage player does not mean that they will be a long term winner if they don't manage their bankroll correctly. Plenty of card counters have been wiped out because they did not employ discipline at the tables.

    :peace: :beer:
     
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  17. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    One type of "Advantage Player" adds up the value of all comps, rewards, free slot glasses, etc, and playing perfect strategy at whatever game he's playing and if it's over 100%, he's an advantage player. As long as he has the bankroll to ride out variance, he'll end up ahead in raw value terms, even if it's not enough to make what anybody would consider a living.

    The other type is a card counter, or someone who's discovered a flaw in some game that the house hasn't found yet.
     
  18. vsop

    vsop Low-Roller

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    advantage or luck

    ding...ding...ding....we have a winner....you sir, have a clue....how long does a player have to stay at a table before there is a theoretical advantage?....And how long will that advantage last?...Does this guarantee a win?....If you have the deep pockets to rival the casino, then let the math dictate your play....I'm not that into theoretical....hence, the stop loss/guarantee win appeals to me....there's nothing theoretical about walking away with $$$ from the casino....Oh, I get that gambling is an ongoing "session", but I'd rather have my future bankrolls be comprised of $$$ from the casino, as opposed to $$$ from my play account....:peace:
     
  19. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    ...one more thing to keep in mind: Each blackjack session is still an independent event. Just because you won the last 12 sessions does not mean that you are destined to lose the next 12, or that "fate" or "odds" somehow "owe you" 12 extra losses at some point in the future.

    For that matter each table you sit down at, or each new shuffle - those are independent events as well.
    A house advantage in a game is realized through the playing of millions of hands, at multiple tables, with countless 'independent events'.

    5 losses in a row at a table does not mean that wins "are due", (unless you're playing the same deck and the count was very negative when you had the 5 losses, and has now become very positive). The reverse is true as well. 5 wins in a row does not mean that losses are "due".

    In roulette, red and black will, eventually, each come up about 47.4% of the time with 0/00 making up the last 5.2%. But in any given finite period of time, the numbers may not come out that way.

    The same will hold true with blackjack outcomes, in terms of the number of hands won by the house versus the number of hands won by a player.
    The rules and parameters of the game determine this. There is no way to beat this in the long run, and there is no way to predict variances to this in the short term.
    What can be predicted (in blackjack) is when you are more likely to win and when you are more likely to lose. If one adjsts their bets accordingly, one will still lose more hands than they will win. This is where the "one lifelong blackjack session" concept is absolutely true. And yet, one can still easily win more money than they lose because they bet more money on the winning hands and less money on the losing hands.
    This can be true for "lifelong" as well as for "session" or "trip" play.
     
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  20. WrongWayWade

    WrongWayWade VIP Whale

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    Everything you said about 'sessions' is true, but we're not trying to win 'sessions', we're trying to win money. Rearranging the size and shape of your sessions just doesn't change your ability to win money. The notion that managing your sessions with stop-loss, stop-win, cutoffs, playing with the house's money, etc., will help you win more money is just voodoo math.

    If somebody came up to you and said, "I'll give you $50 extra dollars for every time you end a session a winner", then you'd have something. But there IS no bonus for walking away a winner or raking up a number of winning sessions. There certainly can be a psychological one, but not a financial one.
     
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