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Betting flat or progressive, pros and cons?
02-17-2009, 05:20 AM
Post: #1
Betting flat or progressive, pros and cons?
OK, first let me tell you all that I am aware that any betting "system" is basically useless over the long term. But what about the shorter term? Cna you make enough to "win" your dinner more often?

Here is where I am going. I like the "blackjack machines" as a way to roll up some comps and win a few bucks. Counting cards is useless on them as they shuffle new each hand. But what if the random number generator is not totally random and you get "streaks?"

I bet one unit on the first bet and increase by one if I win and go back to one if I lose. So if you win five in a row you get 1+2+3+4+5=15 units but if you lose five in a row you lose 5 and 5 only. (Excepting for doubledowns and splits on both)

I have used this with basic strategy and seem to win about 4/7 sessions. I cash out at double or half my starting position.

Any thoughts on if this is mathematically better than flat-betting? Assume basic strategy play allowing splits/double/late surrender.
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02-17-2009, 10:15 AM
Post: #2
RE: Betting flat or progressive, pros and cons?
On average for every blackjack hand you can expect to win 43.2%, lose 47.8%, and push 8.9%. If you eliminate the ties, then the probability of winning any hand is 47.5% playing Basic Strategy. It's for a streak of one win in a row.

Chances that the current hand will turn into a winning „streak“ are:

Streak--------Odds
2 ------------- 1 : 3 (0.475 to the power of 2 = 22.28%)
3 ------------- 1 : 8
4 ------ -------1 : 18
5 --------------1 : 38 (0.475 to the power of 5 = 2.42%)
6 ------------- 1 : 81
7 ------------- 1 : 168
8 ------------- 1 : 356
9 ------------- 1 : 713
10 ------------1 : 1666
11 ------------ 1 : 3332
12 ------------ 1 : 9999

So if you're chasing a 5 hand winning streak, chances are pretty slim, only 2.42% or 1:38. So, statistically, if I'm right, on average, 38 hands you don't get the streak. The 39th time the streak of 5 winning hands in a row comes. Totally 43 hands played. 15 units won- 38x1unit lost = -23 units.
And when flat betting, you would be close to broke even. 43 hands x 1 unit = 43 units invested. You're winning 47.5% of hands played , so that's 20.425 hands won x 2 units = 40.85. 43 invested – 40.85 won = -2.15 units.

But if you've won 4/7 session then you should have positive balance, which brings me to this conclusion; either you have been very lucky or my calculations are wrong. Huh Hmm... interesting. Are you chasing a 5 hand winning streak? Your progression is +1 unit?

"Depend on the rabbit's foot if you will, but remember it didn't work for the rabbit." - R. E. Shay
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02-18-2009, 01:36 AM
Post: #3
RE: Betting flat or progressive, pros and cons?
As I've read, over time progressions lose money at the rate of the house edge if you play perfect basic strategy. The fluctuations in your bankroll will be larger compared to flat betting.

But if progressions seem to work for you now, use them. Just be prepared for the probability that eventually, you are going to take a big hit and hopefully, in sessions prior to the big loss, you will have won enough so that it doesn't hurt as bad.
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02-21-2009, 10:59 PM
Post: #4
RE: Betting flat or progressive, pros and cons?
(02-17-2009 05:20 AM)Guest Wrote:  But what if the random number generator is not totally random and you get "streaks?"

If it's random, it doesn't mean you don't get streaks. Wink
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02-27-2009, 11:21 AM
Post: #5
RE: Betting flat or progressive, pros and cons?
Yes, my progression is +1 unit on a win. As to "taking a large hit" my thought is that a progressive system will limit that in the following way. You start with 50 units. Say you win right off. By the time you reach 10 unity (limit on most machines) you have won 9+8+7+6+5+4+3+2+1=45 units! Then yu bet 10 and lose. You are still up 35 units. If you start by losing 10 units and fall to 40, then start winning it takes 4 wins. 4+3+2+1. But by the time you get to 4 you are back to even with your buy-in.

Now, splitting really affects this if you are at a high unit level. But that should even out, almost.

Again, I know that all systems are worthless, but this seems to give me a fair number of wins and put enough action in the machine to roll up a free meal comp every now and then.

Have I found a way to be ground down much slower yet get a few bigger winning sessions? Or better yet, is this a better way to disguise counting? If I am progressive betting the pit boss will not see a wild swing when the count goes good, at least not as easy to spot?
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02-28-2009, 01:09 PM
Post: #6
RE: Betting flat or progressive, pros and cons?
Hmmm, will have to test it myself on video blackjack.
I think the main advantage of your progression play is in fact the small progression increment, because most of progression systems have a more aggressive progression and therefore blow away their starting bank quicker.
You didn't answer me, how big streak are you chasing? (5 consecutive wins?)

Maybe card counting+progression betting would be a good combination? Any thoughts?

"Depend on the rabbit's foot if you will, but remember it didn't work for the rabbit." - R. E. Shay
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03-03-2009, 08:13 AM (This post was last modified: 03-03-2009 08:14 AM by PanamaRick.)
Post: #7
RE: Betting flat or progressive, pros and cons?
(02-28-2009 01:09 PM)KillJoy Wrote:  Hmmm, will have to test it myself on video blackjack.
I think the main advantage of your progression play is in fact the small progression increment, because most of progression systems have a more aggressive progression and therefore blow away their starting bank quicker.
You didn't answer me, how big streak are you chasing? (5 consecutive wins?)

Maybe card counting+progression betting would be a good combination? Any thoughts?

First, let me introduce myself.

I am a card counter, known around the blackjack circles as the one who figured out how to beat the Lucky Ladies sidebet. I freely give gambling advice, which I strive to be mathematically accurate.

Progressions are appealing because of their relative simplicity. All you have to do is alter your bets based on previous result. However, from a mathematical standpoint, they are useless. Proof: Suppose the house advantage is a. Suppose your progression has a series of bets, b1, b2, b3, ..., bn. By definition expected value is (-a)(b1)+(-a)(b2)+(-a)(b3)+...+(-a)(bn) = (-a)(b1+b2+b3+...+bn). So regardless of what your bets are, your expected value is always negative, equal to minus the house advantage multiplied by your total bets.

If one could gain an advantage using a simple system such as progressions, casinos would go out of business.

So, you ask, what about if you have the advantage, such as with card counting? Would adding progressions enhance that advantage. The short answer is no. As shown in my proof, progressions do not alter the advantage.

For card counters, there is an addition problem. Let me introduce the concept of optimal betting. If you have an advantage, there is an optimal amount to bet which will maximize your bankroll growth over the long run. If you bet an amount dictated by an arbitrary progression, you are not making an optimal bet. The result is that you may at times be overbetting your bankroll, and at other times, underbetting it.
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03-03-2009, 08:52 AM
Post: #8
RE: Betting flat or progressive, pros and cons?
(02-28-2009 01:09 PM)KillJoy Wrote:  Hmmm, will have to test it myself on video blackjack.
I think the main advantage of your progression play is in fact the small progression increment, because most of progression systems have a more aggressive progression and therefore blow away their starting bank quicker.
You didn't answer me, how big streak are you chasing? (5 consecutive wins?)

Maybe card counting+progression betting would be a good combination? Any thoughts?


Sorry, thought I had said I usually go up to 10 units and quit when I double my buyin.
(03-03-2009 08:13 AM)PanamaRick Wrote:  
(02-28-2009 01:09 PM)KillJoy Wrote:  Hmmm, will have to test it myself on video blackjack.
I think the main advantage of your progression play is in fact the small progression increment, because most of progression systems have a more aggressive progression and therefore blow away their starting bank quicker.
You didn't answer me, how big streak are you chasing? (5 consecutive wins?)

Maybe card counting+progression betting would be a good combination? Any thoughts?

First, let me introduce myself.

I am a card counter, known around the blackjack circles as the one who figured out how to beat the Lucky Ladies sidebet. I freely give gambling advice, which I strive to be mathematically accurate.

Progressions are appealing because of their relative simplicity. All you have to do is alter your bets based on previous result. However, from a mathematical standpoint, they are useless. Proof: Suppose the house advantage is a. Suppose your progression has a series of bets, b1, b2, b3, ..., bn. By definition expected value is (-a)(b1)+(-a)(b2)+(-a)(b3)+...+(-a)(bn) = (-a)(b1+b2+b3+...+bn). So regardless of what your bets are, your expected value is always negative, equal to minus the house advantage multiplied by your total bets.

If one could gain an advantage using a simple system such as progressions, casinos would go out of business.

So, you ask, what about if you have the advantage, such as with card counting? Would adding progressions enhance that advantage. The short answer is no. As shown in my proof, progressions do not alter the advantage.

For card counters, there is an addition problem. Let me introduce the concept of optimal betting. If you have an advantage, there is an optimal amount to bet which will maximize your bankroll growth over the long run. If you bet an amount dictated by an arbitrary progression, you are not making an optimal bet. The result is that you may at times be overbetting your bankroll, and at other times, underbetting it.

How do you beat the "lucky ladies?" I think I saw that one at Slots-A-Fun.
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03-03-2009, 09:01 AM
Post: #9
RE: Betting flat or progressive, pros and cons?
(03-03-2009 08:52 AM)Guest Wrote:  How do you beat the "lucky ladies?" I think I saw that one at Slots-A-Fun.

It depends on the Lucky Ladies payout. Using the original payout, if you are card counting, the bet because advantageous when the HiLo true count reaches 6.5.
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03-03-2009, 11:53 PM
Post: #10
RE: Betting flat or progressive, pros and cons?
(03-03-2009 08:13 AM)PanamaRick Wrote:  
(02-28-2009 01:09 PM)KillJoy Wrote:  Hmmm, will have to test it myself on video blackjack.
I think the main advantage of your progression play is in fact the small progression increment, because most of progression systems have a more aggressive progression and therefore blow away their starting bank quicker.
You didn't answer me, how big streak are you chasing? (5 consecutive wins?)

Maybe card counting+progression betting would be a good combination? Any thoughts?

First, let me introduce myself.

I am a card counter, known around the blackjack circles as the one who figured out how to beat the Lucky Ladies sidebet. I freely give gambling advice, which I strive to be mathematically accurate.

Progressions are appealing because of their relative simplicity. All you have to do is alter your bets based on previous result. However, from a mathematical standpoint, they are useless. Proof: Suppose the house advantage is a. Suppose your progression has a series of bets, b1, b2, b3, ..., bn. By definition expected value is (-a)(b1)+(-a)(b2)+(-a)(b3)+...+(-a)(bn) = (-a)(b1+b2+b3+...+bn). So regardless of what your bets are, your expected value is always negative, equal to minus the house advantage multiplied by your total bets.

If one could gain an advantage using a simple system such as progressions, casinos would go out of business.

So, you ask, what about if you have the advantage, such as with card counting? Would adding progressions enhance that advantage. The short answer is no. As shown in my proof, progressions do not alter the advantage.

Thanks for elaborating this. It's good to have an expert on board. So are you a professional BJ player? Or you have a day job? Smile

(03-03-2009 08:13 AM)PanamaRick Wrote:  For card counters, there is an addition problem. Let me introduce the concept of optimal betting. If you have an advantage, there is an optimal amount to bet which will maximize your bankroll growth over the long run. If you bet an amount dictated by an arbitrary progression, you are not making an optimal bet. The result is that you may at times be overbetting your bankroll, and at other times, underbetting it.

This is a concept similar to value betting in Poker.

"Depend on the rabbit's foot if you will, but remember it didn't work for the rabbit." - R. E. Shay
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