Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just as I'm closing in on $700,000 my 1T21 bankroll takes a hit. Twice! Aug 31 is no longer a viable target, but we'll get to $1m eventually!


I know pretty much where I went wrong, but excuses won't save the day...only getting back on track and playing on will do that!

I let myself get caught in two traps that I have been warning students of target betting about for years: greed and complacency.

I guess I could blame the double-whammy losses on the forced narrowing in the spread from 1 to 5,000 to 1 to 1,000 but in all fairness I don't think that was the problem here.

As if a win equal to about $10,000 an hour was not enough, I decided to experiment to see if I could goose the win rate still further.

That's a definite no-no, and I promise to behave in future...

Here's what happened.

Pushes at blackjack and ties at baccarat are a time-wasting pain in the ass, and I have always responded to them by doubling NB to a maximum added value of $100, meaning that a $100 bet becomes $200 after a push, and a $200 bet bumps up to $300.

It is an arbitrary or random way to boost profits without significantly adding to exposure, and I have been happy with it for as long as I can remember.

Lately, I have been fooling around with variable responses to pushes, redoubling NB or adding an extra $100 if the pushed hand was worth 19 or better.

I have also been doubling PB if the hand total was 21, even if the increase in the bet value was considerably more than $100.

Worse, I experimented with PBx2 in response to a dealer natural, with no limit on the increase.

An embarrassing downside of blogging is that posts go up in real time, more or less, and while it is possible to delete old articles to save face, doing so defeats the whole purpose of a project like this.

It's like cheating at golf: No one wins.

I talked myself into this departure from long-established target betting rules because my models do not factor in hand values, and for years I have wondered about the potential effect of more aggressive push/tie tactics.

I made the assumption that if a cautious push response benefits the bottom line (and believe me, it does), then a more assertive approach would likely do better still.

Bad idea!

With 1T21, I have also departed from standard TB rules by abandoning a losing series whenever the loss-to-win tally hit -20, a modification that has never been tested against the complete data set.

The holy grail of any betting strategy is to find a firm footing on the tightrope between maximizing wins and minimizing exposure.

The math demonstrates over and over again that if you cap losses, you will almost certainly trim profits so drastically that negative expectation for the game will prevail.

And that's not good!

I can, and have, applied the -20 "Uncle!" concept to my growing real-time blackjack data set, and can tell you that while the overall win value was cut in half, so was total action, meaning that the effect on the final AV was negligible.

Meanwhile, exposure was reduced by more than 90%.

Trouble is, the total blackjack data set consists of fewer than 90,000 rounds.

That's a lifetime of play for most punters, but not a large enough sample to prove anything other than potential.

When I can, I'll add the Uncle rule to my much larger baccarat sample.

But for now, my top priority is getting 1T21 back on the yellow-brick road to a million bucks!

In the first brief session after the second abandoned series, I scored almost $7,000 in a half hour's play.

Encouraging but, as always, proof of nothing...

Update at 1:10pm Wednesday:

It took me just over 11 minutes to add another $5,000 to the fantasy BR, and scaling back the rules to match tactics that have been in place forever dramatically reduced exposure.

The freebie 1T21 app no longer permits hits to split aces, but a two-card 21 is still indicated on screen as Blackjack and I have not yet been quick enough with pencil and paper to see if the bet pays 3:2 instead of even money.

The house edge at MobilityWare's single-deck game has held fairly steady at around 3.0% and that indicates additional problems with the application. After more than 15,000 rounds, we should be seeing something much closer to 1.0% since I have always been a stickler for basic strategy play.

Pushes remain at 8%, which is low (9% would match expectation) and time is wasted by the fact that the largest chip in play is $100. Given a table limit of $5,000, big fat $500 and $1,000 chips are called for!

The 1T21 game does not permit re-splits, but the effect of that is negligible.

The penetration level of just 75% is probably a more significant factor, but would not account for a house edge that is three times standard expectation for a single-deck game with Las Vegas rules applied.

One day, I might go wild and upgrade to the paid (gasp!) version of the app.

Meanwhile, I am quite enjoying the ads, which don't slow down the rate of play enough to be a nuisance and are far less intrusive when WiFi is out of range!

An important reminder: The only person likely to make money out of this blog is you, Dear Reader. There's nothing to buy, ever, and your soul is safe (from me, at least). Test my ideas and use them or don't. It's up to you.