Thursday, September 8, 2011

If you think you don't need Target to beat Bodog's baccarat game, why not give it a try? You'll find getting ahead is like swimming in treacle!

(Target's sports betting experiment continues to prosper! For current information, please go to the Sethbets website)

Looks good, right? - A final win equal to more than 16x the maximum permitted bet of $250?

But as will happen once in a blue moon, this was one of those rare baccarat sessions where everything went right when it shouldn't have and nothing went wrong when it should.

Usually, in pretty much any shoe (roughly 80 rounds), you can expect to lose at least a couple more bets than you win, making either flat or random betting a bust - unless you get lucky.

Because I am a sucker for punishment as well as a stickler for accuracy, I decided to take my Bodog baccarat log past the 5,000-round mark, and encountered an overall house edge of 2.13% (109 more losses than wins in 5,123 bets).

In the 341-round session shown above, the actual value (AV) when the dealing was done was +42, meaning that if I had simply bet the table limit every time, I would have come out ahead $10,500 - twice the win that the Target rules delivered!

It happens that in 23 Bodog baccarat sessions, only eight ended with an overall "player advantage" (more bets won than lost), and flat-betting $250 on each hand would have put me in the hole $27,250.

Instead, playing the same set of Target rules as the one posted here a few days ago, I was able to squeak out a final win of $86,000 equal to 8.5% of my total action - but only if Bodog's self-serving $1 to $250 handicap was set aside.

Stuck with the Bodog house limit, Target would have lost the equivalent of 3.13% of its action - hardly a surprise, since the sole purpose of betting caps is to thwart any consistent betting strategy!

I have spent a lot of time on Bodog's table game simulations recently, partly to serve as a warning to anyone tempted to risk real money on them, but also because even manipulated games are likely to be a better test of strategic play than any sample of RNG output.

Mythematicians in the service of the gambling industry love to claim that a random number generator faithfully matches outcomes from an actual game, but of course that can never be true.

In blackjack, for example, naturals and paybacks from successful splits and/or doubledowns can make an enormous difference to the end result of any session.

So while a RNG can be set to provide a fixed equivalent to the negative expectation for a table game, how it gets to that number amounts to a very different set of ups and downs than those that would regularly apply.

The weirdest thing about the Bodog baccarat session at the top of this post (+42 or +12.32%!) is that the very next session (352 rounds) ended with a -42/-11.93% final outcome.

I am always conscious of the fact that this blog supplies way too much information for the casual gambler looking for an easy way to win before setting out for an occasional visit to a casino.

But I also know that casual players with limited resources and less interest in learning the real math of gambling never spend long with me, even if they accidentally enter search terms specific enough to bring them here!

The Bodog baccarat and blackjack sessions both comprised about 5,000 rounds.

And according to all the gambling experts I have ever come across, it is next to impossible that a betting strategy that won against one set of outcomes would also prevail against the other.

Target did better than that.

Each analysis tracked flat bets, Target bets restricted by Bodog's "house rules" ($1 to $250 for baccarat, $1 to $500 for blackjack), then two versions of the Target rules played as if actual Nevada table limits were in place.

I have explained many times that Target's success relies almost entirely on responding to a mid-recovery win with a boosted bet that is limited to 10x the value of the previous bet, but will ideally be large enough to recover prior losses for the current series plus a modest profit.

So a "no frills" series starting with a $10 minimum and a $25 win target might look like this: -$10, -$10, -$10, -$10, -$10, +$10, +$65 (AV -3/7 = -43%, Result +$25/$125 = +20%).

For years, I have advocated the addition of Target rules that pump or boost the bet after losses AND wins under specific circumstances, primarily because they help disguise the fact that a progressive strategy is in play, but also because they increase long-term profits.

The objective is always to recover losses in fewer bets than it took to get into trouble, so the example above qualifies: 2 wins averaging $38 after 5 losses averaging $10.

What we're about is winning more when we win than we lose when we lose, so that losing more often than we win won't cost us money. (You may have heard that before).

Here's TMI from the Bodog baccarat sessions, followed by data from the blackjack sessions:

As I said, these numbers posit a "no bells and whistles" version of Target, with the next bet (NB) value frozen after a loss, and only the NB=MIN(PBx10,LTD+25) rule applied.

When the recommended rules set is put back in play, the final outcomes (from two very different data samples, remember!) look like this:

My message to readers has always been that there is no need to lose in the long run against casino games of chance, despite what the "experts" insist.

Will your results always look exactly like those posted above? Of course not. But every time you tackle a casino game with a relatively low house edge (blackjack's 1.0% or baccarat's 1.4%, for example) with the right combination of confidence and cash, you can expect to walk away a long-term winner.

I'll say again, the results you see here are impossible according to any number of self-described experts who (they claim) want you to know that no casino game of chance is beatable in the long run because they have your best interests at heart.

Their explanation for results like these is always double-edged: either I cheated, or, if I didn't cheat, the data are "anecdotal" and irrelevant because they can never be repeated.

Ideally, I'd like at least 10,000 people to use the posted Target rules to tackle freebie games like Bodog's, keep meticulous logs like mine, then send me their data for analysis.

But then I'd need 24/7/365 to key all that information into spreadsheets and - yet again - prove the "experts" wrong, and I think I have done that already.

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. One more piece of friendly advice: If you are inclined to use target betting with real money against online "casinos" such as Bodog, spend a few minutes and save a lot of money by reading this._