Thursday, November 17, 2011

Forget "exit strategy" and its Bush-wars connotation: My new rules modification is a "flight plan" and, by golly, it really works!

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Continuing yesterday's topic about mathematical corroboration of the wisdom of running away from a persistent downturn, I am happy to report that new (to me) data supplied by the Wizard of Bodog backs the idea almost 100%.

Because I'm more of a blackjack person than a baccarat fan, although I play the Royal Fool's Game more often than I do roulette or craps, I didn't find out until yesterday that the Wiz's shoemaker simulator has cobbled together an additional 1,000 shoes for our delectation and delight.

The first lot were from an 8-deck simulation which supported Target's viability with or without the application of the "five behind" rule.

(For first-timers here, "five behind" refers to my suggestion that you should walk away from a shoe or session if the house gets five bets ahead of you - which does not necessarily mean an automatic bail-out after five losses in a row!)

The new baccarat data from the WoB is for six-deck shoes, which suits me just fine, even if it does mean shorter games (about 69,000 rounds in 1,000 shoes vs. almost 84,000 in the first data set).

The die-hard baccarat aficionados over at BF obsess about cuts and burns and penetration and other factors which in my experience have zero long-term effect on the odds.

My view is that if I were to take all the verifiable data from the Zumma sets (1,600 shoes) and the WoB sims (now 2,000 shoes) and process them through a Target template horizontally instead of vertically, or even diagonally, it would make little or no difference to the long-term success of the progressive strategy.

But we have to accept that all casino games are just variations of a process that's set up to part us from our money while convincing us that we have at least some chance of going home with more cash than we brought with us.

Some people prefer tomato soup, some like chicken noodle and others hanker after beef broth, but basically the different flavors are all just soup, hot and wet and tricked out to make us happy.

My (newly-named) Flight Plan modification is more of a recommendation than a new Target rule, and has less to do with damage control than damage evasion.

Against the 8-deck Wizard of Bodog data set, flight at five behind cut the overall house edge (defined in baccarat as Player's disadvantage vs. Banker) from 1.31% to 0.19%.

In two large blocks of shoes, it actually wiped out the house edge entirely and replaced it with a "player's edge."


In the 6-deck WoB data set I found yesterday (although it's probably been out there for years!) the skip algorithm cut the overall house edge from 1.07% to 0.03%.

If applied to actual play, the plan would be that once the house got five bets ahead in any one shoe, you'd stop betting and either go off and find another table to resume play at the cut-off level, or lean back and take a nap until the next shuffle.

Baccarat simulations (or large data sets comprising actual shoes) are uniquely suited to exploring the effectiveness of the "skip" approach because there's a verifiable beginning and end to each game.

No one is allowed to log blackjack rounds between shuffles, pai-gow poker is such a rip-off that it's not worth looking at from any angle, and games such as roulette and craps that are wholly numbers-based are continuous, and so offer no natural breaks.

The two Zumma sets (600 and 1,000) also supported the viability of the skip concept, with house edge reductions from 1.36% to 0.55% in the Z600 and from 1.45% to 0.37% in the Z1000.

All of this in spite of the fact that the conventional wisdom states unequivocally that whatever you try to do to escape the house edge must in the long run prove fruitless.

The idea, endorsed by experts, is that you will jump from the frying pan into the fire as often as you manage to postpone the inevitable by running away.

And, worse yet, you are sure to miss as many winning opportunities as losing ones by refusing to man up and take your medicine, sucker.

Hogwash, of course - but hogwash is about all you get to hear or read when it comes to gambling!

Here's the Zumma summary again:


Charts, of course, are the most dramatic way of illustrating the benefits of taking a hike instead of sticking it out through a downturn, and I'll be posting a bunch of them on the Sethbets site as soon as I can.

In the meantime, here's just one example, from the "new" WoB data set:


Not all the WoB-based charts are as dramatic as the one above, but in not one case in all of the Zumma and WoB blocks was flight shown to be a worse idea than sticking around for a beating.

I get a particular kick out of the feedback from the Wizard of Bodog data, because Mike Shackleford (aka Shillford) is a casino man through and through and would no doubt do all he could to find a fatal flaw in my arithmetic if promoting online gambling didn't occupy all his time.

There is, of course, nothing I can say to people who claim without even looking at my data that I am fiddling or fudging my numbers to support a baseless argument.

Most of those skeptics can barely string a comprehensible English sentence together, never mind manage an open-minded evaluation of someone else's ideas - that's a lesson I learned from my highly instructive month on Baccarat Forums!

I have been saying for years that a Target player should never stick around for a thrashing when a prolonged downturn threatens his bankroll, or hesitate to suspend play for any other reason that might take his fancy.

I always knew that was good advice. Now I have proof!

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._