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Blackjack Education of a young card counter

Discussion in 'Blackjack Forum' started by KewlJ, Jul 9, 2016.

  1. KewlJ

    KewlJ Active Member

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    So I want to share a recent experience of a young professional card counter, still very early in the learning process of what it takes to be a professional card counter. I think and hope some young players (and maybe some others will find this useful). This young card counter is my brother, who moved to Vegas 2 years ago after graduating college.

    So last year his first year of full-time play, I set my brother up with a small 5 figure BR and set him off playing very low stakes, $10 games spreading 1-8, while he began to gain some experience and learn about what is and isn't tolerated. You can't make any real money at this level of play....maybe 10k EV if you play enough. And that is just about what my brother experienced, EV and actual earnings of just about 10k. Unfortunately he spent about 12K. He made the fatal money management mistake of over-spending during times he was going real strong. So at the end of year his starting 10k BR had dwindled to 8k, even though he earned close to expectation. It was a lesson learned situation.

    So moving forward, at the start of this year, We re-set his game plan to playing a little higher stakes, green to light black. This is a little less than the green to mid-black stakes that I play and have played for half dozen years now. Basically the only difference is his top wager, is about half of mine. I did this so he would avoid drawing a lot of attention and heat while he eased into a slightly higher level of play and making a little more money. We estimated his EV for the year would be somewhere in the 30-40k range depending on just how much he played.

    So he gets out of the gate strong and has an amazing first half of the year, running better than 3 times expectation, with actual earnings of better than 60k vs expectation of about 20k. He is on cloud nine and has visions of buying a condo just off strip or downtown. I am trying to advise him to be cautious, that his first 6 months of 2016 was way above expectation and things would 'adjust'. I was not wishing a negative or losing period, but things just had to adjust one way or another. You just don't continually win at 3 times expectation.

    Learning how to deal with these not so great periods, whether losing periods or just stagnant periods where you are putting in the time but not winning much is one of the most important lessons of a professional player. It's easy to play when you are winning...a little harder when things aren't going your way. You have to learn and have the mentality to handle this.

    So....only 8 days into the second half of the year, and things have swung bad for my brother. He lost about 13 thousand for the week and included in that was yesterday, his first 5 figure losing day of his career as he lost 10k. This is a figure I wouldn't expect at his level of play and as we talked through it, I think we both learned that he made some huge mistakes as far as chasing loses and over-betting.

    He is kind of down right now, but this is a major lesson in the education of a card counter. You either learn to properly deal with the losing as well as the winning, or you don't play professionally. Although he is really questioning everything right now, I have great confidence he will survive and emerge stronger from this important lesson.

    In the mean time, he is thinking maybe he isn't in such a hurry to run out and buy his own place. :rolleyes:
     
    bluechow likes this.
  2. Mickey Crimm

    Mickey Crimm Well-Known Member

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    I had to learn the same thing on machines. I called it "Investing all my money in cash." LOL. The bigger my bankroll got the more and bigger, much more lucrative, plays I could work safely. There was no worse feeling to me than finding a big fat juicy play....but not having a big enough bankroll for it. I hated to walk away but I knew the ROR was to high. So I quit blowing money on stupid stuff and started investing it in cash.
     
  3. Kunal khanna

    Kunal khanna New Member

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    Thanks for share your experience of a young professional card counter.
    It is really very resourceful and informative...
     
  4. Spider

    Spider Active Member Founding Member

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    Thanks for the thread and the honesty. I would have thought card counting, although obviously not an exact science, would been more stable with the drawdowns. Just shows what I know about it.
     
  5. KewlJ

    KewlJ Active Member

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    Card counting is only like that in the movies. :D In real life, it is a very slim edge with very high swings. That is why a large BR is necessary. It is also why most AP's move away from card counting into things with a higher edge and less volatility.
     
  6. Spider

    Spider Active Member Founding Member

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    OK thank you. Thanks for your reply.
     
  7. miles

    miles New Member

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    I dont think card counting is viable today unless the casino is not using the shuffle machines. I have not seen one casino that isnt using them now. Actually I am looking into equipment that its maker says will see through the cards. I saw a pretty convincing video also. No card counting needed then.
     
  8. KewlJ

    KewlJ Active Member

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    Card counting is as viable today as ever.

    There are two types of shuffling machines, Automatic shuffle machines(ASM) and continuous shuffle machines (CSM). Only CSM effects card counting. Use of these machines is actually on the down swing in the US in general and very much so in Vegas. There are costs associated with both types of machines that negatively (for the casino) outweigh the benefits in most cases. A lot of the newer jurisdictions went right to using shuffle machines, not realizing the costs involved and how often these machines break down and the higher cost of maintaining them.

    Even with what ever percentage of tables in the us using CSM, there are just so many more tables available that just a decade or two ago, that the opportunities for card counting (and other advantage play) has exploded. SO much more opportunity.

    As per you final comment concerning equipment that can see through the cards: remember the quote from the end of the movie 'the other guys'? "I hope you like the taste of prison food and penis?" Because what you are describing is illegal in every jurisdiction in the US that I know of. It is illegal to use a device to gain an advantage.
     
  9. bluechow

    bluechow New Member

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    Do the 6/5 blackjack games have any effect on current or future opportunities for yourself and other players?
     
  10. RS

    RS Member

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    bluechow are you retarded?
     
  11. bluechow

    bluechow New Member

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    What I meant to ask was will there be too many casinos converting to these unplayable 6/5 games in the future.
     
  12. KewlJ

    KewlJ Active Member

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    Update: So now two months into the second half of the year, my brother still hasn't recovered those losses of the first few days of July. He is still down (only a couple thousand) from where he ended the first half of the year June 30th. I can see the frustration with in him. He says he feels like a guy who goes to work everyday, works hard and hasn't gotten a paycheck in two months. :eek:

    I know THAT frustration as I, myself, have experienced 4 different six month losing or stagnant periods in the last 6 years (usually involving a big loss and slow climb back). It can be frustrating. :( But that is the nature of blackjack variance. You always have to remind yourself to focus on the big picture. And the big picture for my brother (as I told him a couple days ago) is that despite these last two months, with that "stuck in the mud feeling to them"....he is still well above expectation for the year.

    Just more of the learning process. :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
    Spider likes this.
  13. jbs

    jbs Member

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    KJ, since you (and others) like to rip on BJTF, I can't believe you guys missed the huge mistake Flash made. In one of the threads he said he accidentally bet $5500 instead of $1000. After receiving his first card which was a ten value, he now notices the $5000 chip and says it's an error and the pit allows him to replace it with a $500 one. STUPID as he had an approximate 13% edge, larger than any counter. So why lower it??? I'm betting table max if I know my first card is a ten or ace!!!
     
  14. KewlJ

    KewlJ Active Member

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    I glanced at the thread, but have to admit it didn't register. I have no way of expressing my thoughts to such a statement, except on a mirror site, like ZZ and I just won't do that for every discussion. That indeed would be a strange move for an AP, but as you probably know, I have concerns that Flash is really an AP based on his own comments he has said about his lifetime of degenerate gambling as well as things others that know him have stated.

    Not to trash Flash, but he himself talked about not repaying two different markers to casino. He was sued and eventually settled for a fraction of the markers. That is not an AP move. That is a lack of character thing, that a degenerate gambler would do. He also was involved in a large, suspicious robbery of his bankroll, or more precisely, a joint bankroll that some close to the situation think was been a cover to gambling debts.

    IMO, Flash is a lifelong degenerate gambler, involving craps, horseracing and sports-betting. Upon retiring from his regular career in his 50's, he learned and took up card counting at which he has had some measure of success, I guess. He claims he is a professional player of 20 years, since that retirement from his regular career (I believe teaching at a university). I think a more accurate description would be that he supplemented his retirement income (and now Social Security). And that's fine, there is nothing wrong with that. I just think saying "professional BJ player" is not really accurate. He is not now, nor at no time actually lived off his blackjack or AP earnings.

    So, that is my opinion of Flash (not that you asked directly). If you found it odd for an AP to pull back a large wager in favor of a smaller one with a significant advantage, why didn't you comment on it??
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
  15. KewlJ

    KewlJ Active Member

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    I don't know if anyone is reading or cares, but as we enter the final month of the year, I thought I would give a quick update on my brother's first year of blackjack, card counting, AP play at reasonable stakes.

    Just to recap, his first half of 2016, went extraordinarily well winning just over $60 grand which was just about 3 times expectation, for his level and time of play. In July, the start of the second half of the year, he slid backwards, losing 13 thousand dollars in just days and spent the next 3 months fighting through a pretty stagnant period, just getting back to where he was at the end of June. And now 11 months through the year.....he is at 68 grand, just a few thousand above where he was back in June.

    He has been "disappointed" to say the least in his results for this 5 month period over the second half of the year, but STILL he is about 50% above expectation! I think he is having a hard time seeing this as he was sort of blinded by the amazing first half of the year run, which had him seeing unrealistic expectations.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed watching him experience his first year of BJ card counting at reasonable stakes, and although he doesn't see it, think he has done amazingly well. Hell, entering this final month, his results and my blackjack portion of my results are very close, and I play larger stakes and a few advanced EV-generating techniques like tracking multiple tables. I wish I could get him to appreciate how well he has done.
     
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  16. Spider

    Spider Active Member Founding Member

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    Yo, I'm reading and I care. He's done very well. Like you say after such a blinding start he's disappointed but needs to focus on what he HAS achieved in total.
     
  17. UpTheAnte

    UpTheAnte New Member

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    Nearly all card counters seem to think they are above losing and are the sharpest tool in the shed. They believe that they can beat the house at will at any given time.

    There are really good card counters out there, but I've only met the mediocre ones with egos larger than the room. It's unfortunate that your brother was doing so well and is getting hit with the losing streak, but that's what is involved in this type of world. You win some and you lose some - I know, cliche alert, but it fits.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
  18. Mission146

    Mission146 Member

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    He's your brother, so I'm probably not in any great position to discuss this, but I hope you reiterate to him, from time to time, the importance of not over betting that bankroll. As I read one of your posts in this thread, I was reminded of a conversation with a friend of mine.

    Friend: Goddamn it, I got pulled over and the officer actually gave me the speeding ticket!

    Me: Were you speeding?

    Friend: Well, yes, how else would I have gotten a speeding ticket?

    Me: Is this your first time?

    Friend: Getting a ticket?

    Me: No, speeding.

    Friend: Obviously not, first ticket, though.

    My point is that you mentioned that your brother had to be seriously chasing losses and over betting his bankroll to end up taking a 10k smack in a single day. With that in mind, do you think it is possible that is how he, 'Ran so well,' in the first part of the year in the first place? Perhaps not necessarily by chasing losses, per se, but by occasionally over betting his bankroll? Granted, such a player could go several months without doing it again, especially after getting tagged for five figures in one day at his bankroll level, but it only takes one session to backslide.
     
  19. KewlJ

    KewlJ Active Member

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    In the beginning, I know he wasn't over-betting the spreads and limits that I initially set up for him, because I spent quite a bit of time observing him. But at some point he is on his own. I can't watch him and hold his hand forever. I taught him as best I could (teaching is not my strong point). And we discuss certain situations at home that he brings up. And that's all I can do. I am there to answer any question and advise as best I can, but at some point he spreads his wings and flies or he doesn't. o_O
     
  20. Mission146

    Mission146 Member

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    KewlJ, I've read your posts and find it very hard to believe that teaching is not a strong point of yours. If someone doesn't learn from you, it just means that the student had something to be desired not quite there.
     

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