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JJ, we may be saying the same thing

Posted by Cyrus on 5 June 1998, at 11:59 p.m.

Your series of posts address mental and psychological preparation and attitude. No serious player claims that Counting alone and by itself can win you some money. Counting is simply a tool to reverse the odds in your favor. Just that.

If a Counter does not have the abilities and personal qualities like you describe in your posts, he stands less chance of winning. Much less. Indeed, a prominent BJ author said flat out about counting that "This is a discipline thing".

The personal qualities indeed are necessary for any serious player to overcome the bankroll fluctuations during periods of adverse results, to take a break from playing when mentally tired or psychologically unfit, to hide his abilities from casino personnel, to be able to work the table through all the mental noise etc. But all these personal qualities, and more, cannot change the odds of a game. When James Bond himself sits down to play Roulette, in a tuxedo, cool as arctic ice, nerves of iron, pockets full of thousand pound notes, brain working overtime and all that - it doesn't mean nothing to the Casino owner: the odds are still stacked against 007. He's bucking an advantage of more than 5%. Dom Perignon to Mr Bond, compliments of the house.

So, it all comes down to be able to count and have the personal qualities to actually do it properly. When people throw around this estimate that "only 1% of counters actually make money", it simply means that the vast majority of people don't bother to properly master the technique and acquire those personal qualities. It's human nature to look for a quick and easy way in everything. Yes, it's more difficult than what people expect. But, no, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to pull it through.

 Counting is not a guaranteed winning method. You are guaranteed a win only by knowing each time which card is coming out next exactly. Only cheats and the Rainman can do this. In real life it's impossible. So, you are left with the composition of the remaining cards (see my "basket" post below). That's all. It's not a guarantee. But it is an absolutely correct strategy, resolved through mathematics decades ago. There's nothing new to be said there. And the counter does need a predefined goal (bankroll, bet sizing, session planning etc).

I have preety much exhausted the issue on my part. To answer your questions addressed specifically to me, I don't keep records of how many times I've encountered a TC+5. Frequency distribution tells me that one comes up around 1-2% of the time. And no, the damn cards do NOT always come out in the right order even then (again, see my "basket" post on that). So then, yes, I've lost quite a few times my 'big bet' when the count was high. But this doesn't refute established statistical and mathematical theory. The odds, if I correctly apply counting principles (personal qualities, right?), are in my favor. If I fail in a number of timeframes, I'm still a favorite in the long run. I wish I could agree though that I'm a "55% favorite", which means I have a 10% advantage. I'm not. Under the best circumstances, my advantage is close to around 1.5%. Tough eh? Well, that's all you gonna get from counting.

Then again, one can always walk with the Zombie… J


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