Do They Work?
by Basil Nestor
Part 3: Predicting the Future For Fun and Profit
If red appears ten consecutive times, then black is due. Right?
No. Not right.
There ARE situations when history WILL affect the future, but in most casino games this is not the case. Hereís why:
Draw one card from a deck of cards. You have a 1 in 52 chance of drawing any particular card. Letís say you draw the five of diamonds. The chance of someone else drawing the five of diamonds has dropped to zero. In addition, the chance of drawing any red card has dropped to 25 in 51 and drawing black has increased to 26 in 51. In this situation the first decision (history) will affect subsequent decisions (the future).
Now put the five back and shuffle the deck. The chance of drawing the five of diamonds is back to 1 in 52. The deck doesnít remember your previous draw.
Spin a roulette ball. Letís say it hits black seven consecutive times. Is black now less likely to hit? No. The wheel has no memory.
Dice are the same. Inanimate objects donít respond to history.
Misunderstanding this one truth has cost gamblers more money than all the unfavorable games and poor odds in the entire history of gambling. Itís known as gamblerís fallacy. Gambling systems based on this fallacy are doomed to fail. Why? Because they are NOT accurately predicting the probability of a win. Bets are increasing (or decreasing) for no valid reason.
Thatís why the martingale doesnít work. Now letís look at a system that DOES work.
Blackjack Basic Strategy
The phrase "counting cards" falls trippingly off the tongues of even the most novice blackjack players. Everyone seems to know about counting, but few people realize that counting is useless without the simpler more fundamental system called blackjack basic strategy.
Itís a gambling system that works!
Basic strategy is an easy-to-follow set of directions that mathematically optimizes the probability of winning. The casinoís advantage typically shrinks from about 3% to less than 1%. Examples include always splitting 8's and aces, always doubling-down on hands that total 11 (except against a dealer ace), and never hitting a hard seventeen or above.
I wonít go through every hand combination, but letís look at one particularly lucrative situation.
Player 11 against a dealer 6: Basic strategy tells you to double-down. That means youíre betting more when the dealer has a 42% chance of busting. Meanwhile no card in the deck can bust you, and 54% of the cards will put you somewhere between 18 and 21.
What a sweet proposition! You could earn a living making this wager if blackjack rules allowed you to bet it exclusively.
Martingale: Does NOT accurately predict the probability of a win. It increases/decreases bets for NO valid reason.
Blackjack basic strategy: DOES accurately predict the probability of a win. It increases/decreases bets for a VERY valid reason.
You can apply this standard to any system. Ask yourself... Why am I raising (or lowering) the wager? Why is this system making this particular play choice? Exactly how is it increasing my long-term chances for a net win?
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