A recent game computer run comparing flat betting, a positive and a negative progression showed that the negative progression was most likely to win having won 85.35% of its games. The positive progression won the least number of games, winning only 9.6% of its games. Flat betting won 38.70% of the games played.
While this test was instructive for us to gain an overall feel about how each blackjack betting system performs, it was inadequate to test how the positive and negative progressions would perform under real casino conditions. In real play, we can choose to cease playing under certain conditions, such as the number of consecutive losing hands, which the computer simulations do not measure well.
In Twenty-First Century Blackjack, Walter Thomason manually played 5,000 consecutively dealt hands of cards and compared flat betting, using the Thomason progression, which was explained in the previous chapter, and using a simple card count. Thomason’s form of testing is the same form that I have used to test and evaluate the Nine-Count Blackjack Strategy. Each hand was played by hand with the results recorded. I believe that this manually played approach to evaluating a blackjack betting system is much more accurate than computer simulations which fail to allow for such variations as using different types of a bet selection and table departure rules.
Thomason’s first round of tests on 5,000 hands produced 5,664 bets. The number of bets was higher than the number of hands due to additional wagers made because of pair splitting and doubling down. His test produced 45% winning hands, 47% losers and 8% tie hands.
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The results of pitting flat betting against his positive progression blackjack betting system and a card counting system are most instructive. On his initial test, the following results were attained:
Flat Bettor: Won $6,030, Lost $6,640, Net Loss of $610.
Card Counter: Won $12,930, Lost $13,470, Net Loss of $540.
Thomason Progressive Blackjack betting system: Won $8,940, Lost $8,970, Net Loss of $30.
I think it is obvious that the progressive blackjack betting system with its loss of only $30 greatly outperformed both of the other approaches to wagering.
Thomason next applied a Quit Point to the same set of hands. A Quit Point is an additional playing rule, which states that the player will quit playing, e.g. leave the table, whenever he loses four hands in a row. This rule is to be applied regardless of when the losses occur — at the start, the middle or the end of a deck or shoe.
When the same blackjack betting systems were replayed with the Quit Point rule used, the results were quite different:
Flat Bettor: Changed from a $610 loss to a $1,060 win.
Card Counter: Changed from a $540 loss to a $1,400 win.
Thomason Progressive Blackjack betting system: Changed from a $30 loss to a $1,890 win.
These are dramatic improvements, and they show the tremendous impact that adding just one rule can have on the results of real play as compared to computer-simulated play.
Thomason also compared his progression to both Donald Dahl’s and John Patrick’s progressive blackjack betting systems. His tests were limited to the first 20 shoes (968 bets) of his 5,000 hand run and did not incorporate using Quit Points.
Although his progressive blackjack betting system fared slightly better than either Dahl’s or Patrick’s systems, the validity of the comparisons was diminished somewhat by only using 968 bets and by not including Thomason’s recommended Quit Point in testing his blackjack betting system. John Patrick specifically recommends that a player leave the table if he loses the first four hands in a shoe or deck.
While Thomason’s tests are thought provoking, they do not address the issue of how well a negative progression might have fared played against the same hands, using a predetermined stopping point for consecutive losing hands.
I devoted several pages to Thomason’s work because it is unique among blackjack books. Most experts who advocate card counting have closed minds when it comes to believing that any approach other than card counting has any validity for winning at blackjack.
They typically use computer simulations, which are incapable of judging the effects of consecutive winning or losing hands or of additional blackjack betting system rules as may be used by human beings playing in real world conditions.
As a result, the card-counting advocates invariably come up with simulated results showing that flat betting, using progressions, lose at the rate of the house edge multiplied by the amount wagered, and that card counting provides the only source of a winning strategy.
Of course, this reasoning also shows that card counting is the only blackjack betting system capable of beating the game. At this point in the book, I hope you are more than a little skeptical of the claims of card counters.
Hang on to your hat. I am about to show you how you can back the casinos into a corner using the Nine-Count Blackjack Strategy Betting System.
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