Blackjack - counting cards

Discussion in 'Trading' started by dookie, Jul 8, 2003.

  1. dookie


    would any of you guys compare the art of counting cards in blackjack to the art of trading ? both deal greatly with money management.

    i'm not a card counter and never have been but i know its a way of keeping track of how favorable the deck is. and when it is favorable you scale up in your bet and when its not you bet the minimum... just a way to manage your money.

    are there any other similarities ?


    I have taught many professional gamblers over the years, and here's what they have in common:

    - They consider blackjack the best odds game in the house

    - There is a "set of rules" and a discipline that all successful gamblers use, and the most successful gamblers stick to thr rules and always maintain discipline.

    - They place money & risk management at the top of their list

    - From a strategy standpoint, there is not really any similarities between trading and blackjack

    However, keep this in mind. Players at the blackjack table or very much like traders near support and resistance zones. We can see the best fly in from novice gamblers, and the volume fly in from novice traders. I don't know what your trading timeframe is, but I can assure you can see that the greed and fear very clearly when a stock, ETF or SSF is approaching a "hot zone".
  3. I spoke with Don Bright through some PM's about card counting and he said the casinos have really cut down on the counters. Though he also said that there is the possibility you could make around $100k/yr card counting but not the big money that counters were once able to make.

    Card Counting is about scaling the bet size when the deck is good.


    While it is true that casinos have tightened the screws on card counters, there are many out there who still make a great living. The most successful guys I know go to several casinos, and lay off some of the profits (give back ot the casino) by having their wives dump money in the $1 slots, which keeps the casinos happy and the comp points up. The ratio of professional card counters to the gambler will always keep the odds tipped in the casinos favor. "The House Always Wins."
  5. Money management is definitely crucial to counting and trading. It is the key to surviving inevitable drawdowns.

    Most of the "art" of counting is NOT getting caught since the casinos can and will kick out counters. In Blackjack, the precise odds and optimal way to play each hand can be determined based on what cards have already been played between shuffles. Card counters track the relative number of high and low cards left in the decks and vary their bets and play accordingly.

    Unlike the casinos, the markets will not ban anyone from trading regardless of how big of an edge they can find. The challenge of the markets is that they are much more complex than a card game and evolve, so the precise odds can not be determined.
  6. 50_luma


  7. yes... to poker and BJ, many good traders started as bj and poker players... i.e. bill gross
  8. nkhoi


  9. ...I can't believe Don hasn't commented on this thread yet.....:)
    He has some idea's about Blackjack and how it relates to trading...

    rttrader -

  10. Unless I am totally out of touch with how things are now, which is possible...Las Vegas changes rapidly in many ways, the above statement is not entirely accurate according to my experience (which may be out of date by now, but more likely is not)..

    Card counters are "contained" by the casinos in several ways. The most effective way to take the edge from a counter is to limit the ratio of the max bet to the minimum bet. Last time I looked, (which has now been a few years), 21 tables (they are not called Black Jack except for on the drop boxes) have limits posted. Both minimum bets and maximum bets. Therefore, it is not possible to bet $5 on a hand when the deck is thin, and then bump up the bet to $5000 when the deck is rich.

    Binions Horseshoe was an exception They designated minimum bets, but not maximum bets. (this is going back about 8 years...that is how long it has been since I was involved, so I don't know if this has changed or not since then). However, if a suspected counter was spotted, the policy was that they could only triple their units. (Generally)....the Horseshoe was the only family owned and operated major casino when I was last in Vegas in a professional capacity. All the rest were run by publicly held corporations and decisions were made according to policy. The Horseshoe was a place that could be "flexible" on a case by case basis (that may well have changed in the past 8 a matter of fact, I would expect it has). Even so, back when things were a lot looser, even at the Horseshoe, you could not bet an amount and then bet 50 times that amount on a subsequent hand.

    Now another major point about "kicking out" or "banning" counters is that there is no real enforceable "rule" to prevent anyone from counting cards. What is enforced is the rule against collusion between players who team up. It is very hard to both count and to play at the same time. So teamwork is the effective way to take on the casinos. A strong better will be too distracted to keep a good count and be engaged in conversation with the floor people who will try and be as distractive as possible. Also cocktail waitresses who pleasantly ask if they can get anything are hard to ignore. So having a team, in which one person at the table (or even at the next table, or opposite table but in sight of the player he is working with, and that player's layout) bets small and seems to be a non factor, but does the actual counting and signals (in many possible ways) to the player. THIS is a violation of Gaming commission rules, and they WILL be thrown out if discovered.

    Also, any mechanical or electronic device used for communication or for facilitating counting is also a violation. These methods are cheating. Counting and playing one's own hand is NOT cheating. Casinos only ban and/or throw out CHEATERS.

    Bottom line is card counters who count and play their own hands with no collusion and no illegal devices are not cheating. people who work in teams or with technology are cheating.

    Certainly the majority of cheating that occurs in Nevada casinos is done by dealers and floor people who work in collusion with players (called "agents"). Having a dealer work with a player it becomes far easier to cheat the house. When caught, these people are treated in the most severe manner possible. But still it is a legal process. It is not like in the old movies (or newer movies about older times in Vegas like "Casino" ) where they take the dealer out back and break his or her arms. They do take the dealers and the agents right off a table in handcuffs. I have seen this more than a few times.

    Crooked payoffs in roulette and dice are the most un-noticeable ways to cheat as far as surveillance. And "call bets" are virtually undetectable. Surveillance cameras keep getting better and better in resolution and in coverage. But still, there is no sound allowed (last I knew) by surveillance.

    A very simple example of a "call bet" that is a scam is a player puts a stack of chips on the "field" on a dice layout as the dice are in the air. If the dice come up with a winning field number, the dealer (who is in collusion) will pay the "bet". If the number is NOT a field bet winner, both the player and dealer will call out "Change Only" just as the dice settle on the layout.

    Either way, the player cannot lose. Only win or get change. This is of course a crude example (yet a very real one). To get more specific about details and scams could only serve to get me in trouble. But for those who are entitled to know, the information is available. For those NOT entitled to know, the same information is illegally available in bootleg form. Cheaters cheat. They never seem to give up on what appears to be "easy money". Where else is it common to see forklifts used to move full palates of paper currency? Greed and temptation collide in Las Vegas like nowhere else. The money just looks so "in reach".

    What happens is a crooked dealer is suspected, watched closely, and left to their own greed until everything is well documented. And then Gaming is notified and is on the spot to witness from surveillance and swoop down and make arrests.

    The casinos know every trick that has ever worked in the past. The cheats are continually trying to come up with new and creative ways to "beat the house". It is a never ending war. With today's technology, cheating is almost but not quite impossible. But it is far more a concern than are individual card counters. Legit counters may win more than they lose, and have an edge, but they are few and far between that can do it all alone and do it for enough money to be a concern to the casinos. The casinos often consider the small time card counters as good PR. It is always good advertising to have someone who seems to win all the time be a shining example for the multitudes of suckers who believe they too can go in, count cards, and make easy money. The small time counters actually serve as effective shills for the house in many instances.

    Solo card counters are not much of a threat to casinos. They have too much in the way of distractions to deal with, and they cannot press their bets up so much as to give them a huge advantage.

    Hope this info is somewhat informative. I hope at least it served to dismiss some common misconceptions about how "honest"card counters are dealt with. If they don't cheat they can count to their hearts delight. No harm, no foul.

    #10     Jul 9, 2003