Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Ultimate Holdem Casino Excel Game

When I was originally creating this, the main purpose was to help some people learn the payouts for the Trips and Blind wager on a specific pay table.  The end result ended up just being something that people played more for fun than training, however.  

You can download the game here, and once you open it, you will see the screen below.

Your bankroll is listed in the upper left hand corner.  To play, you must post and Ante and Blind of equal value.  The Trips wager is an optional side wager, and the table max is $50 for Ante, Blind, and Trips.  You are allowed to wager 3x or 4x your Ante on the Play wager prior to any community cards being revealed.  After the first three cards are revealed you can play 2x, and after all five cards are revealed you are limited to 1x.

The pay table for this particular game is as follows:

  • Blind
    • Less than a flush - 1 to 1
    • Flush - 3 to 2
    • Full House - 3 to 1
    • Four of a Kind - 10 to 1
    • Straight Flush - 50 to 1
    • Royal Flush - 500 to 1
  • Trips
    • Less than trips - Loss
    • Trips - 3 to 1
    • Straight - 4 to 1
    • Flush - 7 to 1
    • Full House - 8 to 1
    • Four of a Kind - 30 to1
    • Straight Flush - 40 to 1
    • Royal Flush - 50 to 1

After the hand is played out, you will be prompted to enter what the Trips and Blind bet will payout.  This is 100% optional, and there is no penalty for just pressing "Deal" and skipping through it.  In the above example, the answer to both would be $0.

If you do decide you would like to practice this particular pay table, this is what the screen will look like when you write your answer and press "Deal."

*This particular game was never 100% completed, and as such, there are two instances in which the game will not behave as expected.  True five card ties will not be treated as a push, but as a loss for the player and a Royal Flush will not always play out correctly.  It is unlikely that I will delve back  into this game, although  I can't say it will never happen.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Double Deck S17 Excel Blackjack Game

Today I would like to share a S17 DAS Double Deck Excel game that I created.  Feel free to download and use this to practice tracking your running and true count, play long term to track a practice bankroll, or just as a fun game to play to pass the time.

The top row will show the dealer's cards, and the next row will show the player's.  You may split up to three times for a total of four hands.  You are given a $10,000 bankroll to begin.

Both the running count and the true count will be shown between hands, although there is a toggle to the left which allows you to hide these numbers until you want to check.  The Hi Lo count is the count used.  True count is calculated at quarter deck resolution, and then floored.  

The discard tray is placed in the upper right hand corner, and displays the math needed to convert your running count into your true count.  

If you Wong out at a certain count, you can use the shuffle button next to the discard tray to get a fresh shoe.  And if all else fails, there is an emergency clear button if you happen to run into a bug causing issues.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Double Deck H17 Excel Basic Strategy Trainer

For those looking to hone their skills while some of the more traditional options aren't available, I have created a few handy Excel projects that I will be releasing over the next few weeks.  This particular file is designed to help practice basic strategy for a DD H17 DAS RSA game.

Click here to download

To use, simply hit the button that corresponds to the correct action in each scenario.  In the above example, I would want to hit Stand.

As you can see, the program shows that I was correct, the rule is displayed, and the counter is increased by one.  To be dealt new cards, I simply press deal.  If I feel like I am struggling in a certain area, I have a couple options.

Across the bottom of the file there are separate tabs.  The "Main" tab uses a deck with a normal distribution of cards.  The "Soft Hands" tab has a deck packed with extra aces, and the "Hard Hands" tab has none.  The "Blank" tab can be ignored (and is truly only there for aesthetic purposes).  If you need to check a Basic Strategy chart, there is a tab for that also.   

To download the file, click this link and hit download.  You must use this in Excel as the Google Docs version will not do anything.  You must also click enable content and Macros when the options appear.  

If you ever run into any issues or have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I'll try to get back to them as I see them.  Keep an eye out for some more programs I plan to release in the future.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Expected value and what it means for blackjack

Expected value, or EV, can be defined as the theoretical average of a variable.  It is calculated by taking the sum of all possible values, and multiplying those by their probability of occurrence.  Take that in for a moment. Use that definition to help understand why advantage play in blackjack is a long term game.

To better understand, let's take a very simple example and calculate our EV.

 10,000 lottery tickets are sold at $1 each with a grand prize of $4500.  If you were to purchase one ticket, what is your expected value?

In this example, we can see that there can only be two results.  You will either lose $1 or win $4499 (grand prize - entry fee).  But what is the probability of each of these events?  

The probability of winning is 1/10,000.  One time in 10,000 we will gain $4499.
The probability of losing is 9,999/10,000.   9,999 in 10,000 we will lose $1.  

By using the definition above we set up our formula:
EV = ($4499 * 1/10,000) + (-$1 * 9,999/10,000)
EV = (.4499) + (-.9999)
EV = -0.55

The expected value of our ticket says that we will lose .55 cents on average every time we buy a ticket.  But does that ever actually happen?  Of course not.  We will either completely lose our dollar, or we will win $4499.  Blackjack works the same way.  You either win the hand, lose the hand, or push.  You are not paid in fractions of a penny, even if the play you just made earned you a fraction of a penny in expected value.  This is the reason an advantage player cannot draw conclusions off of single hands or even single sessions.  

Too often I have seen casinos scramble to figure out what a player is doing after having a large winning session.  All too often I've seen players claim that counting doesn't work after a single large losing session.  I cannot stress enough that these sessions can and WILL happen to every card counter, regardless of their skill level. 

Trust the math.  Trust your count.  Make the correct play that the count calls for.  Do not deviate based on hunches.  Play the long term game.  Get your expected value. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Using a Replenishable Bankroll

Establishing a bankroll can be one of the toughest obstacles a new blackjack player has to overcome. It does not matter how skilled the player is if he does not have the capital to back him up.

While individual bankroll needs will vary based on the house edge of the game, along with the skill of the player, a standard bankroll of 1,000 units will be a good estimate. If a player is planning to play the $10 minimum tables, he will need a $10,000 bankroll.

For your average, beginning blackjack player, this amount may seem insurmountable. Luckily, the player can use a replenishable bankroll.

With a replenishable bankroll, the player will only need a fraction of the bankroll, as long as they have an outside source of income to regularly contribute to the bankroll.

For example, let us say a player has $1,000, but the minimum table in the player’s area is a $5 table. The player would normally need $5,000 to play on this table with a reasonable risk of ruin. However, the player can contribute $150 a week to the bankroll. This means that in approximately 27 weeks, the player will have the full $5,000. It could be a little sooner, or a little later depending on how well he has been doing in blackjack.

During this time frame, the player plays as though he has the full $5,000. The cards do not care if a player is playing with five $1,000 bankrolls, or one $5,000 bankroll. A downside to using the replenishable bankroll happens when a player busts their initial bankroll, and has downtime while replenishing the bankroll back to an acceptable level to begin playing again.

An advantage for the player is the increased profit from playing with a larger unit, along with the ability to begin play much more quickly.

For anyone worried about protecting their bankroll while in the casino, here is a pretty clever belt that can be used.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

10 Step Blackjack is Now Available on Your Kindle!

 10 Step Blackjack on Kindle

For those on the go, 10 Step Blackjack is now available on your Kindle or any other Kindle ready device!  Take advantage of Amazon Prime and borrow 10 Step Blackjack for free or purchase it at its reduced Kindle price!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Victor Insurance Parmater for Hi Opt II

For those unfamiliar with the Victor Insurance Parameter, it is explained here.  The Victor Insurance Paramater is a useful way of determing whether to take insurance or not, and it does not require any true count conversion.

Reasons To Use the VIP

The VIP eliminates any errors on estimation while increasing any ace neutral, balanced count's insurance correlation by around 2%.

All it takes is comparing your running count against the number of unseen aces.  With that information we know that the VIP only works with Ace neutral counts (or counts that count the Ace as 0.)  I've found the VIP is more useful for double and single deck games, as it becomes more difficult to remember the different points as the number of Aces in the deck increases.

I have went ahead and figured out the points for the popular Hi Opt II count, and will list them below.

Hi Opt II Double Deck VIP 

7 Aces Left - Running Count of 9 or above
6 Aces Left - Running Count of 8 or above
5 Aces Left - Running Count of 6 or above
4 Aces left - Runing Count of 5 or above
3 Aces left - Running Count of 4 or above
2 Aces left - Running Count of 3 or above
1 Ace left - Running Count of 2 or above
0 Aces left - For "no unseen Aces," insurance should be taken on ANY positive count; even +1 is sufficient. -- Rich Victor  (Thanks Rich!)
Hi Opt II Single Deck VIP

3 Aces left - Running Count of 4 or above
2 Aces left - Running Count of 3 or above
1 Ace left - Running Count of 2 or above
0 Aces left - For "no unseen Aces," insurance should be taken on ANY positive count; even +1 is sufficient. -- Rich Victor

These numbers are figured out by using the formula:

Running Count divided by 7/6 (Hi Opt II Threshold Value.)

If anyone would like this for any other number of decks done, let me know and I will post them up.

Edited 8/31/17 to reflect correct information.