Invest in Blackjack Software?
There are three main types of BJ software that I will separately cover:
How to Practice
Practice means two things: drills and game play. Practicing in a casino
is very expensive. Casino play is not how to practice Blackjack.
This is the only type of Blackjack software, in my opinion, that everyone
requires - beginner to professional. Yes you can practice with real cards.
But there are several problems:
do you know if you are making mistakes? Humans are much worse than they
think at test self-administration. The tester must be an objective second
party and software is cheaper than a teacher.
do you identify weaknesses? This is very easy for software as it can
accurately track your every move. If you want the practice to push your
speed, you cannot track your progress at the same time yourself.
do you spot trends? Are you getting better or worse? Are your skills
deteriorating in one area? Again, only software can provide accurate
do you practice it all at once? Yes you can try counting down a real
deck of cards or use flash-cards to test indexes. But, software is the
only way to test all of it, counting, adding hands, TC calculation,
deck-depth estimation, cover play, betting strategy, indexes, dealer
error recognition - all at one time.
do you grow your skills? You may wish to add more advanced techniques.
But, how do you know if you are performing them correctly? How do you
know if they are actually helping you?
Software can present you with situations and score you against those
situations vastly faster than you or a human teacher can. By forcing
you to move far faster than you ever would in a real casino, you can
build your skill level to the point that you will have spare brain time
in the casino. This is invaluable as it allows you to chat with the
pit bosses and other players and to appear as a normal player - not
as a counter. This is where you make the breakthough - allowing card
counting to become second nature.
boredom. Practice with cards becomes dreadfully boring in a very short
period of time. The result - you don't spend enough time at it. Practice
software, in my not so objective opinion, is an absolute requirement.
Yes you can improve your game through simulation; but most players do
not require this software. Historically improvement came through fine-tuning
your indexes. Nowadays, the improvement comes through working on your
cover strategy and determining your exact advantage and variance for calculation
of optimal betting ramps. There are seven purposes of simulation software:
Strategy - The major cause of small business failures is not knowing
if your business is making or losing money. Blackjack is a small business.
Many players are actually playing at a disadvantage without knowing
it until it is too late. Cover strategy will become important to you
if you play long enough. But, people often give far more away than they
think. In hand-held games, cover can have a devastating effect on Expected
Value. This is why professional card counters will tell you that if
you are not feeling heat from the casinos, you are probably not playing
aggressively enough. Simulation is the only method of fine-tuning the
balance between aggression and cover.
Betting - Betting the correct amount at the correct time is what card
counting is all about. Surely the books will help you here. But, most
books were written before optimal betting theory was developed. And,
optimal bet calculation for your exact method of play can not be calculated
without first a simulation of your play. It can only be estimated.
- Yes you can read the books and the posts and understand the mechanics
behind Blackjack play. A deep understanding comes from simulation and
looking at the generated charts and data. Is this a requirement for
card counting? No.
Techniques & Strategy Development - Generation and validation of new
techniques requires simulation. No, this is not a requirement for all
Selection - Simulation is the most accurate method of strategy selection.
But I believe asking the right people is nearly as good.
Generation - Yes generating your own indexes and measuring their effectiveness
can improve your results. I don't suggest this for shoe games as the
improvement isn't that great.
- Well, that's why I run so many sims. For most players, only the first
two reasons above are important.
of Ruin Calculation Software
what. The betting advice in all the books is wrong. Well, perhaps out
of date is more accurate. Yes they work. They just aren't optimal. The
best advice is in Don Schlesinger's Blackjack Attack. But, it
still is not customized to your playing circumstances. That is, the
strategy you use, the rules, the penetration, the number of indexes
you use, etc. To calculate the betting ramp that will make you the most
money, you need software. It can be calculated by hand. But, it is far
from a simple task. One additional problem. To calculate it accurately,
you need to know the advantage and variance at each true count. You
can get a general idea from Blackjack Attack. But, this is for
one strategy and one set of indexes. Simulation of your play is the
only accurate method.
of Ruin is another problem. Problem is the books generally are very
optimistic in the discussion of bankroll requirements. To correctly
calculate your bankroll requirements and fine-tune your risk, rather
complex calculations are needed. Free calculators are provided on this
website. But, you need the EV and standard deviation numbers for your
particular style of play. And this requires simulation software.
"It was with difficulty that he was induced to stoop from
speculation to practice." Thomas Macaulay, The Essays,