Why Invest in Blackjack Software?

There are three main types of BJ software that I will separately cover:

How to Practice Card Counting

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:

How 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.

How 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.

How do you spot trends? Are you getting better or worse? Are your skills deteriorating in one area? Again, only software can provide accurate answers.

How 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.

How 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?

Speed. 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.

Sheer 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.

Blackjack Simulation Software

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:

Cover 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.

Optimal 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.

Understanding - 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.

New Techniques & Strategy Development - Generation and validation of new techniques requires simulation. No, this is not a requirement for all players.

Strategy Selection - Simulation is the most accurate method of strategy selection. But I believe asking the right people is nearly as good.

Index 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.

Curiosity - Well, that's why I run so many sims. For most players, only the first two reasons above are important.

Optimal Bet/Risk of Ruin Calculation Software

Guess 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.

Risk 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, 1837







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