Modern Blackjack
Performance Comparisons







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Chapter Plus Three

Performance Comparisons

Comparison Methodology — SCORE

Before we start, a few words on comparing results. There exist numerous variables in examining a Blackjack game. Rules, penetration, betting ramp, strategy, indexes, number of players, deck estimation accuracy, errors, true count calculation methodology, etc. Older books on Blackjack compared games and strategies using advantage, also known as edge, EV (Expected Value) or IBA (Initial Bet Advantage). All these terms have the same meaning. EV is fine for Basic Strategy, but makes accurate comparison of card counting strategies very difficult, as it does not take into account variance and therefore risk. Which brings us to SCORE.

SCORE (Standardized Comparison Of Risk and Expectation) is a convenient method of comparing results that takes into account betting strategy, playing strategy, rules, penetration, and risk, all rolled into one. Developed by Don Schlesinger, you can find an in-depth discussion in his book Blackjack Attack. In this book, I will merely state that SCORE is the win rate per 100 hands, given a $10,000 bankroll, a risk of ruin of 13.5%, and a standard set of conditions. Risk of ruin means the percentage chance that you will lose your entire bankroll. 13.5% is much higher than a professional player would accept, and was chosen for reasons that are beyond the scope of this book. What is important for this discussion are relative numbers. That is, a SCORE of 20 means a long-term win rate twice as great as a SCORE of 10.

Read Blackjack Attack for a comprehensive explanation.


 © 2009 Norman Wattenberger

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© 2009 Norman Wattenberger