Ameliorating the Cost of Blackjack Cover Betting

Cover play (or camoflage play) is defined as disguising your betting to look like an average Blackjack player. (i.e. a non card counter) Given the high cost of Blackjack cover play, I thought I'd look at one way of softening the blow somewhat. I ran five billion Blackjack hands with three types of players as follows:

  • Red Players: No cover at all.
  • Blue Players: Never more than double or halve bet. No change after push. Except reset bet to one unit after shuffle.
  • Green Players: Same as above, but allow a bet increase after a Split or Double Down which lost or pushed.

The point of the sim is to see the gain from this one modification to cover play. The logic behind the modification is that after pushing a split or DD, you already have double the bet out. After losing double your money; it isn't unnatural to bet the amount that you lost.

Results (Initial Bet Advantage and Win Rates):

  • No Cover - 0.937%, $8.70/hr
  • Full Cover - 0.555%, $4.15/hr
  • Mod Cover - 0.643%, $5.10/hr

The gain in advantage from the change was .09% or about 23% of the cost of cover.

Chart - I've attached a Win Rate by Hand Depth Chart. The x-axis is the Hand Depth. Y-axis is the cumulative Win Rate for hands up to the Hand Depth and z-axis is the type of player.

Follow-up - These results beg a question. Most players do not bother with soft double indexes as it has been shown that the gain in advantage is minor. However, soft doubles may be more useful with cover when using this modification. The point is to increase the excuses to get more money on the table in positive situations without looking like you're jumping your bets. Of course you have to decide whether making unusual soft doubles makes you look more or less like a counter. I don't expect much gain here.

Sim details - Six decks, five deck penetration, S17, DAS, six players, Hi-Lo, 1-8 spread, quick ramping (two units at +2). With slower ramping, the effects would probably be greater than shown here.

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