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Why we don't always double down


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When you play NBJ/WCB you are there to make money. A lot of money. ALL of the money. You are not there to goof off.

The only way to get ALL of the money is to raise the stakes. To do that, we use the Fibonacci sequence, or something like it. The beauty of it is that it provides for exponential growth of your locked up winnings, combined with exponential growth of your betting level.

In order to ride the Fibonacci wave to a high betting level, you need to survive. Not for one shoe, but for many shoes.

Our methods allow us to, in certain games, win one hand in three. If we can do that, we can climb to higher and higher levels of Fibonacci.

NOW IF we see a double down situation, it can be very very tempting. Players will encourage you to double. The dealer will encourage you. Don't let them influence you.

Basic strategy relies on double downs, and other option plays to help make up for its low hands won rate. We use a different, better method to play our hand. We are challenging the dealer during low rounds. We are standing short when tens are running. We are doing all kinds of things to win one hand in three, suspending the progression if we suspect a low round. If we have practiced as we have been instructed to do, we are able to win one hand in three in some games.

Our table buy-in is a pile of twelve units. Double downs increase risk to our pile of twelve. We know that there is cash galore as Fibonacci rides up. We trade in the short term benefit of some double downs so that we can reduce risk to our pile of twelve.

Some day Fibonacci will turn your pile of 12 into a pile of 252. (That's 21 times 12.) When that happens, you'll be glad you stayed in the game and rode that sucker all the way up. When it happens, just keep on riding that wave until you reach table max.

Incidentally, before you reach table max, you need a plan for when you get there. I recommend taking the table max, and dividing by 6 to allow for a 1-4-6. So if the table max is $5000, your unit size is around $800.

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When I wrote this, I should have made the point more clearly. Doubling down DOES NOT increase your chance of winning this hand or your progression and it increases risk to your table bankroll.

When you double you think things are looking good, but a lot of things can go wrong. Our objective is to win our progression and advance to the next betting level. We really need to win that progression and losing a double can really devastate your chip stack.

While I seem to be arguing against doubling down, it is a fine thing to do IF YOU HAVE A GOOD READ, THE DEALER IS WEAK AS ALL HELL, and you strongly predict that you are sitting pretty with one hit card.

Doubling down can help you surge to the next betting level. It speeds things up, but is not necessary to our way of playing, and can undermine our money management which is critical to advancing to high betting levels.

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That is exactly correct. The house advantage is when you both break, the dealer wins. Suppossedly offsetting that are your blackjacks, doubledowns, splits, insurance and sometimes surrender.

When researching for my first book, NBJ, a team of my Engineers recorded thousands of shoes in Atlantic city and isolated every statistic so we could examine the TRUE statistics of BJ.

We demonstrated conclusively that amoung other things:

Players break even on double downs

Lose on splits

Lose on insurance

lose on surrender

This is still true if you apply perfect basic strategy to every hand played. Then if you isolate full tables the statistics are even worse. Much worse.

Counting double downs and splits as two hands, we demonstrated conclusively that perfect basic strategy achieves a hands won rate of only 43% and on full table Saturday nights, as low as 32% and often even worse. Where are you going with THAT on your side?

The more hands dealt after the morning wash, the worse the stats. Hence Saturdays were the worse days to play and long weekends were casino cash winfalls.

I don't know about you but this made ME angry. And the more true statistics we confirmed the madder I got.

I did not know which group made me madder:

The casinos, who knew ALL of these statistics cold reacted by:

1. Closing tables to crowd up the remaining tables to 7 players.

2. Hand out Basic Strategy cards to as many players as possible.

3. Promote card counting and Basic Strategy.

OR, the Blackjack book writers who were supposed to be on our side who:

1. Obviously failed to conduct even basic research.

2. Tell you to NEVER play new cards for the first two hours when new cards are the best dam cards you are going to see all day.

3. Tell you to never insure when insurance is the best bet in BJ IF you know how.

4. Have you doubling on the worst possible hands you could double on.

5. Teach you WORTHLESS card counting!

6. Have very obviously never actually played this game.

7. And on and on and on and on and.........

Now maybe you can see why I wrote my own books. Out of ANGER. My books, NBJ, (New Blackjack); WCB (World Class Blackjack) and ISO (In Search OF the Winning Game) are the ONLY BJ books in the world that are based on the real statistics of BJ. And therefore, the only BJ books in the world that will help you rather than hurt you.

But back to the subject at hand, doubling. You DON'T double acording to your hand and the dealer's up card like all those BJ books tell you. That is pure STUPID. You double according to what is running. THAT is pure brilliance.

Look! Yov've got 11. The dealer has 6. What does that mean? It probably means that LOWS are running. Look at the rest of the cards on the table. Do they favor low? Then DON'T DOUBLE. You only get ONE card. You'll very likely get a stiff hand right when the dealer CAN'T break. How smart was that?

YOU double whenever you've got the dealer beat on the board and highs are running. OK you've got 8, the dealer has 7. Highs are running. YOU DOUBLE. In all likelihood you are going to get 18 and the dealer is going to get 17. So OK, it's not splashy but they pay you just the same.

You won't find THAT play in any BJ book, except mine. It's just too damn smart for their books. You want stupid plays, read their books. You want smart plays, read mine.

E. Clifton Davis

Edited by ECD
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Sometimes, even when the double down looks very good from an NBJ/WCB perspective, I don't do it. It depends on my chip stack. One double down isn't going to take me where I want to go. Losing a double can take me where I definitely don't want to go. I put my trust in 1-4-6 and Fibonacci, rather than risk table exit on one hand.

The card counters might say no guts no glory. They have no glory because for the most part they lose due to biased cards.

For me the guts comes in betting the big money when the progression takes me there. Going for the jugular with Fibonacci is a way of doubling down on the whole game rather than on one hand.

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Exactly! BJ is about going for the jugular when it is obviously appropriate to do so. Sometimes WE created the jugular opportunity. Sometimes the casino itself screwed up and inadvertantly created our jugular opportunity. It doesn't really matter. There it is! Ride um cowboy! It's not just permissable, its your duty. THAT is what you are about. That is what NBJ is about. That's why you came to the casino. Play it for all its worth.

Now, as Mad Dog knows full well, Jugular opportunities don't come along often. That is why the experienced NBJ player is taught how to create his own. Make them happen.

Basic Strategy and card counting are about sitting back and hoping things will turn your way. The casino laughs at that notion. NBJ is about taking control and MAKING things happen. Then EXPLOITING the situation YOU created. NOW you're playing pro!

Or you could sit back and play every hand according to the dealer's up card. That's HALF her hand. It's meaningless! It's what the casino WANTS you to go by. Don't do what the casino wants you to do. They want you to LOSE. Do what I want you to do. I want you to win!

BTW, all those statistics I mentioned are, in fact, beatable.

YOU CAN win your double downs IF you play them my way.

You CAN win your splits! If you play them my way.

You can KILL on insurance! I've been ejected for making PERFECT insurance bets.

If you have never been ejected its because the casino is not afraid of you. You are playing Lemming BJ. You are doing exactly what the casino wants you to do. Get out of that rut! Play my way! Get ejected now and then and be proud of it. It sure beats losing! THE GAME IS BEATABLE! Learn how! I did it! So can you! Mad Dog is doing it, So can you! This is NOT rocket science.

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Regarding going for the jugular, I tend to do it early and often. I figure it this way: If the table reveals itself to be a good table, that represents some good play that I could have been taking advantage of in terms of advancing in Fibonacci. If I give the table the benefit of the doubt, I'm riding the wave right from the beginning. It gives me more time on that winning wave, and that extra time could be the difference between a big win and a small one. Now if the table doesn't perform, I may be out a table buy in. It is a matter of style.

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  • 2 weeks later...
When in your progression do you use the Fibonacci Mad Dog and how many wins at one level does it take you to go up?

Each level starts with 12 units. When there's 24 units, that's when you go up and compute a new unit size for your new 12 units based on Fibonnaci:

1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 144

Note that your locked up piles will be based on the previous Fibonacci number.

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Recognize that MD is referring to the progression he uses to increase his unit value and what to increase it to. He is not referring to a normal 3rd base play progression like the 1,4,6.

We ALWAYS play in piles of 12 units. This gives us a familiar routine and we ALWAYS know exactly where we stand. We buy in for our first pile of 12. I almost never play the $5 and $10 tables because those are always the tables that have been played the most and therefore present the toughest games.

Folks say to me, "But Ellis, I can't afford to play the $100 tables!. I reply, "That's funny, I can't afford to play the $5 tables."

Some games its easy to make the 2nd pile of 12 and other games it difficult or impossible. Here, professionalism is knowing when to quit. But when piles come easy, its just as important for the pro to know when to raise the stakes. It's not just a mere desire to raise the stakes in jugular opportunities, it's our duty. If we don't take advantage in good times, bad times will prevail. It boils down to two decisions, quit or raise the stakes. Struggling in break even games is a waste of our valuable time. We are in search of the WINNING game. Break even games might be fun, if you still look at it that way, but they are an obstruction to our goal. We all know how to quit but we don't all know how to raise the stakes or when once we have achieved our goal of finding the winning game.

MD's method is VERY aggressive but will sometime produce spectacular wins. My own method, and the method I teach is much more conservative yet still very aggressive. I double the stakes after achieving a 3rd pile of 12 in that denomination. Now, if I hit a tough shoe I can revert back to the old denomination or quit. The important thing to remember is to raise the stakes at those moments of opportunity and always with their money, never ours.

My book, In Search of the Winning Game is included in your BJ package. After all, that's your whole purpose of being there.

Edited by ECD
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