Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Incremental Negative Progression System for Blackjack

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

 The Martingale system works like this: if you lose then you play double on your next bet. Because people bet different amounts, let’s use the word “unit” to describe the bet. So when you lose one unit, you bet two. If you win, you win a total of one unit. For the Martingale system, this holds true so long as you can continue doubling your bet. The problem lies in exponential growth, however. If a unit equals $10 dollars, and then you lose 7 times, it requires $1,270. Your 8th bet will be $1,280. So you will essentially be risking $2,550 to win $10. If you have played much blackjack, you know losing 8 in a row is not that unusual. So I came up with a variation to the Martingale system to tackle the problem.


I have worked as a dealer in a casino for 16 years. I can not tell you how many different systems I’ve seen people use. I’ve even seen mathematician’s use stupid systems. The first and foremost beneficial action you can do is to follow basic strategy. At a minimum, you should play extremely close to basic strategy. Here is what a basic strategy card looks like:



*If you click the image, you should be able to print it out from their web page.

If you have done much research into blackjack then I’m sure you ran across card counting. Card counting is where you increase your bet when the deck is rich in 10’s and Ace’s. Blackjacks pay a unit and a half, so increasing your bet during high-count times, creates an advantage for the player. (Sometimes, the house calls counters advantage players) It should be noted though, unless you are willing to risk drastically higher stakes and do a lot of work to maintain an accurate count they do not raise your edge exceedingly.

 I do not relish the notion of keeping up with the “count”, or increasing my bet by 10 times my original amount. When I designed my system I wanted something that did not force me to remember a collection of information, like card counting. I also wanted something that would not require an immense bankroll, like the Martingale system. So I designed something that is both economical and easy enough to remember while drinking. 🙂 I’ve done remarkably well with this system. It allows me to drink, and I win more than I lose.


My system works on negative progression, that means that your bet increases when you lose. Unlike the Martingale system though, you only increase you bet one unit when you lose rather than doubling it. When you win, you decrease your bet by one. So if you decided you were going to use a unit of $10, then every time you lost you would add $10 to your last bet to get the amount of your current bet. Every time you win a bet, you subtract $10 from your last bet to get your current bet. That is the basis of the whole system: incremental negative progression.

 There are only 3 exceptions to the above rule. This has to do with double downs, splits and Blackjacks.

 1) If you win a double down it counts as 2 wins so subtract 2 units from your winning bet for your current bet. If you miss a double down add only 1 unit from your loss to get your current bet. Example: Your unit = $10. You currently have a $50 bet, double down, and win. Your next bet should be $30.

 2) Splits work the same way as double downs. If you win 2 splits it counts as 2 wins, so subtract 2 units from your winning bet to get your current bet. If you win 4 splits it counts as 4 wins, so subtract 4 units from your winning bet to get your current bet. If you lose splits, only count half of the loses. So 2 loses means your current bet will be 1 unit higher. (Your choice when it is an odd number of loses to round up or down) Example: Your unit = $15. You currently have $120 bet, split twice, and win all 3. Your next bet should be $75.

 3) When you get a blackjack it counts as 2 wins so subtract 2 units from it to get your current bet. Example: Your unit = $25. You hit a blackjack for $100. Your next bet should be $50.

 Another Note: Combine the number of wins and subtract the number of losses in complex hands and use the number of wins. Example: Your unit = $10. You bet $70, have 4 splits and 2 double downs. Lets say you only lose one of the double downs, you have effectively won 2. (Lost 2 and won 4) Here is each hand in the example:

 A.) DD, got 18, and won = 2 wins

B.) DD, got 13, and lost = 2 loses

C.) Got 19, and won = 1 win

D.) Got 20, and won = 1 win

With your bets changing every hand, the dealer is going to hate you. Even if you do not use this method, you should still tip. If this approach helps you, TIP! I’ve been asked many times, “What is [expected, normal or standard] tipping.”. There is not a fixed amount to give. The guidelines that I think you should use are these: 10 percent of your buy-in per hour, or 1 unit per hour if you are using my system. You will notice I did not say winning or losing. I did not even mention anything about tipping whenever you make a blackjack. That is because although I tend to believe that you should tip more when you are winning, I do not “blame” the dealer one way or the other. To me the dealer is just like a waiter. He just delivers my cards rather than my food. Regardless if the food is good or bad, I tip based on the service given in both cases.

I do not bet for the dealers, but some dealers prefer bets to hand-ins, so it is debatable. I do not tip rude dealers, or dealers who are bitchy or complaining the whole time I’m there. (I usually change tables, in any case) I do not think you should tip someone who does not interact with you at all.

If you truly want to be a winner, I have the “golden rule” for you: Set the amount you want to win, BEFORE YOU GO. I can not stress this enough. Get a number in your mind that you would be satisfied with before you leave the house. LEAVE when you achieve this goal regardless of where you are in the system. If your goal is to triple your buy-in and you have reached that goal: Leave. Do not let it bother you if you are not back down to one unit. The system will increase your bankroll even though your average bet slowly keeps getting higher. When it comes to winning, pay attention to your bankroll, not your current bet. I also would not recommend trying to collect more than triple your buy-in. It requires several hours, and the higher your goal the less likely it becomes that you will hit it.

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Abuse of Power

Thursday, January 21st, 2010


Many times in our lives we are treated unfairly. It makes us feel helpless and vulnerable. We deal with it by getting angry, sad, or in many other ways. We wish so badly things went differently, that the other person could somehow understand where we are coming from, but that’s just not the case. They don’t want to listen, or they selectively listen to the parts they like, the parts that confirm the judgment they’ve already made.

 Justice is about treating everyone equally. It’s about rules we all have to follow. We can’t get away with excuses or justifications in a court. You simply have to do the “right” thing irregardless of: how mad you are; how much you would enjoy vengeance; how justified we feel we are. When we say something hurtful to someone, does it really matter if we’re were mad?; Does it matter if we’re drunk?; Does lying and telling them we didn’t mean it afterwards take the pain away? I don’t think it does.

 I believe that when we mess up we should own up to it. The guy who abuses his wife because “she had it coming” isn’t forgiven because he was mad. The drunk driver who kills a child isn’t forgiven because “He can’t stop himself from drinking.”. These are extreme cases I know, but the same defensive mechanisms are still used when people make mistakes in everyday life. We say “I couldn’t help myself”, “I couldn’t stop.” or “I was overwhelmed.” We don’t accept these justifications when it comes to big stuff, why do we accept them when it comes to smaller stuff?

 It feels good to have power. It feels good being the one making someone else feel helpless. At a very basic level it means we aren’t the helpless ones. It’s a sort of vengeance against the people who’ve wronged us in the past. The feeling of power is very fleeting though, so we tend to repeat it. This is how a injustice against us in the past creates a cascading effect of injustices against others.

 The person who wronged us in the past is likely untouchable. There is no way for us to “get back at them” or settle the score. That’s the reason they abused their power – because they felt we wouldn’t be able to stop them or defend ourselves. They had us at their mercy, and their mercy wasn’t kind. It’s very hard not to abuse power.

 The old saying goes “Power corrupts”. I don’t believe it’s the power that corrupts, I believe it’s the fact that we aren’t accountable to anyone. It’s been proven in many studies that if we believe we can get away with something we want, we will do it.

 Even though we consider stealing wrong, we have no problem stealing on our taxes or from big business. To me that’s proof positive that we, as a people, are only good when we’re held accountable for our actions. If we think we could get away with it or we don’t feel a personal connection, then we don’t have a problem doing something normally we’d consider morally wrong. The morals involved haven’t changed, in both cases it’s taking something that doesn’t belong to us.

 My advice to the world is to work hard to put yourself in other’s positions. Abusing power gives us instant gratification, and gives the other person long term hatred. I work daily to keep from hurting other people’s feelings, and I suggest you do the same. This shows itself more greatly when we disagree with someone. Consider this, in a case of “us versus them” how easily are we mean or abusive for even the slightest infractions.

I’m not saying that we need to accept everything thrown our way. I’m just saying maybe Isaac Newton was wrong when he said “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”. I don’t think the reaction is equal, and I would like to see us, as individuals, strive for an equal reaction, rather than an overreaction.  


I’m going to do my best not to be listed with these fellow author’s for not giving an equal reaction:

Alice Hoffman called her critic “Roberta Silman in the Boston Globe is a moron” and “Now any idiot can be a critic,” reference Los Angeles Times.

Alain de Botton posted a comment to the personal blog of critic Caleb Crain “I will hate you till the day I die and wish you nothing but ill will in every career move you make.” reference The New York Observer.

And of course the batty story of Candace Sams, who threatened to sick the FBI on a reviewer. Author WTFckery at play has the epic dialogue.

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