I stumbled across the following article recently (excerpt below). Would any of you care to comment please ?
"Blackjack: A Winner�s Handbook discusses the problem of card clumping as it relates to short term play. Simply put, clumping wipes out the card counters edge in many games by inverting the information generated by the count. Instead of an advantage, as the count may indicate, the counter is playing to a disadvantage as he or she bets up into a low-card clump and draws the unfavorable low cards.
Not only that, the counter is committing the very sin for which so many card counting authors criticize the player who uses a non-count system: just like many gamblers, he is betting up on successive losses.
There is another problem, however, which all but nullifies any potential theoretical advantage the short-term counter expects to realize: bankroll swings versus small advantage.
Consider the short-term card counter in his or her attempt to grind out profits using a card counting system. First, the counter must contend with boredom because betting with the count is a waiting game.
It has been shown in many card counting books that high bets make up fewer than 5 to 10% of the hands. So when those high bet opportunities present themselves, the adrenalin starts flowing as the big bet is pushed out. On a loss, another big bet as the count increases into a low card clump, and more adrenalin.
If the counter is using a betting spread of 12 to 1, which many traditional blackjack books recommend for the multi-deck shoe game, it is quite easy to lose 40 units or more in a clumped shoe. This ratio between high bet and low bet is necessary to overcome the house edge and give the counter his 1% theoretical advantage.
But these swings in the counter�s bankroll are devastating and in some instances catastrophic to a player with the standard bankroll of 200 units. Many blackjack card counting authors recommend bankrolls of 200 units, and, in my opinion, even a 200-unit roll is not safe in a heavily clumped shoe game. It is interesting to note, however, that books published late in the 20th century, have upped this units per bankroll number considerably � Vancura in Knock Out Blackjack to 1000 and Ian Andersen is Burning The Tables in Las Vegas to as high as 2000.
Kenny Uston writes about downswings in Million Dollar Blackjack:
� . . . if you were to play and enjoy a 2% advantage on every hand (which is unrealistically optimistic), after 2,500 hands you would have a 20% chance of losing. This statistic is continually borne out by our actual playing experiences . . .�
He then goes on to describe a 22-day period �in some of the most favorable games I�ve ever experienced. The interval included five days of playing only positive four-deck shoes at the Fremont (team play), five days of juicy single-deck game at the Dunes and six days of playing only positive shoes at the Desert Inn.�
At the end of this period, betting optimally to his large bankroll and with the true count, Kenny was down $35,000.
Now you have an understanding of why I stressed two bankroll divisor numbers in Chapter 3 of Blackjack: A Winner�s Handbook; today�s player, playing to the short-term, with winning strategies in this book, can start with a bankroll 1/5th or even 1/10th the size of the traditional card counters� bankroll.
Here, then, are my recommendations for the traditional card counter in confronting the realities of today�s multi-deck shoe games:
1. Do not bet up with the count on successive losses as most other blackjack books recommend; set a rigid table stop-loss amount and adhere to it count or no count. Table departure is the best decision you can make under these losing conditions because it is quite possible that this same low-card clump may come back to whack you in the next shoe." Unquote.
That last sentence seems to endorse what I saw recently :
Hot dealer wiping out players (on very high counts) shoe after shoe (6D) from 1pm - 5pm. I gave up after a few shoes as it was getting too expensive. Had a break and at night went to see if that table had improved. Back counted, didn't play. Incredible .....very high counts so often - and right to the end of shoes too - and it was still a massacre for players.