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Thread: Regression to the Mean (as effective pseudo-strategy)?

  1. #1


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    Regression to the Mean (as effective pseudo-strategy)?

    Hi everyone. I'm a total amateur who loves playing BJ online, but only for fun. I have nevertheless found considerable success in online BJ games using a "ploppy" pseudo-strategy that looks like this:

    - Start off betting $5 a hand and use basic strategy.
    - Get a "feel" for the game and don't change my bet until I have lost two or three consecutive hands.
    - Then, based on the notion of "regression to the mean" I spread my bet from $5 to $50. It is very rare, in my experience, to lose four consecutive hands when using solid Basic Strategy.
    - However, If I do lose the hand for $50, then I immediately wager $100 on my next hand (it is even more rare to lose five consecutive hands in a row).

    What do you all think about this approach? It's clearly not a legitimate AP move, but it seems to work. Has anyone here ever tried using this approach long-term? Does it always result in gambler's ruin? Or could the "regression to the mean" principle be used as a legitimate basis for bet-spreading?

  2. #2


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    Hey guys, I just did a bit of research on google and it looks like what I'm describing is something called the "martingale" approach. By all accounts, it's one of the worst strategies out there. I apologize for having wasted everybody's time with this! lol

  3. #3
    Junior Member brandon's Avatar
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    It's not a stupid question for those beginning in wagers and your idea is correct. The system absolutely will win. Any wagering can be beaten with this method, and the mathematics are very sound. You can apply this to roulette, you can apply this to baccarat, you can apply this to any game you like. Just keep doubling your original bet. You will never lose any money. It is quite unlikely that you will lose 10 times consecutively. If you do, it's unlikely you'll lose 50 times, and 100 times, consecutively, and so on.

    Of course, this assumes you have the bankroll of a Bezos, Gates or Trump. But the casinos do have one trick up their sleeve to prevent them from being beaten by the likes of a giant bankroll. It's called ...

    TABLE LIMITS!

    This one nefarious trick the casinos use really put the Martingale in the dust. Using a red/black bet in roulette to make it simple, if you started at $10 on red and lost for 10 rolls as black kept coming up and you kept doubling your bet each time, you'd have a bet progression pattern of $10, $20, $40, $80, $160, $320, $640, $1280, $2560, $5120, and on the 11th you'd have a wager of $10,240. You expect to win and you will have received all of your previous 10 bets, plus the current one, back in total. Except! The sign on the roulette table reads, MAXIMUM BET: $10,000. You're screwed. Also, you just wagered a total of $20,470 in order to recoup your original $10 bet.

    And this is why progression systems can seem appealing but in the end assume two things that are never true: that you have an unlimited bankroll, and that the house never employs a table limit. As I like to chime in (and some would say dig the knife a bit deeper) when someone is complaining about losing, 'The casino always keeps its lights on."
    Last edited by brandon; 11-13-2019 at 10:59 PM.
    Play the dating game like you play your blackjack - don't go past 21.

  4. #4
    Random number herder Norm's Avatar
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    Table limits are not why Martingale works. It doesn't work period.
    "It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows." -Epictetus

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    Junior Member brandon's Avatar
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    I'm confused - I didn't say table limits is why it works, I said it's why it didn't work (plus, nobody has an unlimited bank roll).

    So in a circumstance where you had a truly unlimited bank roll and your funds would never dry, there were no table limits, AND you were never asked to stop playing, it'd have to work would it not? After all if you kept doubling up, you'd eventually - despite innumerable draw-down with a large enough sequence of losses - get back all of your original bets.

    Of course we live in a real world where nobody has unlimited funds.

    -Brandon
    Play the dating game like you play your blackjack - don't go past 21.

  6. #6
    Random number herder Norm's Avatar
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    No, it doesn't ensure a gain under any circumstances. Let's ignore the fact that, under law, a casino offering no limit would have to keep an infinite amount of cash in the casino. Firstly, it is possible that you will never win a hand. That sounds silly. But, no sillier than having infinite time and infinite bankroll. Secondly, you cannot increase an infinite bankroll. So, with an infinite bankroll, you can never have a gain at all.

    You must be careful with the concept of infinity.
    "It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows." -Epictetus

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    Junior Member brandon's Avatar
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    So what you're saying is that this awesome modified Martingale system I bought from a guy that smelled like Axe body spray outside the Bellagio doesn't work? He told me there was no risk because I only pay him if I win! =D
    Play the dating game like you play your blackjack - don't go past 21.

  8. #8
    Random number herder Norm's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's a sure....
    "It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows." -Epictetus

  9. #9


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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm View Post
    Secondly, you cannot increase an infinite bankroll. So, with an infinite bankroll, you can never have a gain at all.

    You must be careful with the concept of infinity.
    A perfect explanation.

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