Black Tuesday

This, my sixth session after returning from Ellis’ NOR seminar, was unceremoniously lost in grand fashion.  Ironically, before leaving for Horseshoe this morning, I had posted the summary of my fifth session about reaching the benchmark of matching Ellis’ gross score in the 5 games I had shadowed him at PA/AC.  I was in high spirits and confident I could continue winning.  Unfortunately, Horseshoe had its revenge upon me today.  Life sure does have its way of humbling (humiliating?) you.

In summary, in today’s session, I lost my first shoe with a final score of -12u (P.A.=-19.53%), and my second shoe, -14u (P.A.=-39.72%).  It was not pretty.

Of course, one big mistake I made was breaking Ellis’ cardinal -8u stop loss rule, since during the last few sessions, breaking it had worked out okay for me, but not this time.  Even if I had stopped at -8u, though, I probably wouldn’t have been able to recover anyway.  Today was just one of those days.

At this point, I’m not so much concerned about the lost money, though, of course, it stings. I’m more concerned about whether I can learn from my mistakes so that I can win back these losses and then some. The purpose of this learning phase is to make all of my mistakes with relatively low stakes, so that I won’t make them later with much larger stakes. Obviously, I still have a long ways to go, and while I’m eager to get back on the winning track, I need to regain my confidence that I can do so at all.

Basically, everything that could go wrong went wrong today.

– The initial bias in the shoe did not accurately predict the nature of the bias of the remainder of the shoe.

– The bias would change right after asserting itself long enough to make me want to bet on it.

– Switching to a different system wouldn’t work after I started using it, but after switching back to yet another system, then the prior one would’ve worked.

– The killer patterns of the system I chose to use seemed to always appear right after I started a system.

– Where I should have placed bigger bets called for by the progression (but actually only bet 1u out of uncertainty), they would have won.

– Where I actually placed bigger bets when I had felt more confident, they wound up losing.

– And I made a few errors in play execution, though I think even if I played it correctly, I would have still lost this session.

With today’s losses, my gross score in the 11 shoes played after returning from the PA/AC trip has dropped to +18u (+11.40 net), with an overall net P.A. of +2.29%.  While my fighting spirit is eager to win back my losses, I realize it might be awhile before I’m able to recover the stellar stats I had just posted this morning.

Indeed, Horseshoe has always been my nemesis.  I seem to encounter the toughest games there, and I’ve lost more there than anywhere else. Should I simply give up playing there altogether and admit defeat?  Is this one casino that simply can’t be beat?  I’m hoping Ellis will be able to help me formulate a consistent winning approach to play there.  It’s not easy:  Horseshoe is one pony that seems to defy being tamed.

Shoes played:

Shoe 1: P21112211214145324112112214211211241222
Shoe 2: P112211231232111124212111228131


41 Responses to “Black Tuesday”

  1. Hi Dave, ( Finally figured out your name )

    Glad to see you’re back in the game because I sure do enjoy reading whatever you write about it. You have a way with words. I have a few observations & recommendations for you.

    1. First & foremost: While you are testing your new way of playing out you should keep your units low. IE: 1 unit = $10 ( I know Horseshoe has $10 available because I have played there many times. ) There is no rush. After you have tripled your current Bac bankroll then you can raise your units up to 1 unit = $15.
    Wise old Chinese lady once told me: Live chicken better than dead hawk. IF you have a workable, winning “system”, then your biggest enemies are fear & greed. By keeping your bet size low it is easier to control fear & greed so they don’t control you. There will be plenty of time for black chip betting when your bankroll & confidence warrant it.

    2. In one of your posts I seem to recall you mentioning a 1,2,3,4 progression. Perhaps a 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5 might be OK. ($10, $15, $20, $25) or if you want to be a little more aggressive then 1, 1.5, 2.5, 3.
    My reasons for recommending these more “chicken” progressions are:
    a. control fear so you can make the right plays.
    b. The only time you should really be making a 4u bet is if you can truthfully say to yourself: In this situation I have an advantage that is 4 times as large as the advantage on my 1 unit bets. I could go on & on about this but if you want to find out more you could research “Kelly Criterion”. Also sometimes referred to as proportional betting.

    3. Don’t be dejected about a +2.3% outcome. If that +2.3% can be preserved over 111 shoes or better yet over 1.111 shoes then that’s exactally what you are looking for. Furthermore that’s all you need. Casinos provide many games with less advantage than that & last time I checked it seems that they’re doing just fine 🙂
    After-all, +2.3% means you shifted the odds from about -1.2 to +2.3 which is shifting the odds about 3.5% — that’s substantial.

    Still seeking zero, Rick

    • Thanks, Rick, for your advice and support.

      Yeah, I guess the hardest part is controlling the fear and greed, and yesterday, I should’ve been greedy when I was afraid, and fearful when I was greedy, LOL. Funny how that works.

      Definitely yesterday, Luck won over Method, because the guy sitting next to me was truly “gambling,” wagering huge stacks on purely intuitive guesses. He was quite a showman, too. Most of the time, as it turned out, he was betting against me, and hence was winning left and right. He even won 2 dragons in a row. He walked away with several dozen times his buy-in. Later, other folks must have also noticed how much I was losing, and they started to bet against me, too. Lucky them. Yesterday, I was the dupe in the “bet against the loser” method. 🙂

      Yeah, I looked into the Kelly Criterion awhile back. However, it requires a positive expectancy scenario. When the expectancy is negative, Kelly says to not bet, that is, your bet should be zero. For zero expectancy, such as in a fair coin flip game, Kelly says to always bet 25% of your bankroll for each bet. Kelly is based on the assumption that the bettor is seeking the optimal return and can handle the substantial variance that can result. When things are going his way, Kelly can make substantial profits very quickly. But when the worm turns, substantial drawdowns can result. More so when used on a negative expectancy method. Well, Kelly wouldn’t bet in that case in the first place, smart lad.


      • @Dave,

        Sounds like you fully understand Kelly except for 1 thing. You wrote: “Kelly says to always bet 25% of your bankroll for each bet.” (perhaps it’s a typo & you meant 0.25%?) The only time Kelly would recommend betting 25% of your bankroll is if a situation arose where you had a 25% advantage on a particular hand, which would probably never occur. In general Kelly says to bet whatever % advantage you have for any given hand. So if a situation came up where you knew you had a +1.5% advantage on the next hand then Kelly says to bet 1.5% of your bankroll. Then if another situation came up where you had a +3.0% advantage you should bet 3% of your BR, or twice as much as the 1.5% advantage situation. etc.

        Kelly betting is the quickest way to double your bankroll with an “ACCEPTABLE” risk of ruin. However betting full Kelly is GAMBLING even though the odds are in your favor. Most successful Blackjack pros agree that betting full Kelly is far too risky. Therefore most of them use 1/2, 1/3, or 1/4 Kelly. Betting one half Kelly reduces your risk of Ruin quite a bit. Betting 1/4th Kelly reduces your Risk of Ruin to less than 1% if I am remembering correctly.

        IMHO (fractional) Kelly betting is THE ONLY “Money Management” system that actually works & can be proven mathematically.

        With that in mind, here’s a blueprint for developing a cannot fail winning system:

        1. Find betting situations in which you have the advantage and only bet when you have the advantage.

        2. Quantify your % advantage for any given situation (hand).

        3. When your Bac bankroll is small start out @ 1/2 Kelly. (wouldn’t be the end of the world if you lost a $2000 bankroll). After bankroll doubles, move down to 1/3 Kelly. After bankroll doubles again then move down to 1/4 Kelly. Double again = 20% Kelly. Double again = 15% Kelly Double again 12% Kelly. etc all the way down to 5% of Kelly. Once your bankroll has doubled this many times it WOULD be a catastrophe to loose it which is why you want to build in more insurance as it grows.

        I think the hard part is #1. However with your new method of play #2 may be difficult. #3 is just math, which you’re good at.

        I don’t want to sound negative at all, but any system that relies on a progression to win is doomed to failure. (I don’t think that’s news to you.) Unless, of course, that progression coincides with the % advantage of each hand in the progression.

        Good Luck

        Still seeking zero (Risk of Ruin), Rick

      • Hmm … I thought Kelly bet 1/4 of the bankroll for a zero-expectancy game. I did the calculation awhile back. But let me try it again. Maybe you’re right, and I missed a few decimal places, LOL.

      • Rick –

        I figured out where I came up with Kelly saying bet 25% of bankroll on an even-chances coin-toss game:

        If someone offers you 2-to-1 odds on heads, that is, pay $2 for heads, lose $1 for tails. In that case, Kelly says each bet should be: [(2×0.5)-0.5] / 2 = 0.25 or 25% of the bankroll.

        Of course, in a 1-to-1, even-chances game, there’s zero expectancy, and hence, Kelly says to bet nothing.

        Thanks for helping me get this straight.

  2. @ Dave,

    Couple things I forgot to mention.

    Don’t feel bad about your display of Fear & Greed. I am the KING of Fear & Greed. It’s just standard human emotion at work. It can be overcome by keeping your bet sizes low. Repeat after me:
    No Fear, No Greed, just perfect play.
    Never give up, never surrender.
    No Fear, No Greed, just perfect play.
    That’s my mantra that chant to myself b/4 & during play @ the table.

    I have been meaning to mention this. Haven’t noticed in any of your posts so thought I should mention it. I think it’s probably obvious to you, but for others who may not know:

    NEVER EVER bet tie. (Not even if there’s a new dealer 🙂

    Trying to overcome a 1.25% disadvantage is like trying to climb a mud hill that someone put grease on. How can one expect to overcome a 14% disadvantage? (tie is over 14% disadvantage)

    If one feels absolutely compelled to make a side wager, then player dragon (strangely enough) has the smallest disadvantage, but I don’t recommend it. It’s just the lesser of the 3 evils.

    Still seeking zero (RoR), Rick

    • Thanks, Rick – love your mantra!

      Yeah, those tie-yas sure are tempting. Yesterday during the first shoe, there were no ties in 50 hands, and the dealer pointed this out. Within the next 5 hands, there were 2 ties!

      Yeah, those dragons bonuses sure cause a roar. Amazingly, some bet hundreds of dollars on those, and I’ve seen a few win the 30-to-1. It’s like winning the lottery!

      One thing I admire about these gamblers is that they are really enjoying themselves. It doesn’t seem like they really care whether they win or lose; they’re there just to have fun.

      Whereas for me, it’s a methodical grind, and I get too attached to the results. It’s not “fun” for me, even when I’m winning. It becomes just another job, and a rather boring one at that. I’ve essentially traded one form of slavery for another.

      I’ve always been conscious about one’s purpose and meaning in life, and I’m astonished I find myself spending time, energy, and life pushing little chips on a felt table. It’s rather pathetic, when I really reflect on it.

      • It is a methodical grind, and it can be VERY boring with all the charting and having your brain spun in several directions at once.

        However, the “fun” part comes when you are standing in line at the cage with a stack of checks in your hand and you glance over at the ATM machine and see the guy who was “gambling” pulling out his debit card.

        That would be the pathetic part is anything. I look forward to hearing about your next winning trip report at the “The Shoe” !

      • Thanks, Bruce – Yeah, I purposely leave my ATM card at home when I go to the casino, and I only carry with me 20u-30u. Well, on Tuesday, I used up every last dollar in my wallet – literally. I did feel pathetic, lol. Yeah, I’m looking forward to winning it all back. Live to fight another day!

      • Hi Dave, i totally agree with you about taking some time off from bac after a shoe from hell. It’s real easy to go on TILT after one of those shoes. Staying off Bac TILT is probably the only thing I can think of that’s more important than avoiding Fear & Greed, although the 2 seem to go hand in hand.

        Ties & dragons: I’ve witnessed 2 complete shoes that had zero ties. Durring one of those shoes I watched about $50,000 go down the chute since someone mentioned “no tie yet?” at about hand 50. By the last 10 hands almost everyone was betting heavy on tie. I love ties. I never loose when it’s a tie & they generate alot of excitement at the table. I just NEVER bet on tie. I’ve also seen 5 ties in a row a number of times. For me they are a non-event & I enjoy seeing the other players reactions when they win on them. I almost never point out to other players that ties are an extremely bad bet. Only when I feel a real sense of camaraderie with the person & then NEVER at the table. If the pit person hears you say ” ties are 14% disadvantage” they will give you a look that could kill. Ever notice that the dealers are taught to promote the tie? “Press, change, rearrange. Ties often repeat & they pay 8 to 1” Often?, yup about 1 in 11.

        Bac & the meaning of life: I love Bac. For me it’s a hobby & I only go if & when I feel like it.
        IF (and I do mean IF ) you can earn a living at it then I wouldn’t consider it to be trading one form of slavery for another. No boss, make your own hours, free food etc, etc. As your Bac bankroll grows, you get raises. Maybe you’ve had better jobs than I have, but not too many jobs these days offer that kind of freedom.
        What may turn out to be a real grind for you though, is the travel factor. Luckily I live very close to a casino with Bac. If you have to travel a couple hours each direction to play a couple shoes then I could see that turning into a real grind, especially if you don’t enjoy the whole Bac experience like I do. Furthermore, if you are going by bus, then you have time constraints. I hate playing with time constraints. It sometimes makes me play impatiently = fear & greed = Tilt.

        One last thought. Right now you are quite understandably focused on your last 2 shoes. I would recommend looking at results from 10 or 20 shoes as a group. Some shoes will be great, some a nightmare, most somewhere in between. None of that matters. What matters is if you can maintain that +2.3%, or even +1.3% advantage after 50 or 100 shoes. If you can, then I think it’s worth pursuing further. You had a really great run at the start so your expectations were probably set way too high. +15% or 20% shoe after shoe just won’t happen. — +2.3% IS THE GOAL !!!

        Remember 1unit = $10 until you’re sure about your advantage.

      • Thanks, Rick –

        I really appreciate your encouragement and perspective. You definitely have a pro’s attitude, even though right now you’re only playing it as a hobby. The notion that someone can be a “professional baccarat player” was an oxymoron to me before I met Ellis. I guess I should have known that having to measure up to such a giant is unrealistic at this stage. Ellis would say that double-digit P.A.’s should be routine and easy. Not that he wins every shoe, of course not, but that one should be getting at least +10u in 90% of his shoes, and -8u or better in the rest. One could easily make a nice living on that kind of return, as he did for several decades of play. I have a long ways to go.

        You’re right: I have no car, so I rely on public transportation to get to the casinos. For Horseshoe, I take the train to Chinatown, where there is a free casino shuttle bus; and for Rivers, I take the PACE bus to the closest intersection, and then walk a couple of miles. (Oh, I can’t wait until winter arrives, LOL.) For both, it’s a 2 hour trip each direction. So, that’s a 4 hour chunk immediately carved out of my day. But of course, I believe these kind of commutes are average for many workers. My plan was to see if I could really play well for a significant stretch (a few months), then I would move to Vegas to take advantage of the fantastic housing values presently available, and of course, the proximity to an abundance of ATMs (I mean, casinos, LOL).

        Yes, in the terms you put it, I can see playing bacc as being something financially rewarding, assuming one can consistently win. I suppose what I meant is that I often feel it’s such a shame that people have to spend so much time, energy, and resources pursuing something as inherently empty as “making money.” Of course, having money allows one to do other, more meaningful things in life, I know. But it just strikes me as such a waste of human potential for society to require us to spend our lives on activities having no inherent value other than to try to accumulate pieces of paper in our wallets or electronic digits in an account. I mean, would anyone play baccarat or any other casino game if casinos didn’t pay out in real dollars? To me, it feels like a hollow existence lacking much meaning and purpose. That is what I meant by slavery.

        But I think too much! Maybe that’s also one of my problems while playing.

  3. […] After my inglorious losses yesterday on Black Tuesday, I posted my scorecards and comments at BTC. In response, there was an outpouring of sympathy, encouragement, tips on improvement, and general advice from several members. Everyone had been in the same situation I had experienced, and each one has a slightly different view of how I might have played the shoes better. I learned much from all. I very much appreciate being in such a supportive community of fellow baccarat players, some who are still struggling to find their own ground, and some who are top notch players with years of experience and knowledge. It really makes losing that much easier to bear. […]

    • “Ellis would say that double-digit P.A.’s should be routine and easy.” —– Really ?!!!? Easy? — Hmmm.

      “But it just strikes me as such a waste of human potential for society to require us to spend our lives on activities having no inherent value other than to try to accumulate pieces of paper in our wallets or electronic digits in an account.”

      I totally, strongly agree. All we really have in this life is Time. They say Time is money & that’s actually very true because if you had enough money then all of your time would be yours to do with as you see fit. You may choose to work anyway if you had a meaningful, enjoyable job, but it would be YOUR CHOICE. If one does not have “enough” $$, there-in lies the slavery.

      IF (and I do mean IF) what Ellis says is true then a person could easily gather enough $$ in a year or 2 to live comfortably for the rest of their life = end of slavery. — IF

      • Ellis’ approach depends entirely upon the premise that the key to winning baccarat lies in the shuffle, whether casinos actually intentionally control the shuffle to foil winning players, or whether the shuffle is simply not sufficient to produce completely neutral, random shoes, and hence, consistently produce exploitable biases. That is, the success of his approach depends on the assumption that baccarat as presented by the casinos is not a fair, random game. If it is, then there’s no reason to play, because we’d be gambling, and our long term expectancy is sealed by the odds, which are fixed against us.

        If Ellis is wrong and baccarat is truly presented as a random game, it begs the question why Ellis can do so well. Is he just super, super lucky? Seems like it would be humanly impossible to buck the odds to such a great degree.

        I’ve only personally witnessed Ellis playing 6 shoes, as I had reported earlier, and he won all 6 with relative ease and speed. He did not play to the end of each shoe, which is not the goal, but only to +10u most of the time (+9u and +6u in two of them). I wish I can shadow Ellis for 100 live games and quantitatively evaluate his performance results over such a large sample. Then it will be statistically significant, and if indeed he can demonstrate 90% wins of +10u or more in such a test, then he really is utilizing something outside of the game to give him a very real and substantial edge.

        You are right, though – if someone had the ability to know he could always get all the money he needs from playing baccarat, he would be free. When we were in AC, Ellis did share with me how great it felt to have just such an ability. I suppose he has chosen to spend his time now teaching others how to do the same.

      • {**I’ve only personally witnessed Ellis playing 6 shoes, as I had reported earlier, and he won all 6 with relative ease and speed. He did not play to the end of each shoe, which is not the goal, but only to +10u most of the time (+9u and +6u in two of them).**}

        6 Shoes in a row is impressive. I recently had a run of 14 in a row without a loss.(Never happened before) Lowest was +5U high was +14U. The overall % was around +8U.

        The theory of shuffle manipulation could very well be true because the “man” knows that a skilled bac player can consistently take them down over and over.

        I am still of the notion that practice, patience & discipline are the keys to the game. That, and knowing about 5 or 6 gazillion wagering methods.

        Dave, you mentioned that your losing session you would switch from one method to the other and it would lose when it would have previously won and vise versa. EVERY baccarat aficionado has gone through this.

        There is nothing you can do except take a walk. It’s just the way the cookie crumbles. This is where the discipline kicks in and separates the pros from the rest of the herd.

  4. Yes it would be nice for you to watch Ellis play more shoes. If he was able to win another 20 out of 30 in the manner you have described that would be enough proof for me. Especially since you already witnessed 6 out of 6 winning shoes.

    Have all the casinos you’ve been in used the same Shufflemaster MD 2 shuffle machine?

    • Rick,

      All of the games I’d witnessed Ellis play on the trip were shuffled with ShuffleMaster. All of the games I’ve played on my own since the trip at Rivers and Horseshoe were also shuffled using ShuffleMaster.

      There is only one casino I’ve played at that hand shuffles all shoes, and it is the Harrah’s in Joliet. They only have 1 table, and it’s a 3-hour train ride each way, so it is on the bottom of my list of casinos in the area to visit.

  5. How can you buy into somebody who tries claim casinos can manipulate CSM machines or pit bosses shouting “break down those stacks” to avoid paying out. It’s good you leant something from Ellis, but keep an open mind about every thing.

    • Egalite, thanks for your comments.

      I am keeping an open mind about everything. That’s why I’m investigating whether Ellis has something real, rather than dismissing him out of hand, as some do. If it is, I should be able to reproduce his successes. If it’s not, then I won’t be able to.

      After all, I’m the one who computationally proved his mechanical systems on their own can’t do better than always betting Banker in the long run over a baccarat shoe data-set which is characteristically random. So, if he is able to win with them in live play, he’s definitely utilizing something outside of the game, which allows him to consistently exploit its non-random characteristics.

      Whether or not he is right about the exact reason (in his opinion, casino shuffle control) is immaterial. Whatever the cause is, it works. At least for him. I’m just trying to see if it will work for me, too.

      Indeed, it makes tremendously more sense that he operates out of his worldview of baccarat, because if baccarat were truly being presented as a fair and random game, the best he can do is the normal negative expectancies in the long run.

      So, the real question isn’t why someone like Ellis would play baccarat believing in casino shuffle control, it is why someone would play baccarat believing it is a fair, random game. The former has a reason to play. The latter absolutely does not.

  6. Egalite, just because you have less than a tenth of my casino experience doesn’t mean you must display your short comings.

    Just because you weren’t there to personally witness an event is certainly not proof that the event never occured.

    Your last para makes no sense. It is the exact opposite. If a person truly believes that two shuffles renders cards random and plays anyway he is being totally foolish, isn’t he.

    If the cards were random in BJ all Basic Strategy players would win. But they don’t do they. This proves that the cards are not random which is totally obvious to anyone who simply watches an 8 deck BJ game on a Sat night. If it isn’t obvious to you simply count highs following highs vs lows following highs. Should be 50/50 in random cards but it isn’t even close. Highs follow highs far more than lows follow highs, proving clumping beyond all doubt to anyone interested in the truth. Bac uses the same shuffles and shuffle machines as BJ.

    Any counter who consistenly reaches 30 counts in either direction in an 8 deck Sat night BJ game is proving clumping beyond all doubt. Random cards do not produce 30 counts. The idea is ridiculous.

    But please feel free to make up any beliefs you want. Don’t let the facts get in your way.

    • With respects to baccarat as a random game, pardon me, but Mr. Davis in the past has claimed many times he has systems to beat random shoes, stuff like his All-Out-War, Twister, Net-Betting, to name just a few. He even advertised his System40 would beat random shoes too. Be careful about this guy – He is a notorious scammer who will say anything to get you to buy into his systems but he will blame you as incompetent or that the casino outsmarted you when you lose with his systems.

  7. Jim. as you know perfectly well, I have been teaching table selection and new cards selection for 30 years both in BJ and in Bac. Just because you think all cards are random does not make it so. If you believe that, why do you play? Do you seriously believe you can beat random numbers? That would certainly be a world first. Anyone who really believes all is random and plays anyway not only has no mathematical comprehension but a couple of loose screws to boot.

    I think it is more that whatever I say, you’ll say the opposite. Even if I quote something you said yesterday. As I told you before, you’d make a great Republican!

    • Did you or did you not advertise you believe baccarat is a random game and it can only be won by playing random?

      Now who is the one waffling?

      What does this say about your own screws?

      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

      The winning response to today’s random Baccarat games:

      E. Clifton Davis’

      All Out War

      The only method that beats today’s random shoes

      What we are up against today: In the ‘80’s and ‘90’s Casino Baccarat shoes often contained certain discernable trends exploitable by knowledgeable system developers and trend players. These trends were created either accidentally or purposefully by casino card prep procedures. All Baccarat systems to date attempt to exploit trends. Some past systems were successful to some degree. However, in their
      constant quest to optimize profits, casinos identified this weakness and promptly corrected it. Through their use of random shuffle machines and random card prep procedures, casino Baccarat shoes today are largely trendless and, for all practical purposes, random, rendering all systems to date obsolete.

      There are many ways I can prove this to you but for now, let me ask you just one question: Whatever system you are playing right now, how’s it been working for you lately? Need I ask more?

      Identifying the task: The first step toward any solution is to identify the problem. Pure and simple: Beat random shoes. That’s the name of the game today. Mathematicians argue amongst themselves on just about everything. But they all agree on one thing: random numbers cannot be beat. They even joke about it with comments like: ”That’s as stupid as trying to beat random numbers.” But is Baccarat truly random? I’m convinced that today, the selection between Bank and Player is, for all practical purposes, random. However, we are only looking at a slice of true random. To be true random, the game would need to have infinite selection. But it only has two, thank you very much. Either P wins or B wins. There is no C, D, and F possibilities. Only two, P or B. Forget T! If you still bet on ties, now is a good time to stop. I submit to you that the problem of choosing between only two possibilities can be solved by sufficient torque applied randomly. It took me years to discover exactly how to do this. I call it All Out War because that is exactly what it is. No timid system can beat today’s random game.

      AOW Overview: We employ the Fibonaci progression because it has proven itself to be the most successful high torque progression ever developed. We marry that prog to net betting. Net betting, a previous creation of mine, has proven itself to be the most effective way of taming high torque progs. Net betting actually increases avg. win size while lowering avg. bet size and vig. This has proven to be an ideal marriage. We apply betting in a virtual random fashion that does not favor Player or Bank or Opposites or Repeats. Or, better said, we favor all of those equally. We fight random with random.

      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

  8. Archer, I withdrew that system many many years ago W/O ever marketing it. I’m not a mistake free individual but I learn from my mistakes. Much of Baccarat is trial and error and most of that ends up error.

    But its interesting to see you save everything I ever wrote. Why would you save everything ever written by a “known scammer”.

    BTW, I’ve never know of a scammer who regularly plays casinos right alongside of his students. In fact I’ve never known of a scammer who plays at all.

    Don’t you think your slip is showing just a bit?

    BTW, how did you make out with NBJ?

    How about card counting?

  9. Archer, you have never been on my private forum and have never seen me play. There are thousands who have and unlike you, have the credentials to be an expert on me. This post was posted just this minute by a player who has watched me play many times and has played alongside me many times and therefore knows what he is talking about:

    “09-03-2011 11:30 AM #91 PapaJoe

    Senior Member

    Join Date:Sep 2007

    Location:Alabama USA

    Posts:656Rep Power:77

    Re: Horseshoe Casino, IN, Session 6, 08/30/11 Tue

    Common Sense in Baccarat (My Opinion based on what I’ve learned from Ellis)

    I just wanted to sound off about using a little common sense when we play in order to stay out of trouble and keep winning. It’s normal for the new guys to be confused by all that is available here at BTC. It’s like a kid with a new toy. Naturally you want to take it out and play with it. But we’re not little kids anymore. At least me, I’m an ‘ol fart, but one who has learned a few things from Ellis about baccarat.

    First question: Is baccarat a random game? Yes it is BUT its only Random over the long run (thousands and thousand of hands) in order to win, I look at the short run for little deviations from the overall randomness. These little deviations are called a baccarat shoe.

    IMHO, it doesn’t matter if the cards are preshuffled, machine shuffled or if they are hand shuffled. You are going to get a non random shoe. I’ve only seen one, maybe 2 shoes that ended in a truly random distribution of events, and even in those shoes there were non-random sections that could be exploited very easily. It’s exactly the same as a coin flip. If you flip a coin a million times, you will have a random result where the number of heads and tails will be equal. If you flip a coin 80 times, you will see patterns, clumps and everything but random.

    Ellis has done a great job of teaching me the “Normal” distribution of events in a 72 hand baccarat shoe. How do I use this information? I use it to recognize “Normal” so I can tell when that little section of the shoe is NOT normal, and exploitable. I’m so used to SAP, that I can pretty much do it without a scorecard. I use it for both Long term shoe history and short term history.

    I repeat; in the baccarat SHOE things are not random, cards come in singles, repeats, clumps and PATTERNS.

    That’s what I look to exploit. It’s amazing how reliable the non random events are, ex… when I see a 2-2-1 after 2s have been scarce thus far, the hair stands up on the back of my neck (Like Ellis, I don’t have any on my head), and I get ready to start betting OTB4L on the next hand. I allow only 2 losing bets. If OT doesn’t hold true, I stop and wait for another non random event. BUT if OT starts to run, I might just bet bigger (3-5 units) on the next play. It’s amazing how the TT’s can act just like a straight run (22-22-22-22-etc) Of course, there are many other examples of this non randomness for our eyes to catch. You’ve got to THINK as you play and play enough to recognize these patterns so you are ready when they appear. You don’t know if they will hold true, but you risk a unit or two to see, and pretty soon you are right a lot more than you are wrong. Then with good MM, you take your winnings home.

    All this, at least for me, (after trying a multitude of mechanical systems) confirms that mechanical systems don’t hold up any better than pure guessing. I like to look for exploitable events instead.

    I need to mention how important SAP is in my playing. It makes it easier to see what is “out of whack” than any other indicator. Yes, there is a lag time in SAP (lagging events trying to catch up to their normal occurrences) but that’s why I stop after 2 losses and wait for a good indication to continue betting.

    Ellis teaches the best systems and approaches to the game and I use them all. NOR, Sys40 (opposites), OTB4L, F2/3, TB4L, ADN, Repeats etc. I just keep my eyes open and ask the question Ellis asks himself. WHICH SYSTEM/MODE WOULD BE WINNING THIS SHOE RIGHT NOW? If I can answer that question, I place my bet, If I can’t, I sit on my hands until I can.

    Thanks Ellis,


    See that? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion Archer. But when you start expressing you opinion as known fact, intelligent people just stop reading you and write you off.

  10. A good example of what PJ is saying occurred in the first of the infamous 6 shoes Dave posted. That one was, by far, the hardest. I was going for plus 10 but HAD to go to the John at +9. So I turned my spot and chips over to a player I trusted. I figured he was good for one freaking unit. But I was WRONG! I returned from the john just a few hands later to find my card at -5. I quickly overlayed systems on the card and quickly saw that OTB4L would have killed the last dozen hands. I immediately fired my compatriot, advanced from dimes to quarters and finished the shoe in about 14 plays with +10 Quarters.

    I don’t mean to brag but guys, that is how you play Baccarat!

  11. And yet another totally unsolicited recent post:


    Pro Gambler

    Join Date:May 2008

    Location:Seneca SC

    Posts:90Rep Power:47 Re: Coffee Talk Lounge 2:

    “I will usually enter a game mid-shoe (if possible) and will play the system that the shoe is calling for. I try to write all the previous plays on my scorecard and bring the SAP count current. I will play the system until it conflicts with the SAP count – example – suppose I am in S40 playing opposites and the SAP count shows 3’s as MC. The last 3 plays were PBB,
    so I won the first B and lost the second. Now S40 calls for another P bet (opposite) but SAP says that the 2 will go to 3, so my bet is B. If 2’s were MC I would stay with the system and bet P, expecting the 2 not to go to 3. I would do that even if I was in F and the system called for a repeat bet. I do this with 1’s and 4’s as well.

    All of this is experience. I have been a paid member for several years. Ellis says you are still a beginner after 2 years and I tend to agree. I have played with and been taught by the best in the world, and it has taken all this time for me to reach my comfort zone. Don’t expect to become a master overnight. But stay with it and you will.


    I’ve played with both these guys time and time again, Vegas, Tunica, you name it. Garnabby watched Paul win in Vegas. Both of these guys, among many others at BTC, are extremely consistent winners. This would be totally impossible if all cards were completely random. Just goes to show you how much you can learn from a “known scammer”. There are mathematical facts and then there are opinions. Don’t confuse the two, either in life or in Baccarat.

    E. Clifton Davis – the “known scammer”

  12. Archer, you remember Zebra! He was the guy who placed 2nd in your BF Baccarat Tournament. One of my other students, Andrea, placed first. Where the hell were you? Off writing one of your frequent “known scammer” posts? Ha!

  13. Oh, sorry guys. I guess some might consider that overkill. But you guys don’t know Archer. He never goes away. He’s got this personal vendetta… Something about losers hate winners… or whatever. I wish the guy would just win for once. It might cure him. Nahhh, probably not.

  14. I just read this post on 9/3/2011. Ellis you are confusing “jim” here with me, Archer (or Jimske). I didn’t write that stuff. If I did I would say so.

    I do know you and have played with you and have watched you lose. You don’t play professionally for big money because there is more money in system selling. How come you live in a $90,000.00 house in Arkansas if you are such a big pro?

    You are a good street smart gambler who knows, like I do, how to hit and run. You know that Bacc is a grind game. But basically you are a low life small betting gambler lying to people about your dozens of unending systems which, by the way, one is no better than another yet you hype and lie about them.

    Leaving at -8 units or quitting while ahead or playing your latest method ain’t gonna help. Looking at a tote board and hoping a shoe will stay the same is just more guess work.


  15. Well, if that is true, which I doubt, but I’ll check the IPs, then I sorta owe jim an apology. Perhaps it is just coincidence that Jim says the exact same thing, in the exact same words as Jimske time after time after boring time. And Jimske also has the habit of coming up with stuff I wrote years and years ago to prove his point of the moment.

    But now I’m confused. Which one of you two Jims is calling me a “known scammer” or is it both of you, compounding the coincidence?

    Sorry Jimske, I do not recall playing with you. But over tens of thousands of casino shoes I never pay the other players any mind at all. I’m concentrating on what I’m doing.

    I know nearly all the scammers in both games, except for some of the new ones, and they all have one thing in common. They never let their constiuants see them play. There is a new one pretty much every day now.

    By contrast, I haven’t played W/O my students watching or playing along side in many, many years.

    Of course I lose shoes. You have to play to a realistic objective. Mine is simply to win more when I win than I lose when I lose. I’ve lived up to that objective for 30 years.

    No, I havenen’t said anything about winning 6 in a row. That is very common for anyone who has played this game since its inception into the US. But how many have done it W/O betting more than 3 units and playing to a 26% PA. I’m guessing that will boil it down to less than 1 in 500 players.

    But if I thought it necessary to brag, I would point to any of many incidences of 20 in a row or my one incidence of 40 in a row with my students in tow. Not 6. But I don’t even talk about that any more since one of my own students beat even that record.

    No, if I wanted to brag I would go back to my real playing days in the ’80s and ’90s when I lived in AC playing full time and went 3 years W/O a losing day. And even that loses its excitment once you know the trick of exactly how I did that.

    Jimske, I hate to burst your bubble but there is no money in teaching Bac and or BJ these days. If any of you guys have a notion in that direction, forget it. You’ll be working for far less than minimum wage.

    It WAS a good living back when I was the only one teaching and could get $3000 a copy for my manuals and books and sell a few hundred each time but that is not going to ever happen again for two reasons. One is that today there are hundreds in the business whether they can play or not. The second is that today we live in a something for nothing world. Everyone thinks that teachers should teach everything they know for free. You write a book today and it’s all over the internet tomorrow. Why bother?

    Hey, if you really think you can play, play. That is where the money is.

  16. To play full time pro the first thing you want to do is get yourself on a cash basis where you have no debt. Pay off mortgages, credit cards and cars. You will find that such a move triples your purchasing power anyway. Next have a little money in the bank plus a modest playing bankroll.

    No, I don’t believe in lifetime bankrolls. All that is loser talk and loser philosophy. If you know what you are doing and carefully select the games you play, lifetime bankroll becoms immaterial.

    Then, just play black. Go no higher. Don’t make the mistake I did. Casinos don’t bar black chip players because they don’t present a threat. But just in case, don’t keep picking on the same casino.

    Go the opposite way of the crowd. Casinos are most vulnerable when they are least crowded. Their guard is down.

    Pay close attention to your health and get plenty of exercise. Don’t get hooked on fine restaurant food like I did. Big mistake. Get outside often. Take walks on the Boardwalk or wherever. Only play when you are in tip top shape. If you want a drink fine. But your play is OVER for that day. And at the bar NEVER talk about your play unless you like drinking alone. Gambling talk is totally boring to normal people.

    While you schedule your day around the casino’s vulnerability, never play to any schedule. Never make reservations or appointments. You never know when you’ll be in a hot game or how long it will last. Never play on Friday or Sat night. That is amateur night and the casino is on full alert and at their best.

    Be a loner and totally on your own.

    Keep copious records. Your records will keep putting you in the right place at the right time. Know when and where you do best but also note when and where you do worst so you can avoid in the future.

    Never challenge the casino. Only play the easy games. If the game is tough, quit – even if you are ahead. The casinos will still be there tomorrow. And so will you.

  17. Once again Ellis, you speak from a vantage point of vast experience. Anyone aspiring to become a professional baccarat player should heed and embrace your thoughts deeply. Since we are speaking about black chips what is a reasonable dollar amount goal a player should be able to conservatively achieve per session/ day? I realize some days will be easy. And other days will be agita filled. This is assuming one is clear of debts and is living on a cash and carry lifestyle.
    This is a business model as a self emplayed person we are setting up. We strive to minimize our expenses, what are the key elements a player can do to maximize all the comps and match play offers a casino promotes?

    Thanks in advance

    • “Joey Says:

      September 5, 2011 at 6:35 am

      Since we are speaking about black chips what is a reasonable dollar amount goal a player should be able to conservatively achieve per session/ day?”

      Ellis says:

      Hi Joey, about 20 units avg but that is not the best way to look at it. Go by what you are up against on any given day and by what opportunities you can find. Some days 20 units is spectacular given what you were up against. But other days you’ll be chastizing yourself for only making 100 units at a very easy table. The most important thing is to walk away satisfied you did the best you could. But it is a job like any other. Don’t be a slave to it. When you leave the casino, forget about it. There is a whole other world out there.

      Joey says:

      “This is a business model as a self employed person we are setting up. We strive to minimize our expenses, what are the key elements a player can do to maximize all the comps and match play offers a casino promotes?

      Thanks in advance

      Ellis says:

      You need to play with a REALLY clear mind. If you play well enough it is relatively easy to become totally debt free. This makes you into a whole new clear headed person. It changes your whole outlook on life. It gives you a whole new freedom. You feel 20 years younger. Now the money you make goes into your pocket AND STAYS THERE. The people in the bank look at you with a whole new respect. NOW you can concentrate on the game at hand. And damn it, you play better! You devote your whole brain to it. You are NOT thinking: do I make that bet or pay the mortgage.

      Now as far as casino promotions, forget them. Play on your terms not on theirs. Play when YOU find it best to play, not when THEY want you to play.

      To get comps simply buy in at 20 units. BUT you know that only 8 of those units are in play. THEY don’t know that.

      Then, all you have to do is ask. But ask when you have your biggest bet up. Then it’s: I’m gonna need a room for tonight. Yes sir, how many? Are you hungry? Do you want a drink first?

      • Ellis, you don’t just teach and share your wisdom about the mechanics of the game, you also give lessons and how to “live the life”. Living debt free,being able to make money at something I love, and finding time to smell the roses what I am striving to do. From a mental approach I am learning to slow the game down (if I am not sure, I don’t bet) and relax. There is another bet, there is another shoe, and if none looks good, there is always another day. I am an intense Calabrese, so it not always easy to temper negative thoughts and

  18. Originally posted by Archer (re Ellis):

    “I do know you and have played with you and have watched you lose. You don’t play professionally for big money because there is more money in system selling. How come you live in a $90,000.00 house in Arkansas if you are such a big pro?

    You are a good street smart gambler who knows, like I do, how to hit and run. You know that Bacc is a grind game. But basically you are a low life small betting gambler lying to people about your dozens of unending systems which, by the way, one is no better than another yet you hype and lie about them.”

    In my mind Ellis does not need any recommendation other than the success he and his students have had. You can make all the snide remarks you want to about Ellis and his lifestyle. My bottom line is that I have recouped my original lifetime membership in BTC many times over.

    I have played many of Ellis’ “unending systems” over the years and have won with most of them. Just because a person keeps trying to improve on his success does not mean that everything that came before was a failure. Thank God Henry Ford didn’t stop trying to improve on his very successful Model “T”. The game of baccarat as offered by the casinos has changed drastically over the years. To be a winner one must change one’s method of playing the game along with the casinos. Ellis’ “unending systems” are a reflection of that theory. What worked 10, 15 or 20 years ago will not work today.

    I have come to the point in my play where I have merged two of Ellis’ great methods. I use NOR as my basic method of play, but
    use SAP to give myself a greater edge. My results have been quite satisfying and profitable. Never in my gambling life have I enjoyed greater success. If Ellis is a “scammer” just consider me scammed and happy as a pig in s*** about it.

    One more thing Archer. I have never been to Ellis’ house. The fact that you are ready to judge a person by the price of his house says a lot more about you than the person you are attacking. I live in a modest home and I wouldn’t move if you bought me a mansion in Beverly Hills. I love it where I am although I can afford what many would consider much better.

    I have spent hours with Ellis both at the tables and away from them. I find him to be a brilliant and caring individual. The mere fact that he wants to help people improve themselves is not evidence of him being a scammer. Sometime in your life, Mr. Archer, you might discover the joy of helping others instead of the desire to tear them down.

    • Yeah, I remember when I was just like Archer. Well, maybe not exactly. I had a beatiful 5000 SF house in Saratoga, the land of beautiful houses. We judged people by their houses. How freaking simple minded I was back then?

      But now I live alone and actually prefer it that way. Zebra, don’t feel bad, Archer has never been to my house either, except maybe in his mind. Ha! But it is a great bachelor pad that I keep in pristine shape with flawless mechanicals. Easy for me coming from Engineering.

      In my working life, I worked for 30 Rock – The Singer Corpoaration – 6th floor. The whole 6th floor. They sent me here to Arkansas in the ’70s to trouble shoot a million SF furniture factory. Over 3 months I fell in love with the place – the natural state. Honest, straight forward folk, hard working cotton farming backgrounds. The people are nothing like NewYork. Hell they don’t even know where New York is – or care. There big thing is high school football! You get what you see and you are who you are. No role playing here. Really tough guys. Not New York pretenders. Archer would get his head knocked off his first day. My kind of people, my kind of place. I just traded the Adirondacks for the Ozarks. It’s much the same, lakes and rivers and mountains. Just tornadoes instead of blizzards. I told them then, when I retire I’m coming back. And here I am!

      I’ve got a big lake in front of my house and a bigger lake behind my house and a different golf course on either side. Golf is my other game and I still shoot scratch. For me it is paradise. I’m wondering if heaven is going to be a let down.

      My house is a little big for me so I keep half of it closed off. I don’t go out very much but when I do I seem to come home with a different woman each time. That Z3 I drive is like a freaking magnate. So I keep a good wine selection on hand and I have the best stereo system you ever imagined.

      Don’t know or care where or how Archer lives but you know what? I really wonder if heaven is all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe I’m already in heaven and just don’t know it.

  19. Let’s get back to Baccarat and back to the question of why most students become great players while others fail. I don’t have a lot of failed students over 30 years of teaching but they all seem to coagulate together over at BF.

    First I’d like to point out that in the 6 infamous shoes I strictly played NOR. Every bet was exactly by the book. I made no guesses and I skipped no plays. I started every shoe by the book and ended by the book. This means I got in at the right time and out at the right time. I played purely mechanically and “street smarts” had absolutely nothing to do with it and never does. I think Dave said I only averaged 25 plays per shoe contributing to a 26% PA. What the hell does that mean?

    PA is nothing more than ROI or Return on Investment. It is the best possible way to rate your play. It is units won divided by units bet. 26% is extremely high. By comparison, card counters go through all that effort in an attempt to hit a 0.5 % PA – and still never quite make it. To me, that’s tip change. On the other hand 26% is high even for me but not uncommon for me. I’m happy with double digit PA. That’s at least 20 times what card counters strive for.

    So what am I saying exactly? That NOR play is completely mechanical. There is virtually no math involved and no guess work. It is not rocket science. Therefore ANYONE of a mind to can learn it virtually no matter your IQ.

    So why do some fail and some succeed? Devotion and belief. I have no control over the caliber of student I get. For instance when a would be student comes to me and says: “I have no money, no job, and failed at everything I ever tried to do and you are my last resort – Can you help me?”

    Well, frankly, no, not likely. I try to talk guys like that out of it because I know what a pain they are going to be in class.

    Then there is the type that thinks they can get away with skipping steps. They think they can beat any table any place any time. It just doesn’t work that way. I play ten times better than they do but I can’t do that.

    The conversation will go something like this: “Why in the world did you pick this shoe?” “Well I can only play on my lunch hour and I don’t have time for table selection.” Ha, well then you don’t have the time to win!”

    Or, “Why did you pick this system?” “Because that is what worked yesterday!”

    “Why did you pick this seat?” “It was empty!”

    These guys are NOT going to make it because they simply don’t get it. Casinos have not been successful for centuries because they are stupid. You have to do EVERYTHING right!

    And who are these guys going to blame? Me! They certainly aren’t going to blame themselves. They certainly are not going to go over to BF and post “Well I lost but it was my own fault.” No, it’s a whole lot easier to post “I lost, so Ellis is a scammer!” That makes them popular with the other failures all crying in their beer together.

    If you ever want to completely ruin your day, drop in on that forum for 2 minutes.

    Guys, I can teach you how to play right. I can show you how to play right. But I can’t make you play right.

    If you want to MAKE your day, drop in on my forum. What will you find? Enthusiasm, Comradery, Winners. And you will NEVER hear a harsh word spoken. I rest my case.

  20. Dave,

    How has the play been of late using NOR ? Hopefully things are going good and you recouped your losses from “Black Tuesday” and then some.


    • Thanks for the well-wishes, Bruce.

      I wish I could report that I’m back on the winning track, but after my Black Tuesday loss, I spent a couple of weeks at Ellis’ BTC forum discussing what may have gone wrong and how I might fix it.

      Initially, Ellis’ assessment of the situation was that I didn’t know what kind of conditions the new-cards at Horseshoe produced. However, the new-cards are only twice a week at undetermined times and dates, and they use factory pre-shuffled decks, just like the MIDI games, which use new-cards every shoe.

      In the end, Ellis concluded that the conditions at Horseshoe were unfavorable to play. I’m sure he would have no problem walking in on any given day and hour and walking out a winner. But a neophyte like me has simply no chance.

      So, I basically withdrew from the game for now, having completely lost my confidence that I had a real edge. Without one, I’d just be reduced to gambling, and I really don’t want to slide down that slippery slope.

      I did track numerous shoes at a table which were hand washed and hand shuffled from new-cards, but haven’t been able to confidently identify the kind of consistency and stability Ellis looks for in favorable casino conditions. And, there’s only one table there, so, no table selection options.

      At BTC, Ellis does imply he can win overall in a sample of an indefinite number of shoes with the NOR approach, even ones which are “randomly selected” (we had a BIG discussion about “random”), but of course, he has several decades of table experience. He also says most people don’t realize how difficult it is to win baccarat consistently. Believe me, it is not so easy to do what he does.

      Ellis calls anyone with less than 2 years of full time playing experience a “beginner,” and thus, he considers the vast majority of us unqualified to say anything about how to consistently win the game. Of all of the BTC members I’ve met, none play professionally. There are a couple of good players at BTC, but they play recreationally, only for the pure fun of the game. The majority of those I’ve met at BTC honestly admitted they are not winning consistently, nor can they consistently find favorable casino and table conditions.

      One member Joey has posted recent winning trip reports at Atlantic City, where the casino and table selection conditions seem more plentiful and favorable. I wish I lived in Atlantic City! 😉

      Ellis is organizing the next NOR seminar to be held in December, 2011, at the Gold Coast in Las Vegas. I had thought about heading to Gold Coast myself first to research what their casino and table conditions are like. But nothing definite scheduled yet.

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