Cause for Pause

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 acknowledged the first shoe was one from hell, an example of a tough shoe which changed biases often.  While there were exploitable sections in the shoe, by the time I had gained enough confidence to start betting on them, the bias would shift.  Even upon replaying it a different way suggested by another member, I still would have been stopped out at -8u, or -13u played until the end.

The second shoe was salvageable.  What hurt me the most in this shoe was changing from chop to neutral and back to chop systems mid-stream.  I had a good reason to change to neutral, based on the frequency of 2s and 3s I was seeing, but as it turns out, it was at that exact moment it became mostly single chop.  Scared back to playing chop, it was then the shoe started showing longer runs.  Had I stayed with the chop system throughout the shoe, I would have hit a high of +9u and reasonably exited using money management at +5u.  Not a lot, but surely better than -14u.  Daytrader, a BTC member, demonstrated how he would have played the same shoe using the neutral method throughout, and his score came out to be around +5u as well.  So, had I played it straight through chop or neutral, I would’ve done okay.

With regard to Ellis’ -8u stop loss rule, Daytrader mentioned he seldom ever reaches -8u, but I find it striking that in all of my sessions at Horseshoe, I have always hit -8u in the first shoe I play there – without exception – and always within the first few bets going into a game.  That is, in the 4 recent sessions I’ve played there, my first shoe of each had lows exceeding -8u, and including my 2nd shoe from yesterday, that makes a total of 5 shoes which would have stopped out.  Had I taken the -8u losses in each of those shoes, I would be down -40u from my losing shoes there.

In reality, I fought back in three of those shoes, going a bit past -8u and eventually being able to break even or +1u.  I was not able to recover from my drawdowns in yesterday’s shoes, so my actual total losses were limited to those two losing shoes, a total of -26u.  Thus, it was worth breaking the -8u stop loss rule playing at Horseshoe, because doing so has essentially saved me 14u.  Another BTC member suggests from his experience the stop loss should be a range between -8u and -15u.  I was pleased that both my losing shoes fell within this broader range.

Of course, I’m not trying to justify breaking Ellis’ -8u SL rule.  More disturbing is the fact that I’m getting drawn down to beyond -8u so often at all.  It suggests I’m doing something “wrong,” even though in each situation, I’m doing the best I can in selecting tables, watching for consistent biases, and choosing what I think is the right system.  Incidentally, in all of the problem shoes at Horseshoe, the initial indications were to play chop, but stretches of runs would develop often enough to quickly inflict serious damage.

I suppose what the drawdowns are really saying is that most of the shoes showing chop at Horseshoe are not consistent enough to reliably play chop, because the bias simply changes too much. Or, maybe that if I see indications to play chop, I should consider doing the opposite.  Or, the cynical view would be that my experiences are pointing back to the truth of Gambler’s Fallacy and its Inverse, that shoe history has no bearing on what might happen next, whether P vs. B, or System 1 vs. System 2.

As I mentioned in my response to Rick’s comment, yesterday was a day when Luck won over Method, because the guy sitting next to me in the first shoe was winning by 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.  Now I know what it feels like to be the dupe in the “bet against the loser” method.

After the game, one kind player offered me a free lesson on how to win baccarat.  “See, when the light is blinking on one side,” he explained, pointing to the tote board, “simply make your bet on the other side.”  Right, thanks for the wisdom, dude.  Oh, and he made it a point to assure me, “And I wasn’t just betting against you.”  Makes me feel better, thanks!

Ellis advised that after losing a session such as yesterday’s, I should step back from playing baccarat for awhile.

He wrote,

But a shoe from hell puts your head in the wrong place.  It’s not like horse back riding. You don’t just get back on the horse even though shoes from hell give you an incredible urge to do so.  This is not the time to go back betting.  The game is tough enough playing in normal comfort and relaxed.

When you fall off your horse it is time to take a break and regroup. The damn casinos are still going to be there tomorrow! 

Fabulous advice, one which I have decided to take.  This is the best time to rest, relax, reflect, recharge, and regroup.  I had wanted to play every day this week, to treat it like a full 5 day/week job, just to see what it would feel like, to see if I could consistently reach a modest target each day consistently. I guess it only took a couple of days to prove to myself I can’t do it yet.

I sense that I haven’t truly grasped where Ellis’ advantage comes from yet, and I would just be gambling if I proceed, probably spiraling down into chasing my losses. More than anyone else, I know that any mechanical system does no better than always betting Banker in the long run, and that to consistently win, one must utilize something outside of the game itself. That “something else” is harder to master than I realized.

Ellis makes it look so easy, but of course, masters always do.


16 Responses to “Cause for Pause”

  1. steve6969 Says:

    dave im sorry what happend to you it happens to the best and yes when ever you hit a bad the loss the best thing to do is to step back and regroup chasing only makes you play with the wrong state of mind i recomend when you play to stop and puase when you feel the shoe is changing and when you sense its going the way you play jump back in good luck

  2. Could you post your tuesday shoes for learning purposes? We have all had these days.It is so important to have and honor stop loss value per shor.Rest up and go get em.Splendid site to visit.

  3. We have all been there.You are a honorable gentleman and baccarat player.I cherish these shoes as learning tools.I am anxious to read of you back on the winning track in the very near future.

  4. Tough breaks, Dave! It’s easy enough to look back and see what you might have done, isn’t it?

    Seems to me you have gone from scientist to gambler. And gambler is what you need to be to beat this game.

    Bet frequency! Remember? Stopping at -8 and/or +9, etc. has no meaning. A shoe could turn around or go straight to hell. I once won 31 units flat betting an entire shoe. The mistake I made was only winning 31 units! LOL

    Ellis has you guessing shoes from a tote board and knows that some shoes will pay off – some won’t. Some players will do real well while others not so good. He relies on this basic corollary to give him credibility. Again, small statistically insignificant bet frequency.

    Once you know a few bet placements to guess at then betting is the next challenge. In the end we will be making recovery bets. We must win more of our big bets than small bets in order to win.


    • Hi Archer,

      Yeah, hindsight is always 20/20.

      I am still a scientist, and I don’t want to be a gambler. That’s why I am transparently, objectively, and honestly reporting my game results.

      A gambler is mathematically doomed to lose this game.

      I need to be a scientist in order to have a chance to win it.

      If it exists, a player’s only true long term advantage must come from something else outside of the game itself, which in Ellis’ perspective is casino and table selection, based on his premise of casino shuffle control.

      Your comments would be true about someone trying to beat baccarat long term without these advantages, hence gambling.

      I’m simply trying to find out for myself whether Ellis’ perspective (whether accurate or not) will enable me to consistently win as he does. That is the scientific approach. I’m giving it my best effort.

      Either way, we’ll find out soon enough.

      Thanks for your interest in my journey. At least I hope it will be entertaining, lol. 😉

  5. Please tell your friend Ellis that I am not the “Jim” he attacks as Archer in that other post and please put it in writing here.

    Players who can back bet have it good since they can pick and choose. Many times this is not allowed and seats are scarce so it is almost impractical to look for tables.

    Still it’s a guessing game. If one likes choppy then look for choppy and play while you win then quit but long term the % PA is NOT going to be what Ellis brags about.

    He knows this that is why he doesn’t play much. I have played over 3000 shoes. I win. I win small.


    • Per your request, for the record, “Jim” and “Archer” do not appear to be the same individuals.

      Archer, can you offer a more quantitative value to describe your being net positive after 3000 shoes?

      For example, what is your overall P.A.? A rough number is fine. More than +1%?

      I assume you’re approaching baccarat as a purely random game. If so, how do you explain your being able to buck the odds to such a degree? Mathematically, it would be statistically impossible. Perhaps you are unknowingly doing something that takes advantage of the kind of things Ellis looks for in casino / table selection? Otherwise, by the sheer number of bets you’ve placed, you should be down.

      Put it this way, rationally speaking, it is harder to believe that someone like you, who regards baccarat as being a perfectly fair, random game, can be net positive after thousands of shoes, than to believe that someone like Ellis, who regards baccarat as non-random due to external influences, can be consistently won over a comparable number of shoes. The former is gambling, while the latter is taking advantage of artificial inefficiencies in the game.

      I’m not doubting your claims; just trying to better understand intellectually this phenomenon. While Ellis has a possible rational reason to be winning, it seems like you don’t. You must just be the 1 in a zillion that’s super, super lucky? If so, you would not be able to teach someone else to reproduce your success. (Congratulations on your success!)

  6. Of course Ellis continues to claim that you are a baccarat master with his help of course. He doesn’t mention that you have stopped playing baccarat because you suffered losses with his systems. By entertaining Ellis’s ego you have done a disservice to future victims of Ellis’s scams. What a shame.

    • I’ve long ago realized that the scammed and scammers form an endless stream that reaches from the beginning to the end of time. One must live and act according to the best of his awareness and conscience. Whether we realize it or not, our actions have consequences, even if they don’t directly affect us. One can only hope that for better or worse, life will right all wrongs, but if not, we all become wiser, even if most of us need to do it the hard way.


  7. doeydont Says:

    So Ellis is a proven winner at Baccarat? What proof did he give you? How much did he make per hour? I would have to make $300 an hour just to put up with the carcinogenic atmosphere.
    If he did prove to you that he consistenly beats the casino he must be a rare Jedi master who harnesses the power of the force to determine which table is the annointed one. Is that correct?

    • virtuoid Says:

      Ellis claims he is a consistent winner, but there’s no objective, long-term record to support his claims.

      The one session I played personally with him over a course of 6 games, he did win with a +26% player’s advantage.

      But when I tried to reproduce his performance using his methods, I lost within 10 games. Of course, that’s my fault, so all I can say is that as a student, I was not able to learn his methods sufficiently to consistently win.

      He may be extremely lucky, or simply subject to selective memory, advertising his winning sessions, but conveniently forgetting his losing ones.

      Read my other posts here for the full story and analysis about him and his methods.

      • So what is your plan? I didn’t see a post about your conclusions about gambling and Baccarat. I guess what kept me playing was a delusional hope for the magic bean. As soon as I can make 1+1=3 I’ll be buying Branson’s Carribean island.

        Are you going to continue to search for the bean?

      • virtuoid Says:

        I stopped playing baccarat in casinos years ago. So, I guess I have no more plans for it. I actually spend more time nowadays helping people stop playing baccarat (and stop falling for scammer system sellers).

        If you’re looking for just a few hours of fun entertainment with a chance of walking out with some winnings, it’s a fun game, and what Ellis teaches might help you walk out a winner. But don’t expect to be able to make a living from playing baccarat alone, because in the long run, you’ll eventually go negative and stay negative (assuming, of course, you don’t up the stake – but if you do, eventually you’ll be at risk of losing it all).

        That’s how the game is designed – long-term winner for the house with short-term possibility of winning for you.

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