Risk Of Ruin
 

There's a common misconception that card counters always win. Over short periods, such as days, weeks, even a couple of months, it's not a given that a skilled card counter will be ahead. In fact, the card counter could be well behind.

What's true is that given sufficient time and a sufficient bankroll, the card counter will eventually turn his fortune around and show a profit. This becomes close to a mathematical certainty the longer a counter plays. Let's get back to short run, however, which is quite another story.

Let's say we're playing our 2-deck game and spreading 1 to 5 units (regardless of our current bankroll). We're using the top 16 plays of the K-O Preferred matrix for strategic decisions, and we will play until either doubling our bankroll or going broke. Not surprisingly. the larger our bankroll, the more certain it is that we will succeed.

which demonstrates this effect. Notice that the risk of ruin drops substantially as the initial bankroll increases. For example, with a starting bankroll of 25 units (at the spread of 1 to 5 units), the chance of success is about 53%. That is, if you sit down at a 2-deck table, buy in for $25, and spread $1 to $5 (or, alternatively, buy in for $500 while spreading $20 to $100, etc.) while using the Preferred system, you'll have about a 47% chance of going broke before doubling your money. On the other hand, if you start with 100 units, your chance of failure falls to 3690. Indeed, it nose-dives to a mere 0.5% if you start with 1,000 units, and nearly 0% for a bankroll greater than 1,500 units.

 
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Betting Patterns
 
I have a tell on a very famous player and he has a very hard time with me, even though he's a better player in the abstract. I usually know when he has a strong hand, and so would rather see him at my table than someone with a tenth of his talent. If you have consistent trouble with someone, especially if he's someone you can't ever bluff successfully and/or can't get to "pay you off' when you have a big hand, there's a good chance he has a tell on you.

There is another class of clues that are easier to find and more reliable than tells: betting patterns. They're more reliable because they are based on logic and to avoid logic a player must make mistakes earlier in a hand.
 
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