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Story of the Week: How to Throw Away 10 hrs of EV in 2 mins. A Lesson Learned.


by “actionjunky”

That was the worst way to lose a thousand dollars ever.

Counted through a whole shoe. Running count was around 7 the whole time, so by the end I was betting big, with the true count around 3. But I kept losing the big bets. To the point that I only had a couple hundred left (started the session earlier with a really bad unlucky shoe so I was already low on money). Next hand, dealer has an ace up, the count is 6 and I’m taking forever just looking at the discard tray as much as possible without being obvious. I need to know exactly how many decks are left…

It’s that close to the decision on insurance or not. I can’t tell… It looks like it’s 6/2=3, but is it 6/2.5= tc2? Well, regardless, I’m out of money! I can’t buy insurance! Or I would have. There was a good 4 decks in the tray, so yeah, buy the insurance. Well, I said no since I couldn’t afford it. Of course the dealer had it.

Boom. I’m out of money.

Instead of having a few hundred left for the end of a nice high count shoe, I’m broke. I ran to the car to get money, and 2 minutes later I’m back. On a higher limit table that’s been empty all day, some dumb ploppy is sitting there all happy, and they’re shuffling. (Inside I’m thinking “Dude, that was MY SHOE you just finished.”)

I say, “Hey how was the end of that shoe? It cleaned me out.”

He’s like “Oh it was good, I got a blackjack and a 20!”

Ahhh! So, had I not run out of money, I would have been betting… TC around 3, $300 on each hand, and won $450 on the blackjack and $300 on the 20, so $750… Plus my insurance on my last hand would put me up to $950…


That’s 40 units.

My EV is about 4 units per hour, so I lost TEN HOURS worth of work in 2 stupid minutes.

The lesson here is: Don’t be scared or cheap. Bring enough money into the casino!

If you bring a lot, you can always decide to stop and NOT spend it. But if you run low and then need it, and have a good opportunity with a high count, and it’s stuck in the car, you’re screwed!

I always bring about $2,000 (80 or 100 units), but today I just had to be chill and bring $1,500.

Thanks for letting me vent! And don’t be scared to bring that money and to put it out there!

A Note from Colin — 2 important things I want to point out from this story:

1. I’ve run out of money at a casino… it’s the worst!

So how much should you bring? Here are some trip bankroll considerations:

5 Hour Trip:

  • 100 units = 12% Trip Risk
  • 150 units = 2% Trip Risk
  • 200 units = 0.25% Trip Risk

10 Hour Trip:

  • 150 units = 9% Trip Risk
  • 200 units = 3% Trip Risk
  • 250 units = 0.6% Trip Risk

20 hour Trip:

  • 200 units = 10% Trip Risk
  • 250 Units = 4% Trip Risk
  • 300 Units = 1.6% Trip Risk

As you can see, the longer your trip, the more money you should plan on bringing. How much exactly should you bring? I would say that you need to weigh the risk of running out of money with the risks associated with traveling with large amounts of cash. Running low on money on a trip is miserable, but bringing too much money introduces other risks.

2. While it’s frustrating to miss out on what would have been a $950 profit, it can help to think of it in terms of EV.

Missing out on one round of a true 3 ($300 bets) was actually a loss of about $6 in EV ($300 x 1% edge x 2 hands). Then, the insurance decision might have been another couple dollars of EV.

So while this story teaches a great lesson, which is don’t go to the casino underfunded, the actual “cost” in terms of EV isn’t quite as bad as it felt.

Click here to discuss this story in the members forum…