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A Self-Weighting Strategy Is Sometimes Best

by Steve Zolotow |  Published: Aug 15, 2018


Years ago, Mason Malmuth distinguished between self-weighting and non-self-weighting strategies. His thoughts on this topic are still available in his book Gambling Theory. Basically, a self-weighting strategy (SWS) consists of making a large number of bets of approximately the same size. This leads to a result that approximates your average advantage or disadvantage. A non-self-weighting strategy (NSWS) is one that makes some smaller bets and then makes occasional large bets. A successful NSWS makes large wagers when the player has a big advantage. As a simple example, a blackjack player who flat bets will end up losing between one-half and one percent of the total amount of his wagers. A blackjack card counter makes small bets until the remaining cards are good (lots of high cards) and then makes large bets. This will allow a skilled player to gain an overall advantage since his total bets with an edge outweigh ...

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