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yellowboots's picture
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13 July 2012 - 4:11pm

Systems or strategies...

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Marriejonsan put up a post recently about good strategies to play online and as I think she has raised a bigger point than her thread originally allows for I am going to hijack it Pirate (in the nicest possible way Marrie Wine and broaden the ancient gambling debate...

What I am talking about is the centuries old discussion about "systems vs strategies".

A system is a way of playing/gambling with rules that you follow rigidly. Long term, they never work. Ever! Sad but true Cry and I am sure Ed, Slim, Hope and all the other experienced players in here have legions of examples to back this fact up.

A strategy however is a philosophy of playing with no rigid rules but some basic guidelines. Rather like Wellington at Waterloo when asked what his detailed battle plans were > "to beat the French of course" was his only answer. In other words what is the point pf rigid plans, decisions must be made according to what is happening in the battle. So too in gaming.

It is important not to confuse the two because If your strategy starts to get too many rules then you have a system which will bomb eventually. However it is equally important to have some form of loose playing/betting strategy according to what is going on in the game, in my opinion (which is based on quite a few years of playing on and offline) or otherwise we are all just vegetables randomly banging buttons with no thought pattern involved at all > fun for a while but hardly challenging or profitable I would venture.

My question though is that my experience and comments are based on my fave game which is roulette. So is the same true with cards, slots and other games? I would hazard a guess and say yes but I would like to hear much wider feedback on this whole idea.

Thanks and looking forward to seeing what you all think I don't know


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17 July 2012 - 6:06am

You raise a good point there but I think the strategy you are speaking of is more a bankroll or money management strategy as opposed to a game strategy.

Almost all casino card games (and video poker too) have a correct strategy. Blackjack for example has a "basic strategy" that can be learned. That is to say there is one way of playing that will minimise the edge that the casino has over you. There is a correct move to make in every possible situation you will find yourself in. Sometimes this is complicated, like blackjack's basic strategy, and sometimes it is dead simple, like always raise with AKJ83 or better in Caribbean Stud Poker.

If you're very lucky a strategy could even put things in your favour if you run into an exceptionally generous video poker paytable for example.

Systems on the other hand are basically worthless. For the uninitiated a betting system is often marketed as a "can't lose" proposition where if you follow the system's betting rules or patterns you will always win. A very simple one is the Martingale where you double your bet each time you lose a spin in roulette. In theory its a sure fire winner. Unfortunately the reality is quite different because casinos have table limits and you don't have an unlimited bankroll, which means you can and will lose if you follow the system. You may have a lot of small wins but eventually the maths will get you and you will have a catastrophic loss. Systems can have their uses in terms of money management in that they may restrict you from betting too much when you shouldn't, but apart from that I see little point to using a system.

So I guess all you need to know is that a system won't affect the house edge of the games you are playing, while a correct strategy will.

2 members gave thanks for this useful post: barbadosslim93, yellowboots

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19 July 2012 - 2:01pm

Thanks Ed for your great advice, much appreciated as usual!

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