BLACKJACK TOURNAMENT STRATEGY:
AN IMPROVED METHOD OF RATING YOUR PLAY
Monkesystem has been playing advantage blackjack recreationally for many years. Early in his career he used High-low and AOII, and then simplified things, switching to Knockout a couple years ago and getting better results. He started playing tournaments early this year and has cashed in several, including two of the four tournaments held on the Blackjack Tournament Cruise in November. The following is a proposed method for rating the strength of a tournament blackjack player, using information from his past play. The article, "What a Tournament is Worth" by Ken Smith is used as a source for this article with his permission. Ken Smith has endorsed the use of the rating system described here.
In BJ Insider #69 Ken Smith wrote an article on how you can calculate the value of a tournament. Ken used a method currently used by top tournament players for assigning a weighted factor to the historical strength of their play. The article gives a mathematical technique for calculating a weighted factor to determine a playerís strength relative to a theoretical average player. You then use this weighted factor to calculate your probability of winning the table given the number of winners and total number of players. From that information you can calculate the value of a tournament.
The idea is a sound one, but the methodology used for obtaining a weighted factor as a function of the playerís strength needs a little tweaking because the mathematics of it is somewhat problematic. Thatís because using an increased probability of success is how you would calculate a weighted probability for an event thatís independent of any other simultaneous event, such as drawing a card. However, at a blackjack tournament elimination table the probability of success is dependent upon another simultaneous event, namely other playersí failure. The correct methodology in a case like this would be to calculate the weighted factor as a function of a decreased probability of losing, as opposed to a function of an increased probability of winning. This may seem like splitting hairs, but Iíll use the example given in Kenís article to prove the importance of this distinction.
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