DannyHamilton
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November 13, 2012, 03:27:31 AM 

I'm pretty sure there's no winning strategy for BlackJack at bitZino. It's a game of skill, but no matter how good you are at it, the house edge is still positive.
Tell that to my balance (: The trick with BlackJack is knowing when to split, when to double, when to take no cards and let the dealer bust, etc . . . Don't need to tell it to your balance, I know the math behind it. You can believe whatever you want, but it doesn't change the math. Assuming that they are playing with fair decks (all cards are present and the shuffle is truly random), the current blackjack rules at bitZino give the house a 0.39759% edge. So, if you play perfect strategy and never make a mistake on a single hand, over a large enough sample of hands you will lose 3.9759 BTC for every 1,000.00 BTC you bet. The only "normal" Blackjack rules that favor the player that bitZino doesn't offer are "Dealer stands on 17" and "Surrender". If they should decide only to add "Surrender" to the rules, it could shrink the house advantage to 0.30602% If they should decide only to add "Dealer stands on 17" to the rules, it could shrink the house advantage to 0.18061% If they should decide to add both "Surrender" and "Dealer stands on 17" to the rules, the house advantage would shrink to 0.10479% The only ways to get an advantage over the game would be if they either  Offer BOTH the above mentioned rule improvements AND reduce the shoe to less than 4 decks (they currently use 8 )
or  Deal multiple hands out of each shoe providing the player with a card counting opportunity (they currently shuffle after every hand)
In the sort run, you could come out ahead due to "luck", also known as statistical variance. Given enough hands though, the house edge will eventually overcome the variance and you will come out losing roughly the amount indicated by the mathematically calculated house edge.





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Maged
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November 13, 2012, 03:37:47 AM 

Should I stop drinking cocacola unless I am drinking for entertainment? After all, I can drink water for much less, if not free.
Are you saying that you don't drink CocaCola for entertainment? I would argue that the only reason you drink it over something cheaper is because you like the taste, which is a form of entertainment. Of course you are. You just have really high odds and there isn't a negative expected value to this gambling. But it's still gambling. One more step: Do you buy insurance on your house in case it burns down? Aren't you hoping to put down a little bit of money up front, and if the odds go your way, you get a new house? Surely we can all agree that home insurance is a losing bet for individuals (gamblers) and a winning bet for the casino (insurance company)? Yes, it is. Would you advocate people "Stop buying insurance for your house!" If they have the money to selfinsure, of course. However, most people just don't have the money to do that, let alone even pay for a house up front. Thus, insurance is one of the few good types of gambling because it is used to offset a huge potential loss.




DannyHamilton
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November 13, 2012, 03:39:35 AM 

Should I stop drinking cocacola unless I am drinking for entertainment? After all, I can drink water for much less, if not free.
Absolutely. If you are not taking pleasure in the consumption of the beverage, then you are wasting your money. You certainly aren't getting a nutritional benefit, nor a financial one. One step further: What if I am gambling . . . Am I still gambling?
That seems like a pretty silly question, doesn't it? One more step: Do you buy insurance on your house in case it burns down? Aren't you hoping to put down a little bit of money up front, and if the odds go your way, you get a new house? Surely we can all agree that home insurance is a losing bet for individuals (gamblers) and a winning bet for the casino (insurance company)? Would you advocate people "Stop buying insurance for your house!"
No. Nobody buys insurance hoping that there house will burn down (unless they are engaging in insurance fraud and plan to burn their house down). Insurance is a form of risk reduction. You are paying someone else a fee in exchange for them agreeing to take on the financial risk associated with a particular event (or set of events). With insurance what you are purchasing for your fee are peace of mind and reduction of risk. Gambling is a form of risk purchase. You are paying a fee to increase your risk, with the entertainment of anticipation and potential payoff as the reward for your expense.




dooglus
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November 13, 2012, 04:02:34 AM 

I'm pretty sure there's no winning strategy for BlackJack at bitZino. It's a game of skill, but no matter how good you are at it, the house edge is still positive.
Tell that to my balance (: The trick with BlackJack is knowing when to split, when to double, when to take no cards and let the dealer bust, etc. I'm not saying that some players won't get lucky and win in the short term. What I'm saying is that if you keep playing long enough, the house will end up with all your money. I know how to split, double, and stand at the right times. Doing so doesn't change the fact that the odds are stacked against you, it just means you lose more slowly on average.

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dustintrammell
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November 13, 2012, 04:56:49 AM 

One more step: Do you buy insurance on your house in case it burns down? Aren't you hoping to put down a little bit of money up front, and if the odds go your way, you get a new house? Surely we can all agree that home insurance is a losing bet for individuals (gamblers) and a winning bet for the casino (insurance company)? Would you advocate people "Stop buying insurance for your house!"
I agree with your point, but I'm not sure I would consider my house burning down being the "odds going my way" (: LOL




ecoexperiment
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November 19, 2012, 03:34:15 PM 

www.wizardofodds.comIs a great site fore the statistics of gambling. I'm currently using a mixture of poker and sports betting. More poker then betting. The results after about 3 weeks starting from nothing is 3.8 btc. I'll let you know when I go broke!




SurReality89


November 20, 2012, 06:51:48 AM 

I'm pretty sure there's no winning strategy for BlackJack at bitZino. It's a game of skill, but no matter how good you are at it, the house edge is still positive.
Tell that to my balance (: The trick with BlackJack is knowing when to split, when to double, when to take no cards and let the dealer bust, etc . . . Don't need to tell it to your balance, I know the math behind it. You can believe whatever you want, but it doesn't change the math. Assuming that they are playing with fair decks (all cards are present and the shuffle is truly random), the current blackjack rules at bitZino give the house a 0.39759% edge. So, if you play perfect strategy and never make a mistake on a single hand, over a large enough sample of hands you will lose 3.9759 BTC for every 1,000.00 BTC you bet. The only "normal" Blackjack rules that favor the player that bitZino doesn't offer are "Dealer stands on 17" and "Surrender". If they should decide only to add "Surrender" to the rules, it could shrink the house advantage to 0.30602% If they should decide only to add "Dealer stands on 17" to the rules, it could shrink the house advantage to 0.18061% If they should decide to add both "Surrender" and "Dealer stands on 17" to the rules, the house advantage would shrink to 0.10479% The only ways to get an advantage over the game would be if they either  Offer BOTH the above mentioned rule improvements AND reduce the shoe to less than 4 decks (they currently use 8 )
or  Deal multiple hands out of each shoe providing the player with a card counting opportunity (they currently shuffle after every hand)
In the sort run, you could come out ahead due to "luck", also known as statistical variance. Given enough hands though, the house edge will eventually overcome the variance and you will come out losing roughly the amount indicated by the mathematically calculated house edge. how what is the math behind this? and what would you consider perfect strategy? i went to hitorstand.net and it seemed to help me a lot and i doubled my money at bitzino but it took a long time. i don't think think i have a 99.6% of winning with my strategy.




DannyHamilton
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November 20, 2012, 03:07:17 PM 

. . .what is the math behind this? . . .
Probability. By computing the probability of winning the various hands and applying that probability to the payoff involved in a win, you can determine the house edge. and what would you consider perfect strategy?
I should have said perfect Basic Strategy, and not perfect strategy, I apologize for my mistake. Plenty of respected study has already been done into the probabilities and payoffs involved in blackjack. These studies have computed the best possible action for any set of cards under any common set of rules. The strategies that have been calculated from these studies are collectively referred to as "Basic Strategy". Blackjack Basic Strategy changes depending on the rules you are playing under. So, to play "perfect" Basic Strategy is first to know the proper strategy for the particular set of Blackjack rules you are playing under, and then to never make a single decision that differs from the appropriate Basic Strategy. . . .i went to hitorstand.net and it seemed to help me a lot and i doubled my money at bitzino but it took a long time. i don't think think i have a 99.6% of winning with my strategy.
hitorstand.net will get you started learning some of the more common aspects of Basic Strategy, but it only accounts for 2 sets of blackjack rules, and it allows you to make mistakes on a few hands. For example, at hitorstand if you have a pair of 2 and the dealer is showing a 3, hitorstand doesn't care whether you hit or split in that situation. It will tell you that you are correct either way. At bitzino the proper strategy is to hit. As another example, hitorstand teaches you to always hit when you have an 11 and the dealer is showing an Ace. While this is correct strategy when the dealer stands on soft 17, at bitzino the dealer hits on soft 17 so the proper strategy at bitzino is to double in this situation. Unless you know exactly which mistakes you are making, it is difficult to know how much extra edge you are giving up to the house. You could try keeping track of exactly how much you are betting, exactly how many hands you are playing, exactly how many hands you've won, and exactly how much you've won on each hand that you won. Then after a thousand or so hands you could try adding up all your bets and all your winnings. Subtract your total winnings from your total bets to get your total loss. Then divide your total loss by your total bets to determine what the house edge is against you. Note: You do not have a 99.6% chance of winning any individual hand. There will be some hands where you will have a better than 50% chance of winning the hand (such as when you are dealt a 20, and the dealer is showing a 6. There will be some hands there you will have worse than a 50% chance of winning the hand (such as when you are dealt a 16 and the dealer is showing a 10). Overall the average chance of winning a hand of blackjack is less than 50% Fortunately, the rules allow you to put extra money on the table when your chances are better than 50% (through doubling or splitting), and they do better than double your money when you are dealt 21 (if it doesn't pay 3:2, then don't play). This helps shrink the house edge a bit. Lets say we play a game where you pay a dollar to flip a coin. If it lands on "heads" I give you back your dollar plus an additional dollar of my own. If it lands on "tails" you lose your dollar. Assuming a fair coin that isn't biased toward heads or tail, over a great number of trials it will generally land on heads just about as many times as it lands on tails. You will win as much as you lose and there is no house edge. You only win 50% of the time, but there is no house edge. The house is just as likely to win or lose money as you are, and only statistical variance will determine our "luck". Now lets modify the game. We use a coin that is slightly weighted so that it comes up tails a bit more often than heads. Lets say that it comes up tails 50.5% of the time. Now after 5000 flips of the coin you will win approximately 2,475 times and lose 2,525 times. The edge is so small you still feel like you are winning approximately 50% of the time, but the "house" now has an edge of 1%. This doesn't mean that you have a 99% chance of winning. It means that the house will keep approximately 1% of the money that you bet over a large number of trials. (You bet $1 per trial and play 5000 trials, you lose on average $50). A bad run of losses could wipe you out early, and a good run of wins could keep you in the game a bit longer, but over a large enough number of trials you lose approximately 1% of the total money bet. In this game, after 5000 trials, you've bet $5000 and won approximately 2475 of them getting $4950 back. Losing $50 per $5000 bet gives a house edge of 1%. Interestingly, we can get the same effect by keeping the fair coin and modifying the payout. This is why casinos don't need to "cheat" at their games. They can offer perfectly fair dice, perfectly shuffled cards, and a perfectly balanced roulette wheel, and still ensure themselves a win over time by modifying the payout from a "fair" payout. So in our coin game, using a "fair" coin, instead of winning a dollar I give you your bet back along with $0.98 with every win. Now after betting $5000 on 5000 trials you've won approximately 2500 trials. So you've bet $5000 and gotten $4950 back. As we said in the game with the biased coin, losing $50 per $5000 bet gives you a house edge of 1%. The casino uses fair equipment and adjusts the winning payoff to make sure that they get a profit over a large number of trials. There is no need to "rig" the games, because they've already rigged the outcome by adjusting the payoffs. In any short run, a player here or there will get lucky and their short term statistical variance will be larger than the house edge, meaning that player ends up winning some, but the casino has enough people playing to make up for those losses. With enough money flowing through the casino's games, the house edge overcomes their variance and they come out ahead overall.




Luceo
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Per aspera ad astra!


November 20, 2012, 03:46:04 PM 

What about playing for charity? See sig.




dooglus
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November 20, 2012, 06:22:27 PM 

Nice post Danny. I have just 2 comments: . . .what is the math behind this? . . .
Probability. By computing the probability of winning the various hands and applying that probability to the payoff involved in a win, you can determine the house edge. I think most strategy charts for blackjack are created using simulation, rather than analytically computing the probabilities. Play each situation enough times with randomly shuffled cards and find out what actions work best on average. While this is correct strategy when the dealer stands on 17, at bitzino the dealer hits on 17 so the proper strategy at bitzino is to double in this situation.
You mean "soft 17" here I think. i.e. if the dealer has 7/17 (like A6, or A24). If the dealer has a hard 17 (89, say) he always stands, under all sets of rules.

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DannyHamilton
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November 20, 2012, 06:41:58 PM 

Nice post Danny.
I have just 2 comments:
I think most strategy charts for blackjack are created using simulation, rather than analytically computing the probabilities. Play each situation enough times with randomly shuffled cards and find out what actions work best on average.
I agree with you that the initial developments in Basic Strategy came from simulation. I thought I had read that more recent developments involved calculating the probabilities, but I suppose I could have gotten that confused with something else. While this is correct strategy when the dealer stands on 17, at bitzino the dealer hits on 17 so the proper strategy at bitzino is to double in this situation.
You mean "soft 17" here I think. i.e. if the dealer has 7/17 (like A6, or A24). If the dealer has a hard 17 (89, say) he always stands, under all sets of rules. Yep. Thanks for pointing that out. I most certainly did mean that at bitzino the dealer hits on soft 17, but accidentally left out the word "soft" when I typed it. Thanks for the correction, I'll go back and fix in in my original post.




SurReality89


November 21, 2012, 05:53:48 AM 

this is cool, i curious what the actually math looks like. i am taking a business stats class, and i am used to punching a bunch of data in to excel charts and having excel calculate variance yada yada... i hardly actually no what it all means i just know i put in data type in =stdev(data) it would be cool to see how you come up with this data playing blackjack and how you can determine the best strategy for games with slightly different rules and get different strategy... also in hitorstand.net there are tables that show what to do in pretty much any scenario of hands, would you say those are good strategy on bitzino? the only difference i could tell from the vegas and atlantic strategies on hit or splitting pairs... what are the rules that changes this strategy? and when i'm going to a casino what do i need to really look out for when determining my strategy? when looking up the rules at my local casino they say "doubleaction" and the cards are dealt face up and we don't touch the cards. i thought this sounded weird but i guess if the dealer has set rules of when to hit and stand there is no reason one of my cards should be a secret... but if you split you get your cards face down ... i'm thinking about cashing in my bitcoin winnings and heading to the casino, but i've never played cards in a casino. do you think i will have better luck playing online at my own pace? i feel like the shuffle between each hand give the house more of an edge... especially seeing like 4 hands being a blackjack in a row...




dooglus
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November 21, 2012, 07:59:30 AM 

this is cool, i curious what the actually math looks like. i am taking a business stats class, and i am used to punching a bunch of data in to excel charts and having excel calculate variance yada yada... i hardly actually no what it all means i just know i put in data type in =stdev(data) it would be cool to see how you come up with this data playing blackjack and how you can determine the best strategy for games with slightly different rules and get different strategy... also in hitorstand.net there are tables that show what to do in pretty much any scenario of hands, would you say those are good strategy on bitzino? the only difference i could tell from the vegas and atlantic strategies on hit or splitting pairs... what are the rules that changes this strategy? and when i'm going to a casino what do i need to really look out for when determining my strategy? when looking up the rules at my local casino they say "doubleaction" and the cards are dealt face up and we don't touch the cards. i thought this sounded weird but i guess if the dealer has set rules of when to hit and stand there is no reason one of my cards should be a secret... but if you split you get your cards face down ... i'm thinking about cashing in my bitcoin winnings and heading to the casino, but i've never played cards in a casino. do you think i will have better luck playing online at my own pace? i feel like the shuffle between each hand give the house more of an edge... especially seeing like 4 hands being a blackjack in a row... See http://wizardofodds.com/games/blackjack/strategy/calculator/ for a page that tells you the basic strategy given the rules you're playing. The standard deviation of a set of data is the square root of the mean of the square of the difference between each point of the data and its mean. Or something like that. Before going to the casino, try to find out what rules they play. How many decks they use, whether you can double after splitting, etc. You should be able to find out on the phone to them. Then use the wizardofodds calculator to generate the basic strategy tables for those rules, lean them, and stick to them as you play. BitZino's rule set is pretty good  it's likely your local casinos offer a less favourable set of rules. And most casinos these days use automatic shuffling machines which shuffle the cards continuously, so they're in effect shuffling before every hand, just like bitZino does. If you're not going to put in the time and effort to learn how to count cards, it doesn't make a lot of different to you whether they shuffle every hand or not. If they don't shuffle, the deck will run hot and cold, but you won't know what state it's in, so you won't know when to increase or decrease your bet...

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DannyHamilton
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November 21, 2012, 09:15:12 AM 

this is cool, i curious what the actually math looks like. i am taking a business stats class, and i am used to punching a bunch of data in to excel charts and having excel calculate variance. . .
The reason that the initial studies into Basic Strategy were done with millions of computer trials to determine the best way to play each hand is because it was faster and easier than trying to calculate all the possible outcomes of every possible hand played every possible way. You aren't likely to be able to do it with a spreadsheet. . . .also in hitorstand.net there are tables that show what to do in pretty much any scenario of hands, would you say those are good strategy on bitzino? the only difference i could tell from the vegas and atlantic strategies on hit or splitting pairs... what are the rules that changes this strategy?
and when i'm going to a casino what do i need to really look out for when determining my strategy?. . .
As dooglus mentions, wizardofodds.com is a great site for learning about blackjack. . . .when looking up the rules at my local casino they say "doubleaction" and the cards are dealt face up and we don't touch the cards. i thought this sounded weird but i guess if the dealer has set rules of when to hit and stand there is no reason one of my cards should be a secret... but if you split you get your cards face down . . . I'm not thrilled about double action (or triple action) blackjack. If it is the variant I'm thinking of, the casino essentially speeds up the play by letting you play your one hand multiple times against the dealer (dealing multiple hands for the dealer for each hand you play). It doesn't affect the rules of Basic Strategy, but it does increase the amount of money per hour that you put at risk. . . .i'm thinking about cashing in my bitcoin winnings and heading to the casino, but i've never played cards in a casino. do you think i will have better luck playing online at my own pace? i feel like the shuffle between each hand give the house more of an edge... especially seeing like 4 hands being a blackjack in a row
I find the casino to be a much more entertaining experience. There is a camaraderie at the blackjack table as you aren't playing against each other and all share a common goal of trying to beat the casino. Even the dealer is cheering for you to win. Since he is just paid to deal the cards, he doesn't care if you are beating the casino. Furthermore, in the U.S. casino etiquette suggests that winning players, or players who are having a lot of fun, offer an occasional tip to the dealer. This acts as an incentive for the dealer to keep the atmosphere as lighthearted and fun as possible. Another nice thing about the casino is that the human dealers can't shuffle and deal the cards as fast as computer program. This slows down the play a bit and therefore slows down your losses. Playing at a table of 5 people means that you'll spend 80% of your time watching other people play their hands slowing down your losses even further. Some of the drawbacks at the casino are that the minimum bet tends to be higher than online gambling, and you can end up sitting at a table with a rude person who wants to blame you for their losses and force on you their opinion about how you should play. If you are in the U.S. each casino has their own rules, so take the time to find somewhere with the rules you prefer to play. There are some that will deal the cards face down, and others that will deal them face up. If they deal them face up, you are not allowed to touch the cards. Some casinos will use continuous shufflers where the cards are added back to the shuffler after each hand, others will use electric/automatic shufflers that the dealer has to load the cards into after they have dealt multiple hands. There are still some casinos that will hand shuffle the cards. I've seen some that use 2 or 4 decks and deal out of the dealers hand (usually face down). Most deal out of a shoe with 6, 8, or more decks all shuffled together. The most important rule to be sure about before you sit down at a casino table is how much do they pay when you are dealt a "blackjack". If they don't pay at least 3:2 then don't play. You'll find some that will pay 6:5, and I've even seen some that pay even money (same as winning any other hand). On average you'll see a blackjack approximately every 21 hands. This means if you are betting $10 per hand and you play 210 hands at a table that pays 6:5 instead of 3:2 you are allowing the casino approximately an extra $30 in winnings. At a table with 5 players where the dealer shuffles by hand you can expect approximately 70 hands per hour, so 210 hands is about 3 hours of play. Therefore, sitting at a $10 table that pays 6:5 you are essentially paying the casino $10 per hour for the privilege of sitting at the table.




SurReality89


November 21, 2012, 09:20:21 AM 

wow i just found out strategy is not just about when to stand and hit, i have be drastically increasing my wins by doubling the bet each time i lose so that when i win i always make all the money i lost back plus the original bet... daym this is too easy
considering the the odds are going i'm going to win at least once out of like... 10? say i have 300 and making dollar bets i would have to lose 9 time in a row before i lost my money... do you guys think thats risky? i have been having much better luck doing this.




DannyHamilton
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November 21, 2012, 09:40:19 AM 

. . . increasing my wins by doubling the bet each time i lose . . . do you guys think thats risky?. . .
VERY RISKY. VERY VERY VERY RISKY. If you are betting with extremely small amounts (0.00000001 BTC) and have a large amount to bet with, you will probably not notice how risky it is since loosing 0.00000001 BTC or loosing 0.0008192 BTC is still loosing less than a penny, but keep in mind that loosing 0.00008192 BTC with your doubling strategy will only take a bad streak of 13 losses in a row, whereas loosing 0.0008192 if you are flat betting 0.00000001 BTC per trial without doubling would require a loosing streak of 8192 trials. Which seems more likely? It is a well known betting system called the "Martingale", and it is a good way to make sure that you get a bunch of small wins followed by devastating catastrophic losses. Lets look at an example starting at $5 and the "one time out of ten" that you just mentioned... You bet $5 and loose. So, you bet $10 and loose. So, you bet $20 and loose. So, you bet $40 and loose. So, you bet $80 and loose. So, you bet $160 and loose. So, you bet $320 and loose. So, you bet $640 and loose. So, you bet $1280 and loose. Then you bet $2560... Now at this point you have bet a total of $5110. And if you win this hand how far ahead are you? $5. That's right you just risked $5110 to chase $5. Unfortunately, randomness can come with some really long loosing streaks occasionally. What if you lost on that $2560? Would you be ready to risk another $5120 to try and catch up all your losses so far? I'm not sure what the limits are at bitzino, but most casinos have an upper limit on how large of a bet you can place. What happens when you hit that limit? Then you can't double your bets anymore. So while you will slowly win $5 after each sequence of doubling your bet (given the example of a $5 starting bet), when you finally hit a loosing streak that empties your wallet or bumps up against the casinos maximum bet you are likely to loose much more than you won up to that point.




SurReality89


November 21, 2012, 11:02:32 AM 

yea its better with small amounts... its so boring and systematic that i wish i knew something about programing and could just program a computer to play for me, and if i did that i could program a few computers and them all winning small amount of money so as not to go over the max bet of 10BTC... well fuck it i just turned fractions of a penny into a dollar in a few days, and it was a bit fun watching it go up and up. i'm sure i can turn fractions of a dollar into a few dollar... it might be a small gain at a time, but its exponential when you raise the steaks and 10BTC is a maximum that i will probably payout at long before i bet it.




SurReality89


November 21, 2012, 11:23:59 AM 

besides you forgot about one thing, if you get on a losing streak and then blackjack you make A LOT more than your initial bid




Yuhfhrh


November 21, 2012, 01:47:18 PM 

Should I stop drinking cocacola unless I am drinking for entertainment? After all, I can drink water for much less, if not free. One step further: What if I am gambling for a coke? Plug for my site: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=121920.0 With that, you pay 60% of a coke's price for a 60% chance at a coke. Am I still gambling? One more step: Do you buy insurance on your house in case it burns down? Aren't you hoping to put down a little bit of money up front, and if the odds go your way, you get a new house? Surely we can all agree that home insurance is a losing bet for individuals (gamblers) and a winning bet for the casino (insurance company)? Would you advocate people "Stop buying insurance for your house!" Had to comment on this post because it invoked emotion in me lol My answer is yes to all three. 1. If you aren't drinking cocacola for entertainment, why are you doing it? Unless you are underweight and in need of the extra calories, drink water. 2. Yes its gambling, there is a 40% chance you just wasted your money. If you need a bottle of coke, buy it for face value. If you don't, then don't buy it. 3. I would never pay for home insurance. Instead I would have plenty of extra funds available before even considering buying a house.




darkmule
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November 21, 2012, 01:51:50 PM 

3. I would never pay for home insurance. Instead I would have plenty of extra funds available before even considering buying a house.
Unless you planned on being homeless until then, you'd be paying rent to someone else, which would cut into your saving up money. Then, what you would be doing is called "selfinsuring." Considering the value of money deflates over time, you'd be losing money by sitting on it.




