Anyone that plays blackjack for profit knows that the game involves an element of risk. You are called upon to risk your money in exchange for the chance to receive a reward. Risk analysis should always play a role in how you approach the game of blackjack.
The subject of risk analysis in blackjack is at the heart of Don Schlesinger‘s SCORE system. Schlesinger is a respected blackjack professional who has contributed much to the art of card counting. This includes various counting methods as well as variations like the Illustrious 18.
What is SCORE in Blackjack?
Blackjack is a game of multiple variables. This is a double-edged sword. In a way, this is what makes it possible to use card counting to beat the game. In another, variables and randomness are what give the house an overall edge. Some of the variables include the basic rules of the game, deck penetration, and strategy.
When making an evaluation of the efficacy of blackjack card counting methods and strategies, the variables present some difficulty. It is difficult to standardize a way to compare one card counting system versus another. SCORE as developed by Don Schlesinger seeks to resolve this problem and provide side-by-side evaluation of risk analysis.
SCORE stands for Standardized Comparison Of Risk and Expectation. The SCORE system was first detailed in Schlesinger’s book Blackjack Attack. It considers variables such as betting strategy, rules, penetration, playing strategy, and risk to arrive at a projected win rate. In very specific terms, here is the definition:
SCORE is the win rate per 100 hands, given a $10,000 bankroll, a risk of ruin of 13.5%, and a standard set of conditions. It seeks to break risk analysis down to a single number. The higher the number, the better the long-term win rate with the system you are using.
How Does SCORE Relate to Risk Analysis?
Any game in which you choose to play can be evaluated in terms of risk analysis when you use SCORE. A higher SCORE rating means you have a better chance to win and therefore less risk. Why does this matter? Because as a player you should be putting your money into the blackjack games that offer the best chances at a profit.
Risk analysis can also help you decide if a specific blackjack game is a good fit for you. Sometimes players become hesitant to move up the ladder in stakes as they become more skilled. They are risk averse. We think that blackjack players should always play at a level that is comfortable to them. Moving beyond such a level can be detrimental, and it can cause a player to act with a lack of confidence.
When you have solid data in front of you to suggest that the added risk is justified by the potential reward, it may be easier for you to move up to a higher stakes game. You should merely consider SCORE as another useful tool in your blackjack arsenal. It doesn’t have to be the sole factor in your evaluation of games and their profitability, but it can be accurate and valuable.
Risk Analysis and the Legacy of Don Schlesinger
Schlesinger’s writing on the game of blackjack has made him a legend in the game. His developments and enhancements have also contributed to a lasting legacy of excellence. You may still be wondering why you should trust Don Schlesinger when it comes to risk analysis in blackjack.
The answer is his background in mathematics. Many of the prominent writers in the field of blackjack have such a background. This proficiency with numbers is especially useful when you are dealing with the subject of risk versus reward.
The best way to learn about SCORE and how it relates to blackjack is to read Blackjack Attack. You can still find the book in print today on Amazon. It contains all the calculations that you will have to make to arrive at your own SCORE rating system.
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Check out the following from Don Schlesinger: