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The NBJ (New Blackjack) and WCB (World Class Blackjack) blackjack systems put out by Jerry Patterson and E. Clifton David are yet two more in a long line of phony gambling systems put out by Patterson and Davis. Professional gambler Arnold Snyder attends the classes on the NBJ and WCB systems, analyzes them, and reports on the latest scam run by Patterson and Davis.
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Review of E. Clifton Davis' NBJ and WCB Blackjack Systems

 
Jerry Patterson and E. Clifton Davis sell New Blackjack NBJ and World Class Blackjack (WCB) phony blackjack systems
 
HOW TO WIN AT BLACKJACK: CONTENTS
Blackjack Strategy  How to Win at Blackjack
    (With or Without Counting Cards)
Professional Gamblers' Guide to Card Counting Reality Blackjack Hype vs. Blackjack Reality
Blackjack Strategy  A First Year in the Blackjack Pits
Blackjack Strategy Learn Blackjack Basic Strategy
Why Card Counting Works Card Counting
    (What It Is, Why It Works)
Blackjack Card Counting The Easy Red 7 Count
This card counting system makes it easier than ever for blackjack players to win The Even Easier OPP Count
Effects of Blackjack Rules and Number of Decks on Blackjack House Edge Calculating the House Edge
    (For any number of decks and rule set)
How Professional Gamblers Win at Blackjack Do You Have What it Takes to Win?
 
BLACKJACK BETTING SYSTEMS:
CONTENTS
When a positive progression betting system is your best blackjack strategy Oscar's Blackjack Betting System
    (The Betting System with the Highest
    Odds of a Short-Term Win)
    By Arnold Snyder
When a positive progression betting system is your best blackjack strategy The Martingale Betting System
    By Arnold Snyder
When a positive progression betting system is your best blackjack strategy The Cancellation Betting System
    By Arnold Snyder
When a positive progression betting system is your best blackjack strategy The Tournament Betting System
    By Arnold Snyder
When a positive progression betting system is your best blackjack strategy "No Need To Count" Blackjack System
    By Arnold Snyder
When a positive progression betting system is your best blackjack strategy 'Overdue' Blackjack Betting Systems
    By Arnold Snyder
When a positive progression betting system is your best blackjack strategy Dr. John Gwynn Jr. on Properties of
    Betting Systems (Coming Soon)
 
SCAMS, CONS, AND PHONY SYSTEMS : CONTENTS
ace location gambling scam One Million Roulette Experts: A Swami
    Pastrami Parable on Winners'
    Testimonials
    By Arnold Snyder
phony ace prediction gambling system Comic Book Blackjack Systems
    By Arnold Snyder
phony gambling system and winners Non-Random Shuffle Systems
    By Arnold Snyder
phony ace prediction gambling system Gambling Systems' 'Big Secrets'
    By Arnold Snyder
Other Gambling Cons and Scams
Gambling scams and cons Reach Out and Fleece Someone
    By Arnold Snyder
Gambling scams and cons Flipped
    By Dunbar
NBJ Blackjack System by E. Clifton Davis, phony gambling system New Blackjack, Same Old Baloney:
    Review of E. Clifton Davis' NBJ System
    By Arnold Snyder with commentary by
    Boardwalker
Articles about Jerry Patterson and the TARGET System
Jerry Patterson and TARGET blackjack system Patterson Bars Snyder from TARGET
    By Arnold Snyder (Coming soon)
TARGET gambling system and Jerry Patterson Off Target
    By Arnold Snyder
phony blackjack system and Jerry Patterson I Saw It With My Own Eyes
    By Arnold Snyder
<i>Break the Dealer</i> by Jerry Patterson Review of Break the Dealer, by Jerry L.
    Patterson and Eddie Olsen
    By Arnold Snyder
phony blackjack system by Jerry Patterson Response to Arnold Snyder's Review
    of Break the Dealer
    By Jerry Patterson
phony gambling system, Break the Dealer by Jerry Patterson Snyder's Response to Patterson's
    Response to Snyder's Review of
    Break the Dealer
    By Arnold Snyder
Articles about Leonard Benson and the Power Numbers Blackjack System
Power Numbers Blackjack by Leonard Benson John Leib Challenges
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    By Arnold Snyder and John Leib
Power Numbers Blackjack by Leonard Benson Leonard Benson Takes the Challenge
    By John Leib
Power Numbers Blackjack by Leonard Benson 22 Hours of Leonard Benson's
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    By John Leib
 
 

 

New Blackjack, Same Old Baloney:
A Review of E. Clifton Davis' NBJ System

By Arnold Snyder (with commentary by the Boardwalker)
(From Blackjack Forum XIII #3, September 1993)
© 1993 Blackjack Forum

[Note from A.S.--WARNING! WARNING! If you are considering buying the NBJ system, you are considering investing money in a Martingale betting system! STOP! Consult with a mathematician (a real one) immediately! Emergency mathematicians are now on duty to take your call!

1991: Enter E. Clifton Davis and NBJ ("New Blackjack"), a dressed-up martingale betting progression system for casino blackjack. The system is published by Jerry Patterson Enterprises.

Davis has been an occasional contributor to Eddie Olson's Blackjack Confidential newsletter. Olsen is the inventor of the TARGET system, one of the first widely promoted "streak" or "trend" blackjack systems — also sold by Patterson.

I wasted a lot of ink trashing the trendies in the past. Ed Thorp, Ken Uston, Stanford Wong, Julian Braun, Peter Griffin, and Mason Malmuth have all gone on record stating their shared belief that the TARGET blackjack theories are worthless. Every independent computer simulation of non-random casino-style shuffles that I've seen refutes the TARGET theories about the effects of poor shuffles.

The Facts About Card Clumping

Here are the facts. When cards are dealt to players who all play perfect basic strategy, the discard stack, if dealt again without being disturbed by a shuffle, would be in an order highly favorable to players. John Gwynn and Stanford Wong independently determined that the play of the hands at blackjack puts the cards into a player-favorable order. Players can confirm this themselves with John Imming's UBE software.

Low cards and high cards do get clumped together during the play of blackjack hands, and this clumping would be worth about .75% to the basic strategy player if the cards were not put through a shuffle before the next deal. (This is determined by running simulations with no shuffle, just picking up the discards, cutting, and resuming play.)

It's even possible for brand new decks to favor the first base side of the table by a few tenths of a percent, and similarly hurt the third base side of the table, if you put the new decks through a weak enough shuffle (weaker than any of the moderators at BJF have seen in any casino in the world--one riffle, no cuts, no strips on one-deck).

But it does not appear possible to create a shuffle that has the huge advantages/disadvantages (+/- 5% to 20%) described by the non-random shuffle gurus. In any case, casinos do indeed put the cards through a more thorough shuffle before dealing discards or new decks, and the shuffle is sufficient in every casinos we've seen to eliminate this player-favorable effect.

Plus, I have personally tested Martingale systems, like those advised by Davis, vs. extremely sloppy shuffles using Imming's UBE software. There is simply no effect, regardless of how random, non-random, or "clumpy" the cards are.

It was ten years ago — September, 1983 — when my first TARGET article appeared in Blackjack Forum. Since then, Blackjack Forum has picked up a lot of new readers, many of whom did not follow the TARGET controversy as it developed.

So, here comes E. Clifton Davis with NBJ, as well as his new improved version of NBJ, which he calls WCB ("World Class Blackjack"). I'm regularly getting news clippings of ads for "New Blackjack" introductory seminars from all over the country. Players are sending me direct mail advertisements for NBJ they've received from Jerry Patterson.

I've even got a complete copy of the 119-page "New Blackjack" Home Study Manual, written by E. Clifton Davis, provided by one of Davis' students. I've got an audiotape of a 45-minute interview with Davis by Jerry Patterson, in which Davis expounds on his theories. This promotional tape is accompanied by a 9-page advertisement for Davis' "World Class Blackjack" system.

As of the writing of this article, "New Blackjack" sells for $445 mail order. WCB is now selling for $500, though Patterson's letter states that this is an "introductory offer" to former NBJ students, and that the price of WCB will probably be going up to $1000.

Reports on NBJ from Players

This is one letter I received from an NBJ player:

[Regarding] E. Clifton Davis' NBJ course... I asked for (and got) my money back because I didn't play it to the 5%-15% advantage that the system touts. I did, however, win with it. My records reveal that I played it to a 1.96% advantage during three weeks last spring — certainly not a large enough trial to compel anyone to change religions (so to speak), but I wasn't exactly disgusted with the outcome either, since seldom do I perform that well using a conventional counting system.

If I may be allowed to free-associate (don't a lot of Californians do that???), my thoughts on NBJ are as follows:

I went to the seminar as advertised, and the following assertions were really made: That currently, the typical house advantage against a basic-strategy player is about 20%. No, not a hold percentage of 20% (which is believable), but a house advantage of 20%. In addition, they claim that because of like-card clumping, the current dealer bust percentage is about 12%...

Furthermore, Davis pledges that to keep the casinos from making any wholesale changes in their procedures resulting from any of the material in this course, under no circumstances will he sell his course to more than two percent of the blackjack-playing public.

Let's do the math, shall we? 30 million blackjack players times 2% times $445 each (the cost of the course) equals $267 million. You gotta admire the man's character for placing those kinds of economic restrictions on himself.

Finally, Davis asserts that 92% of his students win, compared to 1% for card counters, and that one fellow in Minnesota won 41 straight sessions with this system...

As for the course itself: I think that Davis' advice on using betting progressions is ludicrous. To me, it's like tracking roulette results, determining a pattern, structuring a progressive betting system to match that pattern, and hoping that you're not too wrong if that pattern collapses. In his course, Davis has the student ascertain a "game type," which he says sustains itself from one shoe to the next, and then use a betting progression to exploit it. Maybe it was just me, but for me the game types just didn't remain the same from one shoe to the next.

I also think his strategy charts need a little refinement in places. The basis of NBJ, as Davis says, is non-random cards (due to insufficient shuffling, particularly in shoe games). As a result, sometimes you're instructed to violate basic strategy plays, depending on whether high or low cards "are running."

One such play is to split 6's when the dealer has an ace up and "tens are running." When I called Davis myself to ask him about this, his response was that the player's objective in this situation is to go for an overall push by winning one of the two hands. Whaaaat?

But I also believe that there are some viable concepts in his system, particularly with respect to the notion that cards are not sufficiently shuffled so as to be randomly distributed. Although there was one occasion where I didn't split a pair of aces that I was dealt (because "low cards were running"), then got two tens, there seemed to be quite a few occasions where his methods could be used to determine whether the dealer had a stiff hand with that ten up, and/or what my next hit card would be based on the values of the previous four or five cards.

As is the case with first-basing or playing tells (in blackjack or poker), you don't have to be right 100% of the time to make your system work. And if I can consistently use this non-random-card business to change an average of two losing hands into two winning hands each hour (over and above the number of winning hands turned into losers by using this method), I'll be changing careers real soon.

Conclusion: I'm still on the fence. I'll be experimenting heavily later this year to see if non-random card analyses can be used in conjunction with conventional counting to eke out another percent or so advantage. I'll let you know the results, both in a simulation environment, and in the casinos.

I think that NBJ might warrant a comment from you and/or other blackjack authorities since, according to Davis, his graduates now number over 1,000. Since one could argue that there is some subjectivity involved when making NBJ playing decisions, do you think that it's conceivably possible for a computer jock somewhere to simulate this method?

Possible, yes. Probable, no. Many reputable programmers have lost interest in testing betting systems because it has been proven over and over again that such systems do nothing.

Again, I have personally tested Martingale systems, like those advised by Davis, vs. extremely sloppy shuffles using Imming's UBE software. To repeat: there is simply no effect, regardless of how random, non-random, or "clumpy" the cards are.

The author of the above letter seems to be a thoughtful and intelligent person. His questions about NBJ reflect a genuine interest in whether or not some aspect of Davis' approach might be valid, even if there are many aspects of the system which he finds hard to swallow.

Blackjack Forum's "Atlantic City Update" columnist—who writes under the nom de plume The Boardwalker—was less kind in his remarks about NBJ. The Boardwalker never bought the system; he just attended one of the $10 NBJ introductory seminars that appeared in his area. This is his report:

NBJ = (FOH + BBS)CST

The newspaper ad read like a carnival pitchman's bark: E. Clifton Davis' New BlackJack is sweeping the country! Why counting no longer works! Triple your bankroll! Win more hands than the dealer! How casinos make you lose! Win 75% of your double downs! Why basic strategy makes you lose!

Being a doubting Thomas for the '90s, you couldn't have kept me out of this seminar for an RFB comp. So, I plunked down a sawbuck and grabbed a chair right up front.

Arriving early, I scanned the four page NBJ sales leaflet, which had 10 playing tips from Davis on the front. Tip #7 said to always insure a natural against a dealer's ace. Knowing this is a 4% basic strategy error, my antenna went into high gain. Tip #9 said to treat a dealer's deuce like a ten. Not even if you held a gun to my head. Well, maybe for that.

Inside were more gems such as: win 80 units per hour; learn a winning system in 20 minutes; win 54% of your 15's and 16's; win 67% of your insurance bets. And all this without having to count. Could I plan to retire on just that last one alone?

A few of the 100+ blackjack curious in attendance and I had a chance for a friendly chat before the main event. I played the part of blackjack moron and let them spill their guts. If their knowledge was any kind of a representative sample, then in my opinion, many couldn't recite proper basic strategy if asked and those who said they knew how to count cards wouldn't know a ruin formula if it jumped off the page and bit them on the nose! Cherries, ripe for picking, if you ask me.

Enter the pitchman, Michael Simpson, a full time investment banker and part-time NBJ player/salesman. He began with the words of a confidence man, saying, "You won't hear the truth anywhere else." Opening remarks included highly questionable statements like, "Basic strategy used to work and so did card counting."

Simpson claimed that basic strategy players win 40% of the hands and the dealer wins 60%, therefore, the casino enjoys a 20% advantage. When asked about the effect of doubles and naturals, he muttered some mumbo jumbo that made no relative sense and changed the subject.

Simpson said that NBJ has nothing to do with counting cards, yet in the same breath noted that while a 9 is of little value to card counters, it is a valuable card in the NBJ strategy. Go figure.

In a continuing ramble, he submitted that NBJ is based on card clumping and that after cards are recognized as being properly clumped, they can be predicted, giving the NBJ player a significant advantage over the house.

Simpson went so far as to say dealers intentionally perform high-low stacks while picking up completed hands, then shuffle in such a manner as to complete the stack. (Kudos to Steve Forte for educating me on these techniques in his Gamblers' Protection videos.)

Besides the fact that I have never, ever, witnessed this in my 1000-plus hours of casino time over the years [note from A.S.--now 15,000 hours and still playing], there is absolutely no legal way the casino could use this to their advantage. Yet Simpson claims NBJ players can recognize this happening and can use it to predict hit and hole cards with 50-75% accuracy. Not likely, in my opinion.

I asked Simpson if NBJ has an insurance strategy and he replied, "Yes, we do insure and we do it very well."

I asked Simpson how NBJ players assess whether or not they are playing properly and he replied, "If we won, then we made the correct play."

Finally, I asked how many hours he had used NBJ in actual casino play and how much he was ahead. Simpson said he would rather not say in a public place, but added that he has played recreationally for 2 years and was ahead multiple thousands of dollars. Modest, but not too much so and also still very much in the short run, wouldn't you say?

On my way out the door, I was given an NBJ newsletter for prospective pigeons. It says 40 units per hour is often earned in a good "type 1" game, whatever the heck that is. NBJ recommends players start small and gradually build up a bankroll, and gives these players specific low risk procedures to follow for a while. I guess once you've started making your fortune, you can advance to higher risk play.

 One comment that got my water boiling was that NBJ players don't stand out like card counters because they don't cheat. That's right. NBJ players stand out at the casino cash advance machines. Sorry, I added that. Couldn't resist.

Also included in the newsletter is a 2 1/2 page testimonial to E. Clifton Davis by Jerry Patterson, which attempts to put Davis on a higher pedestal than Thorp, Griffin, Wong, Uston, et al. But let's face it. While I've heard Patterson is a pretty nice guy, his credibility in the blackjack world has been questionable since the early eighties.

The remaining pages of the newsletter contain a table of contents from the NBJ manual, which includes such amusing topics as "Telltale Signs of Clumping," "Testing the Water," "Negative Betting Progressions," and "Insuring for Less." Tell me something, if you have a known positive insurance expectation, why would you do it for less? Better yet, would you spend $445 on the NBJ system to find out? I think not. The friendly folks at NBJ will also sell you a different "World Class" system for another $500.

The NBJ people did seem to be genuinely friendly because I called and talked to a couple of them. I spoke with Marv, who considers himself a professional blackjack player, and Suzanne, who is a part time NBJ player and has contracted with Davis to sell the NBJ systems in my area.

Marv sounded like a really nice chap over the phone and was more than willing to tell me about how important 1st and 3rd bases are to NBJ players and that he can control the table from 3rd base, presumably by taking the dealer's bust card or sticking him with one.

He felt positive that he could guess the dealer's hole card at the rate of about 80% the other night using NBJ techniques. But Marv was quick to add that you don't want a whole table full of NBJ players because they take all the good cards from each other! I'm sure the casinos would say the more the merrier.

Likewise, Suzanne raved about how well the system has worked for her. I asked her if Davis supplied mathematical proof for his theories and for some reason she began telling me about his credentials.

She did contradict Marv, however, by telling me the dealer will break more often with more NBJ players at the table and that with NBJ, one can predict hole cards up to 90% of the time.

Marv and Suzanne did agree on two things, though. One of the keys to playing NBJ is using the "tens ratio," which you derive by observing the number of tens on the table. But hey, that's not counting because NBJ players don't cheat.

Also, I just had to ask them both if NBJ included anything on ruin probabilities or anything like that. Both were quick to respond that NBJ uses a 12-unit stop-loss money management strategy. Marv even goes one better. If he loses 3 units, he walks.

I could go on for at least another few pages, but I'm sure the readers of Blackjack Forum have the general idea. However, in case you're curious and haven't tried to figure it out yet, the title of my report means New BlackJack is Full Of Holes and Basically BullSh*t to the Casinos Say Thanks power!


What's Taught at the NBJ Seminar

Okay, so the Boardwalker wasn't exactly enthralled by the NBJ seminar he attended. I have since spent a considerable amount of time reading and analyzing the NBJ Home Study Manual because NBJ is not a system which will only appeal to dummies (as one might assume from the Boardwalker's report).

NBJ is a complex system, which requires that the player first ascertain which one of six "game types" he is playing in. The patterns of wins and losses determine the game type. The player's betting strategy will then be one of many recomended Martingale, or sometimes reverse-Martingale, betting progressions, depending on the game type. The hands are played according to a variable strategy, depending on how the player reads the clumping effects of the high and low cards. I couldn't even begin to explain the details of the system in a short review, but that's not necessary. What is most intriguing about Davis' NBJ system are the theories behind it.

Regarding Davis' Tip #9, from the hand-out which the Boardwalker received—"Treat a dealer two up like a ten"—I would assume Davis is advising less splitting and doubling when the dealer shows a two up, and more hitting on stiffs.

Most of Davis' deviations from basic strategy, which seem weird at first perusal, would fall into the category of bankroll conservative. The other two deviations on this tip sheet—not splitting 8s vs. 9 or 10, and always insuring blackjacks—would both tend to reduce fluctuations even if they are technically incorrect plays. The fact that Davis includes advice to never split tens (Tip #8) indicates that he may be assuming a low level of expertise in many of the players who take his course.

Tip #10—When in doubt — hit—would also strike most knowledgeable players as very strange advice. If we consider, however, that the most consistent error of poor players is failing to hit stiffs vs. dealer high cards, Tip #10 might not be such bad advice for a lot of neophytes. Nobody is going to lose his shirt by always insuring his blackjacks. Some pros do this religiously as a form of low cost camouflage.

The Boardwalker is correct that this is an expensive error—but it does not come up frequently enough to hurt anyone significantly in the long run. It is also a fact that always insuring your blackjacks will reduce your bankroll fluctuations. Again, not significantly because of the infrequency of the hand, but combined with all of the other strategy deviations Davis recommends, an NBJ player would experience significantly less severe fluctuation than a basic strategy player.

The most effective technique Davis uses to reduce fluctuations is his conservative double down strategy. NBJ never advises doubling down on any player hand vs. any dealer upcard as basic strategy. Doubling down is only advised after the player predicts both the dealer's likely hole card and the likely hit card the player would receive, depending on the game type, whether or not high cards or low cards are running, etc.

Davis really attacks the double down basic strategy, and all of the so called "basic strategy experts,"—and he likes to put "experts" in quotes. He says basic strategy and card counting fail because the cards aren't random. NBJ players, au contraire, play on a "higher level." They exploit the win/loss trends by card predicting. According to Davis, this is why NBJ players win such a high percentage of their double downs.

Actually, NBJ players should win a greater percentage of their double downs—but not for the reasons Davis states.

Any blackjack "expert" knows that a player who never doubles down (assuming he follows the optimal hit/stand strategy) will win more hands than a player who follows correct double down basic strategy. This is elementary. Any time you double down vs. a dealer high card (7-A), you relinquish the right to take another hit should your double down card make you stiff. Doubling down is essentially agreeing to win a smaller number of hands in order to win more money in the long run due to more action on hands that are worth the risk.

Doubling down less often, as Davis advises, would not only result in NBJ players winning a greater proportion of their hands, as he says they do, but they would also experience less volatile fluctuations to their bankrolls than if they followed double down basic strategy. (Hey, if you're going to sell a Martingale betting progression to the general public as a wise investment, you've got to take what steps you can to reduce fluctuations!)

Basic strategy was not devised to reduce fluctuations, but to optimize the player's expectation in the long run. Doubling down less often is not really a wise long run strategy for a player who wants to beat the house. If you do not take every opportunity to risk more money on favorable hands, you will not beat this game. If your bankroll cannot afford the risks associated with doubling down, you probably shouldn't be playing blackjack. Watch out! Wake up!

The NBJ variable strategy—as opposed to basic strategy—is really not that bad. True, there is some weird advice that I'll be damned if I can figure out. (There is a distinct possibility that E. Clifton Davis may actually be from another planet...)

But basic strategy is advised for most hands, with variable strategies allowed for the more borderline hands (depending on how the cards are "running"). The variable (and therefore less frequent) pair splits and double downs are the major differences from traditional basic strategy.

I tried playing the NBJ strategy against one of my computer practice programs (Blackjack—Your Key to Winning Play)—which, of course, must be a sacrilege of some sort. I'm not claiming I actually learned this system... I get the feeling nobody could ever quite "learn" it, since decisions are "intuition" based.

Attempting to employ the system, with the book in my lap, I discovered that—intuitively—I almost never doubled down vs. dealer high cards. Consider: if highs are "running," there is too much risk that the dealer's hole card will be high, giving him a pat hand. If lows are "running," there is too much risk that I'll make myself stiff. About the only time it ever seemed safe to double down was when the dealer showed a low card, and highs were "running."

Double downs vs. dealer low cards are, in fact, the most profitable double down plays. Double downs vs. dealer high cards (even when correct) are the riskiest plays. This is not a new revelation, but a simple fact. Davis somehow never mentions this. I'm sure NBJ players do, in fact, win more of their double downs than basic strategy players. But I do not believe NBJ players win more money on their double downs, as Davis' analysis—based on his private research—finds.

I consider it nonsense that an NBJ player could predict that highs or lows would continue "running," but if an NBJ player uses his estimation of such factors to make double and split decisions, he will play a more bankroll conservative strategy than a basic strategy player or a card counter, he will win more hands, and he will win more of his doubled bets. I can almost see the above words on the cover of Davis' next NBJ newsletter. "Arnold Snyder States That NBJ Players Win More Hands!"

Actually, Davis' theories and explanations are bunk, but he has developed a fairly intelligent style of play for the betting progression system he is selling.

If you are going to play a betting progression system, and especially a Martingale progression like the ones Davis touts, you would want a system designed to win the greatest number of hands. To win a Martingale progression, it only takes one win. A large bet on the table is not indicative of a large advantage, as with card counting, but of a previous series of losses. It would be foolish to double your bets in risky situations with a Martingale strategy. You want to win your series so you can quickly revert to a single unit bet again.

Davis acknowledges this quite blatantly on page 93 of his Home Study Manual, when he explains the "most important reason" for always insuring your blackjacks: "...we aren't just risking one hand. We are usually risking an entire progression..."

His logic is flawless. If you always take even money for your blackjack, instead of playing it out, you will win your series with certainty. Why play out the hand, risk pushing the dealer, and then risk losing the series on the next hand? A card counter can pull his bet back after pushing a dealer blackjack, but a Martingale man has to win as many series as possible, and abandon as few as possible. Davis' Martingale strategy is very conservative, since he advises abandoning a series, and reverting to a one-unit bet, after only three consecutive losses. On a coin flip, a player would win 87.5 series out of a 100 with this betting progression. On his 12.5 abandoned series, his average loss would be seven times greater than his average win, and in the long run, he would break even.

Unfortunately, unlike a coin flip experiment, multi-deck casino blackjack is less than a 50-50 proposition without a betting strategy that is based on an intelligent analysis of the mathematical advantage.

Davis does not advise players to use NBJ in single-deck games, nor would I. My reason for not advising it is different from what he says. In single-deck games, a player who bases his strategy on "runs," with the assumption that the "run" will continue, will be playing at total odds with count logic. My count goes down when I see a run of tens on the table, and such an occurrence would lead me to play as if I were less likely to be dealt a ten.

With six or eight decks, however, a current "run" of high cards or low cards will have a relatively minor effect on the hand probabilities. Davis is still at odds with count logic, but the count is less volatile in shoe games.

For many casual players who do not have the dedication to learn a card counting system, and who do not seriously entertain fantasies about professional play, NBJ is not that bad of a strategy. It might save some players from making some of the more expensive hunch plays, and could also discourage overbetting in players who have a tendency to "steam." I feel sorry for players, however, who believe that NBJ will turn them into blackjack pros.

The system should appeal to those who prefer to embrace all of the "common sense" myths about blackjack which we know to be baseless. Insuring blackjacks. The third base player controlling the table. Bad players affecting other players' expectations. Dealer hot streaks and cold streaks. Davis does not really explain the real logic of his system, as he does not admit that NBJ is just a complex progression system. He acts as if he's discovered some magic blackjack secret based on the non-random shuffle.

Some of his explanations are a howl. On page 15 of his manual he insists that one of the reasons computers cannot be used to analyze casino blackjack is because you cannot program in "the humidity," and also, there are "...certain player types who can change the odds of the entire game." He has no shame about spouting such nonsense.

Many players who use NBJ might feel that they are winning more than they are losing. One reason is that they will win more hands. Another is that they will, in fact, win so many more of their betting series than they will lose, that it will feel as if they are winning much more. In fact, some will win, and some will lose. More will lose in the long run.In short runs of play, the positive and negative fluctuations will be pretty wild.

NBJ is not a cut and dried system. The NBJ player is encouraged to "educate" his "intuition," and to play according to it. If you predict a hole card or hit card incorrectly, it's not necessarily the system's fault, it could be your fault for not reading the cards correctly. There's a chapter on "enhanced card reading," which is to card counting what numerology is to arithmetic. In my opinion, the Manual leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

Regarding Jerry Patterson's TARGET system, Davis admits that TARGET and NBJ are "compatible" and "compliment each other." There's a chapter titled "Target and NBJ—The Perfect Marriage." Now there's a match made in heaven...

NBJ begins with the TARGET premise that the non-random shuffles make the game predictable and exploitable without card counting. On page 41 of his Manual, Davis provides "proof" that casino games are not random. Simple observation, he informs us, tells us that there are "good games and bad games."

If the shuffles were random, he reasons, "...all games would be the same." Using this same reasoning, if I were to flip a coin one hundred times in succession, always betting on heads, and then if I were to do this series of one hundred flips again and again, always betting on heads, I should never experience "good games and bad games" with an honest (random) coin. In fact, multi-deck games are not always well-shuffled, and certainly aren't randomized. I have no argument with that. Professional players do exploit these games, but only with mathematically justifiable methods.

Basic strategy and card counting have been computer tested extensively in poorly shuffled games. Numerous articles have been published in Blackjack Forum in the past decade reporting on these findings. Davis simply ignores all of the literature on this subject.

One amusing note: throughout his Home Study Manual, Davis concludes many of his analyses with the words: "It's a thinking man's game!"

On page 56, Davis teaches us that traditional basic strategy assumes that the dealer's hole card is a ten. However, he reasons, since only 30.8% of the cards in a deck are tens, he can improve on basic strategy simply by coming up with a hole card prediction that is correct more than 30.8% of the time! (Run that by me again...?)

Most serious players realize that basic strategy considers the distribution of all of the cards in the deck(s). No assumptions are made about the dealer's hole card, other than its proportionate likelihood of being any one of the available cards.

In any case, even if we accept the betting progressions as bunk, and the strategy deviations as simply designed to win more betting series, and all of Davis' theories about basic strategy and card counting as tongue-in-cheek humor, is there any possibility that Davis is suggesting anything of value to the player? Is it conceivable that a player might profit from playing his hands differently according to how the high cards and low cards are "running?"

To be honest, I've never seen a computer simulation of casino blackjack in which the player made strategy decisions by predicting that the short run pattern of the cards would continue. Personally, I tend to doubt that there would be any value to such a strategy. Disregarding the humidity factor, it seems to me that a computer-simulated casino-style non-random shuffle would suffice for the test.

It would also be necessary to define much more specifically than Davis does exactly how to determine the type of game, and what quantities and proportions of high, low and middle cards determine when something is "running" or stops "running." Computers don't have a lot of intuition. Some of Davis' theories could be computer tested, but his NBJ system, as it is presented, could not. There is just too much guesswork.

If, despite my remarks, you believe Davis' theories are worth investigating, then I'd be interested in hearing about your personal experiences with his methods. If anyone has tested card "running" strategies via computer simulation, we would be interested in your findings. I did talk with one other Blackjack Forum subscriber about NBJ, and he liked the system, though he acknowledged very limited casino experience with it.

From what I've seen, Davis is simply selling a betting progression system, and calling it the road to riches. Same old baloney. ♠


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Jerry Patterson and E. Clifton Davis Put Out Yet Another Gambling Scam with their NBJ (New Blackjack) and WCB (World Class Blackjack) blackjack betting systems.


Jerry Patterson and E. Clifton Davis are well-known for their willingness to con the masses with phony gambling systems, including the TARGET systems, phony craps systems, and now the NBJ (New Blackjack) and WCB (World Class Blackjack) blackjack systems. Arnold Snyder attends the courses on the new betting system by Patterson and Davis, and reports back on methods, course materials and claims, and what players can really expect from the systems.