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Last Updated: May 10, 2011
Daniel Rainsong Challenge
From 1999 to 2005 I offered a challenge of my $20,000 against $2000 that a betting system based on a casino game with a house advantage could not stand up to a one billion hand computer simulation. The details can be found in my section on betting systems. I had lots of inquiries about it but talks often broke down over the issue of trust. A few people have tried to trick me with rule variants that gave the player the advantage. However in October 2004 I finally had a legitimate taker in Daniel Rainsong. Not only did he agree but he requested we double the stakes.
Mr. Rainsong first approached me by e-mail with lots of confidence in beating my challenge. He drove a very long distance to meet me and have the challenge performed. One very important point to him was that once I lost I would post the results on my site and write an endorsement of his procedure, which I agreed to. He objected to me calling it a system, preferring the term procedure instead. Terms were debated back and forth and carefully written in a notarized contract. Half of my $40,000 and all of Mr. Rainsong’s funds were placed in the hands of a third party arbitrator, a professional card counter with a degree in statistics from U.C. Berkeley.
While I can not reveal the secret of the procedure I can say that it is not a card counting strategy and deck penetration does not affect it. It also can be easily played on any blackjack game and requires no special skill. Mr. Rainsong says it is based on recent research in the area of genetics and has shown a profit of $8,215 over 33,000 hands of actual casino play with a starting bet of $1.
We went back and forth many times on the blackjack rules to be used and agreed on the following, which is about as good as it gets:
- 2 decks
- Dealer stands on soft 17
- Double after split allowed
- Player may resplit to 4 hands
- No surrender, resplit aces, draw to split aces, or any other unusual rules.
- Dealer places cut card 75% of the way into the shoe
The house edge under these rules is 0.26%. My house edge calculator indicates the house edge under these rules is 0.1943%, but the cut card effect adds 0.063% to that. These are very competitive rules and few casinos offer rules this good. As my challenge states, a bet spread of 1 to 1024 units was allowed on one billion consecutive initial bets.
Mr. Rainsong also allowed me the option to surrender for half my $40,000 stake before any calculations were done. He seemed to feel there was a good chance I would accept this offer. However after the procedure was explained to me I declined the option without hesitation.
On October 21, 2004, my simulator was ready and Mr. Rainsong came to my home early for the “pressing of the button.” I told him it would take about 14 hours to play through one billion hands and offered to show him a sample of the output as the simulation progressed over a test run of ten million hands. The test run showed the system last saw the light of day after 168621 hands, the last hand it showed a profit. After that point the bankroll gradually fell deeper and deeper into the hole. After ten million hands it was clear that it would never climb out of the hole and Mr. Rainsong forfeited the challenge.
Following are the final results after the ten million hand run:
- Initial hands played: 10,000,000
- Total amount bet: 10,357,394 units
- Final balance: -30,381.5 units
- Last point bankroll was positive or zero: Hand #168621
- Return of procedure: -0.2933%
I would like to extend my thanks to Mr. Rainsong for his outstanding sportsmanship. Most people who claim they know how to beat a game with a house advantage fear computer simulations and outside verification like Dracula fears a crucifix. However I greatly respect Mr. Rainsong for seeking an independent expert analysis of his procedure. I also respect and appreciate that he accepted my results without argument and paid immediately after forfeiting the challenge. As a former Marine I think he was a perfect example of the honor that the Marine Corps stands for.
Mr. Rainsong asked me to mention that his book is sometimes available on amazon. However, let there be no misunderstanding, I do not endorse it. He may also be contacted for questions at rainsongresearch(at)aol.com.
Written by: Michael Shackleford