Can variance explain -$200 after 8 hours of play?

I’m curious whether a negative result after 8 hours can be explained by variance or it’s more likely that something is wrong with my counting or bet spread?

I played for 8 hours at a casino with the following rules:

  • Double deck, cards face down

  • Double after split allowed

  • Can split up to 4 times

  • Aces split only once, one card draw after split

  • No surrender

  • $15 min, $300 max

I was using Hi-Lo count with a 1-5 bet spread. As far as deviations, i was only using the top 3 from the illustrious 18. My total bankroll was 5k.

In the first hour I made $200. Then I proceeded to lose $1000 in the next hour – I diligently bet big when the count and basic strategy said to bet big but lost regardless many times in a row.

Then I slowly crawled back from -$800 to -$200 over the course of 7 hours.

My fear is that repeatedly making an error with card counting accounted for the $800 loss.

Is this just run of the mill variance or does my counting skill need improvement? It seems like after many hours of play, my expected earnings should at least be above zero right?

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