Blackjack: Betting and Bankroll . August 2000

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Blackjack: Betting and Bankroll

by Ralph Stricker

One of the most frequently asked questions is: When do I raise my bets and by how much? The person who is playing Basic Strategy should not vary bets. The reason: If you are playing Single Deck blackjack you have an even game with the casino assuming that the rules are as follows: Late Surrender, Double after Splits and Doubling on any Two Cards. If not, you are playing with a slight disadvantage.

In Multiple Deck you have a disadvantage even if playing perfect Basic Strategy. Four Decks is .46 percent, Six Decks is .56 percent and Eight Decks is .58 percent. Common sense dictates that if you are playing with a negative expectancy, then the more money you are putting into play, the greater the amount of money will be lost over the long term.

Let's look at a scenario of a player having just a 1/2 percent disadvantage. We'll assume you are "Flat Betting" (not varying your bets) and betting $10 per hand. Let's also assume that there are six people at the table including yourself. You will get approximately 50 hands per hour and you will be putting $500 per hour into play. Assuming you play for four hours, you are putting $2,000 at risk. With a 1/2 percent disadvantage, you will lose $10. This does not seem like a lot of money to lose, but extrapolate this over a period of time and it becomes monetarily debilitating. So common sense tells you that the more you bet, the more money you will lose. The best advice I can give to anyone playing just Basic Strategy is:

Do not vary bets-(Flat Bet)

Play at the smallest table denomination

Play at crowded tables, the less hands per hour, the less you will lose.

All of the above are contrary to what a Card Counter will adhere to, as the Counter is playing with a positive expectancy.

The next frequently asked question is: What about money management? My advice to the Basic Strategy player is: Take a certain amount to the casino and if you lose that amount, do not try to recoup the loss. You will just be chasing your money. Set a goal of winning an amount and if you are lucky enough to win some money before losing, quit when you reach that goal.

Remember: You will not always lose, you will have winning sessions. But remember that over the long term you will not win playing Basic Strategy. Go to the casino to have some fun, not to make money. If you are serious about winning consistently, then you must learn Card Counting.

Ralph Stricker, also known as the Silver Fox, is an expert gambler selling books and tapes called the Silver Fox Blackjack System.