VIDEO POKER STRATEGY – Jacks or Better

Can you have a strategy when playing video poker?  The video poker game  Jacks of Better is probably the most popular and is said to be the same whether you play it at a land-based casino or online.

With video poker games, the house edge is tied directly to the pay tables on the machines.  It’s been figured out that the best Jack or Better video poker games to play are those that pay 6 coins for a flush and 9 coins for a full house.  So, you first want to look at the pay tables when you sit down at a machine (or you are looking online) to determine if those parameters  exist.  These machines are called 9/6 machines and it has been determined that the house edge with these machines can be as low as .46%, if you use a proper strategy chart.

Yes, there are strategy charts for poker, the same as with blackjack.  Basically, a video poker strategy chart has hands ranked from best to worst.   You locate your hand on the chart and follow the instructions from there.  The following chart is the “Jacks or Better Simple” developed by online guru, The Wizard of Odds.

  1. Four of a kind, straight flush, royal flush
  2. 4 to a royal flush
  3. Three of a kind, straight, flush, full house
  4. 4 to a straight flush
  5. Two pair
  6. High pair
  7. 3 to a royal flush
  8. 4 to a flush
  9. Low pair
  10. 4 to an outside straight
  11. 2 suited high cards
  12. 3 to a straight flush
  13. 2 unsuited high cards (if more than 2 then pick the lowest 2)
  14. Suited 10/J, 10/Q, or 10/K
  15. One high card
  16. Discard everything

The idea is to figure out all the reasonable outcomes for the hand and pick the hand that has the highest payoff. While that seems easy and logical, the proper strategic play is not the usual play most casual players would make.

For instance, looking at the chart, if you are dealt a High Pair with 3 to a royal flush, you should keep the high pair. That can sometimes be a difficult decision to make because most casual players figure it’s always best to go for the royal flush if you’re dealt at least 3 of the cards.  High cards (J-A), are usually kept because if matched, at least your original bet is returned. A royal flush is said to happen 1 every 40,000 hands.

The Wizard of Odds also has intermediate and optimal strategies to follow, that involve more detail.  You can check them out on his website.

The other basic strategy when playing Jacks or Better video poker, is to make the maximum bet.  So, you want to make sure you’re playing at a machine that you can afford to do so.  If you’re not playing the 5 coin maximum bet, you’re upping the house edge for every spin.  Also, there is a  bonus paid for hitting a royal flush with a maximum bet.

FINAL THOUGHTS

For a strategy to be effective, you must be disciplined and diligent in using it properly at all times. It will take practice to perfect, as no strategy will work if you don’t practice it.  Whether you play online or in a land-based casino, Jacks or Better video poker has a minimal house edge, which means you can probably play and make a profit if played strategically correct.

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CASH GAME STRATEGY-Tips for a profitable poker session

WHAT IS A CASH GAME

A poker cash game is a game where the players use real chips and are betting real money.  A cash game is also called a ring game or live action game.

There is no designated start or stop time and they will happen 24 hours a day in casinos and online.

The amount of money bet is usually preset for a particular table, but the most popular are the no-limit, Texas Hold’em games.

WHY DIFFERENT STRATEGY

Playing in a regular cash game as opposed to in a tournament, requires different strategy because typically a tournament is a winner-take-all situation.  With a cash game, you can stop playing whenever you want and therefore you can determine your profit or loss.

Cash games are more about value. There has to be strategy in play all through the hand with a cash game. Play can be more difficult because there are generally more chips on the line, so you have to think about strategy from the flop to the river.

In a tournament, the fact of being “on the bubble” (1st player out of pay position) will make a player hesitant on going for maximum value.

STRATEGY AND TIPS

  • Try to keep a healthy stack size.  This seems obvious but the tendency is to have your stack get so low, and then you start making bad decisions out of panic.  If you feel you’re the best player, keep a good stack of chips so you can maximize profit when the opportunity arises.
  • Do not open limp preflop.  Limping in, just to see more flops is not good. Experienced players will usually raise preflop as a sign of aggression.  This lets you win pots postflop that you probably would not have won with limping in.
  • Try to be the last person to bet or raise.  When players end up checking around to you, you can often win the pot with a continuation bet.
  • Bet aggressively only if you’re in position.  Being out of position is always a disadvantage.
  • Know when to hold, know when to fold.  Don’t try to play every hand, and don’t stay in a pot too long.
  • Play tight and try to open with top pair or better only.  Don’t bluff too often, just value bet your good hands. When you open with solid hands, you will make solid hands after the flop.
  • Bluff on the flop if there is a potential backdoor draw, such as runner-runner, flush or straight on the river.
  • Almost always 3-bet with a premium hand.
  • Play with an amount you can afford to lose!
  • Don’t let “tilt” get you…try to stay calm and mentally alert!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Cash game strategy is not hard to figure out.  If you play tight but aggressive, you will probably end up with a very profitable poker session.

Be sure to sign up for more free information and check below for the best online casinos to test your new strategy.  Good luck!

INTERMEDIATE BLACKJACK STRATEGY – Beyond the Basics

While you should be able to maintain a decent profit, playing blackjack with basic strategy, you should also realize that there are probably more advanced tactics that can be used to enjoy even more profits.

More experienced players know that there are special situations where basic strategy is not the best play.  Experts will tell you that the use of basic strategy is always acceptable, yet not always the best play to make the most money.

WHAT IS INTERMEDIATE BLACKJACK STRATEGY

This strategy takes into account advanced play of the game and bankroll management. It includes learning about odds and probability, in addition to basic card counting, which is not as difficult as you would think.

Basic strategy is based on rigid rules of play that do not allow a player (more experienced) to take advantage of special circumstances that would reduce the house edge, giving the player a chance to make more money.

PLAY OF THE GAME

The first thing an experienced player will think about is which seat to take at the table. A novice will sit anywhere, often directly in front of the dealer to better see all the cards and how others are playing.  The experienced player will take the last seat because he knows play from this seat can greatly influence all the players.  If the player sitting in the last seat doesn’t play correctly, it can affect everybody’s chance of winning.  For instance, if he hits a hand that he should really stand on (based on basic strategy) and takes a high card, a card that would have busted the dealer, that allows the dealer to draw a low card and ends up beating everybody!  An experienced player knows the importance of the last player being able to play perfect basic strategy.  You don’t want to be at a table where the player in the last seat announces he is a novice!

An intermediate player will recognize a winning streak and therefore will raise their bet until a losing streak begins. A novice player will always bet the same amount (not counting doubling down), and just be happy winning. The thought of “hitting while the iron is hot” is not in their mind.  Part of bankroll management is knowing when to bet more, to realize faster profits.

ODDS AND PROBABILITY

As with all games in a casino, winning blackjack is about odds and probability.

Blackjack is a popular casino game because it has the best odds of all the games, with a house edge of around .5%  That’s why, even as a novice, it is the best table game to play in a casino if making a profit is your primary goal.  If just having fun and hoping to win big quickly is your goal, feel free to pick any other game.

When you think about probability in blackjack, you take into consideration previous hands.  Being able to remember the cards that have been played, even if not exactly, but the fact that a whole bunch of face cards have been dealt, makes it more probable that a low card should be coming out soon.  This is the simple start of card counting.

ADVANCED TIPS

Surrender – Not all casinos offer surrender, and therefore it’s not usually a subject talked about with beginners.  As a beginner, you’re basically told to never surrender.

When you surrender, you give up your hand for half your bet.  If your wager was $10 and you surrendered, you would only lose $5 instead of the whole $10.  Seems like a dumb move because albeit a dealer blackjack, you have a chance to win.

However, if the dealer has a blackjack, it would be better to surrender and only lose half your bet if you have a bad hand anyway.

For example, if the dealer has a 9 showing, there’s a great probability of him having a good, probably 19.

If you have hard 16 total against that and stand, you’re probably going to be beat, and if you hit that, you’re probably going to bust.  You’re better off throwing your hand in and getting half your bet back.

If the dealer has a 10 or an ace showing, meaning a better chance of a blackjack, surrender may be even more appealing.

Because of the potential blackjack by the dealer, there are 2 different kinds of surrender: early surrender or late surrender.

Early surrender is done before the dealer checks the hole card and late surrender is done after the dealer checks the hole card.

Because early surrender favors the player, when casinos do offer surrender, it’s usually only late surrender.

When to split – Learning when to split 2’s, 3’s, 6’s, 7’s and 9’s is the trickiest part of splitting cards.  In fact, because of it being complicated, beginners are told to just worry about always splitting Aces and 8’s, and never split 4’s, 5’s and 10’s.

When to double – Learning the correct time to double when you have a soft hand can be a bit more complicated.  Beginners should stick to just learning when to just hit (not double) a soft hand.

Card Counting –  As mentioned earlier, card counting doesn’t have to be hard, but just a bit of it can advance your game. Simple card counting is about tracking the ratio of high cards to low card left in the deck.  If you know a lot of low cards have been played, that means there are more high cards left in the deck and therefore favors the player.

When there are more Aces and Tens in the deck, you have a better chance of hitting a blackjack, so that would be a great time to increase your wager.  It works in the opposite direction as well.  If you guess there aren’t a lot of Aces and Tens in the deck, you’d want to decrease your wager.  Employing this strategy gives you an edge over the casino.

There are definitely more complex card counting systems available, but those are for the more advanced players.

Insurance – Beginners are always told insurance is a foolish bet and should not be done.  However, taking insurance can make sense if you know there are plenty of 10’s in the deck.

Be sure to sign up for more free information and check below for the best online casinos to test your new advanced strategy.  Good luck!

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TEXAS HOLD’EM STRATEGY

Only because of watching poker on TV, do I believe there is Texas Hold’em Strategy.  Even then, I only believe it because the hosts say some sort of strategy is being employed by the players.  Okay, if they say so…it seems there’s an awful lot of luck happening in my eyes!

Strategy Rules

First, when thinking about strategy in doing anything, it’s about planning for the long run. When thinking about basic blackjack strategy, it is based on interpretation of statistical data from playing millions of hands.  There is definitely a blackjack strategy, a correct way to play blackjack.

Unfortunately, poker strategy is not that straight forward.  Depending on who you talk to, or learn from, strategy may vary because there is psychology involved with poker strategy.  Also, strategy is different when you play in a “cash” game, as opposed to playing in a tournament setting.

Poker strategy is more about understanding the odds of ending up with the winning hand at the end of play. 

Hold’em Strategy for Novices

If you try to find basic Texas Hold’em strategy for beginners, what you end up getting is “tips” beginners should follow.  Said in different ways by different people, the best tips boil down to these:

  • Open with a hand that can make money in any situation
  • Correctly size your bet
  • Avoid limping in, it hardly ever works for a novice!
  • Fold appropriately to increase profits
  • Be in the right position for betting

Opening Hands

When deciding to open, not only are the cards you hold important (hand strength), but your position at the table must be taken into consideration.  The closer you are to the Button, the wider the range of hands you can have to open.

The number of players in the hand should also be considered.  Hand value is  less when playing against 1 player, as opposed to 6 players. On the other hand, against 1 player, hands have a better bluffing value.

When deciding whether or not to open with a hand, you need to think if you’ll be able to make money after the flop.  If you can’t see a way that you may make money with those 2 cards, don’t open!

Correct Bet Sizing

Be aware of how the table is playing.  If the pre-flop raise has been 2.5x the BB, don’t try to be clever and raise an unusual amount.  As a novice, it’s best to stay in line with the play of the table.  Odd pre-flop raises will only make players think more about what you may have.  Odd post-flop raises are expected, and won’t draw more than the normal attention.

The size of your bet helps define the strength of your hand.  Your goal is to have your opponents think you have them beat.

NO Limping

If action has been folded to you, it’s better to either raise or fold.  With a raise, you can take control of the pot, and put callers on the defense.  The experienced players can usually smell a limp and will challenge you, so it’s better to fold.

Know When to Fold

Like the Kenny Rogers song, know when to fold’em! Trying to play every hand is a big signal of you being a novice! A vital part of winning poker strategy is to know when to fold!  If you fold when you should, you save your money so you can make bigger bets in more profitable situations. It’s better to play tight, but aggressive.

Bet in the Right Position

Having position over your opponent is a huge advantage in poker. What that means is that they have to make the first move.  Obviously, seeing your opponent’s action first, allows you to react appropriately.  It will allow you to bluff better, value bet more accurately, and basically make better decisions overall.

If you can learn these tips and incorporate them into your playing style, you should definitely see your poker sessions become more profitable.

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BLACKJACK INSURANCE – BET OR NOT

The insurance bet in blackjack is easily the biggest sucker bet in blackjack.  In fact, most blackjack books and instructors will tell you that this bet should almost never be taken.

The insurance bet is a side bet that the dealer has blackjack, after seeing that his upcard is an ace.  It usually pays 2-1 odds.

Based on mathematical theory and projections, the dealer will have a blackjack only about 4 times in every 13 times he shows an Ace.  So, if you were to make a $5 insurance bet on 13 different hands, you would win 4 bets, for a total of $40, but lose 9 bets for a total of $45!  In the long run, you’d be losing money with the insurance bet. Think about it, why would a casino offer a bet that they would not have the odds in their favor?

Novice players make the bet because they want to “protect” their blackjack that they have hit.  What they don’t think about is that they will win or lose their hand, with no difference, whether they take insurance or not.  There is nothing to protect!  If you try to protect your 21, and the dealer does have twenty-one, you’ve broken even because you’ve made that second bet of insurance.

A blackjack usually pays 3:2 odds and insurance pays 2:1 odds.  So, let’s say you’re betting $5 and get a 21, but want to make the insurance bet (usually half the original bet) of $2.50. If the dealer does have 21, you win $5 on the insurance bet and push on your original bet. So, you’ve bet a total of $7.50 and got back a total of $10 (original $5 bet and $5 insurance bet win), winning $2.50. Now, let’s say you make the insurance bet and the dealer doesn’t have 21.  You lose $2.50 on the insurance bet, but win $7.50 on the original bet.  You bet a total of $7.50 and got back $12.50, (original $5 and $7.50 win) winning a total of $5.

Why waste the half-bet when it will only win 4 out of 13 times?  If you have 21 and the dealer doesn’t (which is most of the time), you’ve given back half a bet.  Why throw away half a bet? Don’t take insurance!

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Why Hit a Soft 18

Novice players will stand with a soft 18, against a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace, because they figure that there are only 3 cards that will help the hand, 4 card will keep it the same and the remaining 6 cards will make it worse.

Unfortunately, though it is logically correct in that thought, it is flawed because it is only thinking in terms of one additional hit!  Statistically, when you hit a soft 18, you’ll improve your hand with the first hit only 23 out of 100 times.

In that same vein, you’ll make 38 stiffs (12 thru 16), which you will continue to hit!  With the continued hitting, you’ll improve your hand, to 19 or better, 10 more times out of the 38. So, you’ll improve your hand almost 33 out of 100 times.

Statistically it’s been shown that based on 100 hands, 34 times you’ll hit a hard 18, 32.5 times you’ll hit a 17 or bust, and 33.5 times you’ll hit a 19 thru 21.  So, you can figure only 32.5 times out of a hundred, you’ll lose against a dealer’s 9, 10, or Ace.

If you hit a soft 18, you will improve your hand a little more often than not hitting it.  It is a slightly improved chance, but by hitting a soft 18, against a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace, your chance to win goes up more than it goes down, when you don’t.

For example: If you stand with a soft 18 against an Ace, you’ll win 5 out of 13 hands.  If you hit all 13 hands and turn them into 17’s, you’ll win only 3 hands. However, if you hit and make all 19’s, you win 8 out of 13 hands.   So, you’ll have more wins by taking the chance to improve your hand, than by sticking with it.

It’s been figured out that when a dealer has a 9, 10, or Ace, and has to hit a soft 17, if you stand on a soft 18, your win percentage is 39-41%.  If the dealer has to stand on a soft 17, and you stand on a soft 18, your win percentage goes to 41-45%.

If you hit a soft 18, when the dealer has an 9, 10 or Ace and must hit a soft 17, your win percentage is 42-45%.  If you hit a soft 18 and the dealer has a 9, 10 or Ace and must stand on a soft 17, your win percentage is 43-45.5%.

As the basic strategy charts tell you, you should hit a soft 18 against a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace, because testing proves it to result in slightly more wins.  Trust the charts and you’ll win more in the long run!

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Understanding Bust-Out Rates

Dealer Bust-Out Rate

This refers to the chance a dealer has of busting out, depending on the up-card.  It’s not imperative to know the exact percentages for each up-card, but knowing the relative rate can help you decide how you will play your cards.

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It has been determined that for an overall rate, a dealer will bust 28% of the time.  The following chart will show the dealer bust rate based on each available up-card.  The first row is the up-card, the second row gives the bust-out percentage:

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Ace
35% 37% 40% 42% 42% 26% 24% 23% 23% 17%

Of course these rates (specifically for 10 up-card) refer to those times the dealer does not have blackjack.  If the dealer had blackjack, you wouldn’t even play the hand.

There is clearly a significant drop between having a six or having seven.  This is why “basic” strategy can vary depending on the strategy card you’re using.  It is also why it can make a big difference if the dealer must “hit” a soft 17 or must stand on all 17’s.  If the dealer must hit a soft 17, the bust-out rate for a 6 up-card increases to 44% and for an Ace up-card increases to 20%.

One observation that should be made with this chart, is that the dealer bust-out rate is never over 50%, not even close. So, the dealer never has an up-card that will bust more often than not.  That’s part of the built-in house advantage of the game.

Player Bust-Out Rate

Knowing the player’s bust-out rate is as important as knowing the dealer’s bust-out rate.  The idea is that you don’t want to take the chance of busting out, if the dealer has a better chance of busting out.  In other words, you want to stand pat with your hand only if you have a greater chance of busting than the dealer. The top row is the hand value, the 2nd row is the bust-out rate.

121314151617181920
31%39%56%58%62%69%77%85%92%

As you compare the two charts, you should be able to understand the basis of strategy charts a little more.  First, you want to remember that these rates are primarily used when learning to deal with hand values of 12-16, because you should know not to hit hand values of 17-21.

So, you want to stand when you have 13-16 and the dealer has up-cards of 3-6, because you have a higher bust-out rate (39%-69%) than the dealer (37%-42%) Also you can see that it should be fairly safe to hit a twelve because your bust-out rate is lower than the dealer’s rate in those cases. 

You will find there are experts who say knowing these bust-out rates will help your play, while others profess that such knowledge is useless.  As I first looked at it, it was a bit confusing, but as I took the time to understand it, I think it gave me a better understanding of basic strategy as outlined on strategy cards.

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Quick & Easy Soft Hand Strategy

Probably the most misplayed hands in blackjack are the soft hands.  The casual player gets easily baffled about when to hit or double.

A good rule to follow with soft hands is to “Always count your Ace as an 11 first.”  You do that until your total is over 21, then make it a 1 and play your hand like it is a hard hand.

 

Doubling Down with soft hands:

As a start, you always want to double down when the dealer is showing a 5 or 6, if you have a soft 13-18. The idea behind this is to maximize the return on your bet.  When you double down, you believe you are more likely to win the hand than lose the hand.  With a 5 or 6 showing, the dealer is going to have to take a hit, with a greater probability of busting and you winning.  You want to take advantage of that by making a bigger bet through doubling down.

The strategy charts will tell you the only other times to double with a soft hand is when the dealer shows a 3 or 4.  When the dealer shows a 3, you double with a 17 or 18, when the dealer shows a 4, you double with a 15-18.  Other than those instances, you’re going to just hit or stand.

The strategy behind doubling down also entails that the play must also return a greater profit than playing that hand in any other manner!  So, with many soft hands against a weak dealer’s up-card, you make money over time regardless of whether you hit or double.  But with certain cards, just hitting makes more money because it gives you the ability to take a second hit if your first hit is low.  Doubling down with the wrong soft total can make you go from favorite to underdog, so playing the cards right is essential.

Rule of 9

This is the final easy way to learn the correct times to double down with soft hands.  First, you definitely have to have A/2 – A/7 (13-18) before thinking about doubling.  What you then do is add your kicker card (the non-Ace) to the dealer’s up-card and if the total count is nine or greater, you double down on your bet. If the sum total is less than nine, you just want to hit your hand.

The Rule of 9 is only correct 94% of the time though because of the situation of A/4 against a dealer’s 4.  The rule says you should just hit that (sum total is 8), but mathematically you’re actually about a half percent better off if you double down on that. It’s a borderline call, and based on thousands of hands played, “in the long run” doubling down in that situation pays off more often than not. It’s an exception to the rule.  If you can remember this exception, playing the Rule of 9 will have you doubling down on soft hands, with precision. 

Final Thoughts

Learning to play correct soft doubling can add .10% advantage to basic strategy.  That may not seem like much, but over time, that can make a big difference in your profit/loss.  There are 3 easy rules to follow when deciding on soft doubling. They are: Always soft double against a 5 or 6, Never soft double against a 2 and if the dealer has a 3 or 4, go with the Rule of 9. 

Casual players make the mistake of doubling down against any dealer small up-card.  Don’t slip up like that!

There is “correct strategy” for when to double down with a soft hand…learn it!  Trust the charts!

 

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Blackjack Betting Progressions – Is a Negative a Positive?

In my previous post, I touched very quickly on negative progression betting.  This type of betting is when you increase the size of your bet after a loss. Let’s go over the good and bad of it.

Is It Effective?

One of the most well-known and used negative progression betting systems is The Martingale method.  With this system, the amount of your next bet, after a loss, is “double” the previous bet.  That is probably the biggest problem with this method.  There are other negative progression systems that don’t require doubling your bet size after a loss, but the principal is still the same, increase your bet after a loss.  The good thing about it is, that more than likely,  you’ll end up ahead or at least at a break even, if you win that next bet after a loss.  However, you’re headed for sure disaster with just a few losses in a row.

Can Negative Progression Betting Work?

Here’s a projected outcome using a negative progression system.  I’ll use the same run of ten dealt hands that I used in my previous post on positive progression systems.

    • Hand #1, Bet $15, win, win $15, cumulative win/loss = $15
    • Hand #2, Bet $15, win, win $15, cumulative win/loss = $30
    • Hand #3, Bet $15, win, win $15, cumulative win/loss = $45
    • Hand #4, Bet $15, lose, lose $15, cumulative win/loss = $30
    • Hand #5, Bet $30, lose, lose $30, cumulative win/loss = 0
    • Hand #6, Bet $60, lose, lose $60, cumulative win/loss = -$60
    • Hand #7, Bet $120, win, win $120, cumulative win/loss = $60
    • Hand #8, Bet $15, win, win $15, cumulative win/loss = $75
    • Hand #9, Bet $15, lose, lose $15, cumulative win/loss = $60
    • Hand #10, Bet $30 win, win $30, cumulative win/loss = $90

While this outcome is favorable, it is that way because I have only projected a maximum of 3 losses in a row.  What is more likely to happen at a casino is 5 or 6 losses in a row!  Think about that using a negative progression system with a minimum bet of $15 and 5 losses in a row.  The betting progressions would be: $15, $30, $60, $120, $240, for a total of $465 in just 5 bets.  Your sixth bet would have to be $480, and if you finally win with that sixth hand, you’re up $15.  Keeping that in mind, your starting bankroll would have to be almost $1000, just in case your session started with 5 losses in a row. Not being a professional, I would never have my starting bankroll that high. Yes, that is an extreme example of what could happen, but it is an easy way to show the negative about the negative progression betting. But that’s why they call it gambling.

Can You Afford It?

As stated earlier, doubling up on losses is the basis of the Martingale betting system.  Now of course you can modify the system to fit your own gambling style by increasing your bet by a lower percentage (not doubling) and then you can withstand more losses in a row.  Unfortunately, you never now how long a losing streak will be.  Since the casino will always have a slight advantage, you have to realize that you will probably be losing more hands than you will be winning. That’s the inherent risk in gambling of course. The question to ask yourself is: Can your bankroll handle 5 or 6 losses in a row, if you increase your bet after each loss? How many times are you willing to double up on your bet?  What is more  likely to happen though, is that you will reach the table maximum in allowed bet size, so you may not be able to make your money back with that next bet, even if the next hand is a winner for you.  Remember, the reasoning behind doubling your bet size after a loss, is to win back your lost money with the next hand that will hopefully be a winner. In my experience playing blackjack, it’s not too often that a session of blackjack goes “win a hand, lose a hand, win a hand, lose a hand,” and so on. Blackjack is definitely a game of streaks of wins or losses.

Winning With Negative Progression

Professional blackjack players will tell you that negatve progression betting is risky because it is sort of based on what is known as “The Gamblers Fallacy.”  The Gamblers Fallacy is the mistaken belief that, if something happens more frequently than normal during a given period it will happen less frequently in the future.  Negative progression bettors wrongfully rely on the belief that there won’t be a lot of losses in a row.  I can’t rely on that.  I’ve seen too many times, players losing 6 or 7 hands in a row.  Now hopefully they would get up after perhaps 5 losses in a row, but they “have a feeling” the cards are due to turn around in their favor and they will win the next hand.

As shown in my example above, a nice amount of money can be won, but only if there is not a long streak of losing hands. With a relatively small run of losing hands (5 or 6), a lot of money can be lost very quickly.  In my area, the cheapest minimum bet blackjack table is $15, so doubling up on bets can add up to a lot of money very fast. I’m not a professional. I enjoy playing for fun and hopefully making a little side money.  In my opinion, there is definitely too much risk and too much money involved with using a negative progression betting system.   A negative progression betting system can be good, if you’re willing to start with a large bankroll,  just in case you run into a bad run of cards.

Conclusion

In my mind, a negative is not a positive. I’ll stick with a positive progression system where you can probably play for a little longer, despite a bad run of cards.  I believe a negative progression betting system should be left to the true professional player to use because it does involve taking a big risk that you don’t have several losing hands in a row.  That’s too big a gamble for me…leave it to the professionals!

 

 

 

 

Winning Blackjack Betting Strategies-The Good vs The Bad


Having a strategic betting system when playing blackjack is the best way to ensure a winning session.  The problem lies in figuring out which one is best for you.  There are so many to choose from, keeping in mind the different deviations that can be played, that you should pick the one that’s the easiest for you to learn.

Basic Types of Blackjack Betting Systems

For the most part, blackjack betting is done with progressive betting, which is choosing to raise or lower the amount of your bet based on winning or losing the previous hand. Blackjack betting systems are defined as either Positive Progressive Betting or Negative Progressive Betting.  With positive progressive betting, you raise your bet after a win.  With Negative Progressive betting, you raise your bet after a loss.  I personally like and use a simple positive progressive system because I don’t want to use something that is inherently negative!  I try to always think positive!

Positive Progressive Betting – The Good

This type of betting is quite popular with blackjack players because you increase your bet as long as you’re winning and go back down to a minimum bet when you lose.  This can be an effective strategy when the game play is “streaky,” as often is the case. In playing blackjack, there can definitely be streaks of several winning hands in a row or losing hands in a row.  When you are on a streak of several winning hands in a row, it’s great because you’re raising your bet after each win.  Once the winning stops, you go back to the minimum bet, If the losing streak continues, you’re only losing the minimum amount.  What’s good about this is that it would allow you to probably play at the table for a while without a big loss if streaks are consistent.  You’re going to be winning a little more with each wining hand in a row, and only losing the minimum with each losing hand in a row.  Let’s take a look at how I would use this system, on a run of 10 hands:

    • Hand #1 – Bet $15, win, win $15, cumulative win/loss: $15
    • Hand #2 – Bet $20, win, win $20, cumulative win/loss: $35
    • Hand #3 – Bet $25, win, win $25, cumulative win/loss: $60
    • Hand #4 – Bet $30, lose, lose $30, cumulative win/loss:  $30
    • Hand #5 – Bet $15, lose, lose $15, cumulative win/loss: $15
    • Hand #6 – Bet $15, lose, lose $15, cumulative win/loss:  $0
    • Hand #7 – Bet $15, win, win $15, cumulative win/loss: $15
    • Hand #8 – Bet $20, win, win $20, cumulative win/loss: $35
    • Hand #9 – Bet $25, lose, lose $25, cumulative win/loss: $10
    • Hand #10 – Bet $15, win, win $15, cumulative win/loss: $25

This scenario is assuming all winning hands were even money wins, no blackjacks or double downs that pay more.  You can see that with just 3 wins or losses in a row, I could still be winning with this relatively conservative positive progessive betting system.  I find that I generally don’t have more than 3 winning hands in a row, so my betting rarely goes over  $30. Since I don’t do this as a profession, that’s okay. Also keep in mind that if some of the wins were doubled or blackjack wins, I’d be up even more.

Does Progressive Betting Work?

Many blackjack players swear that progressive betting doesn’t work in the long run, because it does rely on streaks to work effectively.  So, my theory behind using a positive progressive strategy is to know when to get up from the table.  Sure the pros say it won’t work in the long run, I say, use it in the short run.  My strategy is “don’t be greedy.”  I live close to a casino, so I keep it a rule that if the cards start to run bad, get up and come back tomorrow!  I have my own take on a positive progressive system, as outlined above, and my goal for each session is to win $100, or lose $60, or play for just 1 hour. Once 1 of those three results happens, I leave the table and come back another day.  With any betting system you should always have a pre-determined win/loss limit.

Just a caution, I’m talking about a POSITIVE PROGRESSIVE system.  A negative progressive system is a totally different story to be discussed at another time.  As mentioned earlier, with a negative progressive system, you increase (usually double) your bet with every loss. Just imagine how quickly you could lose your money with just a short streak of losing hands.

Conclusion

Professional blackjack players will tell you that casino’s like progressive bettors (especially negative progressive bettors) because in the long run, they will lose  There again are the magic words “in the long run,”  and so your goal should be to play disciplined and not stay at a losing table.  A positive progressive bettor can lose money, but will have increased winnings to get ahead and offset the losses.  Positive progressive betting is good and can work!