A crucial part of successful blackjack playing is how to control and bet with your bankroll. Learning how to bet effectively will determine how long you’re going to be at the blackjack table, as well as, how much you will win. If you don’t manage your bankroll properly, all the game knowledge and strategy in the world will not help you beat the game.
Defining a Good Starting Bankroll
Though it is a highly personal and individual subject, it is best to first figure out what you can afford to lose. Just because you’ve come to the casino with solid knowledge of the game and specific strategies to insure a winning session, you must remember that it is a game of chance where the “house” does have a slight edge, therefore, there is a chance you could lose. Unfortunately, there are going to be nights where the cards are just not running right and you’ve got to have the discipline to get up and leave and cut your losses. Simply put, your bankroll for the session is the maximum amount you are willing to lose. Any money used for gambling should be expendable because there’s always the chance you’ll lose it. There’s an old gambling proverb: “When you gamble with money you can’t afford to lose, lose you will!” Sometimes proper blackjack play involves moves that may seem extra risky, so if you’re worried about losing the money on that bet, you won’t make the proper move!
Proper Bankroll Size
The general rule for bankroll size in blackjack, is to have 50 times the minimum bet. This means at a $5 minimum bet table, you should have at least $250 to play effectively. This allows you to handle the hot and cold runs of cards that is inevitable as a game plays on. As most tables these days play with six or more decks in the shoe, it may take a few hands for the shoe to become favorable for the player. With the correct bankroll, you can wait out the cold deck and wait to take advantage of the hot deck and bet more at that time. You can of course come to the table with less, and with a good betting system, to be discussed later, you can still make a pretty good profit and win at blackjack.
The amount will definitely depend on various factors, but with knowledge of card counting, you’ll know to increase your bet size significantly if the deck is favorable to the player. If the deck is favorable to the casino, bet the table minimum. If you’re not a card counter, there are still betting strategies or systems to use to optimize your potential winnings.
Best Blackjack Betting Strategy
When thinking of a betting strategy, you should think in terms of a betting system. With each betting system, you think in terms of the number of “units” to bet each time. A unit is going to be the minimum table bet. So for a $10 minimum bet table, one unit is $10. There are positive and negative betting systems out there. What that means is whether or not you increase your bet after a win or a loss. It’s a positive method if you increase your bet after a win, and it’s a negative system if you increase your bet after a loss. I’ll go over a couple of the most popular positive bet systems. The following systems are good to use if you’re not a card counter. If you count cards, you would be increasing your bets more significantly than these methods suggest, when the count is favorable to the player.
- The Up and Pull – The bet cycle is continued until you lose a hand. To begin, you start with a 2 unit bet, (double the table minimum). If you win the first hand, your next bet will be one unit, you have 1 unit profit. If you win again (with the 1 unit bet), you up your next bet to 2 units again. If you win this bet, increase your next bet to 3 units. Keep increasing your bet by one unit each time you win. The moment you lose, go back to the original 2 unit bet and start the cycle over again. This method lets you take advantage of good swings in which you win multiple hands in a row, while keeping losses to a minimum when the deck is favoring the dealer.
- The Paroli Strategy – Start with the minimum bet. Each time you win, you double the amount for the next bet, but for a maximum of 3 wins in a row. If you win 3 times in a row, go back to the original minimum bet. Once you lose a bet, go back to the minimum, looking to win 3 times in a row.
- One Half Up – Once again you start with the minimum bet and increase your bet only once you have won two bets in a row. After two wins in a row, you increase your bet by 50% of the initial bet. As the winning countinues, each bet is a 50% increase of the previous bet. For example, start with a $10 bet and if you win 2 hands in a row, your bet for the 3rd hand would be $15 and if you win that, the bet for the 4th hand would be $20, and so forth. Once you lose a bet though, you go back to the minimum and wait to increase your bet again after 2 wins in a row.
Betting Methods to Avoid
Basically any method that wants you to double the amount of a losing bet. Just think about what would happen with this method if you lose just a few hands in row. Your blackjack session can end very quickly with any system that suggests doubling a losing bet.
Easy Blackjack Strategies Applied
You don’t have to be a card counter. The best and easiest thing to remember for winning blackjack strategies is to increase your bets when you’re winning and decrease your bets when you’re losing. It can be as simple as that. Blackjack is a game that definitely has it’s hot and cold swings. Push the bar when it’s hot, pull the bar back when it’s cold. Good luck!