Posts Tagged ‘betting limits’

Blackjack Betting Limits

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

So you’ve memorized blackjack basic strategy and want to put your knowledge to the test at the tables. How do you choose which table to play, though? In brick and mortar and online casinos, there are normally several variations of the game at the blackjack tables. One thing that separates the tables is the number of decks (though this does not apply to online blackjack). Many casinos will have different tables that range from one deck to eight. Remember that the more decks there are, the more the odds favor the house. However, single-deck games often only pay 6:5 for blackjack, in which case the lower deck number is not better.

The other major variation in blackjack tables is the betting limit. Blackjack tables typically have two limits: a lower limit and an upper limit. Both need to be taken into consideration. The lower limits can be as low as $1 per bet and as high as over $100, though it is becoming increasingly hard to find blackjack tables in a casino with a limit lower than $5. The lower your bet, the less money you risk losing on each hand. The downside, of course, is that you win less money when you win the hand, so it’s a trade-off. If you’re new to the game of blackjack, I recommend playing at the table with the lowest minimum bet and betting that minimum amount on each hand.

The casino’s reason for putting lower limits on the betting is obvious: They make more money when you bet more money. But why are there upper limits? The main reason casinos place upper limits on their games is to thwart the Martingale betting system, where players double their bet after each loss. Players, in theory, could be guaranteed to make money if they had an unlimited bankroll because even if they have  a losing streak, the money they make once they win again would make up for it. Most players who try the Martingale system simply run out of money. For those with a large enough bankroll, though, the upper betting limit does essentially the same thing. It makes it so that the players eventually get to a point where they can no longer double their bet.

If you’re new to blackjack, the upper betting limits don’t matter. After all, betting the minimum is the wisest strategy for you, anyway. I also recommend flat betting, where you bet the same amount on each hand, in which case the upper betting limit doesn’t matter, either.

What it all comes down to is fiscal responsibility. You should never gamble money that you can’t afford to lose. Therefore, before you ever begin playing blackjack you should decide how much money you want to spend and how long you want to play. Based on that information, you should determine how much money you want to bet on each hand and find a table that suits that need.

What to Know Before Joining a Blackjack Table

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Blackjack is one of the few games in which players can reduce the house edge to a negligible number (0.5%) through following proper basic strategy, and that makes the game rather appealing. Though the game seems to be simple – get a higher number than the dealer without going over 21 – most people realize that there is strategy involved. Most people realize that following blackjack basic strategy is wise and it is a good idea to learn that strategy before playing. But what else should you know before joining a blackjack table?

Probably the most important thing you need to know is the betting limit. It would be embarrassing to sit down at a high-roller table, where the minimum bet is $5000, when you only brought $2000 to gamble with for the entire trip. Even if the limit isn’t that high, it may be higher than you are comfortable playing. Since you can often find blackjack tables with limits as low as $1, finding the table with the right limit is a good idea. Not only is there a lower limit, though, but there is often an upper limit. This is to combat the Martingale betting system, among other things. If the betting limits aren’t listed anywhere on the table, ask the dealer before sitting.

Another thing you want to know before sitting down is what the table plays for a blackjack. The traditional payout is 3:2, which means you would win $3 for every $2 you bet. However, some tables have worse payouts for a blackjack, including 6:5, 7:5 and even payouts. Most tables will have the payout written on it, but if not you should ask the dealer before playing.

Being able to surrender, while it may seem counter-intuitive to gambling, is sometimes a good idea and is incorporated into blackjack basic strategy. However, not all casinos allow you to surrender and those that do don’t offer it at every table. You should check to find out if you can surrender and if so, whether a late surrender is allowed or only an early surrender.

You should also be aware of how many decks are in play at the table. If there is only one deck, a 6:5 game isn’t all that bad, but you should always avoid a multiple-deck game that pays 6:5 for a blackjack. If you count cards, knowing how many decks are being used is imperative.

There are some other rule variations that you want to look out for. Some tables will allow you to resplit any cards, while some will allow you to resplit anything but aces. Some allow unlimited resplitting while others have a limit. Some tables have a rule that if you split aces you can only receive one extra card for each ace. Sometimes you can double after splitting, while other times you can’t.

It sounds like a lot to know ahead of time, but knowing the rules of the individual table before you start playing can make things a lot easier and less stressful for you. It will also help you find the best table to suit you.