Posts Tagged ‘blackjack betting’

Why the Martingale System Is So Popular

Monday, April 12th, 2010

If you have ready any of my blogs about betting systems, you know that I’m not a fan. None of them are able to overcome the house edge and in the long run, simply cause you to lose money faster. Betting systems all seem to be invented by one of two people: a scam artist who wants to sell his system or a dreamer who thinks he just figured out a way to beat the system. You shouldn’t listen to either of them.

The Martingale system is the most popular betting system in casinos and is most often used for games of chance, such as roulette and craps, but it is also used for blackjack. The popularity of the Martingale system is easy to explain. Everyone thinks they’re the one who invented it.

If you have ever gone to a casino, there’s a good chance that it occurred to you to use the Martingale system and there’s a good chance that you have never heard of the term “Martingale.” The Martingale has been “invented” by millions of people over hundreds of years and will continue to be invented by new gamblers.

The reason so many people come up with the idea for the Martingale system without ever reading about betting strategy is that it seems like common sense. Double your bet when you lose. That way, when you win, you will make all of your money back and then some.

It’s common sense, right? If you bet $5 and lose and then bet $10 and win, you won your money back. The problem, as I’ve discussed before, is that a losing streak will very quickly deplete your bankroll if you use the Martingale system. If you have a limited amount of money with which to gamble, it is a terrible idea, because you could lose all of your money in just a few hands.

But what if you have a higher bankroll? What if you’re rich? The Martingale system would work for you then, right? Well, it would if not for a little rule called “betting limits.” You see, the casinos have heard of the Martingale strategy and in order to combat it, they place a limit on how much money you can bet on a hand. So if you’re starting with $5 and are on a losing streak, six hands later your bet would be $320. That’s way too rich for my blood, but some people don’t mind betting that much. So you bet that and lose again. Doubling your bet, you then wager $640, losing again. Now your bet would have to be $1280 in order to stick with your betting system. There is no way I would ever bet that much on a hand, but even if you would, most casinos won’t let you.

It is common for blackjack tables to have a $1000 upper limit for betting and sometimes it’s even lower. If a losing streak long enough to take you to that amount seems unrealistic, then you probably haven’t played much blackjack. Playing using basic strategy lowers the house edge to 0.5% over the long run, but hot and cold streaks are part of the game. Also, the above example is starting with a bet of only $5, the lowest you’ll be able to find at a casino. Many casinos don’t go that low and the minimum bet would be $10. If you start a bet with $10, it only takes four losses to bring you to a bet of $160. I don’t know about you, but if I’ve lost four hands in a row, I want to only be betting $5 (or $10).

So whether you play blackjack at an online casino or at the brick and mortar variety, my advice is to use flat betting and if you want your money to last longer, bet the table minimum. That’s a brand new strategy I invented called “saving money.” Feel free to use it.

When to Leave the Blackjack Table

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

It’s midnight and you’re having a blast at the blackjack table. So far you’ve won $5,000 and you couldn’t be happier. The cocktail waitresses keep bringing the free drinks and you happily accept. Your night couldn’t get any better. Fast forward to 3:00 a.m. You’re a little drunk and you mutter to yourself as you walk away from the blackjack table with only $100 left in winnings.

It happens more often than you can imagine in both brick and mortar and online casinos. Blackjack is a game of skill, but there is also a high element of chance, with the outcome depending in part on which cards are randomly dealt. Because of that, it can be a rather streaky game. When you’re on a hot streak, you can win a lot of money. However, if you’re on a cold streak, you can easily lose it all. So when should you walk away from the table?

That is something only you can decide and it pretty much has to be taken on a case by case basis. Some people play until they feel their hot streak has ended. Those people will keep playing until they get on a hot streak that makes them some good money. Once they start losing that money little by little, though, they feel it’s time to walk away because the streak is over. The good thing about this strategy is that you would still have most of your winnings left. The bad thing is you never know if you were about to start another hot streak.

Some people plan ahead and have a set amount of money they want to make that night. Once they reach that amount, if they do, they walk away happily, regardless of whether or not they are on a streak. The downside of this philosophy is that if you set your goal too high you might never reach it and if you set it too low you may leave the table when there was more money for you to win. The good thing about this idea is that it is structured and disciplined.

Another thing that some players, including myself, do is to set aside a certain amount of money to gamble before you ever enter the casino. Make sure it is an amount that it wouldn’t hurt you to lose. While you’re playing blackjack, wager only money from that amount that you have set aside. All winnings should be kept separate and never wagered. After all, if you don’t wager your winnings then you can’t lose them. Once your wagering money is gone or you don’t feel like playing anymore, whichever happens first, you are done playing. There may not be the same money-making potential in this strategy as when letting it ride, but you are at least guaranteed of keeping your winnings.

Whatever your philosophy for when to leave the blackjack table, the key is to have a philosophy. If you don’t have a whole lot of disposable income, like me, then my philosophy of setting aside wagering money ahead of time may be the way to go. If you have more money available to you, a less strict strategy may work and could allow you to make more money, but you’re also risking losing it.

Whatever your plan, I advise that you have a plan before you step foot into a brick and mortar casino or log onto an online casino. Having a plan ahead of time will make it a lot easier to walk away from the blackjack table at the right time. Let’s face it, the last thing you want is to quit too late.

Playing with a Cool Head

Monday, January 11th, 2010

It is said that the best athletes play with ice water in their veins. They keep their emotions in check, always remain cool, and stick to the gameplan. It is true for sports and it is also true for the game of blackjack. When playing blackjack, it important to check your emotions at the door, go in with an even head, and stick to blackjack basic strategy. Doing otherwise, allowing your emotions to affect your decisions will only result in you giving more money to the house.

Blackjack is a game that is a combination of skill and chance. Luck is involved in which cards you and the dealer are dealt. The skill is in determining what move to make. Unlike many games, though, emotions cannot help you. Wanting to win the hand more than your opponent won’t help you. Being angry won’t help you. Blackjack is a game of odds and basic strategy was developed to give players the best odds of winning. The best strategy is to memorize basic strategy and stick to it, no matter what happens. In the long run, sticking with the strategy will be the most beneficial to you.

It’s not easy to do, though. Often, a player loses several hands in a row, thinks about the money that they’ve lost, and then decides that, in order to make their money back, they should start betting larger amounts. The thinking is that since they lost several hands in a row, they are now due for a winning streak, and by increasing the wager, they will make their money back faster. There’s a word for people who employ this strategy: broke.

Losing several hands in a row doesn’t increase your odds of winning the next hand. Whether or not you win is determined by 3 factors: what cards you are dealt, what cards the dealer is dealt, and what decisions you make. The first 2 factors are completely random and beyond your control. Therefore, there is no way a shift in betting strategy can affect the outcome. Instead, it is best to use flat betting (betting the same amount each time) and not get emotional over the losses. After all, as I’ve said countless times, the game is supposed to be fun, and if you’re not having fun, you shouldn’t play. If you’re getting terribly stressed out over the money you’re losing, maybe you shouldn’t be betting that money in the first place.

Statistics say that increasing a bet when you lose causes you to lose money faster, rather than win it back. That’s because, though some of the times you will win, you are still statistically more likely to lose each hand (due to the house edge), so increasing the bet will result in increased losses more often than increased wins.

There is a similar strategy called the martingale betting system, which in its simplest terms is doubling your bet after each loss. While this may seem like an easy way to recoup your losses, this also results in losing money faster. What it all comes down to is this: The best strategy is to stick to blackjack basic strategy and use a flat betting system (counting cards is also helpful if you can). In the long run, this gives you the best odds.