Posts Tagged ‘martingale strategy’

Budgeting for Blackjack

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

The story sounds familiar. You hit the blackjack table full of confidence, placing $10 bets on each hand, but early on are losing. Knowing that your luck is about to turn around, you decide to double your bet in order to make your money back. By the time you realize this is a mistake, you’re out of money and the night is still young.

Or maybe this story rings a little more true to you. You’re doing well at the blackjack table and have made lots of money. In order to increase your winnings, you start placing larger bets. At first, that strategy works and your pile of chips is getting larger and larger, but then you start losing and the pile begins shrinking. Determined to make that money back, you increase the wager again and soon enough are out of chips. After a quick stop at the cashier, you have more money, eager to get back on that winning streak. Before you realize what you’ve done wrong, you are calling your wife to explain why you have to cancel your anniversary trip.

There are countless other scenarios I could bring up, but they all amount to the same thing: poor budgeting leading to you losing money you never intended to spend. Anytime you go out for a night on the town, a vacation, or any other trip that isn’t free (and what trips are?), you should always make a budget ahead of time.

Before you ever sit down at a blackjack table (or log onto one if you’re playing online blackjack), you should decide how much money you want to spend at the casino. Think of it as an outing like any other and one that requires money to have a good time. How much money are you willing to spend? Always consider that any money you wager you might lose. In fact, statistically you are more likely to lose than win each bet. Therefore, you should never wager money that you can’t afford to lose.

A good idea is to determine a specific dollar amount that you are willing to spend, cash in that amount for chips (or deposit it in an online casino) and do not spend anything else, no matter what happens at the blackjack table. In addition, any winnings should be kept separate. Put that money aside instead of adding it to the money for you to wager. That way, you can’t lose any of your winnings and you are guaranteed of having at least something to show for your time at the table, even if you still had a net loss.

Once you decide how much you’re willing to spend at the blackjack table, you need to decide how much you’re willing to bet on each hand. Obviously, those two amounts are related. To come up with the amount you want to wager, you need to take into account the total amount you are willing to spend and the amount of hands you plan to play. The easiest way to do that is to first decide how long you plan to play blackjack at the casino. Though the speed differs for each table, as a general rule at a full blackjack table you can play approximately 55 hands in one hour.

Using simple math then, you can decide how much money you are willing to spend on each hand. You should then bet that amount (or less) and bet the same on each hand. There are a lot of betting strategies out there, such as the martingale strategy, that claim to give you better odds, but statistics show that you are better off with flat betting. Once you decide on an amount per bet and the total amount that you are willing to spend, you are ready to have a good time playing blackjack at the casino. Best of all, you don’t have to come up with any excuses for how you lost money that you needed.

The Martingale Betting System

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

When playing blackjack, or any casino game for that matter, it is wise to use flat betting, which is to bet the same amount each time. It is the safest way to bet and in the long run will save you money. However, that doesn’t stop people from believing that betting systems are the way to go. People use betting systems in an attempt to gain an advantage in games of chance, such as craps and roulette. People think that using the correct betting system can help you overcome the house edge. Those people are wrong. Betting systems don’t work. Still, everybody knows somebody who swears that their strategy works for them. I will attempt to convince you otherwise.

One of the most popular betting systems is the Martingale system. Using the Martingale system, a player doubles his bet after a loss. This is an idea that seems to make sense. After all, if you lose money on one bet and then double the bet and win it, you make your money back and then some, right? Well, kind of.

For an example of the system “working,” let’s imagine a bet where the player starts by wagering $1 and loses four bets in a row before winning on the fifth. In this case, the player wins $1 extra (losing $15 on 4 bets and then winning $16 on the fifth bet). The reason that the Martingale system is a bad idea is that the above example assumes you have enough money to handle the losing streak. Far more often, the players keep doubling their bet and doubling their bet and then run out of money before they have a chance to win it back. Also, many casino games have a betting limit that is used, in part, to thwart the Martingale strategy. Therefore, another way of the system failing you would be for you to reach the betting limit before making your money back.

In the short run, the Martingale system can make you some money, but it is also likely to cause you to lose a lot more money a lot faster, causing you to give up and quit, run out of money, or reach the game’s table limit. In the long run, the system will cause you to lose money.

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.