Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blackjack Betting

There are two aspects to playing blackjack "well".  Playing strategy and betting strategy.  There are many guides to both.  Wikipedia actually has a great matrix of what do based on what you have and what the dealer is showing.  The very short form of the playing strategy is you generally assume the hole card is a 10.  Therefore you should hit until your hand total is higher than whatever the dealer has showing.  So if the dealer is showing a 7, then you assume he/she has a 17 and therefore you should hit up to 17 or bust trying since the dealer is likely to beat you anyway.  There's more to it than this and I would encourage you to read up on the full strategy--or sit down with me sometime as I explain it.

Betting strategy is something I don't see as often, but I'm sure it is out there.  My research is all based on no actual money--just a very realistic simulated environment.  In class, I would "buy in" for $200-$300 and play all night trying to only work with that initial buy in.  Most nights I made it last for 3 hours with little to nothing left over, but there were a couple of nights where I ended very up.  My record was $3800, but I did get over $1000 more than a few times.  I wouldn't encourage real gambling unless you really can afford it, but playing with a good poker set is most of the same fun.

My betting strategy uses two hands on a $5 table.  To play 2 hands you have to double the minimal bet to $10.  So Bet 1 gets $10 and Bet 2 gets $10.  From this you have fundamentally 3 outcomes.  2 winning hands, 1 win / 1 loss, and 2 losses.  1 win / 1 loss happens the most often and it results in a wash.  You win $10 and lose $10.  You take the $10 you won and move it over to the bet that lost and keep playing as is.  You just having fun for free at this point.

If both bets win, then you get $20 in pay out.  Add $5 to each bet and pull back $10.  Now you have $30 on the table--two bets of $15.  Just play normally.  Chances are you'll get the 1/1 result and you can keep moving the $15 winning bet over to the loss and you're still playing for free.  As long as you're winning or getting 1/1 you keep up the same pattern of adding $5 from winning bets or just moving over bets.  

If you lose both hands you basically start over at $10 bets and build up again.  If you're lucky you will have built up some winnings from pulling back winning bets.  If you want to play more aggressively, then double your starting bets to $20 and $20.  If you lose again, then double again to $40 and $40.  If you are applying good blackjack strategy then the odds of winning remain about 1 in 3 so you're bound to win back what you've lost if you can keep doubling the bet on the losses.  However... this is a game of a chance.  If this is real money, then it is your real $160 on the table to win or lose based on a 30 second blackjack hand.  Obviously, some people dig that.  Some don't.  Don't bet what you can't lose.

Overall this strategy allows you to stretch out play time.  It does require that you know your blackjack playing strategy.  While it isn't really possible for most folks to count cards in their head, you can keep a casual track of things.  There are 96 Ten cards and 24 Aces. If you're most of the way through a full 6-deck "shoe" then the percentage of 10's / Aces has likely altered.  Good playing strategy requires using Double Down and Split bets effectively in well timed ways.

Again, this is just my personal observation.  I make no claim about this strategy as likely to win you actual money.  All casino gambling favours the house.  My observations are my own and do not reflect the recommendations of any agency public or private.

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