Betting Strategy – Blackjack Card Counting

In order for card counting to be profitable the player must bet according to the true count. If the true count is negative or neutral, the player should bet small. The chances of the Dealer achieving a good total are greater at this stage, so betting small minimizes the losses. When the true count becomes positive, the player should increase his bet size. The increase in the size of the bet will depend on the advantage the player has. A good rule of thumb is to bet proportionally to the true count. Therefore, if the true count is 4 then the bet size should be 4 times your normal or minimum bet.

Money Management

To play to win you first need a bankroll. This is a predetermined amount which you have allocated for playing blackjack. A bankroll in the order of 200 times your maximum unit size is usually recommended. For example, if you are going to place $5 bets then your initial bankroll should be $4,000 assuming a bet spread of 1-4 ( a 1 to 4 bet spread indicates the smallest unit size to be played would be 1 unit and the largest unit size would be 4 units. ). Never bet more that 5% of your total bankroll at any one given session. This will ensure that you will not lose a large portion of your bankroll if you have a few losing sessions.

Your bankroll has to be large enough to withstand some losing sessions. Blackjack can have many fluctuations. The bankroll can be up one moment and then down the next. The player when card counting is at an advantage however the player can and will still lose at times. One of the most common illusions is that when the true count is high, favorable for the player, the player will always win. You do have a greater chance of winning than losing however you may lose in that session. Overall you will be on top.

When playing Blackjack the player should have a nominated bet spread. This will include the number of units the player will bet when the true count is negative and positive. Generally, when the count is negative the bet would be 1 unit ( or the smallest bet size you are using ). When the true count is between 0 and 1, bet 2 units. When the true count is between 1 – 2, bet  3 units etc. In a multi-deck game a bet spread of 1 to 8 units is quite common. Having a larger bet spread can attract “heat” from the casino. Pit bosses become suspicious if you vary your bets a great extent. In a single deck game a bet spread of 1 to 4 is acceptable.

It is also recommended that you never decrease your bet after the last hand is played before the deck is shuffled. This also has a habit of attracting heat.

Smart Players

Smart players should:

  • Pick a casino that has the smallest house advantage. This will allow them to increase the number of times they win and decrease your profits.
  • Won’t try to cheat.
  • If they feel uncomfortable at the table, they will leave.
  • Play with a designated amount of money. If they lose that quota they will leave and go home.
  • Know when it is time to leave.
  • Play within the limits of their finance
  • They are always comfortable with the amount they bet.
  • Disguise exactly how much money they have won but always display their losses.
  • Never talk about Card Counting or Basic Strategy at the casino. If they do they know they may be asked to leave.

For Card Counters:

  • Master Basic Strategy so that their play is automatic and instantaneous. This will allow them to put all their efforts into card counting and camouflage.
  • Play with a designated amount of money as well as a defined bet spread.
  • Choose a bet spread that they feel comfortable playing with.
  • Learn to be emotionless with winning or losing.
  • If appropriate, then take on an act (camouflage) that is appropriate for their bet size and spread.

If they are going to the casino just to play Basic Strategy then they won’t need an act. If they are Card Counting and have a large bet spread then they will probably need to adopt some kind of act or invent a superstition e.g. “I never win between 6:30pm and 7:00pm” or “I’ve always got to play with my wedding ring off when playing. It gives me good luck” etc.

Read about BlackJack Card counting



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