When to go home?
  • I play BJ now and then and just wonder how some of you real gamblers support your gaming so to speak. For example I recently had some luck (skills ;)) and made 7 times the money I started with. But playing some more I soon was down to just had doubled my bet and I thought I would stop there. So I got curious how some more players keep there banking of their gambling? Is there a specific amount of money you bet each month, day, week? Do you really keep track of your wins and losses? Is anyone actually winning in the long run just playing a game as BJ?


  • Juman: Unfortunately there is no "magic" point in time to go home. You will never know when you will win or lose and how long those winning/losing streaks will last. Unless you count cards of course, then you will have a better idea.

    There is only one bit of advice I can give you and other basic strategy players. Limit the number of units you bet. Break your bankroll up into as large of chunks as possible. The reason why is that the more units you bet the less likely you will walk out a winner. This has to do with the laws of statistics, if you only bet one unit your chance of winning is about 50-50, if you break your bankroll up into a hundred units and bet those over a long period of time the house will grind out its advantage over you and you will have a much lesser chance of walking out a winner.

    So, the ideal betting unit for the Basic Strategy player is: 1. That's right, the best betting strategy for the Basic Strategy player is to take their entire bankroll and plop it on the table on one bet.

    You don't have to bet your entire bankroll in one shot, but just minimize the number of units you bet as much as you can. Don't bet the table minimum for instance.

    For card counters the opposite is true. Card counters want to grind out their advantage over the house as much as possible, and not expose themselves to risk. So, card counters might break their bankrolls up into units of 1,000 or more.
  • juman- I am not sure if you doubled your buy in or your bet, 7 times ? If you were on a $10 table and doubled your bet, 7 times you are up $70. If your buy in is $100 and you doubled that 7 times, you are up $700. I think most players tend to over bet their bankroll.
    O.K. you won some $$, now when to quit ? Good question, but it will be different amounts, for different players. What do "you" what to walk out of the casino with ? Say your buy in is $200 and you win $400.($10 units) You hate to quit, you have been on a good roll. What do you do ?
    Two schools of thought here.
    Raise your bets or lower them.
    Take the $400 you are up and raise your stakes.($25 units) Go for the bigger win. Or Lock up $200, plus your $200 buy in. Use 1/2 the profits ($200) and you now play for smaller stakes, to see if the run continues. By playing with smaller stakes($5) you will stay in the game longer and get more action. You are also not as likely to go on "tilt" and give it all back. If you lose the $200, call it a night and walk away with a $200 win. (If a $200 win is enough for you.) You still need the disipline to stop, even when you want to keep playing.
  • Here's what I do (playing $10 tables with a $10, $15, $20, #25 progression).

    I buy in for $200. Actually I actually buy only $100 initially but with idea I won't hesitate to reach into my pocket for another $100.
    If I lose the $200, it ain't my night.
    If I start winning, then I go up in $100 increments. In other words, if I get up $100, then the worst I'm going to do is lose $100. If I get up $200, then I'll quit if I get back down to even. If I get up $300, then I'll quit if get back down to just $100 up.
    It seems to work pretty well, giving you a limit on how much you can lose without really putting a cap on how much you can win.

    I've been told many times on this board that $200 isn't enough of a buy-in for a $10 table, but it works fine for me.

    I also did start tracking last August and I highly recommend it. It's been a good run since then. In 18 tirps, I'm $850 up over that span. I know for a fact if I'd started the previous August, I would have been well in the hole for a similar period. That's the breaks.
  • I believe $200 is ample buy-in on a $10 table. It is not sufficient bankroll, if that is what is really meant. Regarding quit points, I think Fred Renzey also touched on this in his latest book.
  • We're getting off subject a little here. But basically when I say "Buy in" I mean for one session of blackjack, even if it involves jumping around from table to table. Bankroll, I guess, would mean total money brought for, say, a weekend in Las Vegas, which would be for several "Sessions."
  • One quick point. If you set a low win goal and stop, when you reach it. It will be easier to reach, BUT that is the MOST, that you will win.
  • ... And another thing, Midnite, I assume most of here are recreational blackjack players. You go to the casino, you go to play blackjack. So if you set your win goal low, you could hit a real hot streak right off the bat and hit it within a matter of minutes. Then what are you supposed to do? Go home? Dang it, I don't get to go that often, so when i do I want to play Blackjack. That's why I like to put the limit on the loss side -- and keep it moving upward when your chips are rising. On the other hand, not sticking to a strict loss limit is where people can get in trouble.
  • Right, you are SH. One of the Vegas shows, on the travel channel, said that the average players gambling bankroll was $500. I think Joe six-packs idea is, just to see how long he can make it last. He hopes that he will win, but he doesn't really think he will. So he drinks all the free booze he can and over eats at the buffets, to get "even". Some of them will win. Inspite of that they do and not becasue of what they do.

    True story : I was at the Frontier in Veags. Young guy so drunk he can't hardly stand up. The gal with him and his friends are trying to get him to stop. He has a pile of green and black chips. He gets paid again, he has more chips than he can carry. He grabs all that he can carry, the gal get the rest and his two pals get him by each arm and pull him away from the table. He is about three foot away from the table and a new shooter is about to roll. He takes a $100 chip and toss's it on the table and yells "yo eleven". Yep, the shooter rolls an 11 and he wins another $1,500........
  • midnite said:
    You hate to quit, you have been on a good roll. What do you do ? Two schools of thought here. Raise your bets or lower them.

    Midnite - One question. Whose school of thought is it to lower your bet?? Sounds like one of your 'voodoo blackjack' authors to me :wink: If you are playing an up as you win postitive progression, why would you play a down as you win bankroll?

    Just curious.
  • Well, I knew that you and most of the others, already knew that, but perhaps some of the newbies, hadn't thought of it. Pardon me for being obvious.
  • The simple truth of the matter is that most players don't expect to win
    money in blackjack and when they do, there is a degree of hesitation
    about further risk. That's where all these crazy numbers originate.....
  • I don't have strong opinion one way or the other about raising your initial bet if you get hot and are playing witih "their" money. But I don't do it. There's a reason I play the $10 tables -- it's called "comfort zone." Get out of that zone and I've found it's a different game.
  • I'd like to relate the adage about "the gambler's share".

    Any time you win 1/3 of your bankroll, thats is what used to be called a gambler's share. In the case of a "typical" roll of $500, that amounts to $167. Lets call it $150 or $175 for $25 units (6 or 7).

    The other half of that adage, is that 1/3 of the 'roll is all that you're willing to risk.

    Comments appreciated.

  • Along the lines of the thread, Ace-5 no. I keep playin the same limits (usually 1-2-4, or 1-2-4-6 depending on bankroll). But I still quit when I triple, unless I'm hot at that time.

    Progression, yes. I double when I double the bank, but try to leave when I triple. I don't raise the bet to triple, I leave. For the most part the pile of chips would be quite enough to sustain the next few trips.
    Walking in with $300 and exiting with $900 for 10-20-30-30 play (or $750 in $2250 out for 25-50-75-75 !). But I have been known to quit the low session with $900 and change tables/venue to play the high session.
    If I lose 12 units (the maximum 5-loss string) on the $25 base, I'm still up $300 for the trip, and "took a shot" at a big payday. I am strict about losing the 12 units, in order to protect the overall doubling of my initial bankroll. I follow the same winning rules of doubling when I double the bank and leave if I then triple. I have had a few of the big days... in with $300 out with $2200+. And a couple more where I get to $1500+ , fall back to $1500, and I leave.

  • Here again, we've got to define Bank Roll. If it's your stake for, say, a weekend trip, then I guess you're figuring on dividing BRinto three sessions. If you're talking about the money you bring to the table for one session, then why not just bring BR/3 and keep the temptation away.
    In either case, I don't see the point in putting a limit on how much you can win. That's why I prefer the sliding scale I mentioned above.
  • SH- Here is the way I define Bankroll.

    Total BJ Bankroll- This is nonessential or expendable money that you do not need for any other purpose. (say $2,000)

    Trip Bankroll- The money that you are willing to put at risk, in one trip. (say $600)

    Session Bankroll- The most you are willing to lose, at one session of play. (say $200)

    Grif'- Once again, I will be stating the obvious here. Lets say you are up a couple of hundred, there are only three choices.
    (1) Raise your bet (and go for a larger win)
    (2) Keep your bet the same (and hope the run continues)
    (3) Lower your bet (to protect your (small) win)

    Number three, would not be the best choice for most players. Nor would most even consider it, but there are a few players that a small win, (any win) is a big deal.

    Story: A guy I worked with, nice kid, but not much money. He took $200 to the casino and caught a run early. The started with $5 bets, then went to $10. He was up $200 in about 20 minutes. If he could have won $50, he would have been happy... He said he thought about leaving, but he had just spent almost 3 hours on the road to get there and wanted to play more than 20 minutes. He went to $15 bets and the tide turned. He not only lost the $200 he was up, he tapped out. He said he felt stupid and was depressed. He is not stupid. He is very sharp and a computer whizz. He just didn't understand the swings in BJ. For "him", the getting ahead and then lowering his bets, would have been a good idea.

    One common thread, that some of the top gamblers talked about was, lowering their bets when losing. No, they never lower their bets when winning.
  • I had a PM last night asking me what "Voodoo Blackjack" was, and since there are some examples posted above I will answer that here.

    First of all, I don't think you will find that term in any BJ glosseries :wink: It was a term a group of us who were using advantage play in the '80's used for the multitude of 'get rich quick' books and schemes that were touting various methods and ideas to make money at BJ without counting; predicting dealer's hole card and deviating from BS, setting 'artificial' win goals, regression methods, and a ton of money management 'miracle plans' (like lowering your bet when winning listed above), etc., etc, etc.

    The term has disappeared (heck, most of my ol' fart playin' friends are 'daid' or not playing much anymore), but unfortunately the hucksters are still out there.......and peddling the same old stuff. ..... And people are still buying it, .......and then spreading it on forums like this.

  • Grifter- Why are people still buying it? What does it take to rid ourself
    of these less that rational ideas? Logic don't seem to work because you
    can prove in simple terms that various "voodoo" strategies are without
    any sound foundation and the very next day or post brings more of the
    same. It's as if people don't want to hear the truth and will rationalize some alternative so as to be able to maintain some mystical view of
    reality. Is it a simple matter of the way you think? ............Perplexing!
  • Ray - Yes, I think you are right saying "It is a simple matter of the way you think". I am going to generalize to keep this short, but the 'voodoo players' I have come across over the years shared some common traits/thinking.

    - Inability to grasp, understand, and/or accept the mathematical aspects of blackjack (or any form of gambling)..... In my opinion you do not need to be an 'ace' in math, but you must be able to understand the laws of probablility, odds, statistics, etc.

    - Inability to play blackjack using a counting method, so they look for "an easier way".

    - The absurb belief that their own ideas and methods are better than counting, and they turn to the voodoo authors for collaboration.

    - And as P.T. Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute." 8)

    Note (in response to a PM): I do not consider progressions as a form of voodoo blackjack like many people do (i.e. the other BJ site). In fact, I think conservative progressions are the only way to play if you do not want to count and are willing to accept the fact you have a negative EV.

  • Grif- Right you are.....I'm not as critical of progressions as one might
    think. In fact, if you know that you're never going to count cards, I would
    adopt BR and risk management ideas that SAGE posted and give'em hell.
    You want overcome the neg. EV, but you will improve your chance to win.

    Not to include win goals and loss limits, I might add.....
  • I understand the math involved. I'm not going to count. That it way too much like work for something I consider a recreational activity. I like to socialize when I play BJ. If I had been counting, I surely couldn't have cut up with the batchelorette party I shared a table with in Vegas last month.
    That said, the simple progression I play keeps it interesting for me. I don't really think it "beats the game", but it usually doesn't hurt either.
    And you do need some sort of money management at the table. The stupidest things I see at the table are people who just shove money out on a "hunch" or out of frustration.

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