Am I betting appropriately?
  • I've been playing online blackjack at Golden Palace Casino with a $100 bankroll and am having trouble figuring out the correct spread. I tried to learn the Kelly Criterion, but it's a bit over my head, so I've been playing a 1,2,3,5,1 progression using $1 units. I'm thinking now that this is the correct size, as using $5 units quickly ate through my bank roll. I did very well for a while betting $1 through the 'loosing streaks' and then switching to the progressive betting with $5 units.
    Any betting tips? I've been unable to find much in the way of satisfactory info on this subject.
  • J3KNIGHT said:
    I've been playing online blackjack at Golden Palace Casino with a $100 bankroll and am having trouble figuring out the correct spread.


    First of all, if it's an online Casino, I am assuming that they are shuffling the deck after every hand, and therefore, no counting is possible.
    I am also assuming that the rules are not single-deck ideal, so you can't get a negate house advantage playing basic strategy.
    So essentially, you're playing a negative expectation game.

    The Kelly Criterion essentially helps you determine what limits your risk of ruin (losing your bankroll) compared to a maximal bet size in a positive expectation game. If you don't want to study the details, take 2% times as a guideline: i.e, if you want less than 2% chance of losing your total bankroll (not just session) before doubling it, make sure never to bet more than 2% of that bankroll.
    So, for example, if you have a bankroll of 1000$, play no more than 20$ a hand, and make sure your counting spread works that way: bet minimum when count is low, bet 20$ when the count is low.

    Now here's your problem: the Kelly criterion works only in a positive expectation game, because it helps you endure the variance and survive till the positive edge gathers you enough cash. On the other hand, if you are playing a negative expection game, like blackjack without counting, the kelly criterion will ruin you if you try to double.
    For example, overall your chances of doubling your bankroll are higher if you place all 1000$ of it on one bet (admittedly, they're less than 50%, so I wouldn't do it), but they're even lower if you divide it to 100$ bets and play till you double, further lower with 5$ bets, etc. etc. In a negative expectation game, the more times you play the same cash, the more you will lose.
  • There are no correct betting methods for the non-AP other than
    flat betting........40-50 times your average bet (always the same) is
    your best BR est. From time to time you may get lucky and win a little.
    Stay away from progressions and other mystical methods, they don't
    work......................
  • One more thing: most people on this board are almost religiously opposed to progressions and regressions (that do not involve card counting), because each hand is essentially independent: since you play by basic strategy, and the dealer is forced to play in a fixed way, having won or lost the last hand has no real impact on the outcome of your next hand, the same way that throwing a pair of dice is not affected by the results of the previous dice.
    Thus, any progression or regression would be meaningless, although a lot of people believe in it for various reasons, and a lot of "professional gamblers" write books and systems based on it. But from a mathematical standpoint, they are all null. It makes no difference whatsoever whether you play a certain fixed amount, of you vary your bet so that your average and median are the same.

    Nevertheless, in blackjack trials are not independent because of the composition of the deck: taking some cards out of the deck affects the outcome. But the problem is that this "memory" between trials is not as simple as tracking winnings and losings. It depends on the strength of cards remaining in the deck, which is the point behind card counting.

    So for now, it's good to practice your basic strategy to reduce your mistakes to a minimum. But even with perfect BS, you will still lose money regardless of progression. Think about it this way: in a negative expectation game, you are losing on average a certain percentage off every hand. No matter how large a bet you make, you will lose a certain percentage, so progression and regression doesn't matter. In practice, by playing fixed minimum bets you will get the most playing time.

    Once you are ready, start looking into card counting to try and turn that edge towards your side.
  • Thanks for the quick response. I should've mentioned the casino is playing 6 decks, does indeed shuffle after everyhand, no surrender, das, stand on soft 17.
    Ive been practicing card counting using simple hi lo, but I'm no where near ready to play at a casino just yet. Along those lines, can anyone suggest some reading material? I've heard of a number of count systems, and heard it said that they're all about the same as far as percentages go, but the only one I'm familiar with is hi lo
  • Just noticed the blackjack books tab, looks like my question's already been answered.
  • J3KNIGHT said:
    Thanks for the quick response. I should've mentioned the casino is playing 6 decks, does indeed shuffle after everyhand, no surrender, das, stand on soft 17.
    Ive been practicing card counting using simple hi lo, but I'm no where near ready to play at a casino just yet. Along those lines, can anyone suggest some reading material? I've heard of a number of count systems, and heard it said that they're all about the same as far as percentages go, but the only one I'm familiar with is hi lo


    I'd say Hi-lo is the easiest. The trick is to practice it in real settings because it's different than on a computer. Go to a casino with low limits, and count the cards. Or, go to one with a continuous shuffle, play a few hands and then just watch. Try to "count" the CSMs. The pit staff won't care becasue they're not worried about counting, and you can watch for free. Personally, in a real casino I always play first base. I find it easier to focus on other hands once I already played my hand, I can track the count without worrying on remembering what decision I need to make.

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