"Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire
If you are going to make money at blackjack, you must manage your money perfectly. This is easy to do if you have discipline. Money management is vital. Basic strategy and progression betting are also vital. If a player follows these three things, he or she, has the potential to become a winning and world class player.
This chapter uses the example of a $100 bet. If you are a $5 or $10 minimum bettor, just adjust the numbers.
One of the worst things that can happen to a gambler is that he runs out of money. By knowing and following the guidelines in Blackjack Super-System, you increase your chances of staying in action. The nature of blackjack, is that at times, there are dramatic swings of winning or losing. The swings related to gambling are called standard deviation or normal fluctuation. You will benefit from knowing what is natural to the game of blackjack and using this information to your benefit.
The players who follow the guidelines in this chapter will have a better chance of winning and less chance at tapping out. Any time you have more betting units, you have a better chance to withstand the normal fluctuations inherent in blackjack. You can follow the money management guidelines in this chapter. You can follow the money management guidelines in Chapter 8 (Short Bankroll Play). You can size your wagers somewhere in between. Just understand the potential outcome of your actions. Read the last question and answer in Chapter 14 (Frequently Asked Questions) regarding standard deviation.
Let's assume that our goal is to make $100 minimum wagers. This would make our typical buy-in $1,000. A total bankroll set aside for gambling would be $50,000. For the average person, this is a lot of money to set aside for one cause. The money does not have to be in cash or chips. it could be invested in stocks or a money market.
Let's further assume that a gambler has set aside $50,000 for his blackjack project, has been studying, and has played and charted 100 practice sessions. Now this player is planning his first two-day trip to a casino. Therefore, he should bring $2,500 to gamble with. This is five sessions of ten units times a $50 minimum bet. I know I said we would figure this for a $100 minimum bet, but there is a reason for this.
As we are just starting this project, we want to make sure we are not starting in a long-term losing trend. We are doing everything we can to preserve precious capital. Taking $2,500 for a two-day trip is 5% of your total bankroll. Professional commodity traders do not exceed this short term risk, nor should you.
Let's take three typical scenarios that could happen:
1. You start winning
2. You stay about even
3. You start losing
1. You start winning.
Let us assume that after a few trips to the casino we have won. We are now ahead $1,500. We now have a total bankroll of $51,500. Now that we are ahead we can increase our bets to normal levels. This is done with ex-casino money. Our minimum bets are now $100. Our bankroll per two-day trip is now $5,000. This breaks down to five sessions of ten units at $100.
Five sessions, $1,000 per session $100 minimum bets
Keep betting at this level as long as you stay above your $50,000 total bankroll. At this betting level, if you should lose $3,000 in either playing day, quit for that day. If you should lose $5,000 for the trip, you have hit your stop-loss for that trip. You are finished playing for said trip.
2. You stay about even ($50,000 bankroll)
Some players will end up about even after a couple of months of playing. Again, to play it safe, drop your bet to $50 if your total bankroll is at $50,000 or below. Every chance we get we preserve capital, we do.
Let's say your bankroll is at $53,000 after a win. Now you can increase your bets to $100 minimum bets. If you are going on a two-day trip, take $5,000. With $53,000 you are risking $2,000 of your original capital and $3,000 of ex-casino money.
3. You start losing.
As mentioned, anytime your bankroll is at $50,000 or below, your bet is at $50. Let's say you are in a long term negative trend. Anytime your bankroll drops below $40,000, drop your minimum bets to $25. The negative swings do happen just as the positive ones. Do not be under the impression that they only happen to someone else.
If your bankroll drops below $40,000, cut your trips to the casino in half. Do this until you start to win. When your bankroll gets back up to $40,000, then you can increase your wagers to $50 and bring the trips to the casino back to normal. Cutting your trips to the casino and dropping your bet size will greatly reduce your exposure.
If you should increase your bankroll to $75,000, you could consider increasing your minimum bets by 50% ($150). Another alternative could be to wait until you reach $100,000 and then double your minimum bets ($200).
When winning like this, you could consider playing more often. Doubling your trips (or more) and increasing your wagers can be very profitable during these positive normal fluctuations.
By increasing your bets as your bankroll increases and decreasing your bets as your bankroll decreases, you are following the Kelly Criterion formula. This formula is what professional gamblers use to figure out their optimum bet size. The guidelines in this chapter are a simplified version.
Adjust the figures in this chapter to fit your total bankroll. We have covered when to stop playing when losing. Next we will go over when to slop playing after win. We can start by going over two examples that cost me $30,000 over just two trips. This was at the betting levels in this chapter.
The first painful event happened at Caesar's Palace in 1979. I had been playing for two days and was ahead $13,000. What I should have done at this point was to put my stop at $10,000 ahead. Instead, I kept playing and lost the $13,000 plus another $10,000. By not placing a stop at $10,000 ahead, it cost me $20,000.
Ten years later at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, I did the same thing. This time I was ahead $8,000 after the first day. I could not lose. I won every session. I was temporarily invincible. Then the tide turned. I could not win a session. I lost at least ten straight sessions. This trip was testing my very own self worth. Should I be gambling, etc. (See Chapter 12: Mental Edge).
By not placing my stop at $5,000 ahead, it cost me another $10,000. I ended up losing $5,000 when I could have been $5,000 ahead.
You go to the casino to win money. After you are ahead, you have accomplished your purpose. Place your stop win after you are ahead. Do not move these stops except up. Keep playing until you either hit a stop-win or a stop-loss.
Do not concern yourself with the long-term statistics of millions of hands. We are taking advantage of the short-term fluctuations.
Place your stops similar to these examples. Quit playing anytime you reach a stop.
If you are planning any one-day trips to the casino, set your stop-loss for one day at $3,000. This is assuming you are ahead of your total bankroll of $50,000. Your one day trip breaks down to three sessions of $1,000 each with $100 minimum bets.
One day trip:
10 units each, $1,000 per session
$100 minimum bets
If your total bankroll is below $50,000, set your wagers as follows:
One day trip:
3 sessions 10 units each, $500 per session $50 minimum bets
At this point in the chapter, you should understand:
1. Total bankroll requirements
2. Two-day bankroll requirements
3. One day bankroll requirements
4. Placing stop-wins and loss stop
5. Increasing bets during long-term positive deviations
6. Decreasing bets during long-term negative deviations
Now let us look at an example of what range the win-loss ratio may be for a day at the casino:
Win-Loss Ratio For A Day
In the first example, we lost three sessions and did not win any. This would mean we hit our stop-loss for the day and are finished playing for that day.
The next example is if we won one session and lost four. Assuming the dollar amount in this system, we lost $4,000 for these four sessions. The session we won will normally range from $1,000 to $4,000. The average win will come in at about $1,600. If our one win was only $1,000, we have lost $3,000 for the day and we have hit our stop-loss. If our one winning session was $1,600, we can take $600 and buy-in for $600 if another playing session is desired.
If our one winning session was $2,000, we would have lost $2,000 for the day. If another playing session is desired, buy-in for $1,000.
Our maximum session loss is 10 units (or $1,000). Never exceed losing a total of 30 units in one day. We do not limit our wins though.
Let us look at the last example of seven wins and one loss for the day. The loss was $1,000 and the wins ( 7 x $1,600 average win) would total $11,200 for a total win of $10,200.
The method to follow is to limit your loss for any given day. As you can gather from the win-loss ratio, we do not limit the wins. Our average win will exceed our average loss by using the progression betting system and by placing stops. Each play is broken down into an individual session.
Let's look at our chart again assuming the average win is $1,600.
Win-Loss Ratio for the day
(With Total $)
Win Loss Total $ for day
As you can see from the chart above you must:
1. Limit your losses.
2. Have an average win higher than an average loss. This is accomplished with progression betting Chapter 6.
3. Play more sessions during days that you are winning.
Besides following these guidelines, make sure that you are playing with money you can afford. Bet within your means. It is harder to win betting scared.
Play only when you are completely rested. It takes a lot of concentration to play like a pro. Stay away from drinking alcohol in excess before starting a playing session. Take at least a half hour break between sessions. This is especially important after a quick loss or after a big win. Expect losing sessions. Expect a string of losing sessions. Just like winning sessions, they happen. Play each session independent of other sessions! Never play to get even. Only play when conditions are perfect for you. Tailor what is right for you. Treat playing blackjack as a serious matter. Do not donate any money to the casino. Do not feel obligated to play more hands (or less) than is perfect for you.
Everything in this chapter (and the rest of Blackjack Super-System) is the complete opposite of what the casino wants you to do. Manage your money perfectly! The casinos will hate it.
Updates in 2011:
Blackjack Super-System was written in the year 2000. 11 years ago. There have been few changes in the last decade. The one change that I would implement is to quit the session after losing 4 consecutive hands. That seems to limit downside risk when running bad. Also, I am now buying in with 8 units instead of 10.
Anyone that can add one item to this system, that I incorporate, will get their purchase price refunded, with pleasure. I will notify all other buyers of any addition as well. Most of the things I hear are not an advantage but please try.
When you are up 8 units at the table, feel free to put 4 of those chips to the side. If you lose the 4, you can stop the session with a 4 unit win. This is a more conservative way of playing and being very careful with your bankroll. Or, you could just try to get to a minimum 10 unit win.
I am going back to the tables with a short bankroll due to circumstances unrelated to blackjack.
I am going to the casino with a one day bankroll of 20 units. In this case, it is $500. My first and second buy-in will be 8 units. If I lose both sessions and have not gotten stopped out by 4 consecutive losses, my third buy-in for the day will be 4 units. This will limit losses. If I get stopped out or had won a previous session for the day, my third buy-in would be 8 units. I will continue, or stop playing, according to the rest of this chapter.
Someone asked me how this system worked for me. It was a very good question. Besides what is in the book, I played heads up with the dealer. That may, or may not, make a difference but that is the way I played. I liked that occasional winning long run of cards. You cannot get that at a half full or full table as the shuffle comes too often. I usually played alone against the dealer with a 6 deck shoe.
If I bought in with 8 units, my goal is to get to a minimum 18 units. I might lower the unit size to guarantee a win for that session. Example: if I had 20 units and was suppose to bet 8 units in the progression, I would only bet 2 units. I sat down to win the session and am not jeopardizing that. Once I had the 18 units to the side, I would increase bets as 2, 4, 8 in this example until I hit 8 unit max bet size.
Notes From a Professional:
One of the most important things a gambler needs to do is limit his losses. When you do incur a loss, never press your bets to get even. Do not chase a loss. Decrease your wagers when losing.
To end up a winner in the long run, you need to press your bets when winning. Also, you need to retain the majority of that win. This is accomplished by using stop points (stops).