The main components of your winning Blackjack game are mastery of Basic Strategy, a betting strategy and any form of ‘advantage play’ that works for you (such as a card counting system, although this is not required to do well at the game).
Some will argue that you can overcome the house edge, already the lowest of casino games, by using perfect Basic Strategy, which takes patience, and demonstrating the discipline to abide by a logical betting method.
More than Luck
The fundamental way to classify betting options is to think of runs or progressions over which a pattern of bets is applied. Now let’s survey the basic types of strategic wagering you can employ in order to bring home more money than your initial budget.
Your Betting Principle
First, what is your mental image of betting? What are your feelings around gambling money? If you have any fears or negative impressions about risking cash, or mixed ideas about what a bet is, then it is time to clear all that up!
Bet like You’re in Business
The object of running a business, notwithstanding contributions to society, is to turn a profit. Businesspeople must take chances, accept risks and basically bet on themselves in order to succeed.
Sometimes poor decisions turn into ‘bum deals’ and losses. But in the long run, a profit is sought — we suggest you adopt the same attitude to your Blackjack bets. The first thing to decide is how you will turn profits and track your success, or, what kind of betting progression you will use.
Progressions on Losses
Some Blackjack players find it most sensible to increase their bets whenever they lose a hand as well as when they win (perhaps increasing more when they win). This way, losses can be recouped faster than a more conservative, less risky formula.
However, if the house edge decides to bite you all at once, and you you have a run of losses (each one costing you more and more) then your bankroll can get wiped out quick.
Again, think of a business: if your company’s product or service was selling great, would you keep raising prices and risk a complete collapse of sales and bankruptcy? A negative progression betting strategy is gutsy, but not very sustainable, although it may have its time and place.
The next option is to increase your bet whenever you have a win and reset to your base bet when you have a loss. This is very sensible, and probably most similar to a rational, conservative business model.
This will draw out your playing time with a starting bankroll for the longest session. It is great for players who are not attached to the idea of ‘leaving Las Vegas’ with some winnings, but would be content to have a fun time. If you are out gambling with friends, this is a smart option.
On the other hand, recouping losses will take longer by increasing your bets only after wins. It is nice that you are funding your bigger bets with earnings rather than your bankroll, yet you’re after thrills then this kind of session may get a bit bland.
No Bet Progressions
Some players just stick to one bet size for a longer period of time, covering the appearances of good runs and bad runs equally. This strategy might seem very disciplined or super rational, yet it may be too rigid.
In effect, this type of player is too vulnerable to the house edge, even if it is as low as .05% when using flawless Basic Strategy. Some form of getting ahead during the session must be used. Maybe a player who is counting cards might used a static bet method to conceal their strategy, but this sort of diminishes the gains of that advantage.
Probably the best overall betting strategy is to have a flexible approach, having understood and experimented with all the basic methods above. If you mix up your strategy then you might be able to hedge your bets against losses as well as profiting from wins.
For example, as the mathematician Allan N. Wilson suggested in 1965, a Blackjack player can increase bets after winning hands and keep the existing bet factor on losses. The cycle is repeated as soon as a certain amount of profit has been turned, such as the base chip bet unit being used.
Be Your Own Bettor
In closing, briefly, we will just say that while we favour the mixed betting strategy above, moreover we think that an even more mixed approach that uses one of each of these methods at certain times may be the best. In the end, only you can decide how you will overcome the house edge. Betting like you’re in business surely works as a sensible, logical attitude for winning and having fun, too.