Ralph Stricker: Betting and Bankroll

Betting and Bankroll

Copyright © 1997 Ralph Stricker

Ralph Stricker was an internationally known blackjack expert. In 1978 he opened one of the first blackjack schools on the East coast. In 1981 he sold the school and has played blackjack professionally. He has appeared on many of the major talk shows throughout the United States. He had his own radio and tv shows for three years. He has also written a book on the playing of Blackjack entitled the Silver Fox Blackjack System “You Can Count On It“.  Ralph Stricker passed away in 2012

One of the most frequently asked questions is: When do I raise my bets and by how much?

The person who is playing just Basic Strategy should not be varying bets. The reason for this is as follows:If you are playing Single Deck Blackjack you have an even game with the casino assuming that the rules are as follows:Late Surrender, Double after Splits and Doubling on any Two Cards. If not, you are playing with a slight disadvantage. In Multiple Deck you have a disadvantage even if playing perfect Basic Strategy. 4 Decks  -.46%   6 Decks  -.56%   8 Decks  -.58%. So common sense dictates that if you are playing with a negative expectancy, then the more money you are putting into play, the greater the amount of money will be lost. (long term)

     Let’s look at a scenario of a player having just a 1/2% disadvantage. Assuming you are “FLAT BETTING”  (not varying bets) and betting $10.00 per hand. Let’s also assume that there are 6 people at the table including yourself. You will get approximately 50 hands per hour and you will be putting $500 per hour into play. ($10×50=$500) Assuming you play 4 hours you are putting at risk $2,000.00. With a 1/2% disadvantage you will lose $10.00. This does not seem like a lot of money to lose, but extrapolate this over a period of time and it becomes monetarily debilitating. So common sense tells you, that the more you bet, the more money you will lose. The best advice I can give to anyone playing just Basic Strategy is:

  1. Do not vary bets-(Flat Bet)
  2. Play at the smallest table denomination
  3. Play at crowded tables, the less hands per hour, the less you will lose.

     All of the above are contrary to what a Card Counter will adhere to, as the Counter is playing with a positive expectancy.

    The next frequently asked question is:What about Money Management? My advice to the Basic Strategy player is:Take a certain amount to the casino and if you lose that amount, do not try to recoup the loss. You will just be chasing your money. Set a goal of winning an amount and if you are lucky enough to win some money before losing, quit when you reach that goal.

     Remember you will not always lose, you will have winning sessions, but remember long term you will not win, playing just Basic Strategy. Go to the casino with the attitude of having some fun and not to make money. If you are serious about winning consistently, then you must learn Card Counting.