Betting Strategies for Blackjack
There is a strong case to suggest that the amount you bet is actually more important than what you bet on. We reviewed five popular staking methods. Discover which is best.
Professional blackjack player and author Ed Thorp was a successful card-counter. Too successful, many would argue, as his ability at the tables of Las Vegas’ biggest casinos lead to the implementation of multiple decks and the start of a war on card-counting.
Despite his expertise as a professional gambler – he published two books on the subject – he attributed the majority of his success to a staking formula created by mathematician John Kelly Jr. “Playing strategy is maybe a third to a quarter … of what you’re going to get out of it. Betting strategy may be two thirds or three quarters”.
Of course, it’s easy to say that a betting strategy is important. But what makes a useful strategy? With influence from Alex Bellos’ Alex’s Adventures in Numberland, we mapped the success of five betting strategies over a series of 500 bets:
The above graph shows the profits from 500 simulated bets for five betting systems, with the probability of winning at 55% on a Binary bet. The initial bet for each method was $100 (except for the all-in method, which initially bet $1000). Each system started with a $1000 bank, and the simulation continued for each method until the 500th bet (or until their bank was minimised).
As you can see, one betting system provides far greater returns than the others, while one drops you out pretty quickly.
The five systems are outlined below – which letter do you think each line corresponds to?
Strategy 1: Bet everything, every time
Bet your entire bankroll on each bet. The advantage is that you get big returns, fast. The downside? As soon as you lose, you’re out of money and out of the game.
Strategy 2: Fixed wager
Bet a fixed amount for each bet, and don’t vary no matter how much you win. In this example, it was $100. If your chance of winning 55% on a 2.000 bet, this method means you’ve dramatically reduced your chance of losing your entire stake. Unfortunately, it means your winnings are limited to increase in a “slow and steady” fashion.
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