Blackjack Bankroll Calculator

Bet Size and Bankroll Size
June 6, 2016 – 04:15 am
Bankroll Progress Graph
Book PictureThe Unofficial Guide to Casino Gambling

by Basil Nestor

Basil Nestor incorporates decades of gambling knowledge to give the reader insight into probability, common gambling mistakes, and winning strategies in his popular book, The Unofficial Guide to Casino Gambling. Covering all the bases of casino gambling including machine games (slots and video poker), table games (blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, poker), and waiting games (keno and sports betting) the book also has sections on how to get casino comps, gambling systems, a history of gambling in the US, and much more.

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How much should you bet? And how big should your bankroll be in relation to the size of your bets?

Professional gamblers use a system called the Kelly Criterion to determine optimum bet size and/orBasil Nestor is the author of the new Playboy Complete Guide to Casino Gambling. This wonderful book teaches players how to avoid sucker bets and win more when playing gambling games. He is also the author of The Smarter Bet Guide series for video poker, slots, craps, and many other books about gambling. Basil's website is bankroll size. The way it works is that a player arbitrarily chooses either a bankroll amount or a bet size, and the Kelly formula produces the optimum size of the other variable. The resulting bet-to-bankroll ratio gives the player the greatest probability of winning and the lowest probability of losing everything.

Unfortunately, Kelly tells us to bet zero dollars when the casino has an advantage. That doesn’t help much when we’re playing slots. There’s a calculation similar to Kelly that estimates risk of ruin (the probability that your bankroll will dip to zero), but I won’t cross your eyes with either of these formulas.

Instead, I’ll just tell you that a bankroll for a two-to-three-hour session should be at least 250 times the size of your average bet when you’re playing penny and nickel slots. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should buy in for that amount, but having that money available will keep you playing for up to three hours in most circumstances, sometimes longer.

If you’re playing quarters, then your session bankroll should be at least 200 times the size of your average bet. For dollar slots and above, 150 bets should keep you going up to three hours.

Interesting facts

Oscar's Grind
The first reference I can find regarding this more modern betting system appeared in Allan Wilson's "The Casino Gambler's Guide," copyright 1965. Wilson was intrigued with this system after a dice player named "Oscar" produced detailed records showing modest, but consistent profits. Wilson ran 280,000 sequence simulations on an...

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