CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Alan Krigman

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

How much more bankroll do you need when you bet bigger?

10 December 2007

Say you've been playing casino blackjack fairly regularly for a long time. You're not exactly a high roller betting $10 per round on a $500 stake but they treat you OK. You're happy with a $100 profit and always quit as soon as you pass that point. Obviously, you hate losing. But you don't panic when you encounter a cold streak. And you're willing to spend down your $500 waiting for luck to change because history shows this doesn't happen often. More frequently, when conditions are inauspicious, you run out of time well before you scrape the bottom of your fanny pack. And, even if you do go belly-up, you find you've usually had a lengthy enough session that you deem it worth the recreational value.

This isn't a self-delusional matter of remembering the high times and forgetting the low. The math behind the game backs it up.

With the bankroll, win goal, and bet size cited, a blackjack player following good Basic Strategy can expect four successful sessions for every failure. Monetarily, that's $400 or more up and $500 down, on the average, for five games. The loss is under $20 per casino visit, some or all of which is covered by comps for the buffet. And, in any event, it's less than the cost of a movie ticket and a pizza. Moreover, the chance is nearly 95 percent a $500 stake will be good for at least 500 rounds roughly seven hours' action at a table with four other players.

Maybe you don't play blackjack. But comparable numbers pertain to sessions of reasonable duration at most table games. So similar scenarios would hold for many sensible, savvy solid citizens who think casinos give them a good bang for their leisure buck.

At any rate, pretend you get to mulling over the fact you come out a bit ahead at the end of the year considering comps, gifts of tasteless merchandise, and invitations to exclusive events. Such being the case, there ought also to be a way to do as well or better with bigger bets. And you know, for instance, that at $25 tables, not only are there fewer yahoos ruining the game for everyone else, but comps are more lavish and a gracious host may even become your new best friend. But, is this really true? And, if so, how must you modify your modus operandi for it to work?

You'll be tickled pink to know it's true. Provided you keep your bet, bankroll, and earnings target in proportion, all the math is identical. You're multiplying your bet by 2-1/2 to get from $10 to $25. So you'd similarly scale-up your bankroll to $1,250 (2.5 x $500) and win goal to $250 (2.5 x $100). At these levels, odds remain 4-to-1 you'll go over the top before hitting the soup, and you still have almost 95 percent chance of being in the thick of things for at least 500 rounds.

Bet higher without increasing your stake accordingly and your prospects dim, however. Raise your bankroll in proportion to your bet but keep your win goal at the original level or boost it by a lesser factor and the odds you'll succeed improve. For example, bet $25 on a $1,250 bankroll, holding the $100 earnings target, and the odds favor ecstasy over agony by 9-to-1. With a $200 win goal, they exceed 5-to-1. And, you continue to face only 5 percent chance of being sent to the lockers within 500 rounds.

One caveat is that while the chance you'll reach your loss limit before your win goal is no worse, or possibly better, a sporadic $1,250 rout may knock you for a loop whereas you could handle a $500 whack now and then. And, odds notwithstanding, two routs in a row are hardly impossible. These kinds of losses lure folks to cash machines, thinking they can recover with only $500 more. You don't need a gambling guru to tell you where that leads.

Another danger is that a $100 payday may seem fine when you're risking $10 per round. But $250 may look like chump change in a $25 game. Especially with little Wormwood whispering in your hearing aid how easily you could get it up to $300; just two more wins. And you're on a roll, right? So, before making an illogical decision based on what you think is a logical analysis, reflect on this rhyme by the inimitable inkster, Sumner A. Ingmark:

Percentage earnings don't always count,
The bill collector wants an amount.
Alan Krigman

Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.
Alan Krigman
Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.