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PART-TIME MONEY MANAGEMENT

By The Gamemaster

 

Every month, I'll be posting an article which will, I hope, make you a better Blackjack player. Naturally, the question follows: Just who am I to say I can make you a better player? My background in Blackjack began in Atlantic City in 1978 where I learned, by attending a four-session school, how to count cards. That led to considerable involvement with Blackjack teams and travel to a lot of places to take the casinos' money. After the liberal rules in Atlantic City were dumped by the casinos, my Blackjack-playing days went dormant for some time. I'd do the occasional trip to Reno or Las Vegas, but it wasn't until casino gaming came to Missouri in 1994 that I got back into Blackjack with both feet. Now I live close to 5 casinos, can play as much as I want and can tell you - with first-hand experience - how to win at Blackjack. My Website is www.gamemasteronline.com

What I will be discussing this month is money management for the casual, non-pro blackjack card counter, as opposed to those who are making their living from the game. Why the difference? The primary reason is that a full-time player canít take big risks, whereas a part-time player has a renewable source of funds (a job) that allows him or her to approach the game in a slightly different way.

I think itís fair to say that most card counters begin as part-time players and stay that way; only a very few players go on to play professionally and rely on blackjack as their primary source of income. Naturally, proper money management is important to both types of players, but the "non-pro" can be more aggressive because losing a big portion of their bankroll has less of an impact on day-to-day living.

Very few of us like taking big risks, otherwise, weíd be talking about roulette or baccarat here. But defined risk is something we can all live with or weíd be at a savings and loan Website, not a "gambling" site. I put the word gambling in quotes because where we are now, and what weíre doing here, isnít really gambling, per se, but is more the acceptance of a clearly defined risk, which Ė in the long run Ė is no gamble at all, if certain criteria are met.

You will make money at card counting if firstly, youíre playing a winning game (itís beatable in the first place and youíre utilizing a method that has been proven to succeed), and secondly, you make enough bets of the proper size that will allow your edge over the game to be realized. Itís really quite simple: with even an edge of, say, 10%, if you were to bet half of your bankroll on each hand, youíre highly favored to lose whatever amount youíre willing to risk. No matter how well you do in the beginning, if your bets are too big in relation to your total bankroll, the result will usually be financial disaster; itís just a matter of time (this is known as risk-of-ruin).

A lot has been written about money management in blackjack, so I donít have any original research to share, but I too was once a part-time counter and like most, made a lot of mistakes. The difference is that I learned from those mistakes Ė at least enough to advance to the "professional" level - and thatís what I want to share with you today. Of course, if you already have a lot of money, how itís managed isnít critical, but then why play blackjack? Sure, itís fun, but only for a little while; it eventually becomes somewhat boring and repetitive. Itís really only good for making $$$; beyond that, the thrill has left the game, at least for me.

Perhaps youíre new to the game and itís still exciting to win. If thatís the case, Iím sure itís also depressing when you lose, and nothing but time and self-confidence will remove those emotions. If youíre like most part-time players, your bankroll is whatever spare $$$ you have at the moment, which is fine, but itís not a plan. Playing blackjack with winning in mind is a business, whether you want it to be or not. Playing blackjack like 99% of the gamblers out there is a form of recreation, which is also fine Ė after all, without the "ploppies", we canít exist Ė because the casinos would stop offering the game if everyone was a winning player.

What Iím suggesting here is that...

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