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HOME > Gaming%20Tips > Heaps of streaks and runs

Heaps of streaks and runs

20 July 2012

By Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: I was at the Casino Caesars in Windsor at a baccarat game when the bank won 19 times in a row. Is this a record? Robert M.

Based on both personal experience and sweeping Web surfing, I have no definitive answer, but guessing aloud, Robert, it most likely was NOT some baccarat record you witnessed.

With baccarat, there are three betting options: 1) betting on the Player Hand, 2) betting on the Bank Hand, 3) betting on a Tie Hand. The banker wager, has only a 1.17 percent house edge, making it damn near a 50/50 proposition, and although a run of 19 winning hands seems daunting, it’s definitely possible.

A streak, Robert, is nothing more than a welcome (to the winning side, that is) momentary blip in someone’s endless gambling time-line, which eventually is balanced by one or more unwelcome runs.

As for streaks that I have personally observed, I once dealt a young lady 32 straight winning hands of blackjack. I tried to get her to progressively bet more (see question below), but she took her $64 (32 x $2) after the run ended and walked, gambling yarn in hand.

Yours truly once had a horse in the money in 17 consecutive races over two days at Pimlico. I parlayed my original $2 outlay into a season’s ski pass at Alpine Meadows, skiing 154 days that year.

Like my god fortune, I figure the Gods of Chance just so happened to be in Windsor, Ontario that day.

Dear Mark: What is the best way betting in blackjack, always bet flat or fluctuate my wager? C.H.

Success at blackjack isn’t just how you bet each hand. Many factors go into having a winning session. So, before responding to your question, I recommend before sitting tableside, you first shop for the best rules and playing conditions. Smart blackjack players always play in a casino that offers the best rules. Look for the following combination of rules that are favorable to the player:

-- a single or double deck game: avoid CTMs (Continuous Shuffling Machines)
-- surrender, both early and late
-- double down allowed on any two cards
-- double down allowed after splitting pairs
-- multiple pair splitting allowed, plus re-splitting aces
-- dealer stands on a soft 17
-- deep deck penetration

Next, learn perfect basic strategy. Basic strategy is nothing more than how you play your hand against the dealer’s "up card." Playing it correctly will bring the house advantage down to well under 1 percent.

As for betting, I employ a winning progressive method of betting, setting a predetermined percentage increase for each winning bet. For example, I increase my winning bets by 50 percent after the second win: $5, $5, $7, $10, $15, $22, etc. I continuously flat bet (table minimum) when losing.

Oh, and while we're at it, no matter how you bet, or what your initial wager is, you deserve to be rewarded for your play. Don't expect the casino to dole out any comps if they are not tracking your play.

Be it flat or progressive betting, neither will affect the house advantage nor guarantee that you will win more money. If the casino has an advantage before money management, it still has that same advantage even after you apply either money management technique. What good money management principles will do is protect your winnings and minimize your losses.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "A dollar picked up in the road is more satisfaction to us than the 99 which we had to work for, and the money won at Faro or in the stock market snuggles into our hearts in the same way." —- Mark Twain

Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the gambling trenches, working for seven different casinos. He now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer, and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.

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