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HOME > STRATEGY > Strategies & Tips > Money management

Money management

14 April 2019

By John Grochowski

At a dinner party recently, I fell into conversation with Kerri, a blackjack player. I’d recently been asking players about the best and worst advice they’d ever received, so I put the question to Kerri.

She immediately gave me a discourse on money management, a topic near and dear to players’ hearts. Kerri understood fully that managing your money properly is important, but that it’s not a magic bullet that can overcome the house edge.

“I’d love to go back in time and thank my uncle for teaching me what money management was all about,” she said. “I was young and headstrong. I knew I didn’t want to play slot machines. I wanted to play blackjack because everybody said the odds were better.

“For some reason, among the few people I talked to about casinos, money management was all the rage. I was absolutely convinced that if I just did this with my bankroll or bet in that pattern, I could win.”

I told her I’ve run into that notion often in the years I’ve been writing about casino games. I’ve often found money management questions in my e-mail. At park district seminars designed to teach basic strategy to new players, I’ve been peppered with money management questions.

Kerri nodded, and said her uncle had stepped in and taught her what money management could and couldn’t do.

“My uncle played blackjack, and I was telling him about all these theories, and he just listened quietly. I might have detected an eyeroll or two, but he seemed content to let me just talk myself out.

“Finally I ran out of steam and he said, ‘Kerri, you can’t change the odds of the game with money management. The odds are the odds. They do change with what cards are dealt and what cards are left, but your bets don’t change them.’”

True enough, I told her. The house edge is always working, though in blackjack they change as each card is dealt.

“Right,” she said. “That’s something I learned later when I got into counting cards. But my uncle didn’t stop with what money management couldn’t do. He told me what it could, too.

“ ‘What money management can do is save you from yourself,’ he told me. ‘You set a bankroll to play with and you don’t exceed it. You don’t bet too big a percentage of your bankroll on any one hand. When you lose a set percentage of your bankroll, you get out.

“ ‘That way you can have your fun, take a chance at winning, but you never leave flat broke. It takes some willpower and discipline, but you don’t go to the ATM, withdraw extra funds and risk money you need for something else.’

“The part about not changing the odds with your bets really hit home. The casino gets lots of bets from lots of players. Why should my little bet change the odds?”

That’s true in virtually every casino game, I told her. There’s nothing in betting patterns, raising or lowering bets, that can change the odds in roulette, craps, Three Card Poker or anything else. In blackjack, sizing your bets can change the way you interact with the odds, provided raise and lower in accordance with an accurate card count.

“Yeah,” Kerri said. “I later learned how to count cards and raise and lower my bets as the odds change, but my uncle’s advice about not betting too much of my bankroll at once and cutting out if I lose too big a percentage is just fundamental.”

Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

John Grochowski
John  Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field. Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago.

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