Buy-in Amounts for Card Counters

It is important as a card counter to buy-in for limited amounts and keep buying in if you lose. I once read an account of some blackjack players who made a very serious mistake. They walked into a casino and bought into a blackjack game for $1000. That is no bad thing in itself but they then proceeded to play only $5 per hand.

Firstly you need to place yourself into the minds of the dealers and pit bosses. When they see someone buy in for $1000 at blackjack then they immediately think “here comes a big player”. So in this instance betting $5 per hand looks rather strange and is contrary to what they are expecting you to do. But then again this isn’t necessarily bad either but the final mistake that this player made was to escalate his bets when the count went positive to many times what his starting bet had been.

The casino staff can only come to one possible conclusion in this instance……card counter! What this player should have done was buy-in for $20 if he only intended to start playing $5 per hand. No one would look twice at him if he did this. You can hear his logic, he must have been thinking that once he started to increase his bets that the casino would stand this because they had already pegged him as a big hitter when they saw him buy in for $1000.

This is not how casino staff think at all! They are used to looking for discrepancies in average behaviour and base many of their decisions on that. So when you lose the initial twenty dollars and pull another twenty dollars out of your pocket then these amounts are so small that they will not get logged by the casino but a $1000 buy-in would be noted immediately. It also looks like you cannot afford to buy in for any more when you do this.

So when you start losing and doubling up (coincidentally when the count goes positive) then you will escape heat from the staff. Starting to ramp your bets in that instance will make you look like you are merely chasing losses. But when you win when your bet is $40 then something else amazing can happen. You can then double your bet again to $80 and this now makes you look like some impulsive addicted gambler who is letting their bets ride.

In all my years in gaming I have seen literally hundreds of players who fitted this category. These were people who simply craved action, if they won they wanted more and if they lost then they wanted to recoup those losses. The bottom line was that they escalated their bets whether they won or lost and this is what the skilled card counter must try to achieve. When you get ahead then obviously you need to reduce your bet when the count goes negative or neutral again. But this may also look obvious to the casino staff as well. So leaving the table for a while and then coming back is a good way to play. This makes it look like you are protecting your winnings but you cannot stay away from the action……hence addicted gambler.

If you are a Texas Hold em poker player and looking for new challenges, I can strongly recommend that you try on blackjack!

By: Carl “The Dean” Sampson


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