The Showdown

Hands end in one of three ways:

One person bets and everyone else folds, one person bets on the final round and at least one person calls, or everybody checks on the final round.

If everybody folds to a bet, the player needs not to show the winning cards and will usually toss them to the dealer face down.

If somebody calls on the end, the person who Judi Bola bet or raised most recently is supposed to immediately show, or “open”, their cards. They may delay doing so in a rude attempt to induce another player to show their hand in impatience, and then muck their own hand if it is not a winner. Don’t do this yourself. Show your hand immediately if you get called.

If you have called a bet, wait for the player to show, then show your own hand if it’s better.

If the final round is checked down, in most card-rooms everyone is supposed to open their hands immediately.

Sometimes everyone will wait for someone else to show first, resulting in a time-wasting deadlock. Break the chain and show your cards.

Most card-rooms give every player at the table the right to see all cards that called to a showdown, even if they are marked as losers. (This helps prevent cheating by team-play.)

If you are extremely curious about a certain hand, ask the dealer to show it to you. It is considered impolite to constantly ask to see losing cards.

As a beginner, you may want to show your hand all the time, since you may have overlooked a winning hand.

What you gain from one such pot will far outweigh any loss due to revealing how you played a particular losing hand.

“Cards speak” at the showdown, meaning that you need not declare the value of your hand. The dealer will look at your cards and decide if you have a winner.


As a final word of caution, it is best to hold on to your winning cards until the dealer pushes you the pot.

A dishonest player might try to steal the pot from you with a despicable trick:

When you bet and all others fold, he may conceal his hand in the hope that you will toss your cards into the muck, whereupon he will call and win the pot.

Raking in the Pot

As you win your first pot, the excitement within you will drive you beyond the realm of rational behavior, and you will immediately lunge to scoop up the precious chips with both arms.

Despite the fact that no other player had done this while you watched, despite the fact that you read here not to do it, you will do it.

Since every dealer has a witty admonition prepared for this moment, maybe it’s all for the best. But next time, let the dealer push it to you, ok?

Touching Cards or Chips

Don’t. Only touch your own cards and chips.

Other players’ chips and cards, discards, board cards, the pot and everything else are off-limits.

Only the dealer touches the cards and pot.







Dealers make their living from tips.


It is customary for the winner of each pot to tip the dealer 50 cents to a dollar, depending on locale and the stakes.


Sometimes you will see players tip several dollars for a big pot or an extremely unlikely suckout.


Sometimes you will see players stiff the dealer if the pot was tiny or split between two players. This is a personal issue, but imitating the other players is a good start.




Correcting Mistakes


Occasionally the dealer or a player may make a mistake, such as miscalling the winning hand at the showdown.


If you are the victim of such a mistake, call it out immediately and do not let the game proceed.


If your opponent is the victim, let your conscience be your guide; many see no ethical dilemma in remaining silent.


If you are not involved in the pot, you must judge the texture of the game to determine whether to speak up.


In general, the higher the stakes, the more likely you should keep your mouth shut.




Increase your odds by playing a better game

The odds on a standard American roulette wheel are pretty bad in general — the casino has about a 5.3% advantage over the player. You can increase your chances of winning by playing a game with a lower house edge instead, such as craps or European roulette. Craps is the preferred game, because it’s much easier to find than European roulette.

Blackjack offers good odds with proper strategy, but to use the Martingale with blackjack you need a bankroll that’s four times as large as normal. That’s because you might need to split hands or double down, and will need extra money to do so. If you had this much extra money and wanted to use the Martingale, you could use it to much better effect with craps or European roulette. The extra money would allow you to survive a longer losing streak with those games.

Baccarat has a low house edge (1.06%) so it’s a good choice for the Martingale, but only if you can get a slow game. Mini-Baccarat is played about five times faster than craps or roulette in terms of rounds per hour, and as you recall, the more you play, the more likely you are to lose. The whole point of the Martingale is to try to win in the short term. Of course, if you’re playing online instead of in a casino, then all games are played about the same speed and it doesn’t matter which game you play — but you’ll need to be extra careful that you don’t play too long. How long is too long? See note at the beginning of the table at the end of this article.

European roulette wheels offer better odds than American roulette wheels. American wheels contain both a 0 and a 00, while European poker online wheels have just the 0. The house edge on a European wheel is 2.7%. Some European-style game offer a “surrender” feature which means you lose only half your bet if the ball lands on 0, or an en prison feature which is complicated to explain but is effectively the same thing. Either feature lowers the house edge to about 1.35%. European wheels are hard to find in land casinos in the U.S., and where they are available they usually come with high table minimums. Online it’s a lot easier. For example, Bodog has a single-zero European wheel (2.7% edge), but only in the download version (not in the Flash version).

Does it work if you have a huge bankroll?

We’ve all heard that the problem with the Martingale is that once you’ve lost several times in a row, you have to make really huge bets.  Well, what if you can afford to make those really huge bets?  How would the Martingale fare under those circumstances?  I decided to test it.

We’ll assume our gambler is willing to lose up to $100k.  That would mean he could start with $5 and place 14 bets in a row, with the final bet being $40,960, for a total loss of $81,915 if bet #14 lost.  Caesar’s Palace accepts bets up to $50k, so this would work there.  With these betting limits, how long could our gambler play “safely”?  I decided that “safely” would mean that he’d have a 95% chance of coming out ahead and only a 5% chance of losing the $82k.  Under those circumstances, he could play the Pass Line bet in craps for a mere 30 hours before he dipped below a 95% chance of coming out ahead.  Wow!

So even with a huge $100k bankroll, you can’t use the Martingale very long without a significant risk of tapping out completely.

Should you use the Martingale?

Should you use the Martingale? That’s a question only you can answer, but we can give you some ideas to help you decide. The Martingale may be for you if:

In exchange for increasing your chances of winning, you’re willing to lose a larger amount than normal if you do lose.

You have at least a $200 bankroll if you’re making $1 bets, or a $1000 bankroll if you’re making $5 bets.

You’re going to play for no more than a few hours.

You’re willing to accept the risk of losing your whole bankroll.

The Martingale is NOT for you if:

You only skimmed this article and you think the Martingale will make you a guaranteed winner.

You don’t have at least $200 for $1 bets or $1000 for $5 bets.

You’re planning on playing for more than a few hours, especially if you plan on playing American roulette or a fast game of Baccarat


Blackjack Question

Steve Tenhouse wrote me and said, “I learned a lot from your website and had a lot of fun out in Vegas last week. I doubled my $400 stake in two sessions of Blackjack. However, I turned around and dropped $150 of it on my third session. I guess the odds caught up with me. My question centers around when to bail out of a table and call it a night, or come back later. Do you try to keep an eye on your chips and not let yourself slip below a certain percentage of chips that you start with, or get up on?

My response:

From the way you described it, you still fared pretty well. You are going to have some losing sessions. The best players have them. I use a betting progression which has served me well, but still lose about one of five sessions. The way to

avoid a disaster is first to set a loss limit. If you had a session bankroll of $400 and lost $150, you actually did well. Some authors suggest you quit a session after 40 to 50% of the session bankroll is lost. Your loss fell close to that.

Another technique is to set milestones. For instance, if you start a dominoqq session with $400, and your winning streak starts. Soon you are up $100. At this point, set a $50 loss limit of the $100 won. In other words, take a break if you fall back to being up $50. This guarantees you a winning session. Suppose the winning continues and you are up $200.

You can set the fall-back milestone at $50, or increase it to $75. Again, you walk if you lost back $75, but you would have $125 profit. As long as you continue to win, stay at the table. Just keep setting the milestone up as you win.

Blackjack is a cyclical game. If you are winning on the up cycle, and sense a down cycle starting you want to limit how far down you go. One more tip before I go. Keep your chips in small stacks, and continuously know your status. If you are using $25 chips, stack them in $100 stacks. If using $5 chips, make them stacks of five. This makes it easy to look down and total your bankroll.

This is especially true for those of you who play blackjack at an online casino. You can play hands at three to four times the speed when you are playing blackjack on your computer. You need to know how to set these milestones when you are in the midst of a 4-hour session. If you don’t, you can have a nights worth of progress eliminated quickly.

As you win, and start playing with your winnings, separate your original session bankroll from the winnings. Once you are

comfortably ahead, consider coloring up the session bankroll to blacks and put them in your pocket. They become untouchable for this session. Play with your winnings, set your milestones, stay sober, and you will be a winner.


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