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?
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.