Monday, April 5, 2010

Before diving into the deep end with baseball, back to basics with target betting's birth in the arena of casino table games.


That little word is the top and bottom, front and back of winning against casino table games.

It is much less of an issue when you are backing underdogs with your friendly local bookie, thanks to paybacks that are never less than even money, and often much more.

Baseball's 2010 season just happens to have coincided with a heavy workload in the part of my life that has nothing to do with casinos and bookmakers.

But my plan is to move most of my bets online - Pinnacle, and Bodog are my choices - and to visit casinos in my neighborhood just to keep up with old friends and local gossip.

From time to time, I will need to interact with a flesh-and-blood dealer rather than an online algorithm, and I was reminded of that this morning on my way back from Reno.

I dropped into one of the bigger and better casinos just as the graveyard shift was winding down, and ended up playing heads-up with a young dealer who was beating me by at least three hands to two.

In spite of that, I stayed ahead of the game, and finally, he said to me, "So, you bet a progression."

"I do?" I said innocently, and then pointed out that since my bet values went down as well as up without falling back to the table minimum, he was only partly right.

Turned out that he was a rarity: a dealer who really loves to play the game (although perhaps he was a rarity only because he was willing to admit it!).

We agreed that slow death is a certainty for anyone who bets flat or within a tight range, and since that description covers most blackjack players, casinos can count on 99% of their customers to keep the lights on and the tables open for business.

But varying bet values can only work if it is done systematically or strategically.

Do it randomly, and you are sure to fall victim to the awful truth that any amount bet against a negative expectation must eventually have a negative result.

If you use target betting, you will quickly grow accustomed to making a steady profit in spite of losing more bets than you win.

Pinnacle was recommended to me by one of the sportsbook staffers at Harveys Stateline, and for the past few days, I have been fooling around with the blackjack and baccarat games in the Pinnacle "casino" with entirely predictable results.

The lesson we all have to learn at some point is that if you bet smart, winning is easy. It's knowing how to lose that takes real talent.

Throw in the towel too soon, and you destroy your chances of achieving a consistent long-term profit.

On the other hand, if you repeatedly put all your prior winnings at risk, you are certain to eventually encounter a losing streak that will wipe you out.

It's a balancing act.

My rule for more years than I can count has been to think of just half of my winnings from each session as "my" money, and to add the balance to the bankroll.

Once the bankroll has been doubled, half is removed to safe keeping, and the process continues.

Whenever a losing streak upsets the applecart (and it is bound to happen from time to time) a loss limit of 25% of the available bankroll is applied.

When you get used to winning almost all the time, it hurts to admit defeat, but you have to concede an occasional battle in order to win the war.

Each once of the screen shots shown above is from a separate session.

Whenever I post results like these, some twerp always chimes in with the comment that past outcomes are "anecdotal" and irrelevant.

Well, life is anecdotal, old chum - and all any of us can do is learn from the past and try to make fewer dumb moves as we get older!

An important reminder: The only person likely to make money out of this blog is you, Dear Reader. There's nothing to buy, ever, and your soul is safe (from me, at least). Test my ideas and use them or don't. It's up to you.