When it comes to playing blackjack online, many players labor under the impression that betting systems, usually in combination with some sort of money management system, will yield positive long-term results. Unfortunately, this assertion could not be further from the truth as both betting systems and money management do not change the expected value of playing an online blackjack game in the long run. This page will briefly explore a few of the betting systems that have been applied to both online and live blackjack, as well as some money management systems, and will debunk any claims of either having any efficacy.
However, while the long-term expectation of playing online blackjack, or any other form of blackjack in which card counting is either not being done, or is impossible (such as with continuous shuffling machines) and in which there is no other potential for advantage, (such as hole-carding) there may be some practical reasons why a player would want to pay attention to money management that we will also explore.
Part 1: Betting Systems DO NOT WORK
The Martingale, Reverse Martingale, Labouchere and Others, Online Applications
Part 2: Money Management DOES NOT WORK
Various Money Management Techniques
Part 3: However, Money Management Can Be Useful
Tracking Bankroll, Keeping Things in Perspective
The fact of the matter is that neither betting systems nor money management techniques will cause a player to be playing at an advantage in a game that is fundamentally a negative expectation affair. However, what both of these things can do is tailor a session to what the player finds to be the most entertaining way to gamble. For instance, the Martingale is a perfectly valid system to employ if you are a player who enjoys a high frequency of small winning sessions at the risk of the occasional huge loss. If you are a player who does not mind frequently losing with the hopes of enjoying a considerable, albeit rare, win, then the Reverse Martingale might be a valid system for you to maximize your enjoyment.
Money management techniques also fail to do anything to change the fact that the expected loss that one incurs while enjoying a negative expectation game is simply the product of the total amount wagered multiplied by the house edge of the game expressed as a decimal. It is for that reason that it is important for a player to focus on expected losses of gambling sessions as well as actual losses on online Blackjack, or any other game, for that matter.
While money management techniques will never do anything to change the expected loss of a game, what they can do is give you the knowledge that you need to determine how much of a buy-in you will need to play for a certain duration at a specified bet level. Furthermore, if you wish to bet at a greater level in the hopes of reaching a specified win goal, you can also use money management to determine how much time (how many hands) by which you can expect your session to be reduced as a result of the way that you are gambling.
Money management can also be a useful tool with respect to the fact that it essentially forces a player to do what so many players fail to achieve: Budget for your gambling and pay attention to your money. In the end, while this will do nothing to combat the house edge of a particular game, it can help a player keep his/her results and gambling in perspective and to enjoy gambling even more responsibly than they otherwise may have.
The bottom line is simple: Nothing that you can do will ever change the the house edge of a game, but there are plenty of things that you can do to make yourself a more responsible gambler, and interestingly enough, money management can be one of those things for many people.
While I go on and on about negative expectation gambling and continuously state that, strictly speaking, it is not an intelligent thing to do if the primary objective is to make money, I should mention that I also enjoy negative expectation gambling from time to time. However, I enjoy gambling on two games that are even worse than online Blackjack, and those games are Craps and Video Keno!
As my readers on our other sites already know, I consider myself a recreational advantage player, so to that extent, the majority of my gambling is at a positive expectation. However, I also have my own money management technique that I employ when it comes to negative expectation gambling. While the days used are arbitrary, typically I will estimate how much positive expectation gambling I did (in terms of expected value) for the previous week and I can then do 10% of that (in terms of expectation) in negative expectation gambling the following week, if I so choose.
For example, if in my gambling endeavors, I have $300 in expected value on given plays for the previous week, then I can do up to $30 in negative expectation gambling from an expected value standpoint. However, I will not only limit myself in that regard, but I will also limit myself from a strictly cash perspective such that I can only lose a total of $30 in actual losses, even if I have not yet made bets with a sum of -$30 in expected value. In other words, if I lose $30, in this instance, playing a negative expectation game, then I’m done. If I make bets such that my expected loss is $30, even though I am either ahead or have not yet lost $30, then I am also done. As many of you probably expect, more often than not, I lose $30 before I have successfully made bets that, in sum, have an expected loss of $30!!!