Wednesday, January 19, 2011

John Patrick’s Blackjack

I had been looking for a book on Craps, but accidentally ordered John Patrick’s Blackjack book. As I am between novels, I decided to give it a read and was actually quite impressed. I had never given much thought to gambling “systems” as I readily concede that Blackjack is a game of negative expectation and that I should expect the house to get all of my money in the long run. Given that last year I only played 4 sessions of blackjack, I obviously did not enter the long run.

While I certainly needed the refresher on basic blackjack strategy and sufficient bankroll for the game, I had never quantified how much I wanted to win when I enter a casino. The aspect of regressive bets and plateaus when winning provided me much needed food for thought. When I invest in individual stocks, I typically have a target price when I want to sell. However, I have no similar threshold for gaming.

Simply put, if you want to be a winning player, you have to accept the big 4 gambling tenants for your game(s) of choice.

   (1) Bankroll
   (2) Knowledge of the Game
   (3) Money Management
   (4) Discipline

That means quitting when you are down a set percentage of your available funds and when you are up a certain amount for the day. This eliminates overspending and getting greedy.

While I consider gambling to be entertaining, that is not an excuse to not be better at it. I consider triathlon training entertaining and I carefully plan my workouts to be sufficiently stressful without overdoing it. I listen to my body and accept weather conditions. I should have the same discipline in gaming that goes beyond having an annual budget.

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