There are two parts to blackjack money management. The first step is knowing how much to bet. If you want to read the most authoritative post on the subject, read our “Recommended Blackjack Bankroll” article. The second part is knowing how much to bring to the casino for each session. Here’s a thorough answer that should put you on the right track to get back to beating casino tail!
Your total bankroll might be $500, $5,000, or $50,000. But does that mean you should bring all that money to the casino for each session? Probably not. However, I’d say one of the worst things that can happen is finding yourself under-funded at the casino. You don’t want to leave early, or even worse: be in the middle of a positive shoe and run out of money! Especially if you flew into a town or had to drive a ways to get to the casino. So I’d lean more towards bringing more than you’ll need than not enough. But then again, I’m willing to take the risk of traveling with extra cash on me.
That being said, here’s my advice: Keep in mind that it kind of depends on how long you plan on playing, as well as the variance of the game you’ll be playing. But a decent rule of thumb would be to bring at least 100 betting units (for a 4 hour session). So if your betting unit is $100, then I’d bring $10-12K. That might sound like overkill, but I’ve had sessions where I’ve been in for that many bets or more. If you don’t feel comfortable carrying that much extra money “just in case”, then you can bring less, but I’d rather have too much on me than not enough.So how about deciding how much money to be betting when you start losing, and the money left in your trip bankroll is getting smaller and smaller as the session goes on? An important rule is to always keep 6 bets to back up any bet you place. So if you bet $100, make sure you have another $600 to back it up. The reason being, you need to be prepared to split and double down multiple times. I know what you’re thinking: “But Colin, I just doubled down on a $100 bet, and I only have $500 left. The running count just jumped up to 30! Surely I should put even a larger bet out to win my money back?” No, padawan. You will have many chances to get your money back. But it is always more important to perfectly follow your playing strategy than to bet more money. So if you find yourself with $500, and you’re betting strategy says to bet $100, you’ll have to actually bet $70, so you have 6 bets to back it up.
If you want to calculate how much to bring with you with greater accuracy, I would recommend using the “Trip Bank” feature on CVCX or BJRM2002 to help you calculate how much money to bring. You can enter in the length of session or trip you plan on taking, as well as the game you’ll be playing, and it will tell you the risk of running out of money for various trip bankroll sizes. You’ll have to weigh the risk of possibly running out of money on a trip with the risk your willing to take of carrying X amount of money. One last bit of advice: don’t ever advertise how much money you have on you. Neither the casino nor the other gamblers need to know how much you’re hiding in your pockets or wallet. A safe card counter is a happy card counter!