Your Winning Expectation

Theoretically, with correct basic strategy, with correct counting and altering of bets, you should win 1 times your neutral bet per hour of play in the long run. Thus if you are at a $5 table and your neutral bet is $10, you should average $15 an hour. At a $25 table, with a $50 neutral bet, your win expectation will be $75 an hour. A $100 neutral bet adds up to $150 an hour. And so forth.

But it doesn't guarantee that you'll win in the next hour of play or next five hours of play.

You may lose $200 one session, win $85, lose $150, win $35, lose $20, win $150, lose $55, lose $100, win $180, win $260 and end up winning $185 after all the effort.

You should win in the long run. What that long run is, it all adds up to the law of large numbers, is that the longer the sequence of events, the more the events will add up to their theoretical result. So, the more you play, the closer you'll get to the 1 times your neutral bet per hour win. Since you're not going to play millions of hours, your win expectation will equal the theoretical, plus or minus 20% or so.

For example, let's assume you've mastered the game, and feel comfortable with your bankroll at the $25 table, betting $50 as your neutral bet. If you play 100 hours of blackjack, your win expectation is $7,500, give or take 20%. Thus your win can be as high as $9,000 or as low as $6,000.

Or it can be lower than $6,000 or higher than $9,000, because 100 hours is the short run as far is this game is concerned. At the end of 1,000 hours of play, you'll be closer to the theoretical norm of $75 per hour profit than you'll be after 100 hours, and after 10,000 hours you'll be closer still.

So be patient when playing blackjack. Because of the rules, with the dealer acting last and thus winning any hand where he busts, but you bust first, he is expected theoretically to win 47 out of every 100 hands. You'll win 43 of them and there'll be 10 pushes.

Well, you might ask, if you can't even win 50% of the hands you play, how can you end up a winner? The answer is in the player's, that is, your options. You get 3-2 for blackjack. You can double down at your option. You can split cards that are pairs. You can take insurance. Sometimes you can resplit pairs, sometimes you can double down after splitting a pair. Sometimes you can surrender.

That's why mastering basic strategy is of utmost importance. All the options you can use are to your benefit. All should be used when the time is appropriate. Players who are ignorant of their options, or don't take advantage of them are just throwing money down the toilet. When you're at the table, be sure to find out just what options are available, and then use them all. © Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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