Blackjack and sports betting are both hugely popular pastimes today. Blackjack is currently the most widely played casino game, while betting on sports is ingrained as a daily part of life for millions of people around the world.
On the face of it there would appear to be few strategies applicable to both of these activities, but dig a little deeper and there are some key concepts that the astute sports bettor can learn from the best blackjack players. When diligently applied, these can result in a better return and a deeper understanding of what makes a successful player.
What blackjack and sports betting do have in common is that both are fun and simple to learn; perhaps deceptively simple at first. In blackjack, your hand simply has to beat the dealer to win and betting on sports, at its most basic, simply requires you to pick a horse, team or player that you think will beat the others in order for you to profit.
Taking things to the next level, however, can be a little more involved. Knowing exactly why you’re betting on a particular team or horse, or what the proper response to a given hand in blackjack is, can quickly enhance your enjoyment of the game and, in the process, help to conserve your bankroll. That is why developing a range of strategies to improve your odds or find any advantage is key to many betting pursuits.
Information is King
Information in blackjack starts with a detailed knowledge of how to play, moves on to basic and perfect strategy, and finishes with a complete understanding of when to hit or stand. It is only by mastering this information that a player stands a real chance of beating the game. Betting on sports is beatable too for a very similar reason, and that reason is information.
The information available in sports betting is much greater and more difficult to quantify than blackjack, but that makes it even more important. You are not pitting your wits against a dealer and a deck of cards with fixed odds, but against the bookmakers who are compiling the odds. If you think your information is superior to the bookmakers, you can test your theory against the odds or line they have set, then you have done your job and will beat the game in the long run.
Remember, you can only win in the long term if you are an advantage player, so do everything in your power to ensure that you are and make sure you join at least one of our six betting groups to share your knowledge with all the members of our community.
One of the key skills that profitable players possess is bankroll management, or the ability to ensure you have enough money to continue to bet, and this applies to all forms of gambling. The usual recommended percentage of your bankroll to have at risk at any one time is between one and five percent. This is designed to protect you from variance, or the vagaries of short-term bad luck.
In blackjack, the deck may be hot but that doesn’t guarantee the next card will be favorable. Losing streaks are still entirely possible and possibly ruinous if you do not have enough money to ride them out. Similarly in sports, even what looks like a sure thing can occasionally go wrong with potentially disastrous consequences for the overconfident bettor.
Correct management of your bankroll also means segregating your funds to ensure that you are only able to lose what you can afford, particularly if you have a tendency to play – EV games. Be disciplined with your hard-earned money and you’ll thank yourself.
While blackjack players can utilize a complex mathematical formula like the Kelly Criterion to determine the percentage you should have at risk, it is much more difficult to apply to sports betting. This is because this method demands that the same game is played over and over again with the same probabilities in order to successfully grow your bankroll. For that reason, sticking to the recommended five percent maximum is wise.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying a few complimentary drinks while at the blackjack table. In casinos, it can be a very sociable and entertaining game. Be aware, though, that if your objective is to win money, then alcohol will impair your judgment and damage your prospects of making a profit.
As was touched already in the post How I Got Bitten By the Gambling Bug, making accurate decisions with a cool head based on the available information is vital to a winning betting strategy. Anything that clouds your judgment will ultimately hurt your bottom line. There is plenty of time to indulge after the action has finished and you are counting your winnings.
Staking is important in blackjack if you want to turn a meaningful profit. The edge a professional blackjack player has may be crucial, but it is also small. Because of the minimum bet required at casinos, you will need a large starting bankroll to ride out the variance. You also need deep pockets or a healthy bankroll to increase your bets when the time is right to do so. This is where staking comes in. A large number of blackjack professionals work in teams to pool their resources and they are sometimes also staked by a consortium that sees it as an investment opportunity.
Similarly, in sports betting, even the profitable gambler knows he usually only has a small edge on any particular bet, so to make those profits worthwhile and to mitigate the effects of short-term luck, a large reserve is required. If you can prove, using your meticulously kept records, that you are a profitable gambler in your particular field of expertise, then more than likely there will be someone willing to invest in you.
Staking involves a lot of trust, so be careful that you know who you are getting involved with, whether you are being staked or offering to stake someone else. Indeed, running a staking business and picking your “horses” wisely is another potential source of profit similar to an investment strategy. Written agreements are often recommended these days. Some members of our community already have a lot of experience in staking so, if you need help to get started, don’t hesitate to head to the forums and create a new thread.
Many blackjack players use progressive betting systems, that is, increasing or decreasing the size of their bets according to various circumstances. The Martingale system (double an initial bet after losing) when playing casino games is an example of progressive betting that requires you to double your bet after every loss until you win. Other systems advise upping your bets after a win.
While mathematical models are fun to study, the reality is that there is no secret method to surefire success.
At first glance it seems unlikely that a casino card game could have anything to bring to bear on strategies for betting on sports, but in fact some basic principles can be applied by the canny sports bettor.
With diligence, hard work, and a bit of luck, strategies that have seen blackjack emerge as a profitable casino game can be successfully applied by the sports bettor to improve their returns and grow their bankroll.
These strategies on their own won’t guarantee a profit, but knowledge of them will help you understand what it takes to become a successful gambler. There is no magic formula or short cut to instant success, but armed with this knowledge you will at least be on the right road.