blackjack table limitOne of the biggest mistakes made by beginning blackjack players is playing blackjack at a blackjack table where the limit is too high. Nothing can bust a blackjack player quicker than having an insufficient amount of wagering capital. It sounds like something that is easy to avoid. A player picks a table within their bankroll budget and stays there, right? That would work, too, but one of the favorite strategies of the casino is to raise the blackjack table limits without warning.

A common story

Here’s a story that is all too common. A blackjack player—we’ll call him Fred—walks into a live casino on a Friday afternoon and finds a $5 blackjack table. That means that there is a minimum bet on each hand of $5. Fred sits down and starts to play.

Now, Fred has been reading all of the great information on Counting Edge and he knows a little about counting cards. Pretty soon, Fred is on a great winning streak. He’s making money, managing his bankroll, and playing smart. The profits are high!

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But, wait. Fred has managed to attract the attention of the pit boss. People in the casino love to see a winner in action and a lot of people are watching Fred play because he is killing it. The pit boss comes over to the table. He smiles at Fred and makes a little small talk. He offers Fred a free dinner at the casino buffet. He’s trying to get Fred to leave the table, but Fred is too smart for that. He keeps right on winning.

When the time comes to shuffle up the cards, the pit boss reaches down and pulls out the little plastic placard that says $5 Minimum–$200 Maximum and puts a new placard in its place that says $25 Minimum–$500 Maximum. Fred sees this and has a moment of concern. Should he keep playing now that the stakes have been raised? Well, he thinks, why not? I’m winning and surely I have enough money.

An hour later, Fred shoves his last $25 into the betting circle. The cards have turned and Fred has lost all his winnings plus his entire bankroll. He has one last hand to turn it all around and go back on a winning streak. Fred has no idea what the count is anymore. He lost it when he started losing. He’s also given up basic strategy. He’s making risky moves now to try and get even. The dealer shows a dreaded 10. Fred prays that the dealer does not have an Ace in the hole, but he does. Just like that it is all over. As he gets up to leave the table, the smiling pit boss reminds him that he has a free meal waiting at the buffet.

A story like this one happens each and every day at live casinos all over the world.

Why do Casinos Change the Table Limits?

There are a few reasons that a casino might change the limits on a blackjack table at any given time. Here are some of them:

  • Because they can. Casinos are not bound by any rules regarding table limits. They can change them at any time without any explanation for doing so.
  • To slow down a hot player. If a player is having a lucky run, the casino knows that upping the table limit can often cause him to leave. Most players aren’t comfortable beyond a certain limit.
  • To thwart a card counter. If the casino suspects someone of counting cards they will often change the table limit. It’s like firing a warning shot. This is the casino’s way of letting the counter know that they are on to him.
  • To take advantage of a busier time in the casino. As the evening crowds pour in and the seats at a blackjack table are hard to come by, the casino wants to be getting the most money out of every seat in the joint.

Whatever the reason, a change in the betting limits at a blackjack table is usually bad news for the player.

The Solution is Simple – Move !

If the table limits at blackjack are increased on you without warning, you really only have two options. You can stay and risk your money at the higher limit. This is fine if you have enough bankroll to justify playing for more money. Remember, the Counting Edge system recommends 50X the minimum table bet in bankroll money. At a $5 table you need to sit down with $250 to give yourself the best chance of winning. When that table limit rises to $25, you now need $1250. That’s a big difference.

Your best option when the table limit increases is to find a new table. If there aren’t any tables available within your range, call it a night and live to fight another day. Winning consistently at blackjack requires discipline. Don’t be forced into playing for more money than you are comfortable with.

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