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Table Games: How Much Do You Need to Play? - Part 2

Frank Scoblete 02:54 Aug 23rd, 2006 Games

Part 2

We continue with other Table Games, but first an introduction from Part 1. The math of gambling can tell us quite clearly what our average expected loss (or win) will be at each and every game by plugging our betting levels into a very simple formula: Average Bet x Speed of Game (or Number of decisions per hour) x Hours Played x House Edge = Expected Win/Loss.


How much you need to guarantee that you'll not be wiped out is tricky as craps has many different kinds of bets. If you make the Crazy Crapper bets with high house edges and low hit frequencies (for example, the 12), then you would need a LOT of money as craps can have 120 or more rolls per hour. However, if you play a very conservative game -- in other words a smart game -- of Pass/Come with odds, place the six and/or eight, then you should bring 10 times the amount of your spread when you are up on the total number of numbers you want to be up on. Here's an example: If you want to bet $5 on the Pass Line and back it with $10 in odds and then go up on two Come numbers $5/$10 and $5/$10, you'd need $450 as $45 is your spread. If you just wanted to go with one Pass or Come number, then you would need $150 as $15 was your spread.


On the outside even-money bets (Red/Black, Odd/Even, High/Low); you'd need 40 times your unit bet to assure that you can't possibly go broke. Roulette will have approximately 40 decisions per hour so a $5 player would need $200. However, a more realistic figure would be 23 times your bet. Why 23? Because that is the most any outside bet ever came up in a row (if memory serves me well, it was black) and I doubt if the next time you play roulette you'll see such a record broken. So $5 bettors could be reasonably assured that they could last one hour with $115. The inside bets are another thing entirely as 38 numbers make it hard to guarantee that you'll win even one bet in an hour of play. In fact, it is not unusual for someone to lose 40 decisions in a row betting one inside number. So here you'd have to go with 40 units and pray that the dealer doesn't spin any more decisions than that!

Let It Ride Here's a game with a low house edge that can be wonderful or awful depending on how your luck is running. Generally, it is awful until it becomes wonderful. Here's why: The win frequency is approximately 25 percent. That's right -- you win only one in four decisions, and you can gallop a long, long, long time on the losing end of this pony. So how much is enough? About 60 times your minimum bet. Since Let It Ride allows you to take down two of your three initial bets, you tend to lose only on the third bet -- the "$" bet -- when you lose. With some exceptions, you will not let that first bet ("1") or the second bet ("2") ride unless you are assured a winner (10s or better). So if you play for $5 bring $300 with you and you shouldn't have any fear of being stampeded.

Caribbean Stud

This game can be fast or slow or in-between depending on how fast the dealer deals and how fast (or slow) the players make their decisions. On average 40-50 decisions an hour are common so bring 50 times your minimum bet and you should be able to last one hour if a hurricane of bad fortune slams your way.

Baccarat and Mini-Baccarat

Baccarat is a slow game and mini-baccarat is a fast game. The former will have 30-50 decisions an hour at a full table, the latter will have upwards of a 150 decisions an hour. If you can afford it, play baccarat (even if you have to play for slightly more money) as the speed of mini-bac. can really rip through a bankroll.

Three Card Poker

This is a very fast game so bring about 80 times your bet and you should have no fear of being wiped out. Learn the correct strategy so you keep the house edge as low as possible.

Recall that the purpose of these articles was not necessarily to tell you the best ways to play the above games, or which games to play and which to avoid. It just explained what you need to bring to assure yourself of not being wiped out if Lady Luck wipes her feet on you. Remember this too. Learn from my mistake. I know what it's like to come home with empty pockets. It's one of the worst feelings in the world.