European Blackjack Bankroll Management

European Blackjack bankroll management isn’t any different than the bankroll management you’d use for traditional blackjack or Spanish 21, or any other casino game, for that matter.

That said, I realize that you might want some hard numbers or rules to work with, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the matter.

Bankroll Management Guidelines: Using the House Edge

There are a number of ways for coming up with bankroll guidelines to follow. An easy way is to use the house edge, along with how long you’d like to play for. Combined with an average number of hands dealt per hour you can figure out what stakes you play for the bankroll you have.

For example, say you want to play live European Blackjack. At a table of 4 players total, you can expect to be dealt 75 to 100 hands over the course of an hour. For the sake of keeping the math simple we’ll say 100. The house edge for European Blackjack is 0.62%.

Now say that you’re betting $1 per hand. That means for each hand you play you’re expected to lose $6. Knowing this, you can easily figure out what size bankroll you need, or the stakes you can play for the bankroll you already have.

For example, say you wanted to play for an hour and had a $100 bankroll. The math to figure out what stakes you could play is simple:

  • $100 (bankroll) / $6 (expect loss over 100 hands per $1 wager) = $16.60

At those stakes you would lose roughly $1 per hand, as shown here:

  • $16.60 * .06 = $.996

So at a loss of $1 per hand, and 100 hands dealt per hour, you could expect a $100 bankroll to last one hour making wagers of $16.60.

Of course, if you wanted your $100 bankroll to stretch, say, 2 hours, then you’d make wagers no higher than $8. If you wanted $100 to last an afternoon, you’d play $5 per hand.

Now, this is taking bankroll management to the extreme. It’s playing for broke, not to mention it’s not taking in account that you might have a real bad streak of luck and bust your roll much sooner than you anticipated. Above all you might want your money to last longer than an hour or two; maybe the entire weekend.

So I recommend being much more conservative with your bankroll. My suggestion is that you play stakes no higher than 2.5% of your entire bankroll. That means with a $100 roll you play no higher than $2.5 per hand. $5 is usually the table minimum at live casinos, so you would want to have a bankroll of at least $200 to play $5 per hand. If you can’t bring $200 (at least), then play no higher than $5 on whatever roll you do have.

This rule applies for online Blackjack, too, although due to the fact that you’re dealt more hands per hour I think scaling back to 1-2% of your bankroll might be better. You can play $1 per hand online, so an $80 or $100 bankroll will last you a long time.

If this guideline seems conservative to you, just keep in mind that a $100 or $200 bankroll will only last you a full day of playing, and maybe a weekend depending on how well you play and your luck. What’s more is that you’ll want to double down or split at times, which will require extra bets. And above all this assumes you’re playing optimal strategy.

Other Bankroll Management Tips

That’s my bankroll advice for European Blackjack. And at face value that’s all there is to it. However, there are a number of other things that you should keep in mind that can affect your bankroll.

Chasing Losses – A common thing that losing players do is chase losses to try to get their bankroll back to where it was before they started to lose. The problem is that instead of playing using a standard strategy or even dropping down in limits, if possible, instead they’ll increase their limits or veer outside of the standard strategy, risking more money or doubling down more often.

Having the mindset of chasing losses will only result in you losing more money, faster. So don’t do it.

Take a Break – Taking frequent breaks gives you the opportunity to keep a clear head while playing. Additionally, taking a break prolongs your bankroll, even if it’s for 10 or 15 minutes.

Set a Stop Loss – If you have a problem with stopping or chasing losses, you should implement a stop loss. Establish an amount of money, both positive and negative, that you’ll stop playing at should you reach these amounts. For example, if you have a starting bankroll of $200, you might stop if you lose $150 and if you win $200. That way no matter what you leave with money in your pocket, if not a little extra. You can take that little bit of money home, or use it to play more European Blackjack another day.

Avoid Progressive, Insurance and Other Sucker Bets – Other bets such as progressives and insurance usually increase the house’s edge. So while they’re fun to play, and great when (if) you win, making these wagers will definitely not prolong your bankroll.

Avoid Bad Tables – The other players have some control over the cards you and the dealer get. So if there are several players at the table affecting the outcome in a negative way (more so than usual), get up and find another (European) Blackjack table or take a break and come back at another time.