A strategy that few blackjack players utilize is keeping records of wins and losses in blackjack games. Keeping a record of your playing will help you to further hone in your reasonable winnings estimate but will also tell you explicitly where all your money has gone. This is a good practice in any area of finance in order to know where the money’s gone and the same principles apply to gambling and blackjack play.
How many nights have you suddenly realized your bankroll has been eaten up far quicker than you’d thought possible? One minute you were getting blackjack after blackjack and the next moment your bankroll has disappeared. Where did it go; to no one’s surprise, it’s all in the hands of the blackjack dealer at the casino that had appeared so friendly until now.
Now if you’d kept a record, you’d know exactly where and when it went. It’s a cumbersome habit to get into but it pays off. If you can balance a checkbook or if you can simply write numbers accurately, it’s easy to do. Get a pocket-size notebook and divide each page into three columns. Label the columns as follows:
|Remaining Bankroll (date of play)||Amount of Bet||Win or Loss: (* for blackjack)|
|$n+2$y and so on...||etc...||etc...|
This will give you an explicit and detailed account of the fluctuations of your bankroll. If you’re a card counter, this will also help you to analyze post-game the patterns of the cards in blackjack; the record implicitly shows your betting strategy and how effectively you were able to count cards.
You should also use your record to see how predictable your betting is and whether or not it resembles an obvious card counting betting strategy. Use your records to better stagger your bets to avoid detection by the pit boss or the eye in the sky at the blackjack table.
The single most important reason to accurately track your wins and losses is so you will know exactly how much money you have wagered, won and lost, at each trip to the blackjack table. Your bankroll will last longer as patterns emerge in your gambling play that will give you insight into your habits. Analyzing your betting patterns correlated with your wins and losses should help you to bet more accurately or more conservatively.
One final reason to keep an accurate log: you can write off certain amounts of gambling losses on your income tax form. Be sure to get the most up-to-date tax information from the IRS or whoever handles your taxes.
Andrew Sanders - Managing Editor