The definition of what counts as ‘high stakes’ is different depending on who you ask, after all, what someone considers to be a lot of money is relative; some people are richer than others.
If you are placing bets of £1,000 or above then few would argue that you were anything but a high stakes player, including the casino who would probably give you a table to yourself and be willing to throw a few extras your way to boot.
Many would still consider you a high stakes player even if you were ‘only’ betting £100 per hand, as for a session of play that was going to last any serious length of time that would require a bankroll of at least £10,000 .
The great thing about playing high stakes is that you don’t have to come away too far ahead to have made a significant amount of money, and you can also make big money quickly. Yes, on percentage a £2,000 profit on a £100,000 bankroll is not very much, but £2,000 is still worth £2,000 in the real world; it will pay for the same nice weekend away whether the person paying for it had £100k in the bank or £10k.
A high stakes player could (if they were lucky) walk away thousands of pounds richer after winning their first three hands, for example, while a low stakes player would need to play for an awful long time to achieve the same monetary gain.
High Stakes Blackjack
Real high stakes blackjack is not for the faint hearted, and players need a large enough bankroll to weather the losing streaks as well as a strong enough stomach. High stakes play should only be attempted by those with a lot of knowledge and experience or those who are very well off, but even for those with plenty of cash in the bank, it’s not a good idea unless you know what you are doing.
A professional high stakes player will probably work with betting units as a way of controlling their bankroll, which they can also strategize.
When looking at RNG games you might find some with upper limits of around £3,000 per hand, however on the live casino VIP and Privee’ tables you can wager up to £15,000 per hand, which in terms of betting units, would require a total bank of £1.5 million based on a bankroll of 100 units.
To put this into context, Don Johnson – otherwise known as the Beast of Blackjack – took down several Las Vegas casinos playing $5,000 dollar hands as a starting point and winning millions; so playing a £15,000 hand from the off is not realistically going to get you anywhere unless you are already a millionaire. Johnson did place bigger wagers as his bank built up, in fact he had a $100,000 per bet upper limit agreed with the casinos, but he was also an expert player, maths genius, and card counter, so he knew exactly when to adjust his stake sizes.
This brings us on to another point; if you are what the casino world calls a ‘whale’ – someone with lots of money to spend – you can come to an agreement with casinos on the table rules and comps included with your game, but for most people this is dreamland.
You can see a few examples of well-known games and their upper bet limits here:
|Game Name||Game Type||Max Bet||Developer|
|Speed Blackjack||Live||£5,000||Evolution Gaming|
|Super Stakes Blackjack||RNG||£3,000||Section 8|
It’s far from an extensive sample group but it shows that, generally, live games will offer more to high rollers than RNG games. That said, each casino can set their own limits, so an exclusive table provided by Evolution Gaming at one casino might allow higher limits than another by the same provider at a different casino.
You should also bear in mind that there are many different tables with the same maximum bet, but the minimum bet will not always be the same. For instance, you might find a table with a £10,000 upper limit and a £1,000 minimum bet, and another with the same £10k upper limit but only a £50 minimum bet; so you should pick your table according to your bankroll size and staking strategy.
The great thing about blackjack is that there is so much variation in terms of game rules and table limits, so you can zero in on the game with the lowest house edge that allows bets within the range you are looking for.
This is an important aspect of gambling regardless of the game you are playing or the stakes you are wagering at, although it has to be said that high stakes players need to be especially cautious here.
Players should always use some sort of basic staking strategy to save them from going broke after just a few hands. It’s about leaving yourself enough room to manoeuvre, and ensuring that you survive a bad hand to come back and bet on the next.
If you had £10,000 to spend it would make no sense betting £2,000 per hand because it wouldn’t take much of a run of bad luck to completely wipe you out.
Another consideration is splitting and doubling. When a golden opportunity comes up to double your stake you will be kicking yourself if you haven’t left enough in the pot to take advantage of that, and the same goes for splits.
A good rule of thumb is to look at your bankroll as betting ‘units’ rather than as sums of money, then you can look at the whole thing with an analytical eye and not be shaken by losses of thousands. For example, you might break whatever you have to spend down into 100 units, then bet one unit per hand, so it might look like this:
|Bankroll||Unit Size||Total Units|
So you see the actual amount of money becomes almost irrelevant, it’s all about the betting units and their number remains the same.
What a lot of gamblers do is raise their stakes by 0.5 or 1 betting unit after each successive win, and reset to betting a single unit after a loss. So if a unit was worth £1,000 and you won the hand, your next bet would be 1.5 units or 2 units, which is £1,500 or £2,000 respectively.
This is just one way of managing your funds but it makes them last longer, keeps you from going broke in a blaze of glory in record time, and gives you more chance to beat the house.