Whether you’re playing online blackjack or you’re playing live in a casino, you’ve probably noticed that different tables have minimum and maximum bets.
There are low-stakes penny-ante tables that will let you get away with relatively small bets, and these same tables usually have modest maximums.
At the same time, there are truly prodigious minimum bet tables with incredibly high maximum bets – or even no-limit tables as well. But why is it that there is such a thing?
The Not-So-Hidden Truth
It’s not nearly as complicated as you might think. When it comes right down to it, the truth is that casinos want to make it as hard as possible for you to walk out of their establishments as a winner. Placing restrictions on the minimum and maximum amount you’re allowed to wager at any given table, both live and online, is a way that casinos can restrict the possibility of you winning in some way.
The reasoning goes back nearly four centuries, thanks to the work of one brilliant mind and the developments his thinking led to in the future.
The Birth of Probability Theory
The idea that you can figure out scientifically your chances of winning any particular wager first arose in the middle of the 17th century. Famed French mathematician Blaise Pascal was approached by noted essayist Antoine Chevalier de Mere – also a noted gambler – with the task of figuring out why de Mere always seemed to lose when he bet that a pair of 6’s would show up at least one time on 24 rolls of a pair of six-sided dice.
Pascal showed de Mere that the odds that he would win such a bet in 24 rolls were actually against him while winning the same bet in 25 rolls would give him slightly better odds. This was the birth of probability theory, which meant that no longer would trial and error be needed to figure out gambling odds.
The Development of Betting Strategies
Of course, Pascal’s work led to opening a whole new can of worms. The problem is that once you know what the odds are for a certain event occurring, you can begin to figure out ways to beat the odds. This is exactly what began to happen in the gambling world after Pascal developed probability theory.
Systems began to be developed that would try to maximize gambling earnings. One of the first and most popular systems to be developed at that time – and one that’s still used today in many types of games of chance – is called the Martingale system, and it’s built around the mechanism of increasing the amount of money you wager as you continue to lose in anticipation of the eventual win that will result in recovering your money.
Casinos soon grew tired of individuals using strategies such as these and began to take steps to throw a monkey wrench into the works. The primary way they did this was to institute minimum and maximum bets for games such as blackjack. Once technology advanced to the point where you could begin to play blackjack online these minimum and maximum bets made their way from live casinos to online ones as well.
Making Sure the Casino Keeps the Edge
Martingale systems have largely met their match when it comes to minimum and maximum bets. With the typical Martingale system, the most effective when minimum bets are extremely low and maximum bets are extremely high as the main mechanic of the strategy is to double the amount of the wager every time a player loses a hand, setting a minimum bet higher and a maximum bet lower means that anyone using a Martingale strategy will only have a limited number of attempts to recover their bet and turn a profit.
For example, a low-stakes game with a $1 minimum bet and a $25 maximum bet means that anyone using a Martingale strategy is going to be out of luck if they lose more than 5 hands in a row. A lost $1 hand results in a second bet of $2, followed by $4, $8, and then $16.
A gambler using a Martingale system will be unable to double their $16 bet to $32, as the limit is $25 on the table, and that means that the ability to recover lost bets while also turning a profit ends at that point. This means less money overall in the hands of the players and more money in the coffers at the casino instead, whether it’s a live casino or an online one.
A Fool and His Money
So what’s the use if it seems like every online and live casino you visit has the types of minimum and maximum bets that are designed to make it harder for you to adopt an effective bidding strategy? There are a few things you can do. The first is to practice something called flat betting.
In other words, don’t alter the amount of money you wager based on the circumstances of your last hand, win or lose.
Another is to find a different table where either the minimum bet is low enough, or the maximum bet is high enough, to provide enough leeway for a progressive betting scheme such as a Martingale strategy. Whatever happens, it would be an idea, perfect situation – so your best bet is to simply remain as flexible as possible.