Blackjack banking teams operate in casinos with player-banked games, banking games off of a common team bankroll. Blackjack banking teams have the same advantages as other types of blackjack teams, especially a higher win rate for a given blackjack bankroll, and an evening out of bankroll fluctuations.
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Blackjack Banking Teams

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A Banking Team for Player-Banked Blackjack

By Arnold Snyder
(From Card Player , April 1994)
© 1994 Arnold Snyder

Question from a Reader:  Some of the Indian reservations here in Northern California now offer player-banked blackjack. Table limits go up to $100 at one such casino, and $200 at another, at least on the few visits that I’ve made to these places. Most players bet in the $5-25 range most of the time, even when the table limit is higher, but still it takes a pretty healthy bankroll to bank one of these games. I’ve seen dealers bust a few times in a row at a crowded table, breaking a bank in a few minutes, just by minor bad luck.

There are not many card counters at these tables, and much of the blackjack play is pretty atrocious by Nevada standards. I have taken to banking these games fairly regularly, and with great success. I must admit, however, that the bankroll swings are enormous. I’ve had more than one losing night, though I most certainly win most of the times I’ve banked.

Here’s my question: I have been talking to some friends who are card counters about combining bankrolls with me to go after these games with a “team” approach. In other words, if four of us would each put up $5,000, we could play off of a $20,000 combined bankroll.

It seems to me that if we were each banking a different table, we could play off of the common team bank with all of the positive aspects of blackjack team play. We would get into the long run faster. One player’s losses would likely be hedged by the other players’ wins, etc. Is my thinking right on this? In a sense, a well-financed banking team would almost be like being a casino ourselves! Am I right?

Answer Regarding Blackjack Banking Teams

Yes, you most certainly are right. Playing off of a common bank should cut your short term risk and flatten the wild fluctuations you’ve been experiencing.

Your scheme to “take over” the tables is very similar to what some teams of professional players did in Arizona a few years ago when “social” gambling in bars was legalized. The Arizona bar gambling, unfortunately, became quite overrun with cheats on both sides of the table, primarily due to a complete lack of gaming controls.

My understanding of these California Indian reservation casinos, with player banked blackjack, is that the games are somewhat more regulated, and more closely monitored by the casino personnel, than were the Arizona bar games.

But be careful. Anytime you gamble with large amounts of cash in relatively loose blackjack games, controlled more by players than by casino personnel, professional cheats will be tempted to get in on the action. Be especially careful if players are allowed to handle their cards, or if dealers are allowed to use varying dealing procedures.

Also, if you are offering limits of $100-200 per hand on blackjack games you are banking, your suggested $20,000 bankroll could prove to be too small if a lot of players decide to play table limits. As long as most players are betting in that $5-25 range, with a smattering of larger bets, you shouldn’t have a problem affording the negative fluctuations. One table full of high rollers, however, could put you out of business in no time flat, just due to normal fluctuation. ♠

For more articles on team play and player-banked games, see the Blackjack Forum Professional Gambling Library.

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