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The post on Kiddo and some recent thoughts of my own have prompted a new question. How does one set their unit size? At first blush, that seems to be an easy question but it entails some complex concepts. Is there a way of determining one's comfort level without sacrificing opportunity? When have we left the realm of professional play and entered the world of "gambling"? Am I playing for the "thrill" alone or am I enjoying "beating the casino"? How does one stay disciplined? I am hoping to pick the brains of some of the more senior players on this one....

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I am most comfortable with starting play at a unit size of 1% of my session bankroll.

This generally means I will start out at $25 unit size, and see how things progress for the first few hands...if it seems like the shoe is trending high O/R count, or even high P/B count I will generally move to $50 unit size.

From there, I closely monitor +/- changes in my winnings for a given shoe and start thinking about where to exit the shoe...many shoes I will stay through to the end, but often the last 20 hands or so I will not bet every hand and instead just try to spot the most seemingly best opportunities to place a bet on....even dropping back to the $25 level just to make sure I leave the shoe a winner.

For me, I play best and most successfully when the game is moving very fast and I am not forced to contemplate a wager for more than a few seconds...even if I have to exit with a stop-loss, I am still just that much more ready to tackle the next shoe.

Hardest for me is when having to wait while a tableful of players sit and stare at the tote board to see who will make the first move and which side the most money is on. For this very reason I almost always am the first to bet, as once my mind is made up, not even every other player at the table wagering on the opposite side will change my bet.

In summary, bankroll + simple money management are the main components of my unit size, with any up or down progressions depending on how the shoe is working out...

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The post on Kiddo and some recent thoughts of my own have prompted a new question. How does one set their unit size? At first blush, that seems to be an easy question but it entails some complex concepts. Is there a way of determining one's comfort level without sacrificing opportunity? When have we left the realm of professional play and entered the world of "gambling"? Am I playing for the "thrill" alone or am I enjoying "beating the casino"? How does one stay disciplined? I am hoping to pick the brains of some of the more senior players on this one....

This is an excellent question and, I am sure, forefront in the minds of many students.

To me it is much like system selection. Never decide before you get to the casino and see what you are up against. I think unit size is a question of opportunity more than bankroll size. But, of course, bankroll size can be a limiting factor.

First, I NEVER use those cash machines at the casinos. You know they used to be illegal in casino towns like A.C. For me they are hands off. I learned to play out of pocket and I think that is the best way to play. It is a great discipline aid.

Most of today's players think in terms of "well if this doesn't do it I can always get more money from the cash machine." The movie "The Hussler" taught me that lesson. As soon as Paul Newman said "Even if I lose....." Once you start thinking that way, it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. I play as if the money in my pocket is all the money I own in the world. Therefore I HAVE to win. That is also a self fullfilling prophesy.

I usually only bring about 30 units to the casino in quarters or about $750. That puts me in a must win situation in the first shoe I play. That way I force myself into meticulous table selection. I'm not going to sell it short like so many players do. Ha, they think it's a race to the first open seat. I know that THEIR seat will be open very shortly.

I often leave my first table W/O playing a single hand. Sometimes it just doesn't go the way I had hoped. But once at a good table I give it a good chance. I like it when both color cards are good even if they require two different systems.

I'm looking to increase the stakes either by raising my unit to $50 or going to the 234/345. Then I try to get to $100 units.

If $750 isn't enough I recognize that either the casino has really got it together that day or I Don't have it together. Either way, I'm out of there but that very rarely happens.

Look, we are professionals. It is no longer a game for us. It's a living.

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just to give you some insight into how I decide unit sizes and how much to bring all of the advice given so far is solid, this is how I look at it bring exactly what you are willing to leave with (in winnings) if you want to make 10,000 then bring 10,000. The way I look at it I will bring 5-10% of my bankroll because thats all I'm willing to risk in one session, when I buy in I buy in ALL of the money I bring, even if it is 50k. This for me is a psychological factor I may bring 50k with me but I will play only $250 or $500 units, when I lose it doesn't bother me because my stack is still massive(to me it feels like a drop in the bucket and I shouldn't worry about losing a bet), a nice general rule is 200 units should be the same as 10% of your bankroll. Granted not everyone will have such a big bankroll to start out with this is what you need to strive for eventually. By doing so you stay confident in your decisions in my case anyways thats how it works. What I tell alot of people that ask me in PMs and emails, the easiest unit is to start out with is $5, whether you start out at $5 x 200 = $1000 take that and make it $5 x 2000 = $10,000. If you can do that then you're ready to go to the next level which is $10 which would take your bankroll and slash it in half to 1000 units. Then repeat the process. Biggest thing to remember is, if you can't do it at $5 units, then you sure as hell won't beable to do it at $25, $100, $1000, $10000, etc....

For those who are starting out don't and I repeat this a million times ever start out at anything higher then $5 unless you're 110% confident you can walk in and walk out with profit in your pocket EVEN if it is 1 unit of profit. If you can't do that then I suggest you don't play, gambling is fun but if you're there to make money, then do so. No one will ever break the casino the ones that can afford to put a dent in the casinos don't need to gamble to make a living.

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Kiddo is right. The cards do not know what color your chips are. Until you have convinced yourself that you can win under any casino conditions there is no point to playing at more than the table minimums. It is also good to know the schedule of your target casino to know when they have low stakes tables and when they don't.

There are a lot of very sick gamblers out there that play for huge stakes and therefore get treated like royalty yet have no idea of what they are doing. Nor do they want to learn. They are only there to satisfy a sickness. If they don't lose right off the bat they certainly will eventually. The casinos count on it.

Also, unless you are playing preshuffled cards, Baccarat is easiest in the morning right after the morning card prep. New cards are far more consistent.

So how do you know what you are playing?

Preshuffled cards come to the table in an 8 deck bundle.

Standard cards come in 8 single deck boxes in boxed card order. Ace thru deuce, Spades, Diamonds, Hearts, Clubs.

The morning card prep is like an extra initial shuffle to break up the boxed card order. It usually calls for a "wash". That is where the dealer spreads the cards out all over the table and sort of hand mesmerizes them either 2 decks, 4 decks or all 8 decks at a time. A standard morning card prep takes about 20 minutes. They only do this once a day when new cards are first introduced unless it is a new cards every shoe table. Then, of course they wash for every shoe. This is why new cards every shoe tables are often the easiest to beat but you are often looking at 2 hour shoes or even longer. They take great patience.

These are the kinds of things new Bac players must know but seldom do.

Now BJ is a whole different story. I never play red BJ tables because they are impossible to beat because of over clumping caused by continuous play. In BJ, generally the higher the stakes the less the cards have been played, the easier they are to beat. The highest stakes are usually the easiest. Of course there are always exceptions.

When I played AC full time I knew the exact schedule of every casino for every day of the week for both games, Bac and BJ. I always knew exactly where to be and when to be there. I also knew to avoid Friday and Saturday nights altogether. These are all tricks of the trade we try to teach you but nothing can teach you better than experience.

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