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Internet Blackjack – Bankrolls and Bonuses

Nobody ever says “Wow, I can’t wait to figure out my bankroll and how much I should risk,” but they should. Every gambler needs to consider the money they can afford to risk, and online players should consider their possible bonuses as well.

Unfortunately, most of those great 100% or 200% Match Bonuses you see advertised can’t be used for blackjack play at online casinos. However, some sites will allow blackjack, just at reduced rates. Or maybe we should say increased rates, because they may allow each play to be worth only 10% of your bet value. Here’s how that works.

Suppose you find a great online casino that has liberal rules for blackjack, and you see that they offer a 100% match of your first deposit. If you deposit $100, they’ll match that with another $100. That’s a good deal, but there’s a catch with any online bonus: you’ll have to wager 20 or 30 or even 50-times your deposit (and sometimes your bonus too) before you can withdraw any funds from your account. 20-times rollover of $100 means you have to play $2,000 in action – that would be 200 hands of $10.

While slot play usually counts as a 100% match, blackjack is usually 0, 10% or 25%. If your new web casino offers 10% at blackjack, that means your $10 wager only counts as $1, so your 20-times rollover or $2,000 in action takes 2,000 wagers to achieve, not 200. That also means your total wagers will have to be $20,000.

If you are worried about clearing your bonus, don’t. The speed of play online is at least five-times as fast for video blackjack as you’ll experience live. In fact, clearing a simple $100 bonus as shown with the low flat bet of $10 could be done in seven hours. If you are playing online Live Dealer blackjack, clearing the same bonus would take about 35 hours, but most sites give you plenty of time to accomplish this feat – from two weeks to 60 days. You might want to read the bonus rules to make sure.

Setting Your Blackjack Bankroll

Setting your bankroll for online play is highly personal. Some players will want to gamble more, others less. No surprise there. However, your bankroll and your bonus should be considered before you make your first deposit. You don’t want to risk more money than you can afford to lose, but don’t deposit so little that there is no chance you can survive long enough to clear the bonus!

Suppose you deposit $20 and get a $20 match. Clearing that tiny amount will be easy, right? Well, probably not, because you are limiting yourself to very few units. If the website has a bet minimum of $5 you’ll have just 8-units. Even if the minimum bet is just $1 you’ll have just 40-units. If you hit a streak of bad hands then boom, you’re broke. Sure, that can happen with any amount of capital, but the more units you have, the better your chance of surviving long enough to clear the bonus and have something left. If you go broke, you lose that nice First Time Bonus Match and that’s that!

Sophisticated blackjack card counters play to an overall edge of less than 1% and can expect to lose their bankroll occasionally. A player with a $2,000 bankroll (400-units at $5) will go bust about 5% of the time. You, playing online using basic strategy against a house edge of .5% will have a tougher time. Therefore you’ll experience going broke a lot more often if you have a bankroll of only 40 units and virtually every time if you only have 8-units.

Use the Bonus to Your Best Advantage

By considering both your bankroll and your bonus you can arrive at an amount for deposit that gives you the best chance of surviving long enough to clear the bonus. You already know that 20-times rollover is much better than 30-times, but it would be better to get a 25% conversion rate at any amount than just 10%. With that in mind, regardless of the bonus (whether a set amount, or 100% or 200%) size, make sure you have at least 100-total units to wager with. 200-units would be much better.

If time isn’t important to you, play for smaller wagers and get your bonus cleared. Remember, that’s all free money and you can’t cash-out anything, even less than your deposit, until the bonus is cleared. Again, it’s better to finish with something than deposit a tiny amount and go bust.

On the other hand, don’t deposit so much (even if the match is very high) that you have to risk more than you are comfortable losing. Use the following comparisons to tally your total wagers to clear a bonus and assume a 100-unit deposit for each and note whether the bonus or the bonus and the deposit must be rolled over.

  1. 20-times rollover: 50% match of deposit, must rollover bonus only = 50 units times 20 and 10% counts: 10,000 total units to wager.
  2. 20-times rollover: 100% match of deposit, must rollover deposit and bonus = 200 units times 20 and 25% counts: 16,000 total units to wager.
  3. 20-times rollover: 50% match of deposit, must rollover deposit and bonus = 150 units times 20 and 10% counts: 30,000 total units to wager.
  4. 30-times rollover: 100% match of deposit, must rollover bonus only = 50 units times 30 and 10% counts: 30,000 total units to wager.
  5. 40-times rollover: 100% match of deposit, must rollover bonus and deposit = 200 units times 40 and 25% counts: 32,000 units to wager.

Now, just for comparison, say that your play costs 1% of your total wagers (players that don’t play perfect basic strategy, but bet low enough to clear a bonus). With this thinking, the smaller the total amount wagered, the better the chances of clearing a bonus. As you can see, the five options above are rated from best to worst.

It may go without saying, but when you have to rollover the deposit and the bonus, the larger your initial deposit the higher your total wagers will need to be. Find the right balance between your risk (your own bankroll) and the bonus compared to the total you will have to wager and you’ll get the perfect amount to deposit – on the site with the best deal.


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