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Buying into table games with hundreds of dollars is simply unrealistic for a majority of players.

Some people are fortunate to afford $100 for an evening of casino gambling. As most of us know, that $100 can evaporate mighty fast if you catch a cold streak. What's a "low roller" to do? There are ways to fight back by using optimum playing strategies.

The object of the game of blackjack is to take advantage of favorable situations when they develop. Getting the opportunity to double down and split, not to mention the fact you are paid 3–2 for blackjacks, is what makes the difference between making money and just playing to stay even.

Another way to increase your profit potential is to increase your bet. But how do you do it and when? I've seen players push a stack of chips into the betting circle strictly on a whim. I've seen them win, but I've also seen them lose. Making big bets on a "feeling" is not what I'm talking about.

Surely the wisest time to increase your bet at the blackjack table is if you utilize some system of card counting and you know when the shoe is tilted a bit in favor of the players. This is a solid way to take advantage of the game. It's an educated guess and worth playing the percentages. There are no guarantees, but it's better than increasing your bets on an uneducated guess.

Short of that particular strategy, you may want to use a form of progression betting that I've used with success on occasion. I don't advocate progression betting because it can get you in trouble, too. But this is a relatively harmless method for average players if it is employed prudently:

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The series starts by making a $5 bet. If you win the hand, you double the bet to $10 on the next hand. If you win that one too, you take $5 back and bet the remaining $15 on the next hand. What you've done is take back your original investment and bet the $15 profit you've made on your two winners. If you win your $15 bet, you take $25 profit and start a new series with a $5 bet.

There are some pitfalls using this system. First, in order for you to pull it off, you have to win three straight hands. Sounds easy, but as we all know it isn't. However, when you do, it's a nifty way for a $5 player to make a little more money than he would have made betting a single $5 chip on those hands.

Also, after winning the first two hands and risking your $15 profit on the third, you will be back to even if you lose that third hand. But that's the chances you are taking in return for taking a shot at greater profit potential.

An added plus is the fact that you can take better advantage of splitting and double down situations. If you get a double down hand when you've got a $15 bet out there, you increase your bet to $30 and suddenly have the potential for a nice little hit. It also increases the excitement of the game for an average $5 player, knowing there's a $60 "swing" riding on winning or losing.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach him at jbrokopp@comcast.net. John Brokopp's Beat the Odds tips air Sundays at 8:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 10:42 p.m. on WBBM Newsradio 780.

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