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Blackjack – Basic Strategy and Counting
If you’ve ever been in a casino, you know that the odds favor the house. If they didn’t, casinos would not stay in business long. So, it is a fact that most of the time, people leave the casino with less money than they went in with. However, for those who want much better odds at winning, Blackjack is your game.
Blackjack, when played with basic strategy, only offers the house about a 1% advantage – less if played well. This makes it the game to play for the best chance of winning. Most casinos will use multiple decks (usually 4-8) called a shoe. This will up the house advantage closer to the 1% mark.
What is the basic strategy? Basic strategy is the complete set of optimal decisions on a hand of Blackjack. In English, this means that, depending on your card total, whether it is a hard or soft total or doubles, you play a certain way depending on the dealer’s face-up card. And if you play that way every time, the house will only have about a 1% advantage over you. Where you actually make money is knowing when to bet more and when to bet the minimum. I will get to that below. For example, if you have cards totalling a 12 that are not pairs, then you should only hit if the dealer is showing a 2,3,7-A and stand on 4,5,6. Basic strategy tables are available on my blog.
Like I said above, you make money knowing when to bet more and when to bet only the table minimums. This is achieved in several different ways, the most notorious of which is card counting. Card counting, when done in your head and without the help of any device, is legal and not considered cheating. However, if you are caught counting, casinos take a dim view of it and have the right to ban you from their facility. So, if you want to count cards, be sure to only do it mentally.
Card counting is not difficult. If you can add 1 and subtract 1, you are good to go. The trick is to do it quickly and accurately. There are several counting systems out there, but the typical system applies a point score for each card rank. Start out with 0 for a freshly shuffled shoe. For each face-up card from 2-6, add 1; for each 7-9 don’t add anything; for each 10-A, subtract 1. The higher your count, the more tens and aces are left in the shoe and the better your chance of drawing a ten or ace. A player may even double down on a high count because the chances of drawing a ten card are much greater. Basic strategy reduces the house advantage to less than 1% while counting, if done correctly, can give the player an advantage over the house up to 2% being typical.
Learning to count cards quickly and accurately is to take a couple of decks, shuffle them together, and as quickly as you can, turn them over and count them. If you get to the end, your count should be 0. If you know someone who plays Blackjack successfully, ask them to teach you their secrets. Above all, practice.
A wonderful product which has helped me win consistently at Blackjack in our local casinos is Blackjack Secrets and can be found at the link below.
Maggie Hines has not only been playing (and winning) lotteries, she is also developed strategies for winning at slots and Blackjack. She wants to share these strategies with you so that you may also enjoy the financial freedom she does.
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