All posts by Michael Dalton

Michael Dalton is the editor and publisher of the Blackjack Review Network and former editor of the quarterly newsletter Blackjack Review. As an authority on the game of twenty-one and a professional level card counter, he has appeared in public on very few occasions. "It is ironic", Dalton remarks, "that to be successful with one's book and writings you have to publicize yourself, which is contradictory to everything that a player must do to be allowed to win at this game."Michael Dalton is retired from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) after 30 years working in Space Shuttle launch activites, avionics, software development and project management. He is a graduate of Florida Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Space Science and a Master of Science degree in Space Technology. Besides the space program, blackjack, and poker, his other interests include the martial arts, playing the Scottish bagpipes and managing the BlackjackReview.com web site. He can currently be found enjoying his semi-retirement...You can follow Michael Dalton on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bjrnet.

Bill Zender Newsletter – August 2018

By Bill Zender and Associates

(Reprinted with permission)

August 7, 2018
 
Dear Friends and Business Associates,

Just so everyone is clear, UNR/OSU cancelled the table game track of their presentation in Tulsa, and I won’t be traveling to Oklahoma to teach.  Instead, I have enrolled in the 11thAnnual Las Vegas Anti-Money Laundering Conference and Expo.  The conference and expo, presented by Casino Essentials, will be held the week of August 13that the Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino.  I plan on attending a majority of the meetings Tuesday through Thursday, including all of the events put on by Dowling Advisor Group (DAG).   Jim Dowling and his company are working closely with Artichoke Joe’s Casino in order to upgrade our casino’s BSA/AML program.  All of Artichoke Joe’s key executives will be attending this conference.  From what I understand, this Casino Essentials event in Las Vegas is considered the “Superbowl” of casino industry BSA/AML conferences.  For more information on the conference, please go to http://www.casinoessentials.com/events/title-31-las-vegas/.

Answers to Important Emails

Correcting a loop-hole in their manual multiple deck shuffle

EmailBelow is the follow up to an email I received two months ago.  The casino executive contacting me had been watching a BJ customer punishing him with occasional large bets in the casino’s multiple deck shoe game.  The game was a higher limit table, and was hand shuffled.  Base on the original email I noted that the shuffle they used did not incorporate a deck “strip” in the shuffle procedure.  When questioning this oversight, I was told that any shuffle, or change to the shuffle, had to be approved by the gaming regulator.  I advised the casino executive that it was imperative that the casino insert a deck strip during each card grab selection where the cards are riffle shuffled.  I received the following reply the middle of July;

Reply by the casino executive:

I just wanted to drop you a quick follow up…

We obtained approval to change the shuffle procedure to incorporate a more standard riffle, riffle, strip riffle for all cards during the shuffle, and…

Our most recent suspected AP and associate returned, checked into a comped room, bought in for a large amount, observed the shuffle, played utilizing a minimal bet spread redeeming all the match plays available to him, retired to his room with his associate cashed out a short time later checked out of his room and left property in an Uber.  I can’t thank you enough for your insight and recommendations.

Additional comment on this subject:
Regulators need to understand that for the most part, they do not possess the knowledge needed to judge and dictate various procedures required to make their casino providers’ games safe from scams and advantage play.  I appreciate the job done by regulators, and I respect their watch-dog position for protecting the industry, however many regulators need to lose their egotistic attitudes, admit they don’t know the best method for conducting certain tasks and procedures, and seek outside expertise.

No commission Pai Gow Poker Variations

Email from a Director of Casino Games:
Have you ever seen a commission free PG that offered player banking?  I can’t think of anything that would vary the math away from the house and that would be different from a standard commission game.  In the game in question a Q High Pai Gow for the Banker results in a push of all Pai Gow hands.  We would just simply add a rule that states if a player is banking and the dealer’s hand is a Q high Pai Gow the “Banker’s” hand would then always push with the dealer.   Have you even seen a casino do this?  
Thanks for any input.  Also thanks for your input a few month ago about Baccarat.  Our game is up and running now and doing quite well.  Hope this finds you and yours well. 

My Reply:
There are versions of “Pai Gow Poker” where the game is dealt without charging the customer a commission on winning “player” bets.  I have attached a PDF of a slide I use in my math presentations.  It show three forms of PGP where commission is not charged on the customer’s winning player bets.  Remember, the banking customer is either prohibited from banking or still charged a 5%commission on winning banking results.  These games are based on a joker being used wild for straights/flushes, and as an Ace otherwise.

  1. You can change the standard PGP game to commission-less, however it reduces the H/A% from 2.7% down to 1.23%.  All customers banking results are still charged 5%, and are subject to the standard H/A% of 0.12%.
     
  2. In “Commission Free” PGP the bank pushes ALL bets with a 9 high (or less) low hand (based on house way).  Because a “9-high” low hand can be manipulated, customers are not allowed to take the bank.  House H/A% of 2.5%.
     
  3. In “EZ Pai Gow Poker” the bank pushes ALL bets with a Queen high (or less), and the customers can still bank, but are charged a 5% commission on all winning bank outcomes.  House H/A% of 2.47% on the player hands, and I’m not sure about how the customer bank is handled.  

 
That should help answer that question.  I do believe that the Commission Free PGP and EZ PGP games are both proprietary (if the patents are still good), and you will have to contact with the vendors.

Questions about “Down Under Blackjack”

There has been a lot of interest in the past several years for different versions of blackjack.  The most popular by far is “Spanish 21” which is a copy of Australian Pontoon.  The next popular variations is the BJ series of “push 22” designed and patented by Geoff Hall.  More lately, is the Dave Wisler creation of Down Under Blackjack. For those who are unfamiliar with the game concept, Wisler has developed a hole-card peeking system that actually informs the player about the approximate value of the dealer’s hole-card on every hand.  This information is broken into three different categories of “Blue” (low 2-5), “Red” (medium 6-9), and “Gold” (high T & A).  The information is helpful to a point, but it still presents the player with a number of hole-card value possibilities that the player has to consider before reaching a hand play decision.  Following is my Q&A with this executive.

Executives Email:
I am sure you know Dave Wisler from Masque Publishing.  He just got “Down Under Blackjack” approved in this State.  I remember looking at the game last fall at G2E.  Please share your opinion when you have time. 

My Reply:
In reality, it’s another BJ variation in the same fashion as Geoff Hall’s “22 push” series of BJ games.  The H/A% will be the same as your standard BJ games give or take a small percentage, but it will cater mostly to lower limit players (and the occasional high limit player who is temporarily curious).  You should also get a high degree of side betting action on the Match the Dealer which should raise the return high enough to easily offset the proprietary fee.  To my knowledge, DUBJ does not pose any new game protection issues, however the game does require the floor/surveillance to understand three different basic strategy charts correlating to the three hole-card categories of small hole-card, medium hole-card, and high hole-card.  That is my two cents on the game.  I hope to see you at one of the conferences this fall.

Note: DUBJ strategy charts can be found at: https://wizardofodds.com/games/down-under-blackjack/
 

Knowledge SharingScheduled Seminars and Workshop
University of Nevada Reno Extended Studies: Table Game Management – September 17ththru 20th, 2018 – Reno Nevada

I always enjoy presenting at the UNR Extended Studies Gaming program regarding table games management.  The students are from different gaming regions throughout North American, and occasionally, from around the world. I will be covering the topics of Casino Mathematics and Table Game Management on September 19thand 20th.  Following are the topics covered during my two-day portion of the four-day program: 

  • Hold-percentage analysis as a management tool
  • Game probability and profitability factors
  • Game selection, location, mix and pricing
  • Marketing strategies and customer development
  • Customer service strategies and applications
  • Maximizing department profitability and efficiency
  • Casino database management for table games

As I mentioned previously, these are the days I will be presenting; however, to attend you need to sign up for the entire week’s program.  I truly believe that price and time spent in this University of Nevada Extended Studies program is well worth it.

See the Gaming Management Series overview for a full schedule of upcoming courses.  Email gaming@unr.edu, call 1-800-233-8928 or visit the website for information about gaming management education from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Bill ZenderTable Game Cutting Edge – November

Cutting Edge Table Game Seminar – Monday,
November 5th, 2018 – Paris Resort – Las Vegas Nevada

I will be presenting once again on the first day of the Cutting Edge Table Games Conference.  This is another conference at which I like to present. This year’s session covers a lot of the information presented last year, however I have included mathematics on electronic Table Games (ETGs)  I always like to update my information and slip in topics that I feel need to be covered regarding the operation of table games.   Following is an outline of this year’s session and the times:

  • Table Games Mathematics (including ETGs) – 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM
  • The Cost of Table Game Promotions – 2:00 PM to 5:30 PM

The conference will be held at the Paris Resort in Las Vegas, November 5ththrough 7th.  For more information please go to their website www.tablegamesconf.com/.  I hope to see you in Las Vegas in November.

On the Move
I don’t have any travel plans other than in the northern California area and home to New Mexico.  I will keep everyone informed when that changes.  Following are a few of my obligations for the summer and fall of 2018:
 
August– 
The 11thAnnual Las Vegas Anti-Money Laundering Conference and Expo (I’m only attending).
 
September
UNR Extended Studies: Table Game Management, Reno Nevada
 
November– 
Table Game Cutting Edge Seminar in Las Vegas
 
Don’t forget the World Game Protection Conference in February/March 2019 in Las Vegas.
 
 
Questions???
 
I’m always available to answer your questions. If you have any questions on gaming; don’t hesitate to contact me through email.  I answer close to a half dozen emails on gaming every day wzender@aol.com. 
 
 
Cheers and good luck.
 
Bill Zender
Bill Zender and Associates

What is correct basic strategy for blackjack?

By Michael Dalton

Example Basic Strategy ChartThere is only one correct basic strategy for blackjack given a set of established rules. However, since all casinos don’t offer the same rules the basic strategy can be slightly different from game to game. Also, the number of decks used affects the basic strategy slightly. Peter Griffin’s Theory of Blackjack and Stanford Wong’s Basic Blackjack are the player’s best resources for the “correct” basic strategy for any number of decks and rules. Basic strategy charts can also be found in Michael Dalton’s online book The Encyclopedia of Blackjack (Twenty-One)

The example card shown on the right reflects a correct basic strategy for multi-deck blackjack games with double after splits not allowed and dealer stands on soft 17.

CORRECT BASIC STRATEGY 1)This is a generic multi-deck basic strategy where the dealer stands on soft-17 and double after splits is allowed.  Refer to full charts in the Encyclopedia of Blackjack for all rule variations and fine points for single, double and multi-deck games.  When trying to make a decision, first decide if surrendering is an option, then whether to split or double and finally whether you should hit or stand.

SURRENDER

Surrender hard 16 (but not 88 pair) vs dealer 9, 10 or Ace.
Surrender hard 15 vs dealer 10.

SPLIT

Always split Aces and 8s.
Never split 10s and 5s.
Split 2s and 3s vs dealer 4-7.
Split 4s vs dealer 5-6.
Split 6s vs dealer 2-6.
Split 7s vs dealer 2-7.
Split 9s vs dealer 2-6 and 8-9.

DOUBLE DOWN

Double hard 9 vs dealer 3-6.
Double hard 10 vs dealer 2-9.
Double hard 11 vs dealer 2-10.
Double soft 13 or 14 vs dealer 5-6.
Double soft 15 or 16 vs dealer 4-6.
Double soft 17 or 18 vs dealer 3-6.

HIT OR STAND

Stand on hard 12 vs dealer 4-6.
Stand on hard 13-16 vs dealer 2-6.
Stand on hard 17 or more.
Stand on soft 19 (A8) or more.
Hit hard 11 or less.
Hit soft 17 (A6) or less.
Hit soft 18 (A7) vs dealer 9, 10 and Ace.

IF DEALER HITS SOFT 17

Surrender 15, 88 and 17 vs dealer Ace.
Double 11 vs dealer Ace.
Double soft 18 (A7) vs dealer 2.
Double soft 19 (A8) vs dealer 6.

The correct basic strategy is a proven winning system for the game of twenty-one. It is a strategy which maximizes the player’s expectation given only knowledge of the player’s hand and the dealer’s up-card. In the good old days when single deck was plentiful and rules were great basic strategy could actually give the player a small advantage. Today, casino managers are aware of the power of basic strategy and generally do not offer games that can be beaten off the top of the deck. However, players should keep their eyes open for promotional games which do surface from time to time!

Basic strategy is powerful! All card counters must master it before moving on to the fine art of card counting. Basic strategy is not difficult! A person with average intelligence can memorize it in just a few hours. Basic strategy is the way to play! Every time you make a play on a hunch or intuition and ignore the “correct” basic strategy play you increase the casino advantage against you.

For example, a pit boss witnessing a player standing on an A-7 versus a ten valued dealer up-card would generally consider this player a novice or an idiot. If you stand on this hand you will win it about 41% of the time. If you hit the hand you increase your chances to 43%. Why would anyone not hit this hand? You can’t bust (at least not initially) and you stand a good chance of improving it. But every time I play this game I witness players standing on A-7 vs 10 with the hope that the dealer doesn’t have a nine or ten in the hole. Don’t be an idiot! Trust in basic strategy and play it perfectly. Your bankroll will thank you for it.

For more information read Michael Dalton’s complete article on “Basic Strategy” in the Summer 1995 issue of Blackjack Review magazine.

For more information on the correct basic strategy and complete charts for blackjack, check out the basic strategy section in the Encyclopedia of Blackjack (Twenty-One). Also, check out the basic strategy app at the bottom of this page.

 

Copyright © 1994 – 2018 All Rights Reserved
FAQ 3: Originally published in Volume 4 Issue 4 of Blackjack Review Magazine

RETURN | NEXT FAQ

Footnotes   [ + ]

1.This is a generic multi-deck basic strategy where the dealer stands on soft-17 and double after splits is allowed.  Refer to full charts in the Encyclopedia of Blackjack for all rule variations and fine points for single, double and multi-deck games.  When trying to make a decision, first decide if surrendering is an option, then whether to split or double and finally whether you should hit or stand.

What’s New (Feb – June 2018)

What's NewLots of new stuff on the Blackjack Review Network. Check it out! Click on the NEW link to get the latest updates.

  • 06/26/18: Improved Blackjack Basic Strategy Calculator layout.
  • 06/26/18: Improved site optimization / loading speed.
  • 06/04/18: Added entry for Triple Win 20.
  • 05/26/18: Added entry for Deal or No Deal Blackjack.
  • 05/10/18: Correction to Rule of 45.
  • 05/07/18: Major cleanup of links and update to blackjack strategy types.
  • 05/05/18: Updated entries for Richard Dougherty and Mike Michalek.
  • 05/05/18: Added entry for Maria “The Greek”.
  • 05/04/18: Updated entry for John Auston.
  • 05/03/18: Updated the Blackjack Ball page.
  • 05/01/18: Added entry for Players Edge 21 / Monster Match.
  • 04/29/18: Added entry for no-peek devices.
  • 04/28/18: Added entry for patents.
  • 04/27/18: Added entry for HighHand Blackjack.
  • 04/26/18: Updated entries for Mimic the Dealer and errors.
  • 04/25/18: Updated entry for Exhibit CAA: Beyond Counting.
  • 04/25/18: Added entries for Paul Rylance, OSN and Bonus Spin Blackjack.
  • 04/21/18: Updated entry for Wally Simmons.
  • 04/06/18: Added entry for Bad Beat Blackjack.
  • 04/05/18: Added entries for Cacarulo, Robert Parker, Trackjack, Victor Nacht and the Halloween Blackjack Ball.
  • 04/04/18: Added entries for the terms single-cut and single-fixed.
  • 04/02/18: Added entry for Lex Luther and cleaned up Blackjack Publications section.
  • 04/01/18: Updated the Rule Variation Charts.
  • 04/01/18: Added entry for Macau.
  • 03/31/18: Added Nevada Gaming Revenue chart.
  • 03/31/18: Updated entry for John Leib.
  • 03/31/18: Updated entry for Michael Hall and added entry for 21 News.
  • 03/30/18: Added entries for Lima card counting system and Card Counter’s Cafe’.
  • 03/30/18: Updated Blackjack Ball History page.
  • 03/29/18: Added entry for Cat Hulbert.
  • 03/27/18: Updated entries for Lance Humble and Harvey Dubner.
  • 03/27/18: Added entry for the Safe Bet side bet.
  • 03/26/18: Updated entry for buy-in.
  • 03/26/18: Added entry for Sam Cohen’s book The Automat.
  • 03/25/18: Added entry for Zombie Blackjack.
  • 03/25/18: Updated entry for Edward Gordon (D. Howard Mitchell).
  • 03/24/18: Updated entry and chart for Hi-Lo count.
  • 03/24/18: Added entries for Loudon Ofton and SAL.
  • 03/22/18: Added entries for FinCEN and Rolling Chips.
  • 03/21/18: Added entry for Video Blackjack.
  • 03/21/18: New – Words and phrases to avoid at the blackjack table.
  • 03/16/18: Added entry for Perfect 11’s side bet.
  • 03/15/18: Updated entry for the Golden 21 side bet.
  • 03/15/18: Added entry for Shortie Blackjack.
  • 03/15/18: Added entries for the Deuces Wild, Upcard Luck and Pick ‘Em Blackjack side bets.
  • 03/14/18: Updated entries for the Super Sevens and Crazy Sevens side bets.
  • 03/14/18: Added entries for Double-Up, Triple Attack, Triple-Up 21, In BETween and Extra Bet blackjack variations and the Pair Square and Dead Man’s Hand side bets.
  • 03/12/18: Added entry for online blackjack.
  • 03/10/18: Updated entry for advantage and the related FAQ.
  • 03/10/18: Several hundred minor edits throughout the site and encyclopedia completed. Improved image and video loading accomplished.
  • 03/08/18: Added entry for Chipless Blackjack.
  • 03/08/18: Added BJ Quick-Eye photo and instructions to the blackjack archives.
  • 03/06/18: Expanded the encyclopedia to include many embedded YouTube videos that are related to the topic.1)
  • 03/04/18: Added entries for Mickey MacDougall and Russell T. Barnhart.
  • 03/03/18: Added Card Counting System Comparison chart.
  • 03/03/18: Updated/verified all point count systems in the encyclopedia. Added all insurance correlation (IC) figures. Improved cross referencing and reference links.
  • 03/01/18: Added Jacques Noir’s One-Two Count from his 1968 book Casino Holiday.
  • 03/01/18: Updated entries for T. Hopper’s T-H and Bushido counts.
  • 02/27/18: Updated the Blackjack History introduction page.
  • 02/27/18: Added the UNLV Gaming Research Center news feed.
  • 02/27/18: Added entry for trente-un.
  • 02/26/18: Updated entry – Kelly Criterion
  • 02/26/18: Updated entries for Pontoon and Richard Epstein.
  • 02/25/18: Added entry for Bob Stupak.
  • 02/24/18: Improved the user interface for the Blackjack History Database Tool. Now over 400 historical events listed.
  • 02/24/18: Added entry for Bobby Fisher.

 

Blackjack: The Best Casino Game to Play Online?

What Makes Blackjack the Best Casino Game to Play Online?

by Nick White

Blackjack is one of the most well-known casino games enjoyed in land-based casinos across the globe. Most every casino offers the game because players want to enjoy the thrill of beating the dealer with 21. When it comes to online casino game play, blackjack is one of the best gaming options you can choose from. Offering great odds, big payouts and 24/7 action, there are many reasons why players choose blackjack when visiting their favorite online casino.

Blackjack: The Best Casino Game to Play Online?

Play Anytime from Anywhere

One of the main advantages to playing blackjack online is that you can play anytime from anywhere. Games run 24/7, meaning you can wake up and play in the morning or enjoy a quick game before bed, as long as you have an internet connection. With mobile gaming options available, players can access blackjack games on the go, so the game can be enjoyed while on vacation or even commuting to work. The ease of access makes the game so appealing when logging on to your favorite online casino.

Tons of Variations to Try Out

When visiting a land-based casino, you are limited to the number of blackjack games available. There will be limited variations of the game as well as betting limits. With online blackjack, the options are virtually endless! You will find online casinos that offer live dealer blackjack, traditional formats, odd variations and more. Betting limits will run the gamut, from small wagers like $1 to $500, $2500 and more. 

Simply log on to your favorite online casino and see what blackjack options they offer. You should find a search bar where you can look for blackjack variations or you can search under Table Games or the Other categories.

Odds to Win Long-Term Much Better with Proper Strategy

By using the right blackjack strategy for online game play, you can increase the odds of winning and making a profit in the long term. First, consider the house edge of games offered. The blackjack games provided will vary based on the online casino you choose. Take for example Blackjack Switch. This variant offers a 0.17% house edge. Blackjack Surrender has a higher house edge of 0.38%. Choosing the lower house edge variant will help you to have better odds of winning.

You should also know the game you are playing. Most blackjack variants will have different rules so applying a strategy will vary. You will need to know how much the game pays, how many decks are used, can you split the hand, etc. Knowing the game will help you to choose a quality strategy to help you win.

Blackjack strategy calculators can be found online that are also helpful during online game play. Use a calculator to find out what move you should make based on the cards you are dealt. The calculator can help you to determine if you should fold, hit, stand or split.

Counting Cards

Many blackjack players like to count cards when visiting a local casino. Counting cards provides the player with an advantage that will hopefully result in wagers won.

Counting cards is NOT POSSIBLE with online blackjack.

However, if you choose to play an online live casino version it may be possible. Live dealer blackjack games are offered at online casinos, with the games taking place in real time. Streamed footage is provided to the player in their home, as the game takes place. With the live stream, players can use their card counting skills to gain an advantage and hopefully earn a few big payouts.

Should You Play Blackjack Online?

These are just a few reasons why blackjack is a great game to choose when it comes to playing online. You can play on your own time, where ever there is an internet connection; even from your mobile device! The odds of making a profit are much better in blackjack than most other casino games offered. It is a great game to play if you want to have fun, or if you are looking for a challenge.

Blackjack truly is the game of games when it comes to playing at online casinos. Go ahead and give it a try, and you will be hooked on how entertaining it is.

Live Dealer Blackjack

Live Dealer Blackjack: A Great Game for Casino Enthusiasts

By Nick White

Live Dealer Blackjack


If you enjoy online casino games, live dealer blackjack is a great game you should consider trying. Live dealer games are one of the most popular genres available today in online casino gaming, offering players the experience of a land-based casino from the comfort of home. There are many advantages to playing live dealer blackjack, when compared to the traditional online version of the game. If you are a fan of standard online casino blackjack or are looking to try something new, give live dealer blackjack a try.

Why Live Dealer Gaming Might Be Best For You

With traditional online blackjack, the game takes place via software and animations. There are top quality blackjack variants on offer in today’s top-rated casinos, but the games are still missing the action and excitement of live game play. With live dealer gaming, players can experience the game as it is meant to be played, in live form!

Make DecisionThere is a familiarity there with live dealer blackjack as the game takes place on a real table with a real dealer. If you are familiar with land-based play, then you will be comfortable playing the live dealer tables. A dealer studio provides the streaming of a live blackjack game as it happens, and you bet on the hand in real time, interacting with the dealer as you like. The dealers are attractive and friendly, as well as knowledgeable of the game. A bonus to live dealer gaming is you get to choose your blackjack dealer, so pick a lady or guy who you want to see deal the cards!

Advantages to Playing Blackjack with a Real Dealer

There are plenty of advantages that you will find when playing live dealer blackjack.

Real Casino Experience from Home: To begin, players can trust the realism and dealing of the game. Seeing as the blackjack game is taking place in real time, you are watching as the deal takes place. You are not relying on software for the experience or for the outcome of the game. You watch as the cards are shuffled in real time and are dealt, hoping for that winning hand. You know there is no issue with the game, as you watched it progress from the deal to the end result.

The realism of the game is something you can expect and look forward to. Live casino games have become popular over the past few years due to the overall experience. Players enjoy taking part in a live game but without the need to travel to a casino to achieve it.

Totally Interactive (Can Even Chat with the Dealer!): Another advantage to live dealer blackjack is the interactive features. Players can chat with the dealer at all times and sometimes, depending on the online casino, with other online players. This provides a social element, something that would be seen in land-based play.

Why You Should Give Live Dealer Blackjack a Shot

Live dealer blackjack is a game that every casino enthusiast should try. Whether you are a regular visitor to a local land-based gaming venue or enjoy online casino options, this is a game you don’t want to miss. The thrill of playing with other players, trying to beat the house is something only brick-and-mortar casinos offered, until the live dealer experience appeared.

Blackjack offers the players higher odds of winning, when using the right strategy, than any other casino game. You also get the chance of playing as a beautiful person deals the cards.

EDITOR NOTE:  Whether you play with a live online blackjack dealer or play with online blackjack software you will find it hard, if not impossible, to play with an advantage using a card counting strategy.  Basic strategy is the usually the best you can hope for in these games.

 

Words to Die By!

Words and phrases to avoid at the blackjack table

by Michael Dalton
Copyright 1996 – 2018
Originally published in the Summer 1996 issue of Blackjack Review

AAARGH!Words can indeed be our own worst enemy!  What we say and how we react to others can often mirror our intelligence, and reflect on our experience and knowledge.  At the blackjack table, card counters1)Of course, this discussion also applies to any advantage play technique for any game! don’t want to appear too bright or they run the risk of arising suspicion in the dealer and/or floor person’s eye. What’s the result of this intelligent behavior?  As a minimum, you may receive heat and gross intellectual prowess may call for unwanted counter-measures.   The heat you receive may include being closely monitored or even harassed.  Counter-measures can include everything from the dealer giving you a hard time,  moving the cut-card to provide worse penetration,  shuffling up on you when you increase your bet, to backing off your play and asking you to leave.

“…blackjack is a cat
and
mouse game…
and you are the mouse!”

Imagine a player asking a dealer, “Is double-after-splitting allowed here?” Although the question is innocent enough it announces to the pit that you are a reasonably intelligent player who is aware of the value of this rule.  Even before this player has sat down, he has given the pit reason to be suspicious.  Casinos don’t like card counters and if you are suspected of being one you will have a tough time gaining any advantage over them.  Just remember, dealers can easily communicate information about you to their superiors.  And once you are tagged it is often a long time before you can show your face without similar results.

Unlike poker where expert players are often revered by the casino and other players alike,  blackjack is a cat and mouse game… and you are the mouse!  To survive,  you have to conceal your true identity and blend in (as much as possible) with the rest of the losers casinos see every day.

The following table lists many commonly known words and phrases that experienced and knowledgeable blackjack players use.  Although some novices may also know these words, it should be your goal to avoid as many of them as possible when you are in a casino.   Rather, use the words listed on the right column… or make up your own!  If a novice term is not listed I highly recommend that you don’t even think about saying it in a casino.

 PROPER TERMINOLOGY NOVICE TERMINOLOGY
Ace-Card  (e.g., Ace-Five)Treat as hard hand (e.g., 6 or 16)
Basic strategyBlackjack strategy
Blackjacks only pay 6 to 5?Damn… this casino sucks!
Blackjack Review or the name of any blackjack publicationThem experts…
BustDamn… I went over 21
Card countingMemorizing them cards
ChecksPoker chips
Counter-measure —
Cut cardJoker
Cutoffs —
Discard trayUsed cards
Double after split —
Double ExposureFace up blackjack
Ed Thorp or the name of any blackjack expert or authorityThem experts…
Face cardTen valued card
First, second or third baseFirst, middle or last seat
Floorman (floor person)Employee (or dealer’s boss)
Hard handHand
Heat —
Hole-cardUnder the dealer’s card
Indices —
InsuranceExcuse me?
Las VegasVegas… Vegas Baby!
Location (i.e., of aces) —
LayoutGreen felt
Natural or Twenty-OneBlackjack
PackDeck
Penetration (e.g., 75% pen) —
PitBlackjack area
Pit bossDealer’s boss (or manager)
Preferential shuffleDamn… this casino sucks!
Re-split aces —
ShoeBox
Shuffle (any type)Shuffle
Shuffle upTime to take a break
Soft handHand with an Ace
SurrenderI give up!
TokeTip
True or running count —
Up-cardDealer’s card
Zone —

Any suggestions?  Leave a comment below.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1.Of course, this discussion also applies to any advantage play technique for any game!

What’s New (July 2017 – Feb 2018)

What is new on BJRNETLots of new stuff on the Blackjack Review Network.   Check it out!  Click on the NEW link to get the latest updates. 

  • 02/23/18: Added encyclopedia entry for the Rule of 45.
  • 02/23/18: Added encyclopedia entry for Jeffery Oxley’s book Winning Blackjack for the Average Joe.
  • 02/22/18: Added encyclopedia entry for Nicholas Colon and the Alea Consulting Group.
  • 02/20/18: Updated encyclopedia entry for Strategic Investments.
  • 02/13/18: Improved user interface for the Blackjack History Database Tool. Over 400 historical events now listed.
  • 02/12/18: Added encyclopedia entries for the High Tie and Golden 21 blackjack side bets.
  • 02/11/18: Updated encyclopedia basic strategy introduction page.
  • 02/08/18: Updated encyclopedia and history entries for Celebrity Blackjack, Ultimate Blackjack Tour and World Series of Blackjack.
  • 02/02/18: Added encyclopedia entry for Zappit Blackjack.
  • 01/30/18: Updated encyclopedia entries for Speed Count and Dan Pronovost.
  • 01/26/18: Added new blog – Google News: Casinos
  • 01/26/18: Added new casino maps page.
  • 01/25/18: Major link cleanup complete!!!!
  • 01/22/18: Added Wikipedia Spanish 21 page.
  • 01/13/18: Added Wikipedia Ken Uston page.
  • 01/05/18: New encyclopedia entries for next-carding and t-win.
  • 12/17/17: Updated encyclopedia entry for WCB.
  • 12/14/17: Updated encyclopedia entry for perfect shuffle.
  • 11/28/17: Extended catalog promotion starts: 20% off all items (including already discounted items) except software and basic strategy cards.
  • 11/23/17: Added Google Translate to site – lower right corner! Issues? Let me know.
  • 10/26/17: Updated Blacklisted Online Casino list.
  • 10/16/17: New page – Dalton’s Blackjack Emporium.
  • 9/19/17: Updated encyclopedia entry for Brett Harris and some related links.
  • 9/14/17: New encyclopedia entry for gambler’s fallacy.
  • 9/2/17: Finally moved all BJRNET product catalog pages (blackjack and poker books, software, videos, etc) over to BlackjackReview.com. Closeout prices on many items. If you see a problem with a listing, please let me know.
  • 8/30/17: Updated encyclopedia entry for Five Card Charlie.
  • 8/19/17: New encyclopedia entry for Certainty Equivalence.
  • 8/17/17: Updated Numbers of 21 section cleanup.
  • 8/17/17: Updated encyclopedia entries for odds and probability.
  • 8/17/17: Updated encyclopedia entries for Mike Michalek, Rob Reitzen, The Hammer and CORE.
  • 8/11/17: New encyclopedia entries for Buffalo Blackjack and the 21 Magic and Bust Bonus side bets.
  • 7/30/17: Updated encyclopedia entry and new special section – Kenneth Uston.

Bill Zender Newsletter – January 2018

Bill Zender and Associates Newsletter

January 9, 2017

Dear Friends and Business Associates,

I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season, and is looking forward to a prosperous year in 2018.  I have planned to kick off the first quart of this year with a seminar on “Optimal Defensive Card Counting”, February 6th and 7th at the Tuscany Suites Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I usually get really “pumped” about a new seminar topic, but I’m especially charged up about this program.  Participants in this two-day session will come away with enough information and understanding to successfully defend any size casino property from attacks by the professional level card counter.

I feel the four most important points in this seminar are; (1) the myths, history, and mathematics portion which will provide the participant with an understanding of how card counting works, and why this threat is both limited to a specific educated player (successful attacks anyway), and in most cases, “revenue loss” not from the card counters, but from unnecessary prevention procedures every casino still employs.

Information gleaned during this seminar will also, (2) greatly improve your floor and surveillance staff’s ability to detect a situation of card counting, and the information on “charting” will allow any casino, regardless of its size and technical ability, to (3) confirm a suspect is counting cards (or not) with a high degree of accuracy.  Finally, the session will examine (4) different casino strategies for mitigating the effect of the card counter once that person has been confirmed as a long-term threat (notice I did not say “feel” they are counting).  For more information, please scroll down to the third section of this eBlast titled, “Scheduled Seminars and Workshops”.

Cheers to you all, and I hope everyone has a wonderful and “lucky” New Year.

laptopEmails I have received

Following are several email questions I have received over the past month that I felt were important enough to pass along to friends/associates. 

Question:

Note: I received a text message from a casino executive who had not used a continual shuffling machine (CSM) previously.  Although I answered his text message regarding game effect of using a CSM, I felt he needed to know some more important information regarding using a CSM for the first time.  Following is my reply through email.  My thumbs are too fat for texting any quantity of information.

Answer:

It appears that you haven’t used One2Six shuffling machines (CSMs) before.  Following are some things you need to know when using an One2Six shufflers:

  • Be sure the dealers are “trained” to pick up the cards and place the cards face up in the machine.  If the dealers aren’t trained correctly, the game will slow to nothing while the floor supervisor has to remove the “upside-down” cards from the interior wheel of the machine.  I learned about this the hard way.
  • You need to stay on the dealers about maintaining an adequate game pace.  For some unknown reason, the dealers will slow their game pace on CSMs.  I think it has something to do with the removal of the deck manual shuffle or transfer time when using batch shuffling machines.
  • Don’t allow the dealers to keep several previous hands in the discard holder before placing them into the machine.  CSM machines can’t be traditionally counted; however holding out groups of cards can make it a countable game.  I would remove all discard holders from the CSM table, and force the dealer to insert each round that has been dealt immediately into the CSM.
  • This is really important: The lip of the One2Six shuffling machine is quite high as compared to most dealing shoes.  Some dealers will have a tendency to stick their thumb of their left hand (dealing hand) under the drawn hole-card.  If the dealer does this, the hole-card can be lifted and exposed accidentally to a customer sitting at third base.  Make sure all dealers remove their hole-card while the thumb of their left hand is away from the edge of the card.

 
I would imagine you know most of this, but since you haven’t used CSMs machines before (to my knowledge), I would feel bad if something happened and I hadn’t mentioned it.  Have a great holiday season my friend.
 
Question:

My question is for a player’s average bet on Ultimate Texas Holdem. Should the “play wager” be counted in a player’s average bet?

Answer:

With UTH, the average bet is the amount of the ante plus the blind, i.e., the amount of money on the layout when the first hand is dealt.  Any additional wagering is optional, and is not included.  In addition, the H/A% for UTH in most player tracking systems is usually wrong.  The game has a 2.2% H/A [applied using the ante/blind wager] if the player uses optimal computer strategy.  No one uses optimal strategy, so the true H/A% is probably around 3.5%.  Note that I didn’t include any UTH side bets.  They differ, are optional, and the average bet wagered in the side bets varys.  It’s better to leave their existence out of the player “average bet” rating equation.  BTW, the 3.5% suggested also includes a gain in H/A% from any side bet/jackpot bet H/A% influence.
 
Question:

Good afternoon Bill, what is the more effective/profitable to have a table of 6 players compared to 2 tables with 3 players in terms of hands per hour?

Answer:

Good question.  It would be better for gaining more bet decisions if more tables were open and less players were on each game.  This is a problem for brick and mortar casinos, though.  You have limited space, and the increased cost of personnel and equipment need to be considered as well.
There is some table game yield management information out there on the Internet that recommends 3 to 4 player hands per table (check Tangam Gaming http://tangamgaming.com/).  You would need to do your own cost analysis before making an educated decision whether this is better for you at your casino or not.  Personally, I would open enough games to allow for a couple of unoccupied betting circles per table average.
Once it starts to get really busy, the 3 to 4 player hands per table advantage goes out the window, and then the strategy is to open games to accommodate players.  At this point you may also consider raising minimum limits in order to maximize revenue potential.  I guess that is table game yield management in a nut shell.
 
Counting Cards Isn't Illegal - It's frowned upon!Scheduled Seminars and Workshop

Optimal Defensive Card Counting Seminar – February 6th and 7th, Las Vegas – Tuscany Suite Hotel

I will be offering a two-day seminar Optimal “Defensive” Card Counting in Blackjack.  This will be a seminar on blackjack card counting that “drills down” into all aspects of counting including the history and development of card counting techniques over the past 50 plus years.  In addition, I will spend a large portion of the time on detection and confirmation.  The one tried and true method for confirming any person is counting cards is through the process of “charting”.  Charting identifies whether or not the suspected player shows a sign of correlation between his/her wagering and the “true” count of the cards.  Unless a card counter strictly wagers into positive true counts, that counter will not be able to gain a long-term advantage over the casino. [Note: Anyone can learn how to chart].  Any participant in this seminar will definitely come away with the ability to detect if a player is counting cards, and learn the process needed to confirm a suspected player is counting on a level that places your bankroll at a long-term risk.  Some of the areas covered in this two-day seminar are:

  • Myths and history of card counting
  • Different count systems (including computers) and why these systems work.
  • Counting strategies against single and multiple deck games
  • Counting strategies for attacking side bets and variations of standard blackjack.
  • Simple methods for better detection of card counters
  • Methods for better confirmation that a person is counting.  Learn how to “chart” card counter play.
  • Mitigation of confirmed card counters: Back-off or discourage through procedural changes; what’s good, what’s bad.

Important: Requirements to attend:

  1. Presently work in the casino industry (not open to the general public).
  2. Have knowledge of multiple deck basic strategy.
  3. Have a working knowledge of the “Hi/Lo” count system (also known as “basic plus-minus”).
  4. A laptop computer (PC or MAC) compatible with Excel (used on second day to “chart”).

Because of room restrictions, I have to limit the number of participants to 40.  If you are interested, please contact me at wzender@aol.com, and I will send you a registration form.  BTW, I am now in a position to take Credit Cards. 

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me, wzender@aol.com.
 
Knowledge SharingCertificate in Gaming Leadership – University of Nevada, Reno Extended Studies and Oklahoma State University Spears School of Business – January 22-25, 2018 –  Hard Rock Casino, Tulsa, OK

I will be working with the University of Nevada Reno and Oklahoma State University to help put on the programs “Track C: Table Games Operations”.  I will be joining several other great instructors including San Manuel Surveillance Director Jessie Beaudoin and slot expert Jeff Jordan, CEO of GameCo Inc.  My schedule and Track C topics are as follows:

  • Introduction to Table Games Operations; How Casinos Make Money; Probability, Odds, Payouts – Monday, January 22nd from 10:15AM to 12:15PM.
  • Table Games Operations: Using Earning Potential as a Management Tool – Tuesday January 23rd from 8:00AM to 10:00AM.
  • Table Games Operations: Maximizing Table Games; Math & Statistics of Casino Gaming – Tuesday, January 23rd from 1:00PM to 3:00PM.
  • Optimizing Table Games Mix – Tuesday, January 23rd from 3:15PM to 5:15PM.
  • Table Games Operations: Live Game Promotion – Wednesday, January 24th from 8:00AM to 10:00AM.
  • Table Games Operations: Player Development and Database Management – Wednesday, January 24th from 10:15AM to 12:15PM.
  • Table Games Operations: The Principles of Leading Your Table Games Operation – Wednesday, January 24th from 1:00PM to 3:00PM.

For additional information, please visit the following website: https://business.okstate.edu/cepd/open-enrollment/pds/gaming-leadership.html.
 
World Game Protection ConferenceWorld Game Protection Conference in Las Vegas – Bally’s – March 12th – 15th

It appears I will be presenting again this year at the WGPC.  This year I plan to speak about the problems and protection strategies with Electronic Table Games (ETGs).  Is it a slot machine or table game?  Does it take a different mindset to safely protect ETGs, or do we need to look at these games from different directions in order to block the various known and unknown avenues of attack.

ELECTRONIC TABLE GAMES: A GAME PROTECTION CHANGER – 50 minutes

Electronic Table Games (ETGs) are becoming a crowd favorite with players and are taking up an increasing amount of space on casino floors. But are they slot machines or a table games? More importantly, how do they work and how do you protect them from cheats, thieves and advantage players. If this is the ‘evolution of gaming’, it seems no one consulted with game protection professionals. In this session Bill examines the popular e-table games on the market and the relatively new concept of stadium gaming. You will hear about vulnerabilities that have been exploited in recent times and Bill’s thoughts on the best ways to protect these new-age games
For more information on the World Game Protection Conference please go to; http://www.worldgameprotection.com/
 
On the moveOn the Move
I understand you can’t hit a moving target, but I still have some time available through the end of the year.  I always have time open to conduct winning player reviews.  If you have any questions, please let me know at wzender@aol.com
 
January
Northern California
Southern California
UNR/OSU Tulsa Gaming Leadership
 
February
Optimal Card Counting Seminar LV
Northern California
New Mexico
Open
 
March
Open
World Game Protection Conference
Central California
Open
 
Please let me know if I can provide one of my services for your organization.
 
 
Questions???
 
I’m always available to answer your questions. If you have any questions on gaming; don’t hesitate to contact me through email.  I answer close to a half dozen emails on gaming every day wzender@aol.com
 
Cheers and good luck.
 
Bill Zender
Bill Zender and Associates
702-423-5734

How to Deal with Issues at Online Gambling Sites

How to Deal with Issues at Online Gambling Sites

By Alice Mason

Online gambling has become a beloved way of gambling by players across the globe. The ease of betting from anywhere and anytime attracts a higher number of players. But once you start playing, it is not necessary that you would find the best online casinos only. You might face problems at some gambling sites. Sometimes the site would be wrong and sometimes you make mistakes by misunderstanding something about the games. In rare cases, there would be no one to blame for the inconvenience you face.

There is not a single gambler who has not dealt with online gambling issues. There are sites that just do not know how to treat their customers and then there are some best ones who fail to treat their players rightly. In both the cases, it is not always the site’s fault. In some cases, gamblers have to take responsibilities to solve a matter.

Below are some tips to keep in mind to avoid problems while gambling as much as possible:

– Choose to play on reputable sites only

There are two (2) reasons you should follow the advice of only going to a reputable online gambling site.  First of all, your chances of being cheated or experiencing problems are slim to none. The good reputation of any website is not just a myth or assumption. It is earned with exciting games and quality customer care services. Thus, it is pretty obvious to believe them as trustworthy casino sites.

However, problems can still occur from time to time.  The second reason for using such websites is that any website can have small to major issues but the important thing is how they deal with it. Reputable sites know how to keep their customers happy by quick and effective solutions to any problem.

– Become well-aware of the gambling rules

There are several types of rules for the different games you play online. Each game and each form of gambling has a set of relevant rules. There are rules for what should be the outcome in certain situations whether the game is abandoned or you lose your internet connection while playing your hand at an online poker.

A responsible site always provides a set of rules relating to the games provided on the website. So if the rules are there to read and the wagering requirements are mentioned on the sites, as a player, it is your responsibility to go through the terms and conditions. Many of the online casinos receive complaints related the bonuses and most of the complaints happen because the player ignores the rules and regulations.

Although most online casinos try to make the rules as clear as possible, sometimes the language or the interpretation differs that misleads the players. So it is better to read the terms and condition carefully and contact customer services about the queries and confusions you have regarding the same.

– Report your issue politely

If you experience an issue or problem, you should report it. But mind the language you use when you report it to customer support. You must be polite and respectful of the tone you use while complaining. Some of the gamblers think that being rude can get the attention faster which is never true.

The people working at customer support are human beings. Their job is indeed to help you out or assist you with your problem and not to be abused by players. Use a courteous manner while addressing them about your unpleasant experience.

In the end, it is essential to be patient and reasonable while making your point and dealing with any problems regarding online casino games. The time of response or being acknowledged also depends on the nature of the issue. Check out Norskcasinoguide.com if you want to have sound information about any of the Norwegian online casinos or games.

Comment by Michael Dalton

Always check out the casino blacklist links on the Blackjack Review Network before using any online casino site.