Tag Archives: advantage play

10 Truths About Blackjack Advantage Play

BlackjackBy Michael Dalton.

Blackjack is a fascinating game.  It is simple enough for beginners to understand and grasp the rules and a game that is also potentially beatable with skilled play.  However, gaining an advantage over the casino is usually never an easy task.  Here are some truths and facts about the game that all good players should know.

  1. All blackjack games are not the same.  Casinos can have different rules and options that may have a positive or negative affect on your advantage in the game. One of the worst rule changes many casinos have implemented in recent years is only paying 6 to 5 on a blackjack.1)The term 6:5 is an abbreviation for a game in which naturals are paid only 6 to 5. This is not only a sucker bet, but they are cheating you in plain site. A natural blackjack is meant to be paid at 3 to 2. DO NOT PLAY in these games! For more information check The Numbers of 21 section.  Some games have side bets and some games are considered variants of the game.  Good examples of a variant of the game are Spanish 21 and Blackjack Switch.

    To gain deeper insights into blackjack offerings at different online casinos, explore specific casino reviews. For instance, Yukon Gold Casino is renowned for its diverse range of blackjack games. They offer traditional versions as well as unique variants like Spanish 21 and Blackjack Switch. By consulting the Yukon Gold Casino review, you can understand the game rules and available options comprehensively.

  2. The correct blackjack basic strategy will reduce the casino house edge to its absolute minimum.  But remember, the basic strategy can be slightly different depending on the number of decks and the rules of the game.  Basic strategy is the players first and best defense at lowering the casino advantage.
  3. Progressive betting systems of any kind can NOT beat this game.  The same applies with any money management system.  Of course, that does not mean that card counters can’t use them to camouflage their play.
  4. It is NOT illegal to count cards at blackjack.  Counting cards is simply using your brain and playing by the rules.  But casinos have the right to throw you out if they suspect you are too good or you are a threat to their bankroll.
  5. Most good card counters can count down a deck of cards in under 30 seconds.  If you can’t perform this simple task, don’t pretend that you can beat the game with card counting.
  6. You don’t need to understand the math behind card counting or any blackjack advantage technique to beat the game.  You just have to be a good practitioner of the techniques that are required.
  7. They say that blackjack is not a team sport.  Well, tell that to all of the blackjack teams in the past few decades that have beat the casinos for millions of dollars.  A blackjack team has many advantages, including the ability to play with an increased bankroll, lowering individual risk, scouting tables and camouflaging a big player’s bet.  But, of course, their are some disadvantages including the trust factor.
  8. Most card counters will use basic strategy the majority of the time while playing.  As the count changes, play variations may be warranted.  Many professional players go to great effort to memorize most of the possible variations, however, we have learned that over 90% of your potential gain from variations can be obtained by learning only 18 plays and if surrender is allowed, 4 additional plays.  These have become known as the Illustrious 18 and the Fab 4.  According to Don Schlesinger, the insurance play alone is worth over 30% of all your gain from card counting.2)Insurance is the most important play variation in a card counter’s play book.  The house advantage for this bet ranges from about 5.9% (single deck) to 7.5% (8 decks).
  9. There are many legal advanced advantage play techniques in blackjack including hole carding, shuffle tracking, ace location and team play. Yes, even hole carding is legal.  Most will think that gaining a peek at the dealer’s hole card is cheating but you are simply playing by the rules of the game — by taking advantage of a dealer who is sloppy.
  10. Over betting your bankroll is probably one of the top problems that skilled players make.  If you are skilled enough to get an advantage in blackjack, or in any game, your bankroll and tolerance for risk will determine your end result.  Stick to a reasonable risk of ruin and you will have a fighting chance.

    James Grosjean’s Opportunity Theorem

    “There is an edge in every game.”

Blackjack is NOT the only casino game you can gain an advantage in.  Most people realize that skilled poker players can beat the game of poker but practically all games have the potential of being beaten.  Advantage players are always on the lookout for ways to beat games or reduce the house advantage.  Even slot machine type games can be beaten given the right situation or circumstance.  When you walk into a casino, don’t just look at the blackjack games – you might be missing out on something much more profitable!

Anatomy of a Card Counter

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1The term 6:5 is an abbreviation for a game in which naturals are paid only 6 to 5. This is not only a sucker bet, but they are cheating you in plain site. A natural blackjack is meant to be paid at 3 to 2. DO NOT PLAY in these games! For more information check The Numbers of 21 section.
2Insurance is the most important play variation in a card counter’s play book.  The house advantage for this bet ranges from about 5.9% (single deck) to 7.5% (8 decks).

Predicting Roulette

Roulette Wheelby Mike Emmerik

Roulette is a casino game that in principle is predictable, since bets are (usually) allowed after the ball has been launched, and hence (if you are a reductionist) the final resting place for the ball is predetermined. (Barring unusual events like stopping the wheel, or something falling into the wheel).1)According to Wikipedia, reductionism is any of several philosophical ideas regarding the associations between phenomena, which can be described in terms of other simpler or more fundamental phenomena. 2)Mike Emmerik provided the Blackjack Review Network some excellent information on the Australian casinos back in the 1990s.  Here is a short article he wrote regarding roulette during that time.  It is still worth reading today as it provides some good references for future study and research.  The references to casinos with single-zero roulette was no longer accurate and has been removed.  A few edits have also been made to the original article. If you are interested in future study, be sure to check out the roulette articles at BlackjackForumOnline.com.

No betting progression system will beat roulette. There are also systems based on biased wheels, which have some technical merit, but in practice the amount of time needed to find a biased wheel is prohibitive, and you never know for sure whether you have really found a biased wheel, or have merely experienced a statistical glitch. Two references below discuss biased wheels.

I became interested in the possibilities of predicting roulette after reading The Newtonian Casino (formerly The Eudaemonic Pie) by Thomas A. Bass. In this very interesting and readable book, the author hints at the possibilities offered by the rigid mechanics of roulette. A small team of us have spent 2 years researching this area.

Roulette Table

Bibliography

The Newtonian Casino, Thomas A. Bass, T A, Penguin, London, 1990. (First published as “The Eudaemonic Pie”, Houghton Miffin, 1985). ISBN: 0-14-014593-1. Inspiring, and very readable. The classic book on the subject.

The Mathematics of Gambling, Edward O. Thorp, Gambling Times, New Jersey 1984. ISBN: 0-89746- 019-7. Contains information on many gambling topics, including blackjack . The people in Newtonian Casino were influenced by this book. Short on details, but some valuable information from one who has owned a real wheel.

A Roulette Wheel Study, Ron Shelly, self published, Atlantic City, 1988. I bought this from the Gambler’s Book Club in Las Vegas for about US$50. This handbound book is written from the perspective of a person in the casino industry (Ron is a consultant). Very interesting work. Contains detailed diagrams of wheels, how to service them, systems, scams, history, and the law. The author gives his address as P.O. Box 90971, Austin, Texas 78709.

Beating the Wheel, Russell T. Barnhart, Lyle Stuart, New York 1992. ISBN: 0-8184-0553-8. Mostly about biased wheels, a subject of little interest to me. Some great stories, and a few pointers to other works.

Roulette for Profit, Geoffrey Lewis, Jady Davis Games Products, Broadbeach 1991. ISBN: 0-9595715-4- X. Good statistical treatment of biased wheels.

The Money-Spinners, Jacques Black, Faber and Faber, London 1993. ISBN: 0-571-17037-4. Some great stories about the great roulette scams and successful players, such as Darnborough and Jaggers. Entertaining, but no technical details or information. Also contains a small section on blackjack.


Other sources of information

In the 1990s, roulette was rarely discussed in the newsgroup rec.gambling.other-games; since most roulette “systems” do not work, and the subject was ridiculed there. Some gambling books and supplies could be obtained from one of the rec.gamblers, Chuck Weinstock (Conjelco) and other sources.  There was also the rec.gambling home page, where many other gambling related links could be found.

EDITOR NOTE:  Today, the Internet is your open library to everything.

Single Zero Roulette wheels

No matter what system you use (prediction, biased wheels, or (shudder) betting progressions), you are always better off with single zero roulette wheels. The double zero wheel often used in the US (house edge of 5.26%) is the primary reason for the lack of popularity of roulette in the US, and the single zero wheel (house edge 2.70%) is the main reason for the popularity of roulette elsewhere in the world. You would think that US casinos would figure out this simple fact, but there is evidence that US gamblers don’t realize the difference (where both single and double zero wheels are available in the US, the single zero wheels seem no better patronized).

Single zero roulette (usually not with European rules, i.e. en prison3)In roulette, the en prison rule is an opportunity to recover one’s stakes after a spin of zero, provided one’s bet was even-odds (i.e. high–low, even–odd, red–black).  For more information check out Wikipedia.) may not be at your favorite casino but may be worth the effort to find out. 

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1According to Wikipedia, reductionism is any of several philosophical ideas regarding the associations between phenomena, which can be described in terms of other simpler or more fundamental phenomena.
2Mike Emmerik provided the Blackjack Review Network some excellent information on the Australian casinos back in the 1990s.  Here is a short article he wrote regarding roulette during that time.  It is still worth reading today as it provides some good references for future study and research.  The references to casinos with single-zero roulette was no longer accurate and has been removed.  A few edits have also been made to the original article. If you are interested in future study, be sure to check out the roulette articles at BlackjackForumOnline.com.
3In roulette, the en prison rule is an opportunity to recover one’s stakes after a spin of zero, provided one’s bet was even-odds (i.e. high–low, even–odd, red–black).  For more information check out Wikipedia.