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The Blackjack Wars – Strategy Guide

You can be sure it began when the first saloons opened for business, this house vs. gambler fight, this wary circling of the pit boss and the patron around and around each other, as the one tried to keep the other from managing to use his skills to win money from the other. In the early days of the West the saloon keeper’s tricks would have included marked cards, getting the gambler as drunk as possible, and as distracted as possible by dancing girls. If all else failed, they could end up just shooting each other. Today it’s a little bit different.

They shoot your picture, instead. When you walk in the door of the big casinos, you’re also strolling by their digital cameras, which capture your image and begin immediately to compare your face, with special attention on the eyes, to the casino’s database of photos, searching for a match of any suspected card-counter or big winner they’ve run across before. Blackjack, in which a skilled player enjoys the best odds of winning than in any other best online casino australia game, is the main event for which the casino must try to root out the good players, because under certain conditions, a player actually has a slight edge over the house. The casinos are not in the business to lose, naturally.

They learned, in the late 1960s, exactly what was possible for a learned blackjack player to do when Edwin O. Thorp published Beat The Dealer, which outlined an authentic strategy that could take the chance out of the game, over the long run. Suddenly, the casinos saw they had to protect themselves by changing the rules. Doubling down was eliminated for a time by many casinos. Anyone carrying devices suspected to be computers were stopped from playing. Multiple-deck games took over and single-deck games were the exception. Hand signals only began to be accepted by dealers, the eye in the sky making sure of it. Cards were dealt out of a shoe, shuffled by a machine, and more burn cards tossed out of play before a round.

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So the players who knew how, retaliated. Shuffle tracking, a method of following the movement of clumps of cards through the deck, became high art, and more systems of card-counting appeared, from casual counting, in which a player simply tries to take more note of the appearance of high and low cards, to highly refined systems. Stanford Wong, possibly the most skilled blackjack mathematician at the game today, runs the website, where serious players discuss the game in private membership circles. Not long ago, it was discovered that not only Nevada pit bosses, but a casino executive had been sitting in on these online discussions and were learning the methods in which players were planning to beat the house. Wong reminded his members that it was always a possibility that this could have happened — that to join does not take governmental security clearance, after all. That particular casino executive was apparently “excused” from the discussions, and the card players got a wakeup call.

Wong’s readers decry the changing habits of the casinos, saying there is a general decline in playing conditions and games. The most common complaint is less penetration of the deck. “Could they cut off penetration for all decks at less than 1/2 the deck? I think we all agree that would make the game unplayable for all counters…” (Posted by counter intelligence) Lately there is an additional device starting to appear to foil counters, the Shuffle King. This thing is used to shuffle the blackjack deck after every single hand, making the question of penetration unimportant — since there won’t be any.

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Inside the casinos, card-counters are wearing elaborate disguises. A well-known gambling writer, looking around for a friend he was supposed to meet at the tables, found himself disgusted by the behavior of one patron, a loud, crudely joking man with a couple of extremely attractive women with him. The man was playing blackjack, and seemed to be well ahead. Soon the loudmouth sauntered over and slapped the writer on the back; it was his friend, covered with an expert makeup job, complete with colored contacts.

One thing to remember, however, is that the casinos wish to keep players coming. One blackjack player points out to his fellow bj posters that the Nevada casinos have built and built. He adds that in Las Vegas the single-deck game, the best one for skilled blackjack players, is still there, and will stay. The casinos, very simply, will relent enough to keep us playing. Which will keep things interesting, between us and them.

Blackjack Bets to Win

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According to most statistics, players who win three hands out of five should be ahead, while players who lose three hands out of five would normally be running at a loss. That situation is generally true, as long as a player does not vary the size of their bets. There are various blackjack systems going around that advise players to vary the size of their bets constantly and by doing so that will increase the odds in their favor over the long term. The system can work in many ways and over various sequences of card play.

The most popular version will tell you that a player should decrease the size of their bets if they have won three hands in succession. It takes a lot of discipline to do such a thing, because instinct will tell a player that they are on a role and cannot be beaten. If they reduce the bet and win, they are indeed minimizing their profits.

However if they reduce their bet and lose, they have increased their overall winning percentage considerably. The wonderful advantage that online blackjack players enjoy of being able to keep track of all the hands that they have played gives them a tremendous opportunity to analyze their game play, how much they are behind or in front during a certain session.

There have been incidents recorded in online casino play where a player has recovered from their losses with a single very large bet. While this kind of extreme play is far from recommended, it does give an indication of what can be achieved by varying bet values many players strive to develop and ascertain their own blackjack betting strategy, where varying bet size can play a vital part. Many of these players begin their studies by spending time playing as a guest. To them, this is the best way, and certainly the least expensive, to get the feel of how to use your stake money as a weapon against the house.


Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com

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