# Online Blackjack Strategy Trainer

Most games have some form of asymmetry between players. Continuous shuffling machine vs. I was also wondering how should a player go about betting when counting say the minimum bet is 2 and the maximum 10 with the bankroll of at what count would you advise to increase bets from the minimum? This is an elementary example of the family of advantage play techniques known as card counting. I guess I have another question. A completely new trainer is in development and coming along nicely.

## KEY TAKEAWAYS

It was dealt from a six-deck game. The bet wins if the player has a pair for his initial two cards, more if they are suited. Unlike the normal Bet the Set, if the player has a pair he has a chance for big wins if the dealer also has a pair of the same rank. If the player gets a colored four of a kind not only is he paid to 1, but also wins a progressive jackpot.

In addition, there are envy bonuses if another player gets a colored four of a kind. The following table shows the odds for a six-deck game, before considering the jackpot and envy bonuses.

When I first saw this bet years ago at Caesars Palace it was just called the "tie. The bet wins if the player and dealer do tie and pays 10 to 1. If the player splits he must also split the side bet.

If the player doubles, he does not double the side bet. For the analysis I assumed for the following blackjack rules: Winning blackjack pays 3 to 2. Dealer hits soft Double after split allowed. The following table shows the proper basic strategy assuming the maximum side bet is played and the rules above. Assuming the rules and strategy above, I show an overall house edge of 0.

If a winning blackjack paid , then the house edge would be 1. In August I noticed another version of side betting on a tie in blackjack at Harrah's Las Vegas. Unlike version 1, where all ties pay 10 to 1, at Harrah's you could bet on all six possible ties individually, or on a low or a high tie. As I recall, the rules were:. The layout has betting circles for 17, 18, 19, and LS left side tie wagers on the left of the betting circle for the blackjack wagers.

The other four tie wagers are on the right side. The player may bet up to half his blackjack wager on the sum of the four left side tie wagers, and likewise up to half on on the right side. If the player does bet a tie, it significantly changes the strategy. The player will do more hitting, and less of everything else. There is a separate strategy for each tie wager. I won't bother to publish them unless the game gets a significant number of placements. I spent all day trying to analyze this one, but the doubling and splitting rules made it too difficult.

So I'm quoting below pay table 4 from the game owner's web site, blackjacktie. It is played with a six-deck shoe and pays based on the player's first two cards.

The following table shows each paying hand, the probability, payoff, and contribution to the total return. The lower right cell shows a return of Here is the house edge for other numbers of decks.

It simply pays 11 to 1 if the player's first two cards are a pair. Six decks are used. The probability of a pair is 0. Please see my page on Lucky Ladies for more information on this side bet.

As the name implies, this is a blackjack side bet with a progressive jackpot. I saw this side bet at the New York New York casino, where they had three tables tied into the same progressive.

At this time, I was told they recently put it in place and nobody had hit the jackpot yet. Before dealing a new hand, the dealer presses a button, the dollars vanish, and a light designates who made the bet. The following table shows what each winning hand pays, the probability based on the dealer peeking for blackjack , and the contribution to the return.

The above table shows an expected return of The general formula for the return is Also note there are no basic strategy deviations for this side bet. If the player gets two aces, then he should split anyway, which guarantees two more cards. It is unclear to me what events cause the meter to go up and down. If this is the case, then the meter contribution rate is Mikohn also mentions that part of each dollar goes to a higher reseed of the next jackpot.

Here is another version that has been seen at Internet casinos using Cryptologic software. The game uses eight decks of cards. The general formula for the return is 0. Twin blackjack is not a side bet, but a variation of the game of blackjack.

I saw the game at the Stardust in August, Each position has two betting spots. If the player makes a bet in both of them he will play out two hands against the dealer's up card. In the event the player gets two blackjacks called twin blackjacks they both shall pay If the player gets two identical blackjacks called identical twin blackjacks both shall pay The lower right cell in the table shows the twin blackjack rules add about 0.

However, as usual with novelty games, you give more than you get back. In this case, the player may NOT double after a split and the number of splits per hand is lowered from 3 to 2. Under the normal Stardust 6-deck rules the house edge is 0. Under these rules, not including the twin blackjack bonuses, the house edge is 0. Overall the house edge is 0. Perfect Pairs is a blackjack side bet found in casinos in Australia, Macau, and London.

It pays if the player's first two cards are a pair. The following table shows the specifics. A "perfect pair" is two identical cards like two ace of spades.

In land-based casinos, much of card counting centers on knowing the deck penetration, or how far into the shoe the dealer is before decks will be re-shuffled. This is very important information to card counters because they need to know how many decks there are before spreading their bets.

Worse yet is the fact that the virtual deck is shuffled every time, meaning you never have an opportunity to get deck penetration. And the answer lies in how many bonuses you are receiving from the online casino where you play.

Some online casinos are much more generous than others, and give you a better shot at overcoming the long-term house edge with all of this extra money.

So make sure to check out the VIP program, and see what promotions are running before you decide to play anywhere. In addition to this, you also want to be sure to practice on some of the free blackjack trainers across the internet since these alert you to both correct and incorrect blackjack moves. Perfect Pairs refers to a wager in which the first two cards dealt to a hand will be a pair of the same value; for example, a pair of twos, threes, fours, etc. Odds are paid depending on whether the two matching cards are also of the same suit, same color, or are of mixed colors.

If the two cards do not form a pair, then the Perfect Pairs wager loses. Essential to take note of, is the fact that blackjack rules vary from one casino to the other and this may complicate learning blackjack. The player should check for local variations before playing.

However, most correct blackjack rules are so fundamental that they bear no variations in various casinos. Additionally, most large-scale casinos have similar rules, making blackjack a whole lot less complicated.

With that, let us delve into a detailed account of basic blackjack equipment and rules. Blackjack Switch is a casino game which was invented by Geoff Hall and was later patented in It is a blackjack variant where two hands, rather than one, are dealt to each playing position.

It allows the player to trade cards between two hands, which is otherwise considered a classic cheating maneuver in standard card games. Super Fun 21, a variation of blackjack, is played using a standard 52 deck card. One up to eight decks of cards can be used while playing Super Fun It is one of those fascinating Blackjack variants which offer players quite a wide array of offers once they get dealt a given hands combinations.

These kinds of payouts usually do not require any additional side bet. The ultimate goal in blackjack is making the best decision on your hand so as to get your 21 or get closer to 21 than the dealer. To do this, decisions must be made on every card. The questions here as a player are whether to hit, stand, double down, split, when to take insurance and when to surrender. Using the chart below, you are one step to becoming a major pro on getting that For a player to be able to beat the dealer and the house edge, he or she must master the art of counting cards.

It is not a complicated activity but it needs a lot of keenness and accuracy. Blackjack counting is based on basic strategy since it determines how every card is played. This is the oldest form of blackjack and is often referred to as traditional blackjack. The major difference between classic blackjack and other variants is the type of house edge it offers and the fact that you only play with a single deck with the exceptions of a few casinos that offer more options.

The odds involved in blackjack are whether a player will bust or win his bet. You need to first understand, what hands favor a dealer or the house, a phenomenon known as house edge. This amount is calculated by multiplying the total bets by the amount the casino keeps. The number of people who play Blackjack especially in America is larger than that of Russian roulette and baccarat combined. The notion that Blackjack is a difficult game to play has with time been dealt away with. Two entirely different blackjack variants are known as Pontoon and this can be confusing for players.

The other, following the initial rise of its popularity being in England, derives it names from being a British version of the common Blackjack card game. John Ferguson, who is better known by his pen name Stanford Wong, has become legendary throughout the blackjack world for writing some game-changing blackjack books.

This being said, Stanford Wong is definitely a man worth looking at a little closer. You need to keep practicing your card counting with a deck of cards until you can consistently obtain a final count of 0. At this point in your learning curve this may seem like an impossibility, but trust me, after a little practice, you will be surprised at how quickly you will be able to count down a deck of cards. The reason you need to practice speed as well as accuracy is because in a casino the cards are sometimes dealt rapidly by the dealer and you need to be able to keep the count accurately under these conditions.

By canceling a low card with a high card, card counting becomes a lot easier. The following table shows an example of this drill. The following table shows a random round with six players plus the dealer. Assume the count is 0 to start e. Let me pause for a moment and ask you this question. We deal with positive numbers all our lives but rarely do we deal with negative numbers; therefore, adding and subtracting negative numbers is often a challenge for players.

Perhaps the following diagram will help. In other words, adding a negative number to a negative number gives a larger negative number see above diagram. Try determining the running count for the following four hands using the above diagram as a guide. These drills may seem hard at first but with a little practice you will be able to handle adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers accurately.

With this tool, you can practice your card counting including cancellation at different speeds with either a single deck or six decks of cards. The Trainer has instructions written by me that explain how to use the software. This is a valuable tool that will help you master keeping the running count quickly and accurately.

Try the six-deck mode so you get some practice counting six decks of cards. You can incrementally increase the speed setting and practice your counting at progressively faster speeds.

Casinos are often noisy with plenty of distractions. Once you feel comfortable keeping the running count with a deck of cards or with the Interactive Trainer , try practicing card counting at home with the radio or TV on. Remember your goal is to be able to consistently count down a deck of cards accurately in less than 30 seconds. How to bet using the running count.

Now we get to the meat-and-potatoes of card counting; namely, sizing your bets based on the running count. The issue with most single-deck games that makes them unbeatable for card counters is twofold:. Ditto if the payoff is or even money. And unfortunately, many casinos have implemented single-deck games with the blackjack payoffs. Avoid any single-deck game even if you are a card counter. But not all is doom-and-gloom because there are still single-deck games that pay for a blackjack just not as many of them.

However, the issue with these games has to do with how the casino reshuffles the cards in single-deck games. Some casinos use a Rule of 7 better while others use a Rule of 5 worse. The only way to know when the dealer will shuffle the cards between rounds is to simply watch a game and see how often the cards are shuffled. The more positive the RC, the greater your edge and the more you will be betting. They usually increase their bets after then win a hand. The point is that the above betting scheme is not carved in stone.

More on this in Chapter The same caution applies here as to the single-deck game: When playing in a multi-deck game six- and eight-decks , we have to add another tool to our arsenal, namely converting the running count to a true count.

Before I go into the details of how much to bet in a six- and eight-deck game, let me ask you this question:. If you answered no, you are correct. In order to get a more accurate estimate of your advantage in multiple-deck games, we need to normalize i. Suppose you made a gallon of sweet tea and the recipe called for three scoops of sugar.

Next day you decide to make four gallons of iced tea in a bigger container. How much sugar would you add? Suppose instead you added only four scoops of sugar to the four gallons of ice tea. The amount of scoops of sugar you added per gallon of tea was only one scoop, instead of three, which means the four gallons of iced tea would be significantly less sweet than the original gallon of sweet tea. In order to accurately determine your advantage in a multi-deck game, you need to convert or normalize the running count to a true count per deck.

The equation to normalize the running count to a true count is:. You glance at the discard tray and estimate four decks of stacked cards. By subtracting the number of decks in the discard tray 4 from the number of decks being used 6 , you arrive at two unplayed decks these decks are currently located in the dealing shoe.

The calculation of the true count for negative running counts works the same way. The key to determine the true count is to estimate accurately the number of decks in the discard tray. This is how I recommend that you practice doing this. Label each stack with a sticky note. Randomly place the stacks one at a time on a table, and practice estimating the number of decks in the stack by eyeballing the height of the stack.

You need to keep practicing this drill until you can accurately determine the number of decks in a stack of cards. I will share with you another very good drill that blackjack pro Kevin Blackwood described in his book, Play Blackjack Like the Pros. For example, suppose you estimated three decks in the discard tray and the number on the top card was You were way off in your estimate because three decks of cards is cards.

You need to practice this drill until you can accurately estimate the number of decks. This is important because you are going to be betting real money based on the estimated number of decks in that tray and you want to get it right. Assume a six-deck game. The second column lists what the running count is for each hand. The number of decks of cards in the discard tray is listed in the third column.

Do the mental calculation to determine the number of unplayed decks in the dealing shoe and what the true count is for each hand. Once you estimate what the true count is, you will be using it to determine how much to bet and whether to deviate from the basic playing strategy covered in Otherwise, you maintain the running count from one round to the next until the shuffle.

At the start of the next shoe, begin your running count at 0 again and repeat the process. For example, if your true count is 2. Therefore, in a six-deck game with a house edge of 0. As a card counter, you will be sizing your bets based on the true count. The more positive the true count, the greater your edge and the more you should bet. The above is an ideal bet spread, meaning you bet exactly according to the true count on every hand. The issue with this approach, as I mentioned in sub-Chapter For now, keep this point in mind and in Chapter Card counting is legal as long as you are using your mind, and not an electronic device, to keep the count.

The above is a suggestion; use whatever technique works for you so that you remember how much to bet at each true count. Besides using the true count to vary our bets in multi-deck games, we can also use it to vary our playing strategy. In the previous sub-chapter, you learned how to very your bets in multi-deck games using the true count. Besides using your true count to size your bets, you can also use it to deviate from the basic playing strategy.

The reason is that the more positive the count, the more inclined you will be to stand, double, split, take insurance, or surrender. The following table contains what is known as the Illustrious 18 for multi-deck games. It summarizes the most important hands for deviating from basic strategy the ones that give you the most bang for your buck.

The first column lists the play, the second column lists the index number, and the third column lists the action you should take on each hand. The table contains the indices for multi-deck games with s Where two indices are shown, the second is for h17 game. If you want the indices for single- and double-deck games, see Table Therefore, instead of following the basic strategy decision to hit, you should instead stand. This makes sense, because with a high positive true count, you are more likely to break if you hit in a ten-rich deck.

You surrender when the true count is equal to or exceeds the index number. For example, write 16 vs 10 on one side and stand at 0 or higher on the other side. Then as you run through your flash cards, recite what the index number is and the strategy deviation. For example, 16 vs 10, 0 or higher stand. The following table lists 15 plays and the corresponding true count multi-deck game with s Assume surrender is offered.

Jot down how you would play each hand. You can use the set of advanced basic strategy cards https: By following the above betting and playing strategies for single-, double-, and multi-decks games, your edge as a card counter will be about 0. If you have been hesitant to learn card counting over the thought of having to do the mental division of converting a running count to a true count on every hand Chapter There is a new-breed of counting systems that use only the running count for betting and playing decisions.

This makes card counting much easier for many players. As I described in In an unbalanced card counting system, the tags do not net to 0 resulting in this important point:. Other blackjack authors then began to refine his system. It was in that blackjack expert and author Arnold Snyder published the first unbalanced point count card counting system called the Red Seven Count. However, with the advent of high speed computers years later, the unbalanced Red Seven has proven to be quite a powerful counting system without the necessity of converting a running count to a true count.

So, the following explanation is for those that are inquisitive and want to know how unbalanced card counting systems work. All other cards, including the red deuce, have a tag of 0. Suppose you keep playing and after two decks have been played your running count is still This means the unplayed four decks of cards contain an extra 8 face cards or two extra face cards per deck. If the running count stays at 22 after the play-out of the third, fourth, and the fifth deck, the number of extra face cards per deck in the unplayed decks is summarized in the table below.

All unbalanced card counting systems have what is called a pivot point. In other words, the pivot is the only point where the ratio of low to high cards is exactly known, regardless of where you are in the decks.

You are probably wondering what happens when the running count drifts above or below the pivot point. However, the error is not very large, and over all, unbalanced counting systems give nearly the same performance as a similar balanced counting system.

There are several different unbalanced card counting systems. Some are Level 1; others are the more complex Level 2 and 3. Besides the Kiss Count discussed above, the following table summarizes some of the more popular unbalanced card counting systems. The data in the table also includes:. With an unbalanced card counting system, you base your betting and playing strategy solely on the running count.

When the running count rises to a specific value of the running count 9whwre you have the edge , you begin to increase your bets. Below that value, you bet the minimum. In a double-deck game, you start your count after the shuffle at —4. In a six-deck game, you start your count after the shuffle at — You begin to increase your bets when the running count rises to —4.

With unbalanced card counting systems, you can customize the starting count to a positive number to avoid the use of negative numbers. Besides varying your bets based on the running count, you can also use the running count to vary your playing strategy. For example, a basic strategy player should never take insurance. For details on all the preferred strategy plays, consult the book Knock-Out Blackjack.

The third edition of Knock-Out Blackjack also contains Anthony is sending me a paragraph about the new basic strategy that was developed with K-O that eliminates indices for playing strategy. This new material will appear in the third edition of the book, which Anthony is publishing. You can obtain more information on the K-O Count, Red Seven Count, and Kiss Count, including preferred betting and playing strategies, from these books:.

You can use the same drills that I outlined for balanced counting systems Chapter Suffice it to say that unbalanced card counting systems work nearly as well, and for recreational players that find the true count calculation too taxing, they ought to consider using an unbalanced counting system. This chapter covers the following entry-level card counting systems that will allow the average player to either play breakeven with the casino or to have a slight edge:.

I would be thrilled if every blackjack player would learn Hi-Lo or one of the unbalanced counting systems that I reviewed in Chapter If you fall into this group, or you are a basic strategy player using a progressive betting system, let me show in dollars and cents what a simple entry-level card counting system will gain you.

If you assume a player that learns a simple entry-level card-counting system has a modest 0. Need I say any more as to why I encourage you to keep reading this chapter and setting a personal goal to at least learn one of the card counting systems I am about to explain. Speed Count was developed by Dan Pronovost in The latter varies very little with the rules and number of decks. What Dan focused on is that in the 2. You start your Speed Count at 30 after the shuffle double-deck game or 27 six-deck game.

You wait until a player completes his hand and then you add one to your Speed Count for every low card i. At the end of the round, you then subtract the number of hands that were played in the round from your Speed Count. When your Speed Count rises to 31 or higher after each round, the advantage has shifted in your favor and you bet more. Our starting Speed Count after the shuffle is Here are the cards dealt to each player and the dealer.

Player 1 was dealt a 2 and 8, he doubled down and drew a 7. The Speed Count increases by one due to the presence of the 2 in the hand. Player 2 was dealt a soft 15; he correctly doubled down and drew a 5.

This player has two low cards in his hand 4 and 5 so the Speed Count increases from 31 to On one split he drew a 4 and 10 and on the other a You now have a slight edge and you would bet more in the next round. This is a modified basic playing strategy that has been fine-tuned specifically to the betting with Speed Count that eliminates strategy indices.

Not only does OBS boost your edge slightly over the traditional basic strategy, it also gives the player built-in camouflage to disguise the fact that he is, in fact, an advantage player. The Speed Count system includes conservative and aggressive betting spreads much the same as balanced and unbalanced counting systems sometimes do.

The greater the spread, the greater the edge but the more risk to your bankroll. Depending on the rules, you can easily obtain a 0. This unbalanced card counting system is a simplified version of the K-O system that I described in sub-chapter With the K-O Rookie, you use the basic playing strategy to play every hand and you make only two bets:.

If you feel you can get away with a bet spread, you can obtain a 0. If you use only a conservative bet spread, your edge decreases to 0. The system also has starting and key counts for single-, six-, and eight-deck games. I described this unbalanced counting system in sub-section The system varies the starting count depending on the number of decks of cards e.

The following betting spread is recommended: You can achieve about a 0. This is another unconventional counting system developed by Fred Renzey that is probably the simplest of all systems that will get the basic strategy player to the point that he will be playing at least breakeven and perhaps with a slight edge against the casino. The system, as described in the book Blackjack Bluebook II , is used for six-deck games.

Specifically, it tells you after two decks have been played whether the unplayed four decks are richer in tens and aces, in which case you increase you bets. Here is how it works. After the shuffle you simply add all the tens including picture cards , and aces that you see during the play of the first two decks. Once there are two decks in the discard tray, you stop adding the tens and aces. There are sixteen 10s and four aces in a deck of cards; therefore, in two decks you should see, on average, a total of forty aces and tens.

During the play of the first two decks, you bet 1 unit. There are also several recommended playing strategy changes at FC 36 and 35 as well taking insurance at 32 FC. It has since been optimized by Michael Shackleford who published his version on wizardofods. You start your count at 0, at the shuffle, and you:. This assumes that on average all the other cards in a deck will be evenly distributed.

You would play perfect basic strategy and vary you bets as follows:. These systems take about as much time to learn as it takes to master the basic playing strategy. In addition, to achieve the same edge as an unbalanced or balanced counting system, you will need more bankroll to achieve the same expected return. In the previous sub-chapters I explained how you can get the edge by card counting using a balanced, unbalanced, or entry-level card counting system.

What follows are some methods that you can use to enhance your edge. Blackjack dealers never deal all the cards. The percentage of cards dealt is known as penetration. All else equal, the deeper the penetration meaning, the greater percentage of cards put into play , the greater the advantage to a card counter. In fact, penetration is one of the most important factors that card counters will consider when deciding whether or not to play a game. Look at it this way. At the start of a shoe, we know the count is 0 and the card counter is facing a slight disadvantage.

After one round, it is rare that the count will stray very much from 0. However, as the dealer keeps dealing into the shoe, the variability of the count will gradually increase, getting wider and wider as the penetration increases, presenting an opportunity for the card counter to increase his bets when he has a healthy edge over the house or take a break if the count becomes very negative, meaning the counter is at a great disadvantage.

Here are the results of just one simulation study for a six-deck game with s17 and das from Chapter 10 Blackjack Attack: The simulation was done using the Hi-Lo counting system with the Illustrious 18 see Chapter The first column lists the three penetrations: By increasing the penetration to 4.

With the penetration at 5 decks i. This is why casinos never deal all the cards in blackjack; if they did, card counters would have a field day. What follows is a guide to help you determine what penetration you should be looking for to enhance your edge. As a reminder, never play any single-deck game where the payoff for a blackjack is only or worse even money.

If there are five players, the dealer will deal only one round then shuffle. Obviously, any game where the dealer shuffles after one round is a worthless game for a card counter. Even a two-round-and-shuffle game is marginal at best. Therefore, as a general rule, for single-deck games, you should play when there are no more than two other players resulting in three rounds to make it worth your while.

There are instances where a casino will use a Rule of 7. The best thing to do is to observe a few rounds to check when the dealer shuffles as a function of how many players are on the table. You should seek out games with as many player-favorable rules as possible to increase your edge.

A double-deck game, for example, with s17 and das is worth more to a card counter than one with h17 and das but with this caveat: For example, a double-deck with h17 and das with a 1. As a general rule, card counters will have a greater edge with the fewest decks but that assumes all else is equal which it seldom is. Besides the fact that the inherent edge in a double-deck game is less than it is for a six-deck game, the frequency of positive counts is always greater in the former vs the latter meaning, card counters will have more opportunities to raise their bets in a double-deck games vs six- and eight-deck game.

For this reason, I play mostly double-deck games vs. When the count goes positive and the counter has the edge, ideally he would like to play heads-up against the dealer so that he has the best chance of being dealt the high cards in a deck rich in tens and aces. Another factor that makes playing heads-up i.

Remember, card counters have the edge, so the more hands that they play per hour, the greater will be their hourly win rate. In addition, playing alone, you cannot sit out any hands, because there are no other players at the table to oblige the dealer to continue the game.

The key to getting a reasonable edge, especially in multi-deck games, is to use a larger bet spread. The greater the spread, the greater the edge but also the greater the amount of attention that may come your way, and the more bankroll you will need.

Nevertheless, you should use the recommended bet spreads summarized in sub-chapters I get this information by either glancing at the stack of cards in the discard tray or the pack of unplayed cards that the dealer is holding in her hand.

Whatever happens on that last round, I leave the table. Back counting involves counting down a game as a spectator and then when the count goes positive, entering the game with big bets. Casinos defense against team play is to post No Mid-Shoe Entry signs at their tables, which basically prevents the BP approach to team play. This approach is also very profitable. There are other types of team play too numerous to describe in this Guide but I think you get the idea of how they work.

It was in the late s when casino gambling was first legalized in Atlantic City that we used this team ploy. To take advantage of these tremendous playing conditions, my wife and I formed a mini-team. Here is how I described it in my book Blackjack: Take the Money and Run.