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If you want to play longer, do so only during the shift change for floor supervisors; ask them beforehand what time this occurs. This rule is the most frequent cause of arguments in this game so it is a good idea to agree in advance whether your house rules allow this play or not. If there are five players, the dealer will deal only one round then shuffle. In general, do not count the following as days of presence in the United States for the substantial presence test. Accessibility support for Outlook Recall or replace an email message that you sent Switch from working offline to online.
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For example if an Ace reverses direction, playing two Aces together will reverse it twice, leaving the direction of play unchanged. If a Queen skips the next player, a pair of Queens will skip two players in a two-player game that would be your opponent's turn and your own next turn, leaving your opponent to play next.
If a Two requires the next player to pick up twos cards, a pair of Twos will require the next player to pick up 4 cards or play another Two. Some groups have a special word that must be said by a player when they have just one card left. On the other hand, some groups do not require a player with one card to warn the other players. When the stock pile is exhausted, the rules given in most books to not envisage shuffling the play pile to make a new stock.
Instead they specify that play continues without drawing. A player who cannot or does not wish to play just passes. If all pass, the game is blocked. Play stops and everyone scores for the cards remaining in their hands.
I think that in practice this version of the game is rarely played. This variant has become popular in North America. Each player begins the game with a score of 8, and eight cards are dealt to each player. When a player gets rid of all their cards, this does not end the play.
Instead, the player subtracts 1 from their score, and is immediately dealt a new hand of cards equal in size to their new score. The other players keep the cards that they have and the play continues. The winner of the game is the first player who reduces their score to zero. Each player's current score determines the rank of the card that is wild for them.
So at the start of the game everyone has Eight as their wild card, and the game is like normal Crazy Eights. But later in the game it is possible for each player to have tyheir own, different rank of wild card, which can be played on any card and allows the player to nominate the suit to be played next. Each time a player runs out of cards, their wild card changes, first from Eight to Seven, then Six and so on down to Ace. When a player with a score of 1 and Ace as wild card runs out of cards, their score becomes 0 and they win the game.
The changing wild card introduces several new situations and players need to agree how to resolve these. The following rules are suggested. Here is a blog post and discussion about CrazyCountdown describing a version in which Jacks skip the next player, Twos make the next player draw two cards or play another Two as usual, and the Queen of Spades makes the next player draw five cards.
Multiple cards of equal rank can be played together. No 'reverse direction' card is mentioned. Some groups allow a card of equal rank to be played on a wild card even if it is not in the called suit. For example a wild 5 is played calling 'diamonds' but the next player plays 5 instead of a diamond, even though 5 is not wild for them.
This rule is the most frequent cause of arguments in this game so it is a good idea to agree in advance whether your house rules allow this play or not. Several Crazy Eights variants contributed by readers are listed in the Invented Games section of this site. There have been many commercial versions of eights, designed to be played with specially produced packs of cards.
Probably the best known of these is Uno , for which there are also many invented variations. At GameDuell , you can play Crazy Eights online. You can play Crazy Eights online at CardzMania.
Games4All have published a Crazy Eights game for Android. Einar Egilsson has published a free Java Crazy Eights program with which you can play online against one computer opponent. Choose your language deutsch english. Basic Game The basic game of Crazy Eights uses a standard 52 card pack, or two such packs shuffled together if there are a lot of players.
If the top card of the discard pile is not an Eight, you may play any card which matches the rank or suit of the previous card for example if the top card was the king of hearts you could play any king or any heart. An Eight may be played on any card, and the player of the Eight must nominate a suit. If an Eight is on top of the pile, you must play either another Eight or any card of the suit nominated by the person who played the Eight. Special Cards Apart from the Eights, usually there are other cards that have special effects when played.
Skip When a Queen is played, the next player in rotation misses a turn, and the turn passes to the following player. In a two-player game the opponent is skipped and the same player plays again. Reverse direction When an Ace is played, the direction of play reverses, becoming anticlockwise if it had been clockwise, or vice versa. In a two-player game an Ace has no effect. Draw cards When a Two is played the next player must either draw two cards or play another Two an Eight cannot be played in this case.
If several Twos have been played by consecutive players, the next player must either play another Two or draw two cards for each two in the sequence. The penalty cards cannot be played in the same turn - after the penalty cards have been drawn, the turn passes to the following player, who can continue with any card of the same suit as the last Two, or another Two or an Eight to change suit. Variations Crazy Eights is one of the easiest games to modify by adding variations.
Deal The number of cards dealt to each player initially may vary. Drawing Cards In the normal game, you may always use your turn to draw a card. Some allow the drawn card to be played immediately if it is a legal play.
Changing Suit The special card that changes suit is nearly always the Eight, at least in places where the game is called Crazy Eights. Some play that you can only play an Eight that matches the previous card's suit or rank. Multiple Equal Cards Some allow a player holding two or more equal ranked cards to play them all at once, provided that the first of them is a legal play.
Last Card Some groups have a special word that must be said by a player when they have just one card left. End of Stock Pile When the stock pile is exhausted, the rules given in most books to not envisage shuffling the play pile to make a new stock. When a wild card is played, the player nominates a suit.
The next card played must either be a card of that suit or the player's own wild card. My score is 6. I play the 6 and nominate hearts. If the next player's score is 7 that player must either play a heart, or play a wild 7 to nominate a suit, or draw a card.
The next player is not allowed to play for example the 6 even though the rank is the same as my wild Six. When a player's wild card rank also has a special effect, the player nominates a suit and the card also acts as a special effect card as follows.
The next player is skipped and the following player must play the nominated suit or a wild card. For example, suppose that our house rule is that 4 skips the next player, 4 is my wild card, and I play the 4 nominating diamonds.
For example, suppose player 1 has a two-card hand consisting of a 6 and a 4 and then draws a 10 for a Note that because the tag for a 10 is —1, you must subtract 1 from your running count. Remember your rules for adding positive and negative numbers. A card counter will continue to mentally add the tags of the small and large cards as the cards are exposed. The player carries over the running count from one round to the next. At the end of each round, the counter will have either a positive running count, a negative running count, or possibly 0.
Suppose the running count is positive after the first round of play. What does this tell the card counter? Card counters indirectly have knowledge of the ratio of large cards to small cards on the next deal by keeping track of all the cards that were played in the previous rounds.
I hope you are pleasantly surprised to see how card counters track cards. Card counters then use their count to vary their bets on the next hand as follows:. This is what creates the basic edge that card counters have over the casino when the count is positive, and this is how card counters can beat the game of blackjack. There are dozens of different card counting systems that have been developed and published, with different levels of complexity, meaning the highest value assigned to a ranked card.
However, from our discussion of the effect of card removal , the effect of removal EOR of, say, each small card 2 through 6 is not the same. The 5, for example, has a greater EOR than, say, a 2. Obviously, as the levels of the counting systems increase, the complexity of learning the system and playing it without mistakes also increases.
For readers of this guide, I would recommend you begin your card-counting journey with a Level 1 system. Although later on, I will describe a few simpler systems that are not as powerful as level 1 systems but take much less time to master. To give you a flavor of the different types of card counting systems that are available to players, see the table below.
This is for information only. Note the tags assigned to each card, which ones are level 1, 2, or 3, and the following information for each system:. This sub-chapter, and the following three sub-chapters, will teach you the complete Hi-Lo card counting system. In this sub-chapter, you will learn:. At first glance the information in this sub-chapter, and the ones that follow, may appear overwhelming to most recreational players.
However, if you practice the drills outlined in these sub-chapters, you will find that the Hi-Lo card-counting system is not as difficult as it first appears to be. In , computer mathematician Harvey Dubner gave a talk at a Computer Conference in Las Vegas in which he explained the Hi-Lo point count system that he devised.
His counting system was much simpler and more practical than Dr. Several other mathematicians have studied and optimized the Hi-Lo over the years, most notably, Stanford Wong in his classic book Professional Blackjack. Hi-Lo has been the gold standard of card counting systems for many years.
It works well, is relatively easy to learn, and it will give you the edge when you play blackjack. As discussed in sub-chapter The neutral 7, 8, and 9 ranked cards are assigned a tag of 0 i. The first thing you have to master is to be able to quickly recognize the tags for each card in a deck. Focus only on what the tag of the card is and not on its rank. Keep doing this drill until you can accurately recall from memory the tag of each card. Now take the deck of the cards and repeat the above drill, only this time, add or sum the tags of the cards.
For example, the table below shows a random sample of six cards, what the tag is for each card, and the arithmetic cumulative sum of the tags i. By the way, if you did the drill accurately, what should the final sum be?
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.
I kept the count and always made a minimum bet. When the count became positive, I signaled her to increase her bet. She is talking, having a good time, and not watching the cards on the table like a card counter would do.
Between the two of us, we were able to make very large bets when we had the edge in a manner that drew no suspicion from the floor supervisors. Playing on a team has its disadvantages. You also have to be sure that the games you select to attack are in fact beatable. Pre-game scouting is a must. You can improve your edge as a card counter if you avoid making bets in negative counts. The point of these exit strategies is to minimize the number of bets you make in negative counts which in turn will increase the frequency of bets you make in positive counts and will increase your overall edge.
This is an important way to boost your edge, especially in six-deck games. Even though card counting is technically legal if you only use your brain , it is frowned upon by casinos. Probably the biggest deterrents for card counters are the payoffs on blackjack and the shallow penetration. Once a casino has surmised that the player is card counting, they will initiate any of the following actions:.
If any of the above casino countermeasures occur when you are playing, my advice is to say nothing, leave the table, and head for the exit. Do not cash out your chips because casinos often get good mug shots at the casino cage. You can come back to the casino later to cash out or have someone else cash out your chips.
Being backed off is a risk that every card counter has to accept; however, the key is to play in a manner that reduces this risk. I will cover this in the next sub-chapter. Just pick up your chips and head for the exit. Do not go the cashier cage to cash out you chips. Should you return to a casino that recently backed you off? He returned to a casino that had a juicy double-deck game exactly six months after being backed off.
My recommendation if you have ever been backed off is to keep notes of what happened; specifically, the name of the casino, what shift it was, and the name of the supervisor who backed you off.
Being barred is more serious than being backed off. Often but not always the supervisor will read a statement that basically says you are not only barred from playing blackjack but you are no longer allowed on the premises, and if you return, you will be arrested for trespassing.
Nowadays, if you are barred from a casino that is owned by a large corporation e. Therefore, if you are a high-stakes player, you need to be much more careful when you play to avoid detection. Read the next sub-section for details. Casinos are well aware of the threat that a well-financed team of card counters can pose to their bottom line.
They know card counting teams use signals, play in groups, have a BP that jumps from one table to another, and that often the team plays together at other casinos. Legally, casinos are not allowed to question and detain a customer unless they have evidence that the patron has broken the law such as cheating , and they are awaiting law enforcement to arrive to arrest the customer.
If a casino employee asks you to accompany him to the office, you have the right to refuse unless you are being held for a crime that you committed. Legal Guide to the Casino Environment , spring publication. One warm evening in Las Vegas, a young man was walking on the famed Strip, contemplating what had just happened.
He was a good card counter, he could count down a deck of cards accurately in 20 seconds flat, and knew his strategy deviations cold. Yet, moments earlier, he had been barred from playing. Disguising your playing skills is imperative if you are card counting in a land-based casino. If you are playing an online casino where the cards are shuffled after every hand, card counting is useless see Chapter Casinos do not like to lose money; they prefer to cater to players who know how to lose, rather than to the very small minority that know how to win.
They know that card counters have the edge over them, and as I discussed in section Over the years, casino bosses have developed a stereotype of a card counter.
What follows is their perception of the characteristics of a card counter vs. Therefore, your first goal, if you want longevity as a card counter, is to try to emulate the above characteristics of a gambler when you are playing. By doing so, you will give the perception that you are an unskilled player, and your play will not draw attention to the ever-present pit bosses.
What follows is a smorgasbord of tips on how to stay under the casino radar. Unfortunately, as a skilled card counter, you need to check your ego at the door when you enter a casino and take on the role of a typical unskilled recreational gambler when in reality, you are an advantage player with an edge over the casino.
There are two types of camouflage techniques; some are punitive meaning there is a cost attached to them , while others are not punitive. This involves putting on an act that gives the casino bosses the perception that you are a typical recreational gambler. These ploys cost you nothing or in some cases, very little and can give you longevity as a card counter when you use them.
Likewise, if you push a hand and the count goes up, leave the same bet up. Here again, gamblers rarely increase their bets after pushes. The last two ploys are very slightly punitive but are worth making several times during a session at little cost.
Keep in mind that the likelihood that your play will be watched by casino personnel depends on the size of your bets. The larger your bet size, the more diligent you need to be to disguise your skills. This type of camouflage involves making a bad play i. Mathematicians have done extensive calculations to determine the cost of deviating from the basic playing strategy.
Some of the cover plays that cost less, and, therefore, the ones you should consider using if you decide to use cover plays are:. The key is to minimize this risk by using an act when you play. Just pick up your chips and quietly leave the casino. Then when you get back home, think about how you played and what adjustments you need to make to your camouflage techniques the next time you play. Think of the experience as just another lesson learned and move on. In order to have a long life expectancy as a card counter, you need to develop an act that disguises the fact that you are an advantage player.
This chapter covers information that most players find boring. However, this information must be understood and practiced if you ever want to be a successful card counter. There are two things you must have to beat the casinos: I always considered myself lucky because when I first started playing blackjack nearly 50 years ago, I understood the importance of not overbetting my bankroll.
I began my card counting career with a 1 to 4 bet spread, playing a single-deck game in Las Vegas. The rest is history. Not once did I ever go broke, because I never overbet.
When I had success at the tables and my bankroll grew, I would increase my minimum and maximums bets and still maintain the to 1 ratio.
Likewise, when my bankroll took a big hit, I would drop down in my betting units. Slowly, but surely, my bankroll grew over the years and so did my betting stakes and profits. If you do, you will succeed as a card counter; if not, I guarantee at some point you will go broke. My advice to students who attend my card counting classes is to set aside a sum of money your playing bankroll in a money market account.
Call it your G G for gambling. The G should contain funds that you use solely for playing blackjack and nothing else. Your edge at blackjack will manifest itself over the long run.