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Beat Blackjack Now!
The Easiest Way to Get the Edge
By Frank Scoblete
Triumph BooksCopyright © 2010 Frank Scoblete
All rights reserved.
Yes! You Can Beat Blackjack
There are three types of casino blackjack players:
1. The first are the totally, unquestionably stupid, idiotic, hopeless, pathetic, intuitive, dopey players — also labeled as the ploppies of the blackjack world — who have no idea that the game can be a close contest between the player and the casino, if the players know what they are doing. They even reject the idea that blackjack can be beaten by some advantage players (which you can become by reading this book).
2. The second are the Basic Strategy players, who know the proper strategy for the blackjack games they wish to play and play that strategy perfectly. These players, while not able to get an edge over the casino, keep the casino edge around 1/2 percent, an expected loss of just 50 cents per $100 wagered. A close contest, not bad at all.
3. The third type are the advantage players; those players who know how to get a real, mathematical edge over the game. These players can beat the game of blackjack and have been beating it for decades now. It used to take some mental strain for most players to learn how to do this, so very few ever got good enough to accomplish achieving an edge. Today? Well today, with this book, any blackjack player can get the edge over the house — a real edge, a mathematically proven edge — and it isn't hard to do.
If you are the Type One player and have no interest in learning the proper Basic Strategy for the game of blackjack, then put this book back on the shelf, because you will need the money you would have spent on it to fuel your considerable losses at the table. Or if you are the type who buys into the deranged strategies of some blackjack gurus who tell you to not split a pair of 8s or aces against every dealer up-card, then you put this book back too.
Truly committed losers do not need a book like this. Why waste your money on learning how to do things right when you can waste much more of it playing wrong? I guess if you like being a ploppy, you must be having a hell of a lot of fun.
If you are already a Type Two player, meaning a strong Basic Strategy blackjack player, then you should consider taking the next step up the blackjack ladder and become an advantage player.
Do not say, "Well, I tried card counting in the past, but it was just too hard to learn and much harder to play in the casinos!" That may have been true of the traditional card-counting strategies you tried to learn in days past — such strategies as the Hi-Lo — but you can now say "Hell no!" to such strategies ever since that skinny Canadian genius Dan Pronovost created the easiest method ever developed to get a real edge at the game: Speed Count.
If you already know how to play the game, you can learn Speed Count in 15 minutes, and with a little practice you will be ready to take on the casinos now. Yes, now! You won't have to practice for six months as many players do in order to learn the Hi-Lo count and use it effectively in a casino. That same sentence goes for every traditional card-counting system available on the market. Speed Count, coupled with Pronovost's Optimum Basic Strategy (OBS) can give you a real mathematical edge over the casinos — and it is easy to learn and easy to execute in the casinos.
What if you have never played blackjack before? Can this book help you? Absolutely! You can go from a novice to an accomplished player if you follow what is written in these pages. This book will teach you how to play; it will show you the various Basic Strategies for single-deck, double-deck, four-deck, six-deck, and eight-deck games. After you learn and are comfortable playing, you too should consider taking that step into the Speed Count world of advantage play.
There is no reason, other than laziness and/or a joy in losing one's money, that should keep anyone who reads this book from getting a real edge over the house. Why not learn the easiest method to beat the house? Why not become a winner?
There is some little-known and also some never-before-revealed information contained in these pages that will help you cut the house edge even more than what you get by using Basic Strategy. The goal of this book is to really turn the tables on the casinos and ultimately make you their conquerors — without the strain or headaches of traditional systems. With our added and mathematically proven material, you can start hacking away at the casino industry just as it hacks away at the hapless, hopeless ploppies who throw their hard-earned money into the casino treasuries when they play blackjack so poorly.
Many important elements set the strategies in this book apart from the strategies you can learn in most other blackjack books. Some of these strategies are unique. I'll repeat: everything in these pages has been proven. There is no wishful thinking here. Just facts and easy-to-learn strategies based on facts. And it is all here, laid out for you.
Beating the casinos doesn't get any easier than this. New players can go from novice to expert, good players can go directly to expert, and expert players can learn things they never imagined before.
Why don't you join the club of advantage players? There's plenty of room for everyone!CHAPTER 2
How to Play the Game
Blackjack is the most popular casino card game in the world. The player just has to beat the dealer's hand. The player doesn't have to get 21 or even close to 21. Just beat the dealer's hand. To make matters even more fun, there is a big element of skill involved too. It is such skill that allows a good player to keep the casino edge quite low, sometimes under the ½ percent mark, meaning a loss of less than 50 cents per $100 wagered.
Where Blackjack Came From
Even though blackjack has a long history, the origins of the game are not entirely clear. It is widely thought that the precursor to blackjack was vingt-et-un (pronounced van-tay-uhn, meaning "twenty and one," or simply "21"), which originated in the French casinos around 1700.
It was so popular that vingt-et-un spread throughout the world. The name of the game soon changed depending on where it was being played. In England it became Van John, and in Australia it was Pontoon. It is generally believed that the game made its way to America in the 1800s, but in America it did not find much popularity in gambling houses. To encourage more players to try it, the casinos changed the rules and began paying a 10-to-1 bonus when a player's initial two cards were either a jack of clubs (a black card) or jack of spades (a black card) together with an ace of spades (a black card), and thus Americans called the game blackjack.
Nevada legalized gambling in 1931, and gradually blackjack made its way into legalized casinos in Las Vegas. Over time the rules were changed to pay a 3-to-2 bonus on blackjack, also allowing red jacks and red aces to become blackjacks as well as those higher cards that were black. The casinos also allowed players to double down and pair split. This increased the popularity of blackjack and fueled the growth of the game.
Objective of the Game
Many players have the misconception that the objective of blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over. This is not so. The objective is to beat the dealer's hand by:
Having your hand total higher than the dealer's hand;
Not going over 21 when the dealer does.
Going over 21 is called busting.
Picture cards count as 10.
Aces count as one or 11.
All other cards are valued based on their faces.
Card suits have no meaning in blackjack. The total of any hand is the sum of the card values in the hand. A hand containing a 4-5-8 totals 17. Another containing a queen-5 totals 15. The ace always counts as an 11 initially, but if a player draws one (or more) cards and the hand totals over 21, then the ace can be counted as 1. For example, 4-ace-8 counts as 13, because counting the ace as 11 would bust the player.
Soft Hands and Hard Hands
Any hand that counts the ace as 11 is known as a soft hand; ace-7 is a soft 18 and ace-3-3 is a Soft 17. A hard hand is any hand that either does not contain an ace, or if it does, the ace counts as 1; 10-8 and 5-ace-10-2 are hard 18 hands. Soft hands are played differently than hard hands.
Number of Players
Blackjack tables can accommodate from one up to five, six, or seven players, and it doesn't make any difference which seat you take, because players are competing against the casino dealer's hand and not against each other's hands. The cards are always dealt by the casino dealer.
Playing With Chips
Casinos prefer that players bet with casino chips, also known as cheques, rather than with cash, although some venues allow cash play and some do not. Dealers will call out, "Money plays!" for a player betting cash. To convert your cash to casino chips, wait until the dealer completes the hand in progress, and then place your cash on the layout in front of your betting spot. The dealer will exchange your cash for an equivalent amount of casino chips, which you then place in front of you.
Please Note:Some casinos don't allow players to enter midgame. If this is the case, wait until the dealer finishes the deck(s), or shoe, and begins to reshuffle before you place your cash on the table for chips or your chips in the betting circle in front of you. This rule is called "no mid-shoe entry."
Chips have denominations printed on them, and they are also color-coded. The most common casino-chip colors/denominations are:
Blue or White = $1
Pink = $2.50
Red = $5
Green = $25
Black = $100
Purple = $500
Burgundy or Orange = $1,000
Silver or Gold = $2,000
Brown = $5,000
Before you sit down at a blackjack table, know what the table's betting limits are. There is a small display on the table, usually to the dealer's right (your left), that will tell you the table minimum and maximum bets, and it will usually tell you the rules of the game.
A table with a $10 minimum betting requirement means that you must wager at least $10 on each hand. If a table has a $1,000 maximum, this means you are not allowed to make your initial wager more than $1,000. You are permitted in most casinos to wager more than one spot, but some casinos might require you to bet at least twice the table minimum on each spot.
Casino rules are not carved in stone. Some casinos will allow you to bet the same table minimum on two hands — if you ask the pit boss (nicely). "Just ask" is a good policy to see if you can get the casino to offer you a better game. This is often called pushing the house.
Please Note: Basic Strategy players should not risk money on two spots, as this only doubles, sometimes quadruples, their expected losses.
Number of Decks
From one to eight decks are used to play blackjack. Single-deck and double-deck games are usually dealt by hand, although on some occasions such games might be dealt face-up or from a shoe, which is a box to hold the cards. On four-deck, six-deck, and eight-deck games casinos almost always use a shoe.
Prior to the deal of the cards, all players must make a bet by placing chips in their respective betting spots. Every player and the dealer will receive two cards. One of the dealer's cards, known as the up-card, is dealt face up so that players can see its value. The other dealer's card, known as the dealer's down-card or hole card, is unseen.
The two player cards can be dealt either face up, face down, or sometimes one up and one down. In general, in games that are dealt from shoes, the players' cards are dealt face up. In this case you should not touch the cards. In games in which the dealer deals from his hand by pitching the cards to the players, the players' cards are usually dealt face down. However, in some casinos that use double deck, both cards are dealt face up. When the cards are dealt face down, it is permissible for the player to handle the cards with one hand only, and the cards must always be held above the table.
When a player is dealt an ace and a 10-valued card as his first two cards, it is called a blackjack or natural and generally is paid one and one-half times the original bet, meaning a 3-to-2 payoff.
Please Note:Some casinos pay 6-to-5 on player blackjacks, which gives the casino a much higher edge over players. A normal blackjack game will pay $15 for $10 on a blackjack; an "abnormal" game will pay $12 to $10 for a blackjack. These games should be avoided. In blackjack we all want to be normal.
When your hand totals the same as the dealer, this is known as a push, or tie, and you get to keep your bet.
If the dealer doesn't have a blackjack, players have to make a decision on how they want to play their hands. Players' options include the following:
Hit: This means you want the dealer to give you another card. In a game where the initial two player cards are dealt face up, if you want a hit, make a beckoning motion with your finger, or tap the table behind your cards with your finger. In a game where the cards are dealt face down (i.e., usually a single- or double-deck game), you signify to the dealer that you want a hit by scratching the edges of the cards lightly on the felt.
Stand: This means you are satisfied with the total of the hand and want to stand with the cards you have. In face-up games, indicate that you want to stand by waving your hand over the cards. In face-down games, tuck your cards under the chips that you wagered in your betting spot.
Doubling Down: This playing option allows you to double your bet on your first two cards and receive one additional card. In most casinos you can double down only after you receive your first two cards and before drawing another card. To signal to the dealer that you want to double down, just place your chip(s) next to the original chip(s) bet on the hand. In face-down games, you must toss your cards on the table face up and then make the secondary double-down wager.
In face-up games, simply make the secondary double-down bet as previously. Most casinos allow players to double for less, which means you can wager less than the original bet when you make the secondary double-down bet. In a face-up game, the draw card on a double-down is usually placed perpendicular to the initial two cards. In a face-down game, the dealer will place the draw card either face down or face up.
Pair-Splitting: If you are dealt two cards of the same rank (say, a pair of 6s or aces), you could exercise the option to split. When you split, you must make another bet equal to your original bet by placing your chip(s) next to the original bet. By pair-splitting you play each card as a separate hand, and you can draw as many cards as you like to each hand with the exception of split aces. Most casinos will allow only one draw card to each ace because it is such a powerful card.
Here is an example of splitting: If you are dealt a pair of 8s (16) and split, you would have two separate hands containing an 8. You would be required to play out one of the split hands first before taking any action on the other hand. In face-down games you indicate that you want to split by placing another chip next to the initial chip and turn over your cards. In face-up games, toss your chips on the table and then make the secondary wager. Most casinos will allow players to split all 10-value cards such as a jack-10 or queen-king, although this is not a recommended playing strategy. Also some casinos will allow a player to resplit up to a total of four hands. Most casinos also allow players to double down after pair-splitting, which is a player-favorable rule. Keep in mind that if you split aces and receive a 10 to an ace, you have a 21 and not a blackjack.
Surrender: A rare option. Surrender allows a player to forfeit his initial hand with an automatic loss of half the original bet. Players can surrender their initial two-card hands only after the dealer has checked to see if she herself has a blackjack. After a player draws a third card, the surrender option is no longer available. If the dealer has a blackjack hand, then surrender is not available. A player can signify to the dealer that he wants to surrender by simply saying to the dealer, "surrender." Some casinos have implemented a hand signal for surrender, which is to use your finger and draw an imaginary line from left to right across the felt layout. When a player surrenders, the dealer will remove the player's cards from the table and place one-half of the player's bet in the chip rack. The player is no longer involved in that round.
Excerpted from Beat Blackjack Now! by Frank Scoblete. Copyright © 2010 Frank Scoblete. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books.
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