Beating Blackjack Today – A Lesson in Preferential Adversity
There are two types of blackjack players in this world. There are those that play for fun (making up the majority), and those who play for profit. What separates them is motivation. Those who just want to have a good time lack the motivation to put any real effort into increasing their odds of winning. Those with a genuine desire to make money at blackjack are motivated to put in the mental effort required to do so.
If you’ve been told a basic strategy will give you an edge over the house, someone has been lying to you. Casinos don’t care if you use basic strategy. They are more than happy to let you use a strategy card while you’re at the tables. Heck, some casinos actually supply these cards to their patrons! That’s how much they don’t care. Why? Because they know that chart isn’t going to give you an advantage.
Beating Blackjack Requires Mental Motivation
The only blackjack strategy that’s effective enough to overcome the house edge is card counting. Yes, you’ll need basic strategy too, but if you’re not counting cards, you won’t know when to increase and decrease your wagers. It should not be a guessing game. An accurate count is the only proper way to command betting decisions.
Basic strategy is a way to ensure you’re getting the maximum payout percentage, or return to player (RTP%), at all times. The maximum RTP Thee purpose of counting cards is to bet more when the count is in your favor, and bet less when it’s in the casino’s favor.
There are a number of effective card counting systems you can learn to employ. The most popular (and simple) is theHi-Lo System. If you find that easy enough, you may wish to upgrade to a more sophisticated count, like theOmega II, and maybe even throw in some Ace Sequencingor Deck Trackingstrategies.
Employing a Better Blackjack Strategy is a Personal Choice
I’ve heard this said too many times; if you’re not going to play blackjack right, don’t play it at all. I disagree complete. No one should feel like they have to employ a perfect card counting strategy in order to play the game. It’s a personal choice – a preference in adversity, if you will.
You can choose to play a more relaxed game, and have a perfectly good time. After all, gambling is meant to be a form of entertainment. You should be able to enjoy it as such. Just know that you’ll experience a slow bankroll bleed as you go. It’s still better than the rapid bankroll bleed of some games, like slot machines.
Alternatively, you can choose to put forth the mental effort to keep a close count of the cards; thus increasing your winnings to a potentially profitable margin. And I assure you, when you see your chip stack rising, you won’t be lacking entertainment value. Plus, you’ll have an even better time spending the money you win.
Value Differential in Basic vs Card Counting Tactics
The truth is, the difference in win/loss ratio between using a basic blackjack strategy alone, and merging it with a card counting strategy, isn’t much. With only basic strategy, the average game of 21 carries an RTP of about 99.5%. Throw in a good card count, and your RTP may only increase to 100.5%. That 1% differential is about as good as it gets. But any advantage at all is rare enough for any motivated gambler to understand how good it really is.
You see, a simple, basic decision making strategy will ensure your bankroll bleeds out slowly, rather than quickly. That average 99.5% RTP means that you’re only going to be losing 0.5% of your overall wagers (long term, of course). At the least, this can lengthen and enhance the entertainment value of the experience, without causing you any real mental strain.
In the same token, employing a perfe3ct card counting strategy will slowly bleed the casino’s money into your bankroll. You can’t expect to get rich overnight. But as your bankroll grows, and you can afford to place larger bets, you can start earning some decent money on a mere 0.5% profit margin (again, long term, of course).
Is Card Counting Really That Hard?
Fortunately, no, counting cards is not difficult, despite the overwhelming impression of Hollywood. You don’t need to be a savant-grade mathematician, or have the mind of a solar calculator. You do, however, have to be able to give the game your undivided attention. A winning player must keep track of every card that turns up on the table, keeping precise track of the count at all times. Miss just one card, and it throws everything off.
While we’re on the topic, let me make one thing perfectly clear. Counting cards doesn’t increase the payout frequency of the game. It simply alters the value of wins and losses. More of your winning hands will pay out higher, because you knew to bet more. Likewise, more of your losing hands will cost you less, because you knew to decrease your wager. The end result is a more profitable win/loss ratio.
Wait – Isn’t Card Counting Illegal?
No, card counting is not illegal. Only cheating is illegal, and counting cards is not cheating. You cannot be arrested for successfully counting cards at a blackjack table. However, casinos do not like it, and they may have the authority to make you leave if they catch you. It really depends on the local laws where you play.
In Las Vegas, for example, casino are registered as “private clubs”. By law, a private club has the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason, with or without prior notice. So, if they suspect you of counting cards, they can ask you to leave. They might even ban you from entering the casino ever again, if they wish. In Atlantic City, casinos can’t stop you from playing, but they can adjust the game by switching decks and/or reshuffling as often as they like to dissuade card counters.
Moral of the story – if you plan on beating blackjack by counting cards, practice long enough to become good at it so you won’t get caught.
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