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Best of John Marchel

Gaming Guru

 

Winning at blackjack

31 March 2018

Mathematically, we know casinos should win from 0.5 to 0.8% at the card game of blackjack.

However, when reviewing public records for Nevada casinos, we find they are winning 12 to 14% against the average blackjack player. Public records in Atlantic City, New Jersey indicate casinos are winning 14 to 16%. Even with different playing rules in force at the blackjack tables, the casino should still be winning less than one percent.

It is not the odds that cost players money; it’s their lack of know-how, their disregard of common sense, and their lack of good money management practices. There is no question that a player using the time tested technique of Basic Strategy can reduce the odds to less than one percent regardless of what rules is in place. A card counter, on the other hand, can easily move the odds into the positive zone under the correct conditions.

You must remember in blackjack there is a basic fact that the dealer will win more hands then the player. This fact cannot be changed. The reason for this non-changeable rule is the dealer always plays his or her hand LAST. If all the players bust, the dealer automatically wins! However, you can win bigger bets when do you win and lose smaller bets when you lose a hand. How can you do this? You do it through the bonus system.

You win 1.5 times your bet for a natural blackjack, while the dealer will win only your original bet. (a good reason NOT to play at tables that offer 6-to-5 for a blackjack) You can double down, split, take insurance and sometimes surrender. The dealer can do none of these actions. You take these actions when you have the advantage, not when the odds are against you. Another important thing you can do is count cards.

Simply keeping track of little cards versus big cards is all there is to card counting. For example, when you know big cards are coming you should make big bets. When little cards remain to be played you make little bets.

However, to be a successful blackjack player you must know more than just card counting. There is money management, casino awareness, keeping the welcome mat in place and many other considerations. Each of these special considerations will allow the skilled blackjack player to win and remain a winning player regardless of where they play. Blackjack in itself is a difficult game to be a constant winner. However, by using skill and knowledge you can overcome the house advantage. It’s very important to understand that these traits do not come without hard work on the part of the player.

Don’t get me wrong: Today's casino blackjack remains a difficult game to beat. However, by reading the available material, studying it and practicing the described techniques, the player will be able to significantly improve his or her win rate. Knowledge, practice and plain old hard work can and will bring rewards for those who take the time to learn all they can.

Another important item to remember about playing blackjack concerns the other players. There is no such thing as a bad player . . . only an untrained one. Try not to let other players distract you from your game. It’s important that they not break your concentration. If you find yourself playing other people’s hands, it’s time to move.

In addition, remember if some people didn’t lose at blackjack, there would be no game to win at. There is a saying "let many lose to allow some to win."


BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW

• What are the favorite games of U.S. players? The clear favorite is the slot machines. This is true for both online and land-based casinos. Below are the top five games played in casinos:
  • Slots and video poker: 53%
  • Blackjack: 23%
  • Poker: 7%
  • Craps: 3%
  • Roulette: 3%

• Connecticut Mystic & More, the tourism district in southeastern Connecticut, estimates that 15 million people visit Foxwoods Resort Casino each year, an average of more than 40,000 per day.

• Casino gaming in South Dakota is allowed only in the City of Deadwood. Until 2015, casinos were also limited to slot machines, poker and blackjack. But a new law passed now permits casinos to offer craps and roulette as well.

• In Nevada, the state prison had a casino inside it for 35 years. Inmates could play blackjack, craps and poker, and even bet on sports inside the "Bullpen," a stone building on the prison's grounds in Carson City from 1932 to 1967. A new warden from California shut it down that year.

• The famous students from MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who were members of the card-counting blackjack team which operated from 1979 until the early 2000s, made millions visiting Las Vegas and casinos around the world.

• The game of Caribbean Poker is owned by SHFL Entertainment, which was formerly Shuffle Master. SHFL also owns Let-it-Ride, Blackjack Switch, Casino War, and the ever-popular Three-Card-Poker. They also dominate the automatic shuffler machine (ASM) market.

• The primary objective in blackjack isn’t to get 21, it is simply to beat the dealer. Most blackjack games are not won with 21 at all, but simply by having a hand that outranks the dealer.

• Professional blackjack card counting teams require at a minimum, 25 seconds to count down correctly a single deck of cards.
Recent Articles
Best of John Marchel
John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

101 Casino Gambling Tips: Affordable Strategies & Techniques for Maximizing Profits & Reducing Loses

> More Books By John Marchel

John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

KISS Guide to Gambling

> More Books By John Marchel