Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine

In a multi-hand, face-up, single deck game, it is possible to establish whether insurance is a good bet simply by observing the other cards on the table after the deal; even if there are just 2 player hands exposed, and neither of their two initial cards is a ten, then 16 in 47 of the remaining cards are tens, which is larger than 1 in 3, so insurance is a good bet. During a game, a dealer largely makes winning hands based off of low-value cards when he has a 16, 15, 14, 13, or 12 total on his first two cards — with such hands also being labelled as stiffs. What is basic strategy based on? Early surrender is much more favorable to the player than late surrender. In these games, the players' cards are dealt face down, and players pick up the cards. The Wong Halves techn que is also a "balanced" system, which means that when a deck is dealt completely, your count should be 0. You will find cameras for surveillance whenever you look up.

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That's all there is to it. Remember the mantra, "keep it simple, silly"? Well, it applies here best. When you keep it simple, your brain does not go into over drive. Obviously, once you've mastered the art of basic card counting and are probably past counting off cards on your digits not advisable to do in a casino , you should move up the ladder. The Omega II technique is a "balanced" system, where we have 0 as base. A positive count reflects that more low cards are present in the deck being dealt while a negative count means a large number of high cards.

If you have a card numbering 2, 3 or 7 you will assign it 1. For 4, 5 and 6 the value is 2. The card 9 is considered Face cards and 10s are -2, while 8 and Ace cards become 0 in value. You might find the counting slightly difficult in Omega II, however, it will definitely be worth your while once you get a hold of it. The name for this strategy comes from its wonderfully skilled creator Stanford Wong. It's considered a fairly advanced strategy on account of its assigned values, some of which are fractions instead of whole numbers.

In Wong Halves, cards 3, 4 and 6 are valued as 1. Cards 2 and 7 are valued at 0. The card 5 is worth 1. Card 8 is 0 while 9 is The Wong Halves techn que is also a "balanced" system, which means that when a deck is dealt completely, your count should be 0. Some players, choose to simplify the strategy by doubling up all the values to avoid using fractions altogether. The advantage of doing this is that multiple decks, on multiple tables, can be counted simultaneously.

Signals are usually devised so as the members of the team can secretly communicate with one another while avoiding detection. Thus signaling to the hovering players when to join in a hand, and whether or not to bet big. This strategy was famously employed by a team of students and alumni at MIT who used it to win millions of dollars from multiple casinos for almost a decade.

Once uncovered, their escapades later became the subject of a best selling book and eventually a high grossing Hollywood movie. One of the ways casinos try to counteract card counting is by using multiple decks, in theory making it harder for anyone counting cards to keep track of the running total.

However, this is easily thwarted. If you come up against a dealer using multiple decks in a black jack game, you can still enlist the same Hi-Lo strategy; all you need to do is divide the running count by the number of decks remaining to give you what is commonly called a 'True Count'.

It's your true count figure, rather than your running count, that will dictate the advantage when multiple decks are involved, so it's imperative you still keep an accurate running total to enable you to work out the True Count value. For example, if your running total is 5 and there are 2 decks remaining, your true count will be 2. The Count Far and away the easiest strategy to master is the Hi-Lo approach. For first time card counters it's advisable to start here and see how you get on.

As your ability increases you can choose to advance to an alternative strategy should you feel it necessary. No one strategy is superior over another and each one gives you the same advantage over the house, so it really is a case of weighing up the different systems and adopting the approach you feel most comfortable with. A great way to practice is by using one of our free games here at Casino.

An advantage of practicing card counting for blackjack online is that you are in the safety and comfort of your own home, although be aware that if you do decide to bet for real money some online casino sites do employ software that shuffles cards almost every time a new hand is dealt, making it increasingly difficult to count cards effectively.

Although the legal situation for card counting is still undetermined, it is definitely not a practice welcomed with open arms when at a physical casino. Although a casino and its operator cannot prosecute a card counting player, they can definitely make a situation and matters very unpleasant for someone caught counting cards.

Since casino operators are well aware of the practice of cards being counted, they take quite a few measures to keep you from doing so. You will find cameras for surveillance whenever you look up. Dealers are often switched when a table is considered "hot" by a pit boss. Sometimes, the pit boss will get the dealer to force a shuffle once the hand being dealt is over. Remember, counting cards can be and is a lucrative strategy that works in your favor.

But it is important to be responsible and to respect the rules of the house when you decide to walk into a casino. It's one of the most widely spread myths in the world of gambling, but for the record, it is not illegal to count cards. There is a grey area surrounding card counting at land-based casinos with the assistance of a mechanical device, but the same does not apply online.

On top of that, card counting is a skill and a playing strategy above all else. For these reasons, we can happily tell you that card counting falls firmly within the boundaries of the law. Card counting is a system for tracking the probability of the player receiving cards that are favourable to them during the course of a blackjack game. During a game, a dealer largely makes winning hands based off of low-value cards when he has a 16, 15, 14, 13, or 12 total on his first two cards — with such hands also being labelled as stiffs.

The opposite applies for the player in a sense, as while blackjacks Aces and 10s are consistently distributed between the player and dealer, a player gets paid more 3: With card counting, the idea is not to count the numbers of each individual card in order to know when we have an advantage over the house. The idea is actually to know when the deck is poor or rich in high cards, the types of cards that are obviously favourable to the player.

TV shows and movies depict card counting as something that a gambler can pick up in a flash and win huge sums of cash through. That being said, anyone can learn how to count cards given enough time. You just need to get a grasp on blackjack as a game and understand the required counting system each time you sit down and play. Looking at the simple mathematics of the equation, many consider that it takes over a month and a half to become proficient in card counting, with this considered to be a minimum.

For example, if someone were to practice card counting techniques 2 hours a day, 7 days a week, then in 50 days they could reach a knowledgeable level. For that reason, if you are looking to learn how to card count, it would be fair to give yourself anywhere between 3 to 6 months to really master the skill.

Card counting has obvious links to the game of blackjack, but what may surprise you is that this method can be used within other card games as well. Looking at other specific games that can benefit from a card counting-based strategy, there are two that immediately spring to mind. Baccarat is a game that can certainly be controlled via card counting, even if it does require an impressive level of skill to implement the strategy. The seldom mentioned - but always fun - 3 card brag can also have card counting implications, as the deck is only shuffled during specific game scenarios.

Our dedicated "Card Count Like a Pro" game. Crafted with both beginners and experienced blackjack players in mind, the basic tutorial will get you up to speed, while the demo play environment will let you put your new found skills to work.

Lastly, you can track your progress through the active leader boards and on-screen prompts. There are multiple strategies at hand, some of which will suit your way of play better than others. Standing at the top of the pile as the most accurate and — quite fittingly — the most complicated card counting strategy is Wong Halves. However, its nature means that a high-level of blackjack proficiency is required should you want to implement it effectively. This is why surrender is the first thing you have to think about when playing your hand.

The second most important decision is whether or not to split. This will only be an option when your first two cards are a pair or if you have two ten-valued cards like a jack and a king.

The last thing you should think about when it comes to basic strategy is whether or not to take another card. If the other options above are not appropriate for your hand then you would choose to hit or stand.

Soft 20 A,9 always stands Soft 19 A,8 doubles against dealer 6, otherwise stand. Soft 18 A,7 doubles against dealer 2 through 6, and hits against 9 through Ace, otherwise stand. Soft 17 A,6 doubles against dealer 3 through 6, otherwise hit. Soft 16 A,5 doubles against dealer 4 through 6, otherwise hit. Soft 15 A,4 doubles against dealer 4 through 6, otherwise hit. Soft 14 A,3 doubles against dealer 5 through 6, otherwise hit.

Soft 13 A,2 doubles against dealer 5 through 6, otherwise hit. Here are some of the common ones and their answers: What is basic strategy based on?

How can we trust basic strategy? Basic strategy was derived from a computer simulation. Somebody taught a computer how to play blackjack and then told it to play several hundred MILLION hands of blackjack and record what happened. Why are the blackjack strategy charts on this site different than the charts I saw on such-and-such website?

There are also slight variations in strategy when you play a 6 deck game versus a single deck game. Rather than teach you 9 different blackjack strategy charts for each variant of blackjack you will ever see, we decided to run our simulation against the games people will most commonly see and teach one basic strategy that is sufficiently effective against all numbers of decks.

We have a Keep it Simple Stupid , mentality when it comes to learning card counting. With that said, whatever strategy you choose to learn, we recommend sticking with ONLY those materials. If you get distracted with content from multiple sources it has a higher probability of confusing you than enlightening you. How do I memorize all this? We have some tips in our premium video course on how to approach the blackjack strategy charts and make them simpler.

We also have a free mini course we can email you with some step by step instructions on how to take your training seriously. We also have blank strategy sheets you can download and fill in every day for practice to test yourself. Am I ready for the casino? We want to be like Mike, so we teach that you are probably making 2 or 3 mistakes in the casino for every one mistake you make in the distractionless, pressure-free, comfort of your home.

If you keep messing up basic strategy, put it down for a while and come back to it. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.

Part 1 – Blackjack Basics

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