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How to make money at BlackJack

Updated on May 7, 2013

Can it be done?

Too many Blackjack books make winning at Blackjack sound like an easy road to riches. Well the truth is that the Casinos make it as difficult to do as they can without making it impossible. They make the rules tougher, keep the best games at the higher limits, watch their games like a hawk and are quick to kick out people who they expect of being an advantage player. All of this makes it hard but not impossible to win consistently. They walk a fine line to keep the allure of a beatable game there to drive additional gaming traffic while exposing them to as little risk as possible.

I am writing this as a series of articles to show you how to beat the casinos in their own game. I am gearing this towards new advantage players. The weekend warriors and Vegas convention goers will find what they need to be dangerous. I won't delve into the mathematics too much as others have done this at length. I will reference their work for those of you who would like to learn more about the science behind the methods or would simply like to study more. Practice is the key and I encourage any of you who decide to make more than just an occasional trip to the felt to read as many of the books I reference in my articles.




My History

Like most card players I grew up playing games. After the requisite Candy Land and other children's board games I graduated to Monopoly and Scrabble. Some of my favorite childhood memories involve playing countless Scrabble games with my grandmother. Eventually she introduced me to card games. Most often we played Rummy but she did introduce me to Pinochle and several other card games. Being the strong Baptist woman she was, she never played any sort of gambling games. This would have to wait until my parents and our neighbors let me in on their occasional poker games.

They would usually play poker every year as a warm up to their annual trip to Vegas. I remember at a young age hearing about their exploits to Slots of Fun, Circus Circus, and all of the downtown establishments. It seemed like such an exciting place to visit. What kid wouldn't want to visit a place where they could play games all day and night? It was at these poker parties that I was first introduced to Blackjack.

It took several years of home games before I was about to celebrate my 18th birthday and would be old enough to venture out into the real world of Casino gambling. The nearest casino was over an hour away and although several of my friends were old enough none of us had a car. I boldly asked to borrow my parents Jeep and when they asked I sheepishly told there where we intended to go. After some convincing, and many references to my success in our home poker parties my dad allowed me to take the car on one condition. I had to learn how to count cards.

He then took me down to the PC and, after several minutes, fired up the brand new 56k modem and logged into a website which featured 21 lessons on how to win at blackjack. I flew through these in about a week and after a successful $50 win on my birthday I was hooked!

I have spent the last 15 years playing blackjack. The first 4 of those as a career while attending College. I went to school in a place where I was could play in local casino but take advantage of a long drive to Vegas nearly every time I had a long weekend. Over the years I have been able to use this side income to help pay my way through school, purchase my first two cars and establish my real career within the corporate offices of a large retailer.

I still venture to the casinos from time to time but with the responsibility, not to mention the expenses, that come with a wife and three kids, along with having been kicked out of 80% of the blackjack games in Vegas, I only go out 2 or 3 times every year.

Now most of my blackjack comes during weekend trips with the wife and the occasional late night venture during my trips for work. Through these trips I have taken a more laid back and casual approach to my blackjack play and have realized the weekend warriors could really use a few pointers to help them at least break even on the felt.

The Basics

The number one rule everyone needs to learn is to not bet with sacred money. Although blackjack advantage play can tilt the odds in your favor, anything can happen in the short run. I was lucky during my years of full time blackjack play to never go more than a few weeks of losing sessions. Just as anyone can walk in off the street and win on a slot machine or any other casino game, even the best card counter playing the very best game will go through losing streaks. NEVER, EVER bet more than you can stand to lose.

Now I'll step off my soapbox and teach you how to win! The very first step to advantage play is to make sure you are tilting the odds in your favor as much as you can without counting. Look for favorable rules such as:

1. Blackjacks pay 3 to 2. This is the number one rule you need to look for. In fact, I would highly recommend immediately turning away from any blackjack game that does not pay 3 to 2 for blackjacks. Many casinos, especially in Vegas will now only pay 6 to 5 on blackjack. This change is dramatic in terms of a players expectations and is pretty much impossible to beat. Never play on tables that pay 6 to 5

2. Stand on Soft 17. This is not a deal breaker like the rule above but it is preferable to have the dealer stand on soft 17 versus hitting it.

3. Look for Single deck or double deck games. My favorite is a double deck as these are still relatively prevalent with good rules. In addition to providing a better expectation given similar rules compare to a 6 or an 8 deck game, I find these games better for the simple fact that if I do lose the count, I won't have to wait long for another shuffle.

4. Resplit Aces. Much better to have another couple of 11's rather than hit a soft 12

5. Draw to split Aces. A soft 12 through 16 can not be made any worse by a hit.

6. Always adhere to basic strategy. Search online for basic strategy charts (or use the one below from KO Blackjack or better yet order KO Blackjack using the Amazon link below and learn the easiest method for card counting) and memorize them!

For more information on these rules, great basic strategy charts and more in depth information on all blackjack rule variations see KO black jack in the add below.

That's all for now! In the future I will get into the card counting methods I use and share some trip reports including several instances of being backed off (barred) from blackjack. Thanks for reading and may the cards be with you!


H = Hit
Knock-Out BlackJack Basic Strategy Table
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
S = Stand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
D = Double Down
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
P = Split
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
R = Surrender
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Plr/DealersUPcard
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Ace
Hard 7
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
Hard 8
H
H
H
D
D
H
H
H
H
H
Hard 9
H
D
D
D
D
H
H
H
H
H
Hard 10
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
H
H
Hard 11
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
H
Hard 12
H
H
S
S
S
H
H
H
H
H
Hard 13
S
S
S
S
S
H
H
H
H
H
Hard 14
S
S
S
S
S
H
H
H
H
H
Hard 15
S
S
S
S
S
H
H
H
R
R
Hard 16
S
S
S
S
S
H
H
R
R
R
Hard 17
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
Hard 18
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
Hard 19
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
Hard 20
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
Hard 21
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
Soft 13
H
H
H
D
D
H
H
H
H
H
Soft 14
H
H
H
D
D
H
H
H
H
H
Soft 15
H
H
D
D
D
H
H
H
H
H
Soft 16
H
H
D
D
D
H
H
H
H
H
Soft 17
H
D
D
D
D
H
H
H
H
H
Soft 18
S
D
D
D
D
S
S
H
H
H
Soft 19
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
Soft 20
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
2-Feb
H
H
P
P
P
P
H
H
H
H
3-Mar
H
H
P
P
P
P
H
H
H
H
4-Apr
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
5-May
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
H
H
6-Jun
H
P
P
P
P
H
H
H
H
H
7-Jul
P
P
P
P
P
P
H
H
H
H
8-Aug
P
P
P
P
P
P
P
P
P
P
9-Sep
P
P
P
P
P
S
P
P
S
S
10-Oct
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
A-A
P
P
P
P
P
P
P
P
P
P
Basic Strategy Chart according to KO Blackjack Study it and memorize it before heading to the tables.

My Favorite Blackjack Books

Knock-Out Blackjack: The Easiest Card-Counting System Ever Devised
Knock-Out Blackjack: The Easiest Card-Counting System Ever Devised

My absolute favorite Blackjack book. This is the system I use the most.

 
The World's Greatest Blackjack Book
The World's Greatest Blackjack Book

I don't think this is the Word's Greatest but it was a good read none the less. I use the methods in this book for 6-8 deck shoes

 

Comments

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    • profile image

      blackjack cover 3 years ago

      Yes Bruce, good catch. As a general rule for most bs charts that cover surrender, you can read surrender recommendations as surrender, if available, otherwise hit.

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 3 years ago from New York

      Ok, that makes sense, so you mean splits pretty much. I figured that, but just had to make sure since dates are not a part of Black Jack's basic strategy.

      If I may be so bold as to make one suggestion in your chart. A lot of the strategies are for surrendering, but most casinos do not allow surrendering these days. I have gotten into the habit of not surrendering since it is not common these days. Where is says surrender, I will hit on hard 12 to 16 with a dealer's up card of 7 or higher.

      Bruce

    • profile image

      blackjack cover 3 years ago

      Sorry about the confusion on that. I must have mistyped the chart. The last section shows what you should do with pairs of the same card. Feb 2 should be 22. March 3 should be 33 etc.

      Thanks for reading! Id love to hear some trip reports and feel free to post any additional questions you have

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 3 years ago from New York

      This is an amazing hub. I just learned the basic strategy from black jack and started using. Sometimes I still lose a lot, but other times, I win so much and the dealer does not stand a chance.

      One question: What is the purpose of listing the dates like 2-Feb?What do those dates mean?

      Bruce