May 1

Advanced Blackjack Strategies

Blackjack

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Deuces (2) are not Bust Cards

A deuce is a very dangerous upcard, mainly because blackjack players regard them as bust cards. As I watch the play of most black jack players, many will play it as such. They stay on stiff hands (12 to 16) which is incorrect, but they will hit such hands against the dealer’s 7 upcard.

Mathematics reveal that the dealer is more likely to finish between 19 through 21 when starting with a 2 than with a 7 upcard. Another factor is comparing 2 and 7 upcards involving player starting hands with positive expectations against these cards.

There are twelve starting hands, 9, 10, 11, 18, 19, 20, A-2, A-3, A-6, A-A, 8-8 and 9-9 against the deuce with an advantage. Add 8, A-4, and 2-2 to that list against the 7 upcard. That is three more starting blackjack hands that are projected to beat 7 than 2 in the long run. See compelling percentage numbers below about the above black jack strategy.

Percentage that the blackjack dealer will finish at various levels starting with 2-up and 7-up:

Upcard192021Overall Totals
213%12%12%37%
78%8%7%23%

Even though this comes as a surprise to many blackjack players, you have a better chance against the black jack dealer’s 7 upcard than the 2 upcard, if you play it correctly.

Just some additional ammunition for you.

The Eye In The Sky

Today, most people who visit casinos know about the Eye in the Sky (casino surveillance cameras) which are a sophisticated and complex surveillance and security system. There are very few people who know how such a system functions.

However, if you want to succeed at the blackjack tables for any length of time it’s an absolute must. It is a prerequisite that you know how it works because if you don’t, you will end up like the famous “MIT Blackjack Team” of the early ’90s.

I will explain here only what you must know. The surveillance system consists of hundreds of sophisticated hidden cameras covering every square inch of the casino’s property, including the parking areas. These cameras are connected to hundreds of monitors in an isolated surveillance room. This part of the casino is so isolated that it has its separate entrance, break room, etc. This is to ensure that casino employees will not mix with the employees of the surveillance and security department, they usually don’t even know each other, for obvious reasons.

However, just because there are hundreds of surveillance monitors showing all the action of the entire casino at all times, it doesn’t mean that there are hundreds of employees who are watching every monitor. As a matter of fact, there are only a handful of them there at any given time.

The main functions of the Eye in the Sky system are first of all, to record all the actions so that casino personnel can view the tapes to see exactly what happened with an absolute certainty at any given time of the preceding minutes, hours, days and/or weeks, if they need to.

The second function is to watch any live action play and zoom in on it, whether it be on the gaming floor or any other part of the casino. Usually, this happens when they get a call from the gaming floor that they suspect something like cheating, stealing, card counting and/or anything out of ordinary. And the operative phrase here is “anything out of ordinary”!

These casino surveillance cameras are so sophisticated that they can even read the serial numbers on a dollar bill, or any other details they want to see. They can see what you are writing in your notebook in the lounge when, finally, you are enjoying your well deserved drink after a successful blackjack session. They can follow you to the cashier to see exactly how many chips you will cash out, and they often do that.

In other words, there is no escape from the watchful Eye in the Sky, no matter where you are. Think about this when you are in the casino, from the moment you step in to their domain until the moment you are out of their watchful eyes.

In my blackjack book I explain in detail what countermeasures you must take in order to succeed. I describe exactly how to conduct yourself at any given moment and, under any given circumstance so you can elude the attention. Because if you don’t, you will be like a little fish in shark infested waters. You can bet on that!

Should You Always Stand on Hard 17

Well, it depends. The basic strategy says you should always stand on hard 17 (no Ace among your cards), no matter what the dealer’s upcard is. This was believed to be correct up until lately but it’s no longer the case.

First of all, if you have 17 against the dealer’s 10 or Ace it’s a losing proposition to begin with. In other words, if you would always have 17 and the dealer would always show a 10-value card or Ace you would lose all your money no matter how much you have. It would be only a matter of time.

So, your concern is really not to sweat over a decision of how to win this hand but what option would result in the least amount of loss. And this is when today’s computer technology comes into play. With the aid of computer simulation, playing one million hands, it shows that if you always hit your 17 against those upcards you will lose less by about 8 percent (an 8% gain). The only exceptions would be when the count is high positive. In that case you busting those 17s would be almost a sure thing.

As I always say, a large portion of your money you make is not from winning but what you save. A little here and a little there will add up in a long run to a significant amount.

Again, when you start hitting those 17s it will make many other players wonder what you are doing. But again, what do they know? They don’t have the book of “How To Play Blackjack For A Living” like you do.

The Soft 18 Dilemma

When I play blackjack I notice that most players stand on soft 18 (Ace+7) against the dealer’s 9, 10 and Ace upcard, which is incorrect. It’s only right when you have a hard 18 which does not contain an Ace, like 10 and 8.

Mathematical blackjack odds by computer simulation show that if the dealer’s upcard is a 9, 10 or Ace you are better off hitting your hand because soft 18 is just not good enough against those powerful upcards.

Now, let’s see what the actual gains are against those blackjack dealer’s upcards.

  • Against 9 upcard you gain $8.00 for each $100.00 wagered.
  • Against 10 upcard you gain $4.00 for each $100.00 wagered.
  • Against Ace upcard you gain $.40 for each $100.00 wagered.

The gains are even more significant in the case of soft 17, obviously.

What about the Blackjack Dealers Upcards of 3, 4, 5 or 6?

Since the dealer is vulnerable with these upcards you should further increase your profit potential by doubling down. It’s a very profitable strategy.

What about the Blackjack Dealers Upcards of 2, 7 or 8?

Your best option on these situations is to stand, since standing will gain you an extra $13.00 against the 7, $7.00 extra against the 8, and very little (few cents) against the 2. You must always keep in mind that the changing composition of the blackjack deck might alter these advanced blackjack strategies (specifics about that in the book).

These gains may not seem like much but, when you use all the available advanced blackjack strategies and tips, little by little these gains add up to a significant amount. Your goal in the casino is to maximize your profit by always making the best percentage decisions.

About the author 

James Wharton

James is a blackjack enthusiast, enjoying the game both online in land-based casinos. He travels to Las Vegas, Monaco, London, and some other European gambling destinations to play blackjack semi-professionally. James is an avid blackjack strategy reader.

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