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BlackJack Systems Which System Is Best?

Aug 22, 2008
Basic blackjack systems used today came from a paper published in 1956 in the Journal of the American Statistical Association." The mathematicians and gamblers, Baldwin, Cantey, Maisel and McDermott created a solid foundation and still used today. The rules changed minorly to adapt to new table rules and variations. This strategy gave an edge to narrow the houses favor and aid the player. This, above all else is the first and most important strategy any casino player should learn.

Most of the Blackjack systems developed since then, that work, have to do with some type of tracking. Most everyone has heard of card counting. The book "Beat the Dealer" by Thorp, 1966, drew attention to a ten-count system and gave hope to the technical player. The method that Thorp presented changed the house advantage from 5% to a player advantage of 1%. This was huge and people it brought people back to the blackjack tables once more.

From the concept in Thorp's book came a variety of simpler card counting techniques. Card counting is a method where you track the cards already dealt. Since Thorp's day, the casinos added multi-deck shoes and use only about half the cards to deter card counters. This creates a few changes in the system. In basic card counting, 7,8,9 get no value. All tens, faces and aces get 1 and 2,3,4,5 and 6 get a +1. As the cards appear, you keep a running tally. If there are 6 decks, calculate how many decks already you played and subtract it from the total number. If you only played one hand, then you'd divide by 6. If you played about 2 decks, you subtract those two and divide by four. When the range is plus, it favors the player. When it's minus, the odds of a dealer making a hand while the players sit on 12-21 are great since many of the bust cards are gone, so it benefits the house. Bet high when it's in the players favor.

A second less complicated strategy is counting aces and fives, or the Wizard five/ace count. All fives are plus 1, all aces are negative one. If you bet $5 for your initial bet, that's one unit. Increase your bet from one unit to two when you get a positive. Increase the bet by the formula, 2X unit X the positive number. Therefore, if you have a positive 1, your bet is two units. If you have a positive 5, your bet is 2Xunit ($5)X5 or $50.

Probably the easiest and most accurate for beginning players is the KO blackjack strategy. It's an imbalanced betting system. You give the sevens a count of +1, along with the 2,3,4,5,6 cards. If you counted every card in all the decks in the shoe, you'd end up with a positive count of 4 for each deck. That's because you add four sevens to the positive list rather than leave them neutral. Tens, faces and aces are all negative and 8 and 9 are still 0.

There are so many intricacies for the KO system and other card counting systems that the casual player may not want to take the time. If you want to become a professional player, consider learning a system you "college education" for the job. You need to be good at not just the count and figuring out where you are, but also at concealing the count. Casinos don't like counters and may ask you to leave if they discover you. The Wizard's five/ace count is one of the best for the casual player, and while the bets may get quite high, works. The KO system is great for those that want a more refined method. No matter what you read, any technique without basic strategy and some method of card tracking or card counting has limited value.
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