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Thread: Reggie Green: learn backjack

  1. #1
    Reggie Green

    Reggie Green: learn backjack

    what is the best way to learn blackjack

  2. #2

    Caesar: Re: learn backjack

    > what is the best way to learn blackjack
    Learn basic strategy. Basic strategy is the correct way to play your hands.

  3. #3

    BJinNJ: Re: learn backjack

    May I suggest a few books?

    1) Blackjack Bluebook II, by Renzy
    2) Blackbelt in Blackjack, by Snyder
    3) Professional Blackjack by, Wong

    I read like 20 BJ books when I started.


  4. #4

    ES: Re: learn backjack

    1. Read the books by Stanford Wong, Arnold Snyder, Don Schlesinger, Bootlegger, Norm Wattenberger, Peter Griffin, John Bukofsky, Ed Thorp, Julian Braun, Olaf Vancura and Ken Fuchs, Lance Humble and Carl Cooper, George C., Kevin Blackwood, Allan Wilson, Rick Blaine, Dave Stann, Ken Uston and Richard Epstein, Richard Werthamer and Lawrence Revere. This list is not exhaustive.

    Read the most recent editions. Basic strategies and count strategies in the books by Thorp, Epstein and Wilson are obsolete, as are TGhorp's, Revere's and Wilson's count strategies. They are not [/i]incorrect[/i]. They were the state of the art when they were written. Basic strategy has been slightly refined since the first essentially correct basic strategy was published in 1956.

    Ignore the material on betting in Braun's book; he did not write it. The book by Humble and Cooper has correct basic strategy and a good count strategy--Hi-Opt I, but some non-scientific material. Ignore the hatchet job on Hi-Opt I and Hi-Opt II in Revere's book.

    The book by Vancura and Fuchs has basic strategy for multiple deck without double after split. Most multiple deck games have DAS. Avoid any multiple deck game w/o DAS. The K-O count presented in this book is good. It is probably the second most popular system in use today.

    The most popular count system is Hi-Lo. It is presented in books by Wong, Bootlegger, Stann and Snyder. Arnold Snyder presents a streamlined version called Hi-Lo Lite.

    2. Avoid books with incorrect basic strategies, e.g. those by John Patrick or John Scarne. There are many others with incorrect basic strategies.

    3. Use QFIT's software. QFIT's programs include basic strategy drills, counting drills, playing under casino conditions, simulation, creating basic strategy and count strategy for various numbers of decks and sets of rules and risk management.

    Norm Wattenberger of QFIT has just released a new edition of his 2-volume online blackjack book, Modern Blackjack. A print version is also available.

    4. Understand expected value. Consider Las Vegas double zero roulette. The wheel has 18 low numbers, 1-18; 18 high numbers, 19-36, 0 and 00, for a total of 38 numbers. The probability that the ball will land in any one of these numbers is 1/(18+18+1+1) = 1/38. This probability never changes. Eighteen of the numbers from 1 to 36 are red; eighteen of them are black. Both zeroes are green, i.e. neither red nor black. Eighteen of the numbers from 1 to 36 are odd; eighteen are even. Neither 0 nor 00 counts as odd or even.

    A winning bet on 1-18, 19-36, red, black, odd or even is paid at even money or odds of 1 to 1. The probability of winning any of these bets is 18/38. The probability of losing any of these bets is 20/38. The expected value of any of these bets is the sum of the products of the probability of each possible outcome and its amount won or lost, or

    (18/38) X 1 + (20/38) X (-1)= -2/38 = -0.0526 . . .

    Every casino game has a negative expected value for the player. This is how the casinos win. They do not offer friendly games in which the house and the player have an equal chance of winning. They do not cheat by sleight of hand, stacked decks, etc. A gaming license is too valuable to risk losing it when the mathematics of the games, i.e. expected value and the law of large numbers give the house the edge. The notion of casinos being run by organized crime is history. It still makes for great novels, movies and works of nonfiction. Casinos are run by boards of directors, corporate officers, CPAs and MBAs. Any "irregularities," i.e. dealing seconds, roughing up suspected card counters is much more likely to be done by loose cannons at the low end of the corporate structure than by or st the direction of high ranking casino employees.

    I am not vouching for the morality of casinos. There is tremendous oligopolistic power concentrated in very few hands with single companies owning 7 or 8 major casinos in Las Vegas and it is used to our disadvantage, e.g. high minimum bets, H17 rather than S17 and games in which blackjack is paid at 6:5 instead of 3:2. Avoid 6:5 blackjack games!

    6. Understand that no system of bet variation such as double after each loss, add 1 unit after each win or a predetermined sequence can overcome negative expected value and give the player an advantage.

    7. The probability of getting an even number at roulette remains 18/38, regardless of the results of previous spins of the wheel. They are independent events. Dice and wheels have no memory. The expected value in such games is constant. The player has no control over the outcome of the spin of a wheel.

    The probability of getting a specified card changes each time a card is dealt. Blackjack is based on dependent events. The casino edge at roulette is 5.26%. The casino edge at typical blackjack games is less than 1/10 this amount. You can vary your bets and deviate from basic strategy according to the count. You have some control over the outcome of your hand, according to whether you surrender, split, double, hit or stand.

    Unconventional play by other players is equally likely to help you or to hurt you. Suppose that you have aither a stiff of 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16, a weak pat hand or 17 or 18 or a strong pat hand of 19, 20 or 21. Suppose that the dealer's upcard is a 6. Suppose the the player at third base has 16. Basic strategy is to stand with 16 v. 6. Suppose, however, that he hits, gets a 10 to go over, that the dealer's hole card is a 10 and that the dealer hits with a 5 for a total of 21, beating or tying everyone at the table. Some players may walk away, believing that a stupid player hurts everyone else, upsetting some natural order of the cards. This is not true. Some may abuse him verbally or even threaten him. Given that the third baseman's hit card and the dealer's hit card were a 10 and a 5, they are equally likely to appear in the order of 10, 5 or the order 5, 10. Even if the cards appeared in the order 5, 10 and he saves the table, he is still likely to receive some scorn. I use the word "unconventional," rather than "stupid" at the beginning of this paragraph because the player who makes such plays may be a card counter or a hole card player, rather than an unknowledgeable player.


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