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Blackjack : Game Tips & Strategies


A way of using money management to maximize your profits is simply by use a betting system. No matter what technique or method you use to give yourself an edge at the blackjack table, if you don't manage your money properly you will probably walk away a loser.

There are many ways of playing Blackjack, but our advice to everyone is to study the game, develop your own strategies, play error-free and consequently become a winner.

If you mimic the dealer, that is hitting all 16's, standing on 17's and never splitting or doubling, your expected loss will be 10 times worse than if you were more brave.

If you have a Pat 20 (first two cards total 20), your best bet is to have the dealer showing an 8 because if she has an Ace, 10, or 9 in the hole, you automatically win.

You must always split Aces and 8's, no matter what the dealer's up card is.

When you get an Ace on your first card, your advantage over the house is an incredible 52%.

Card counting and cluster counting, as mentioned elsewhere on this site, includes its own type of betting system. IE: Increase your bet size two to three times your original bet when conditions favour the probability of receiving a winning hand.

But what if you are strictly a basic strategy player? Besides the obvious bank roll increases experienced by doubling down and splitting your cards, what method should you use to increase your chances of walking away a winner? Below are 3 betting systems.



The Martingale System
This system, which was invented over 200 years ago, instructs the player to double his bet each time he loses, on the assumption that he will eventually win and show a profit from the initial wager.

With a beginning wager of $5.00 you would double your wager with each loss. IE: $5, $10, $20, $40 $80, etc. After a win your wager would drop back to $5.00. All wagers are recovered when you win a hand.

Casinos have table limits to eliminate the effectiveness of this system. After a long losing streak you will eventually hit the table maximum, thus defeating the purpose of this system. Plus, a considerable amount of bankroll is needed to make this system work, and the payoffs simply aren't worth it. If you started with a $5 dollar wager and lost your first four wagers and won your fifth, (without double downs or splitting your cards) you would be a measly 5 dollars ahead. This is simply not worth it, and if you are losing multiple hands in a row it is time to leave the table, not double your wagers. Also, losing double downs or splits can deplete your bankroll in a big hurry.



Progressive Betting System - 2 Level
This is the simplest betting system to use and still effective. To use this system simply decide on a minimum and maximum bet. Then bet the smaller amount after a loss and the larger amount after a win. For example, say you set your minimum bet at $5 and your maximum at $15. Start with a $5 dollar bet. If you win that hand you bet $15 your next wager. You then continue to bet $15 until you lose. After any loss you return to your minimum bet of $5.

This is a basic, put solid progressive betting system.



Progressive Betting System - 5 Level

This is another simple, yet effective system, based on a 1,2,3,5 back to 1 progression. Example: For a $5 player, the betting levels would be $5,10,15, and 25. With this system you start with your $5 bet and progress to the next level when you win a hand. If you lose a hand you drop back down to your original $5 wager. If you win four hands in a row you should then drop back down to your original $5 wager, hence the 1,2,3,5 back to 1 progression.

Lets take a look at how this works. This system is rewarding when you experience winning streaks but still doesn't kill you with losing streaks and is still effective while playing online Blackjack. Lets say you lose your first three hands and then win your next three. Assuming a starting wager of $5 you would be ahead $15 at the end of six hands. If you were betting an equal amount on each had you would be even.

It should be noted that progressive betting systems such as these fail when you experience a win, loss, win, loss, win, loss, type of scenario. In a case like this, you would be better off betting an equal amount on each hand. However, this is the risk you take in your attempt to maximize profits on streaks of 3 wins or more. And in reality it is not as risky as simply using basic strategy and betting an equal amount each hand. The nature of blackjack is such that winning streaks and losing streaks frequently occur, and that is where progressive betting systems maximize your profits.



THE MIMIC SYSTEM

The system we shall look at is what we call the mimic (the dealer) system. Although on other sections of this site we have recommended you not mimic the dealers plays, however at times this system can be applied well. If the player plays according to the same rules as the dealer (that is, draws to 16 and stands on any total of 17 or greater), then, because the player plays first, the house takes is 8.9%. Given that the dealer must pay 3:2 on blackjack, the house take is reduced to 5.9%. Using the matrix system, the house stake is shaved down to almost zero.

The mimic will suggest the most efficient action to take when certain card totals appear. It gives you the choice to either 'stand' (do nothing and stay with what you have) 'hit' (take another card), 'double' (double the size of your initial bet) or 'split' (separate the two identical cards dealt to you and create two separate hands).

For example, say you have a 7 and an 8 for a total of 15 and the dealer has a 6. It is your turn to make a decision. Using the mimic table, look across the top row and find the dealer's total of six, then run down the left-hand side to find your total of 15. In the middle of the mimic table, at the junction of the appropriate row and column, we find 'S' for 'stand'. Do not take another card -- choose to do nothing.

Note that the player's total runs down the left-hand side and the dealer's one-card total is across the top.



Mimic Table 2345678910A
5-8HHHHHHHHHH
9HDDDDHHHHH
10DDDDDDDDHH*
11DDDDDDDD(D/H)(D/H)*
12HHSSSHHHHH
13SSSSSHHHHH
14SSSSSHHHHH
15SSSSSHHHHH
16SSSSSHHHHH
17-21SSSSSSSSSS
A2-A6HHHHHHHHHH
A7SSSSSSSHHH
A8-A10SSSSSSSSSS




Now, some points of clarification. Here are some general rules of thumb.

Player Total 5-8
Take a card against all dealer cards.

Player Total 9
The dealer stands a better chance of not busting with a 2 than a 3, 4, 5 or 6. Remember; if you double you only receive one card. If it is not a ten-value card you could be throwing good money after bad. Always double when your total is nine versus a dealer 3, 4, 5 or 6. The dealer is most likely to lose with these first cards and you are well advised to capitalize on it. Take a card when the dealer has 7, 8, 9, 10 or Ace.

Player Total 10
Double against all dealer cards except a dealer 10 or Ace. You are likely to end up with a total close to 20 -- a very difficult hand for the dealer to beat.

Player Total 12
Twelve is probably the worst player total. You should take a card against dealer 2 or 3 and stand against dealer 4, 5 or 6. Against dealer 7, 8, 9, 10 or Ace, you take a card because you have nothing to lose -- the dealer is likely to beat you.

Player Totals 13, 14, 15 and 16
Stand against dealer 'high bust' totals of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 and (like player 12 totals) you take a card against dealer 7, 8, 9, 10 or Ace.

Player Totals 17-21
Always Stand against all dealer totals. You have a strong chance of winning and there is no need to tamper with it. The chances of improving these hands are low and of busting, high.


The Blackjack Table



The blackjack table in a casino is set up with five to seven betting spots with a dealer that acts for the house behind the table. The seat at the far left of the table is referred to as third base because it is the last seat to receive a card. Each table should have a plastic placard advertising the table.


Blackjack School Lessons
Lesson 1: Blackjack History
Where was the game born? And who named it BlackJack?
Lesson 2: Blackjack Rules
All you need to know before getting started.
Lesson 3: Blackjack Strategy
The many strategies to get a winning edge over the casino, besides getting "Rain Man" to play for you of course!
Lesson 4: Blackjack Vocabulary
Speak like a pro. Talk the talk, the walk is up to you!
Lesson 5: Blackjack Tips
What you should keep in mind, and even a little more on strategy.
 
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