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In Blackjack there are many card counting systems from which to choose, so to make it easier for you, here’s a suggestion of some of the finest known systems. If used correctly, most of these strategies will help you estimate your Blackjack advantage with nearly perfect accuracy.
One of the most reliable card counting systems, Wong Halves is also one of the most difficult to master. This Level 3 balanced strategy demands strong concentration and good math skills, since it’s using fractions to achieve greater accuracy. It was created by Stanford Wong and is recommended for advanced card counters.
Created by Arnold Snyder, Zen is a Level 2 balanced strategy, notable for the emphasis it places on 4, 5 and 6. One of the strongest Level 2 strategies out there, this system is also one of the more popular ones.
An easy Level 1 unbalanced strategy, Red Seven is another Snyder’s system that is widely used. Its simplicity makes it a good choice for card counting beginners, but at the same time Red Seven has high accuracy. Keep in mind that 7’s counting value depends on the colour of its suit - red sevens count as 1, while black ones count as 0.
If all those systems seem too challenging at the moment, you can try honing your Blackjack skills with Hi-Lo, a Level 1 balanced strategy. Unlike Red Seven, this system won’t require you to keep track of suit colours. Invented by Harvey Dubner, Hi-Lo has since been revised several times by different authors. Once you master Hi-Lo, we recommend that you move on to one of the more complex systems, as they offer better chance of success.
Final tip: whichever system you decide to use, be sure to practice it before you venture off to your favourite casino!
Even the most experienced players sometimes forget about these, so we just wanted to put them back into your mind!
- Always Use Basic Strategy: Never deviate from basic strategy unless you are counting cards. Basic strategy is the mathematically optimal way to play each hand in blackjack. If you can’t memorize it then bring a strategy chart to the table, it is perfectly acceptable. Don’t feel silly because you have to use the card. Just know that using basic strategy will give you the best chance of walking out with more money than you came with.
- Card Counting is not Cheating or Illegal: I know you’ve probably been given the impression that those that count cards are doing something wrong, but that is simply propaganda put out by the gaming industry. They purposefully link counters with cheaters in the hopes that people will assume card counting is cheating, and their plan has worked pretty well. Card counting is simply using your mind in a game of skill. It has been ruled by courts many times that this is not cheating and certainly not illegal. They can kick you out for counting in Las Vegas because the courts have ruled that casinos are private establishments, and they can ask anyone they want to leave as long as it’s not based on religion, race, or gender.
- Dealers are not Blackjack Masters: Blackjack dealers are skilled at dealing blackjack not playing blackjack. Many players get the false impression that dealers must know the right plays because they have been around the game for so long. Again, they are trained to deal not trained to know what the best moves are. Now, there are some dealers that are very good players but most simply know how to deal the game so do not ask them for advice, use your strategy chart.
Blackjack is a popular game because most people know that it can be played with a very low ‘house edge’ (casino advantage), and in some cases can even be played with the player having the advantage. Most casino games have what is called a ‘fixed’ casino advantage which means that no matter what you do or how you play the casino will have a certain built-in advantage. This is not so in blackjack.
Many gamblers will choose to play blackjack because they know it has better odds than many other games. They will learn the basic rules and how to play but that’s it. This is where the big mistake occurs. In order to maximize your play, you must learn the optimal basic strategy. Many people assume that they can intuitively figure it out through common sense. However, the correct mathematical move is not always the most obvious selection. Below are several mistakes that even experienced blackjack players make.
- Taking Insurance- Unless you are a professional card counter, you should NEVER take insurance when playing blackjack. Often people will take it when they have blackjack to guarantee that they will be paid ‘even money’, this is a mistake.
- Not hitting 16- There are some players that never hit 16. They believe it is better to stand on 16 than to try and take another card. There are times when you should hit 16. An example is, if you have 16 and the dealer is showing an ace you should absolutely hit your 16.
- Not always splitting Aces and Eights- This is one of the easier rules to learn in blackjack always split Aces and Eights. Not sometimes but every time.
These are three common mistakes that all blackjack players make. Make sure you learn these three rules and you will improve your chances of blackjack success.