Playing Perfect BlackJack and Card Counting eBook

Contents
1 Introduction ............................................................................................................................... .......... 2 2 Blackjack Rules ............................................................................................................................... ...... 3 2.1 The Basics ............................................................................................................................... ....... 3 2.2 The Options ................................................................................................................................... 3 2.3 The Outcomes ............................................................................................................................... 4 3 Perfect Blackjack Strategy .................................................................................................................... 5 4 Card Counting ............................................................................................................................... ....... 6 4.1 How & Why it Works ..................................................................................................................... 6 4.2 The Hi-Low System ........................................................................................................................ 7 4.3 Learning to Count .......................................................................................................................... 8 4.4 Converting to True Count ........................................................................................................... 11 4.5 Betting Strategy .......................................................................................................................... 13 5 Card Counting at an Online Casino .................................................................................................... 14 5.1 Where Online .............................................................................................................................. 14 6 Card Counting at a Land Based Casino ............................................................................................... 16 6.1 Overcoming Casino Distractions ................................................................................................. 16 6.2 Getting Started at a Land Based Casino ...................................................................................... 17 6.3 Bet Spreads at a Land Based Casino ........................................................................................... 17 7 In Short ............................................................................................................................... ................ 18 8 Suggested Reading List ....................................................................................................................... 18

1

1 Introduction
Passionate about improving your Blackjack skills? This eBook provides you with step by step instructions that will teach you to count cards, apply perfect strategy and ultimately become an expert at Blackjack. We cover the following: Blackjack Rules • Before you get started you need to understand the basic rules of the game. Blackjack Strategy • A comprehensive matrix tells you how to play every hand you’re dealt in order to maximise your odds of winning. Card Counting • To get a statistical advantage over the casino, you need to know how to count cards. We cover one of the easiest systems to learn. Land Based Casinos Although card counting is perfectly legal, most land based casinos frown upon it – IF they catch you at it. We provide you with tips on how to card count in a real casino environment.

Online Casinos • Online casinos prove to be the best place to practice your card counting skills as they are more tolerant of this practice, offer better odds and promise great sign up bonuses.

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2 Blackjack Rules
2.1 The Basics The objective of the game is easy. The total of your cards must be closer to a total of 21 than the dealer’s cards but without exceeding a total of 21. How does a Blackjack game work? • You are dealt two cards and the dealer one, with that card face up. The dealer can also be dealt two cards, but one will always show. • All picture cards (jack, queen & king) have a value of ten whereas aces have a value of either one or eleven. • Once dealing is complete, you must play your hand and choose your strategy. 2.2 The Options While playing Blackjack you’ll have a number of playing options: • Hit You can choose to be dealt another card. •

Stand When you’re happy with your cards and do not want another one you stand. Your hand is over and the dealer plays his hand. • Split If your first two cards have the same point value (for example two fives, two jacks, or two aces) you may split the cards and play them as separate hands. This doubles your bet. • Double down If you choose to double your wager you’ll be dealt just one more card. • Insurance If the dealer’s up card is an ace, you are offered insurance against the dealer having a Blackjack. We never take insurance.

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2.3 The Outcomes During a game of Blackjack there are various possible outcomes: Stiff The dealer has to keep drawing cards if his hand totals 16 or less – he must stand if his hand draws 17 or above. When the dealer has a 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16 total on his first two cards this is known as being “stiff”. It’s a bad position

for the dealer to be in, as you, the player, can stand any time you wish and can win a hand with a very low total, by having the dealer bust. Win Once the dealer has completed his hand and drawn enough cards to take him above 16, you review your hand relative to his. Whoever is closer to 21 without going over, will win . Bust If you draw cards and go over 21, you have "bust" and you lose the hand. Blackjack If you win the hand, you are paid at even money – for example if you bet $1 you are returned $2. If you have a "Blackjack" (an ace and a ten or face card) and beat the dealer you are paid at 1.5/1. So if you bet $1 your return would be $2.50. Push If your hand is equal to the dealer's hand it is called a "push". Both players tie and your stake is returned to you.

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3 Perfect Blackjack Strategy

Use the matrix below to perfect your Blackjack game . This will help you plan your move for every possible combination of hands between you and the dealer. The following abbreviations apply: Hit (H), Stand (S), Double (D) & Split (SP)
Dealer's Up Card Your Hand 2345678910A 5,6,7,8 H H H H H H H H H H 9H D D D D H H H H H 10 D D D D D D D D H H 11 D D D D D D D D H H 12 H H S S S H H H H H 13,14 S S S S S H H H H H 15,16 S S S S S H H H H H 17,18,19,20,21 S S S S S S S S S S A+2, A+3 H H H D D H H H H H A+4, A+5 H H D D D H H H H H A+6 H D D D D H H H H H A+7 S D D D D S S H H H A+8, A+9 S S S S S S S S S S A+A SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP 2+2, 3+3 SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H H 4+4 H H H SP SP H H H H H 5+5 D D D D D D D D H H 6+6 SP SP SP SP SP H H H H H 7+7 SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H H 8+8 SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP 9+9 SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SS 10+10 SSSSSSSSSS

This strategy sheet is the result of much mathematical analysis and featured by some casinos on their web sites. It’s been proven that it works.

4 Card Counting
4.1 How & Why it Works Understanding the concept of card counting is the first step towards mastering the skill. You need to know the following: Low cards will favor the dealer in Blackjack, while high cards will favour the player. • The low cards favor the dealer as they help him to make winning totals on his hands when he is

stiff , (i.e. he has a 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16 total on his first two cards). • As a player, you can stand on your stiffs if you want to, but the dealer can’t. Here is your odds advantage. • The rules of Blackjack require the dealer to hit his stiffs. If the deck is rich in high cards, the dealer will bust . If you know when the deck is rich in high cards, you’ll know when to increase your stakes and take advantage of having the odds slightly in your favour. The only way to know whether the deck is rich in high cards is to card count 4.2 The Hi-Low System There are different card counting methods to choose from. The Hi-Low System is one of the easiest to master , but that doesn’t mean it’s less effective than the more complicated techniques. It’s important to note that a simple card counting system executed without errors, is always far better than a complicated one with errors. With practice, you can become an expert at the Hi-Low System as it requires a simple balanced count. It is perhaps the most widely used system in casino Blackjack. Why not study the following sections of this eBook and then test your newly acquired skills at one of the following online casinos? 4.3 Learning to Count Evaluate Each Card When using the High-Low System you have to assign values to the cards: 2-6 are valued at +1 while 10s and Aces are counted as -1 . Note that there are the same amount of cards in each group: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10, J, Q, K, A. The 7, 8 & 9 are neutral in this count and it’s best to train your eye to not even see these for counting purposes. If the low cards are good for the dealer why are they counted as plus value you may ask? It’s simple. When you se e a low card come out of the deck, the ratio of high to low cards remaining has changed slightly in your favor.

Score +1 0 -1 Card Value 2-6 7-9 10-A
Keep the Count Start with a deck of cards, flip them over one at a time and keep the running count. For example, if they come out in the following order: 8, K, 3, 3, 6, 2, 7, A, you count 0, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3, +3, +2. Keep practicing like this. At the end of the deck your count should come to "0".

Card Value Score Running score 8 00 K -1 -1 3 10 3 11 6 12 2 13 7 03 -1 2 A
8

Rule of Thumb: The higher the running score, the more high cards are left in the deck and the more the deck is moving in your favor therefore the higher your bets should be. The lower the running score, the more low cards are left in the deck and the more it’s moving against you as it becomes easier for the dealer to not bust, despite being stiff.

Testing Yourself Good news! You can now practice your card counting skills by yourself. Try pulling a card out of the deck face down. Set it aside. After running the deck, "guess" what the remaining card is. Your validation will come when you say, "It has to be a ten or an ace," and then flipping it over to find yourself correct. Card Counting with Blackjack Online Once you have some proficiency keeping a running count through a single deck, it’s time to get some real practice by playing in an actual game. You’re likely to find this a little harder as you have to apply the Perfect Play Strategy as well as having to count cards. Having money riding on the outcome of course adds to the pressure. General Tips some people advocate waiting until the second card is In a face-up shoe game dealt to each hand and counting the hands as whole units, as often a hand will cancel itself out, i.e. 10-6, or two consecutive hands will: K, 10 - 3, 5. Other folks insist it’s easier to count the cards as each one comes out. Try both methods and find what works best for you. it’s a little different. Count your cards and the dealer’s up card In a pitch game first, then all exposed cards from hits, splits, doubles, and busts as they happen. Next count the dealer’s hole card and subsequent hits. As the dealer exposes the remaining hole cards one hand at a time a quick glance should suffice to carry the count forward. Practice for the game you intend to play but don’t neglect the other – your favorite game might not be playable because of crowds, bad rules, etc. Where to Play Look to play at a game with low stakes or with a good sign on bonus , so that you can achieve as much practice for as little cost as possible. The following casinos offer great sign up offers which will allow you to practice Perfect Play while practising card counting at the same time. 4.4 Converting to True Count While the running count gives you an understanding of the true count, your confidence in this count can be diminished if there are still a large number of cards that you haven’t yet seen. The fewer the cards left unseen the more confident you can be of the final value. The running count must therefore be converted to a true count to be effective for betting and playing decisions. You divide the running count by the amount of decks left unseen. For How? instance, in a double deck game after the first hand you might have a running

count of +4. Since there are virtually two full decks remaining you divide the count by 2, yielding a true of +2. In multiple-deck games we’ll have to keep an eye on the discard tray to accurately estimate how many decks are roughly remaining. So with two decks gone you’d have four left (in a 6D game); dividing the above +4 by four decks gives you a true of +1. One trick here: practise glancing at the discard tray just before the completion of the hand, and see what your divisor is going to be for the next hand. This will give you extra time to compute the true while the dealer is making payoffs and picking up cards. What happens when you have less than a single deck left? You simply divide by fractions. If you have three quarters of a deck left, you divide by three quarters.* For example; imagine the count is at 8 – you simply divide 8 by ¾ which equals 10 (to divide by fractions simply invert and multiply – for example to divide by simply multiply by 3/2). Therefore with a single deck: the true count is always more than the running count, both positive and negative, as we always have le ss than a full deck remaining. We can be lazy for betting purposes and use the running count as the true count in a single deck game. Test your understanding of converting running count to true count using the table below: True Count Practice Table Running Count No. of Decks Remaining True Count 6 32 -4 2 -2 6 42 -5 3 -2 4 31 -1 2 -1 1 30 -5 2½ -2 4 2½ 2 -7 1½ -5 4 1 2 -5 3 -2 3 1¾ 2

-5 2¼ -2 8 3¼ 2 -3 ½ -6 5 3 -1 -3 5 ¼ 20 -4 ¾ -5 4.5 Betting Strategy When you can deal, play all hands correctly, count, convert to true count, pay off hands, and check the remaining deck for the count (and are correct on the count) – you are well on the way to be able to bet and win as a card counter. The betting strategy you adopt is very much dependent on the following: • The environment that you are in • The context in which you are betting • Your appetite for risk Between 70% and 90% of the player edge when counting cards comes from placing larger bets when the count is favourable to the player. The rest of the edge comes from changes to basic strategy based on the count. Bet increases should be proportional to the player advantage. What does this mean in practice? The higher the count, the more a player should bet on each han in order to take advantage of the player edge. The ideal scenario? You do not bet at all when the deck is against you and your bets increase geometrically, as the count moves gradually and then decisively in your favour and vice versa when the count moves against you. However, unless you play behind someone else on a land based casino (sometimes known as “wonging”) you won’t get away with not making a bet. Typically you would work with a minimum bet of $1-$5 and gradually increase it as and when the deck moves in your favour to $20-$100 and then back down again if the deck moves against you. Realistically you will need a minimum bank roll 100 times the minimum bet, in order to even attempt card counting and ideally your roll will be up to 1000 times the minimum bet.

5 Card Counting at an Online Casino

Now that you are ready to play, we recommend doing it online before heading off to your nearest land based casino. In recent years many players have switched to playing purely online. The main reasons for this being: • Improved surveillance in land based casinos to eliminate card counting • High minimum table limits that could have you running out of money before you start realising a profit from your play • Good sign up offers • Significantly better overall odds across all games In short, land based casinos face huge overheads, which online casinos do not have to contend with. As they have to maintain their margins, any strategies used to minimise those margins are rejected. Online casinos in turn are tolerant of legitimate tactics which reduce margins, as the incremental cost of new customer acquisition is so much higher for them. Some tournament Blackjack games actively invite card counters to pitch their talent against other players. These often include freeroll tournaments that won’t cost you a cent to enter yet boast great payouts and prizes. 5.1 Where Online We’ve already established that safety, big sign up bonuses and a tolerance for card counting are things to look out for when choosing an online casino. Below we have recommended a set of casinos that use the Microgaming casino software platform. Microgaming are big enough to give you peace of mind, but not too big, that they are too stingy with their free money bonuses! Also, their casinos are independently certified by eCOGRA regulatory body – which translates into player peace of mind. In the unlikely event that should a casino contest a player’s winnings, eCogra, a completely independent authority will bring about a swift resolution – which is absolutely binding on the casino. All of the casinos below are advertised as being card 14 counting tolerant. The adverts fail to disclose that they don’t really have a choice since card courting is completely legal as long as it’s unaided by an electronic card counting device.

6 Card Counting at a Land Based Casino
Most players are content to play Blackjack among friends or online. A real land based casino however still remains the ultimate environment for many. One thing to keep in mind is that unlike their online counterparts, land based casinos have very low tolerance for card counting. They’re constantly on the lookout and will throw any player out if they’re caught practising this skill. Their minimum stakes are also much higher, therefore it’s advisable to get as much practice in online beforehand as possible. 6.1 Overcoming Casino Distractions When playing online, you’re in control of your environment. When playing at a

land based casino, you’re at the mercy of others and have to overcome distractions. Cocktail waitresses will be constantly interrupting, dealers get chatty, players get obnoxious, slot bells are ringing, the craps table goes berserk, etc. You can train yourself to deal with discord. Begin with a radio playing nearby and continue dealing out multiple hands, playing and paying, until you are exactly on the count every time. Then add a television along with the radio. If you happen to have a couple of small children nearby this is even better. Keep practising. When none of the above disrupts your counting ability and accuracy you’re ready for the next step: talking. You can hold a conversation and count simultaneously. individualistic methods for "holding" the count while carrying on an in-depth conversation – others are fortunate enough to be able to put the count in an area of the brain where they can retrieve it instantly. Some folks place x numbe r of fingertips on their thigh under the table, some employ knuckle joints on top of the table, some use chips to indicate the count. However you accomplish it, you must remember the count! It might take 20 hours of having a friend deal multiple hands to you while chatting away. 6.2 Getting Started at a Land Based Casino You’re almost ready to hit the tables, but you still need an act. Why? You want to use everything you can to distract the house from seeing your bets go up and down with the count. You want to look like the "gamblers" at your table. The best way to do this is to study them, to emulate their language, their superstitions, their body language and more. Develop your act and make it real. To make your persona believable, you need to already assume it when you leave your room not only when you get to the table. Know that you’re a shower salesman or a tourist from wherever in town on business or pleasure. This will help you avoid any uncomfortable moments when someone asks you a question. If you have to think of an answer, you could lose your count or worse, be uncovered. The importance of your cover act is also directly proportional to the size of your wagering unit: the higher the unit the more cover needed. It’s important not to reveal that you know anything about Blackjack. Also dress to fit your act. You have to look the part and not give reason for suspicion. A dentist on holiday won’t wear a three-piece suit, but an attorney attending a convention might. How do you know when you’ve cracked it? You’ll be able to do all of the above while speaking to a pit boss about good restaurants. 6.3 Bet Spreads at a Land Based Casino Always watch your bet range, or spread. Even though everything mathematical might tell you to jump your bet from say $5 to $100, this is the surest way to get unwanted attention in the least and outright barring at the extreme. In order to survive you have to

limit your spreads. The pits are definitely not stupid and basically know how counting works. In pitch games this usually translates into spreading about 1-5 units; in shoe games you can get away with much larger spreads, say 1-8 or even two hands at 6 each. Generally counters step their bets up with the count: 1 unit at negative or 0, then incrementally up with the count.

7 In Short
Like all great games, Blackjack at its heart is a simple game. It takes moments to learn, but a lifetime to master . Hopefully this guide will take you a huge step forward in playing Blackjack the way that the professionals do and with a bit of practice and played correctly, give you that extra edge to help you consistently win over the long term against the casino! Nothing presented here should be a surprise or counter to your common sense of what makes a good Blackjack strategy. Most importantly, make sure you don’t give up, have some patience and perseverance and have lots of fun as you practise!

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