In most non-U. With no hole card, it is almost never correct basic strategy to double or split against a dealer ten or ace, since a dealer blackjack will result in the loss of the split and double bets; the only exception is with a pair of aces against a dealer 10, where it is still correct to split. In all other cases, a stand, hit or surrender is called for.
For instance, holding 11 against a dealer 10, the correct strategy is to double in a hole card game where the player knows the dealer's second card is not an ace , but to hit in a no hole card game. The no hole card rule adds approximately 0. The "original bets only" rule variation appearing in certain no hole card games states that if the player's hand loses to a dealer blackjack, only the mandatory initial bet "original" is forfeited, and all optional bets, meaning doubles and splits, are pushed.
Each blackjack game has a basic strategy , which is playing a hand of any total value against any dealer's up-card, which loses the least money to the house in the long term. An example of basic strategy is shown in the table below, and includes the following parameters: .
The bulk of basic strategy is common to all blackjack games, with most rule variations calling for changes in only a few situations. For example, if the above game used the hit on soft 17 rule, common in Las Vegas Strip casinos, only 6 cells of the table would need to be changed: double on 11 vs. A, surrender 15 or 17 vs.
A, double on A,7 vs. Also when playing basic strategy never take insurance or "even money. Estimates of the house edge for blackjack games quoted by casinos and gaming regulators are generally based on the assumption that the players follow basic strategy and do not systematically change their bet size. Most blackjack games have a house edge of between 0.
Casino promotions such as complimentary matchplay vouchers or blackjack payouts allow the player to acquire an advantage without deviating from basic strategy. Basic strategy is based upon a player's point total and the dealer's visible card. Players may be able to improve on this decision by considering the precise composition of their hand, not just the point total.
For example, players should ordinarily stand when holding 12 against a dealer 4. However, in a single deck game, players should hit if their 12 consists of a 10 and a 2. The presence of a 10 in the player's hand has two consequences: . However, even when basic and composition-dependent strategy lead to different actions, the difference in expected reward is small, and it becomes even smaller with more decks.
Using a composition-dependent strategy rather than basic strategy in a single deck game reduces the house edge by 4 in 10,, which falls to 3 in , for a six-deck game. Blackjack has been a high-profile target for advantage players since the s. Advantage play is the attempt to win more using skills such as memory, computation, and observation. These techniques, while generally legal, can be powerful enough to give the player a long-term edge in the game, making them an undesirable customer for the casino and potentially leading to ejection or blacklisting if they are detected.
The main techniques of advantage play in blackjack are as follows:. During the course of a blackjack shoe, the dealer exposes the dealt cards. Careful accounting of the exposed cards allows a player to make inferences about the cards which remain to be dealt.
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These inferences can be used in the following ways:. A card counting system assigns a point score to each rank of card e. When a card is exposed, a counter adds the score of that card to a running total, the 'count'. A card counter uses this count to make betting and playing decisions according to a table which they have learned. The count starts at 0 for a freshly shuffled deck for "balanced" counting systems.
Unbalanced counts are often started at a value which depends on the number of decks used in the game. Blackjack's house edge is usually between 0. Card counting is most rewarding near the end of a complete shoe when as few as possible cards remain. Single-deck games are therefore particularly advantageous to the card counting player.
As a result, casinos are more likely to insist that players do not reveal their cards to one another in single-deck games. In games with more decks of cards, casinos limit penetration by ending the shoe and reshuffling when one or more decks remain undealt. Casinos also sometimes use a shuffling machine to reintroduce the exhausted cards every time a deck has been played. Card counting is legal and is not considered cheating as long as the counter is not using an external device,  : but if a casino realizes a player is counting, the casino might inform them that they are no longer welcome to play blackjack.
Sometimes a casino might ban a card counter from the property. The use of external devices to help counting cards is illegal in all US states that license blackjack card games. Techniques other than card counting can swing the advantage of casino blackjack toward the player. All such techniques are based on the value of the cards to the player and the casino as originally conceived by Edward O.
Shuffle tracking requires excellent eyesight and powers of visual estimation but is more difficult to detect since the player's actions are largely unrelated to the composition of the cards in the shoe. Arnold Snyder's articles in Blackjack Forum magazine brought shuffle tracking to the general public. His book, The Shuffle Tracker's Cookbook, mathematically analyzed the player edge available from shuffle tracking based on the actual size of the tracked slug.
Jerry L. Patterson also developed and published a shuffle-tracking method for tracking favorable clumps of cards and cutting them into play and tracking unfavorable clumps of cards and cutting them out of play. The player can also gain an advantage by identifying cards from distinctive wear markings on their backs, or by hole carding observing during the dealing process the front of a card dealt face down.
These methods are generally legal although their status in particular jurisdictions may vary. Many blackjack tables offer a side bet on various outcomes including: . The side wager is typically placed in a designated area next to the box for the main wager. A player wishing to wager on a side bet is usually required to place a wager on blackjack. Some games require that the blackjack wager should equal or exceed any side bet wager.
A non-controlling player of a blackjack hand is usually permitted to place a side bet regardless of whether the controlling player does so. The house edge for side bets is generally far higher than for the blackjack game itself. Nonetheless side bets can be susceptible to card counting. A side count, designed specifically for a particular side bet, can improve the player edge. Only a few side bets, like "Lucky Ladies", offer a sufficient win rate to justify the effort of advantage play. In team play it is common for team members to be dedicated toward counting only a sidebet using a specialized count.
Blackjack can be played in tournament form. Players start with an equal numbers of chips; the goal is to finish among the top chip-holders. Depending on the number of competitors, tournaments may be held over several rounds, with one or two players qualifying from each table after a set number of deals to meet the qualifiers from the other tables in the next round.
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Another tournament format, Elimination Blackjack , drops the lowest-stacked player from the table at pre-determined points in the tournament. Good strategy for blackjack tournaments can differ from non-tournament strategy because of the added dimension of choosing the amount to be wagered. As in poker tournaments, players pay the casino an initial entry fee to participate in a tournament, and re-buys are sometimes permitted.
Some casinos, as well as general betting outlets, provide blackjack among a selection of casino-style games at electronic consoles. Video blackjack game rules are generally more favorable to the house; e. Video and online blackjack games generally deal each round from a fresh shoe, rendering card counting ineffective in most situations. Blackjack is a member of a large family of traditional card games played recreationally all around the world. Most of these games have not been adapted for casino play.
Furthermore, the casino game development industry is very active in producing blackjack variants, most of which are ultimately not adopted for widespread use in casinos. The following are the prominent twenty-one themed comparing card games which have been adapted or invented for use in casinos and have become established in the gambling industry. An ace can only count as eleven, but two aces count as a blackjack. It is mostly played in private circles and barracks.
A British variation is called "Pontoon", the name being probably a corruption of "Vingt-et-un". Blackjack is also featured in various television shows. Here are a few shows inspired by the game. In , professional gamblers around the world were invited to nominate great blackjack players for admission into the Blackjack Hall of Fame. Seven members were inducted in , with new people inducted every year after. Members include Edward O.
Thorp , author of the s book Beat the Dealer which proved that the game could be beaten with a combination of basic strategy and card counting ; Ken Uston , who popularized the concept of team play; Arnold Snyder , author and editor of the Blackjack Forum trade journal; Stanford Wong , author and popularizer of the "Wonging" technique of only playing at a positive count, and several others. Novels have been written around blackjack and the possibility of winning games via some kind of method.
An almost identical theme was shown in the Canadian film The Last Casino. In The Hangover , an American comedy, four friends try to count cards to win back enough money to secure the release of their friend from the clutches of a notorious criminal they stole from the previous night while blacked out. A central part of the plot of Rain Man is that Raymond Dustin Hoffman , an autistic savant , is able to win at blackjack by counting cards.
This movie displays different blackjack lingo and risky moves that have high rewards. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the gambling game. For the shedding-type card game sometimes called Black Jack, see Switch card game. For other uses, see Black Jack disambiguation.
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Blackjack example game. Main article: Advantage player. Main article: Card counting. Main article: Shuffle tracking. Main article: Blackjack Hall of Fame. Scarne's new complete guide to gambling Fully rev. Barcelona: Flor del Viento Ediciones. Retrieved May 21, Wizard of Odds Consulting, Inc. Retrieved April 30, Fine points of basic strategy in single-deck blackjack. Retrieved December 8, Retrieved December 19, Huntington Press.
Shuffle Tracking Counts. Blackjack Side Bets. Here are some comments of clarification. A "hard" hand is one that either has no aces, or has aces that are forced to count as point, lest the hand bust. A "soft" hand is one with at least one ace, which may still count as one or eleven points.
With a hard 10 or 11, double if you have more points than the dealer, treating a dealer ace as 11 points. Specifically, double with 10 against a 2 to 9, and with 11 against 2 to If the strategy says to double, but you have three or more cards, or table rules don't allow soft doubling, then hit, except stand with a soft If the strategy says to surrender 16 vs.
If the strategy says to "not split," then treat the hand has a hard total of 8, 10, or 20, according to the pair in question.
A reader named Jeff provided another table of my simple strategy, with exceptions in small print. Details about the Wizard's Simple Strategy can be found in my Blackjack appendix See my Blackjack House Edge Calculator to determine the house edge under 6, possible rule combinations. Following is a list of some common rule variations and the effect on the player's expected return compared to standard U. Rule Variations Rule Effect Single deck 0.
Beware Short Pays on a Blackjack More and more tables are showing up that pay less than the full 3 to 2 on a blackjack. Most of these tables pay 6 to 5, but some even money and 7 to 5 tables are known to exist. In my opinion, only games that pay 3 to 2 deserve to be called "blackjack," the rest fall under "21" games, including Super Fun 21 and Spanish Regardless of the other rules, you should demand nothing less than 3 to 2 blackjack.
You should always check the felt to be sure, and if the felt doesn't say, look for a sign. If nothing says the win on a blackjack, then ask. Three popular bad strategies encountered at the blackjack table are: never bust, mimic the dealer, and always assume the dealer has a ten in the hole. All three are very bad strategies. Following are my specific comments on each of them, including the house edge under Atlantic City rules dealer stands on soft 17, split up to 4 hands, double after split, double any two cards of 0.
Never bust: For my analysis of this strategy I assumed the player would never hit a hard 12 or more. All other decisions were according to correct basic strategy. This "never bust" strategy results in a house edge of 3. Mimic the dealer: For my analysis of this strategy I assumed the player would always hit 16 or less and stand on17 or more, including a soft The player never doubled or split, since the dealer is not allowed to do so.
The Wizard of Odds. The Wizard of Odds Search. Share this. Appendices 1: Total dependent expected return table for an infinite deck 2a: Probabilities of dealer blackjack after peek 2b: Probabilities of dealer blackjack before peek 3a: Exceptions to single-deck S17 basic strategy 3b: Exceptions to double-deck S17 basic strategy 3c: Exceptions to single-deck H17 basic strategy 4: Blackjack standard deviation details 5: Infinite deck expected return by player hand and dealer upcard 6: Fine points of when to surrender 7: Effect of card removal 8: Analysis of blackjack side bets 9: Composition-dependent expected returns for 1 to 8 decks Continuous shuffling machine vs.
Rules I overhear a lot of bad gambling advice in the casinos. Blackjack may be played with one to eight decks of card decks. Aces may be counted as 1 or 11 points, 2 to 9 according to pip value, and tens and face cards count as ten points. The value of a hand is the sum of the point values of the individual cards. Except, a "blackjack" is the highest hand, consisting of an ace and any point card, and it outranks all other point hands.
After the players have bet, the dealer will give two cards to each player and two cards to himself. One of the dealer cards is dealt face up. The facedown card is called the "hole card. Insurance wagers are optional and may not exceed half the original wager. If the dealer has a ten or an ace showing after offering insurance with an ace showing , then he will peek at his facedown card to see if he has a blackjack.
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