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Blackjack

Topic closed. 23 replies. Last post 11 years ago by Rip Snorter.

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Posted: July 1, 2005, 10:30 pm - IP Logged

Anyone interested in talking some blackjack....How the book relates to real life play, strategies based on where you're sitting at the table, how many players are at the table, how many decks in the shoe, how to bust a dealer streak, that sort of thing?

Soft 18

For instance, I tend to usually hit a soft 18 when I'm looking at a dealer 10.  It seems to almost always work for me, particularly when the dealer's been 'having' them.  I don't see many other people doing this.  Any views?

Splitting Aces

I never split aces looking at a dealer 10.... seems to be the best strategy and keeps me from having more money on the table when I'm looking at a 30 percent chance of a dealer 20.  Getting more money out there in that circumstance isn't one of my goals.  Any other thoughts?

Splitting nines

I never do it unless I'm trying to bust a dealer run, and I only do it with a table minimum bet.  18's a lousy hand unless you're looking at a dealer card, 8 or lower.  But two split nines will double the money on the table, maybe triple or quadruple it on a really uneasy set of possibilities.  If you have other thoughts I'd be interested in hearing them.

Hitting 12s looking at a dealer duece or trey

I don't do anything consistently on 12s or 13s, or twos and threes showing for the dealer...  I look over the table (I always play 3rd base if possible), know how many 10s have hit this round, as compared to the number of other cards showing.... then I listen to my gut.  Which is to say, I frequently hit a 12 or 13 when I'm looking at a dealer 2 or 3.  If everything feels right I'll sometimes double down on the 12, though I don't recommend it.

Splitting 10s

Playing 3rd base I consider splitting a pair of 10s when looking at a dealer 6 to be the best of all possible worlds when the high cards are coming out.  Nevertheless, I usually don't do it unless I have a high, or table-max bet and want to get money out there higher than I could bet otherwise.  Or, if I'm trying to bust a dealer run when I have a low bet out there and  figure he's going to come in with a 5 underneath and draw a 10.  Or, I do it on and off when I'm playing one-on-one and there aren't any other players to get ruffled about it.  Or if a player in first or second is splitting them, hitting 16s against a dealer 5 or six... that sort of thing.... when that happens I don't worry what the other players are going to think about what I do on third.

But I don't consider it a sacred cow, simply because it's a 20.  It's just another play, to be used in some situations, not in others, and whenever possible used in a way other players won't get miffed about. 

So.  These are a few areas I'd be interested in seeing some discussion about.  But I'd also be interest in seeing others.  I love blackjack, love blackjack strategy, love a full table or one on one.

Jack

 

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    Posted: July 1, 2005, 10:55 pm - IP Logged

    A few other possibilities for discussion:

    Splitting 6s

    I don't do it unless I have a  table minimum bet out and I'm trying to bust a dealer run.  Two 16s and twice the money on the table aren't an improvement, in my view.  But I'll listen to other ideas.

    Playing two hands:

    I always do it when the table's paying.  I alternate between one hand and two as a part of busting a dealer run strategy unless it begins costing too much because the dealer run refuses to bust.  When things are mediocre I usually stick with a single hand unless I test it and discover a second hand makes the difference.  Playing one on one I'll usually try it both ways and see which works best.

    Splitting 7s

    I neve do it unless I'm looking at a dealer 7 or lower.  Frequently I'll pass on a pair of 7s when I'm looking at a dealer bust card, but the dealer hasn't been busting.

    Splitting 8s

    I never split them looking at anything higher than an 8.  Makes no sense to me to get more money on the table for a good shot at two 18s when I'm looking at a dealer 9, 10 or ace.

    And so on if you care to talk blackjack.

    Jack

     

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      Posted: July 2, 2005, 12:43 am - IP Logged

      Soft 17

      No excuse, to my mind, not to hit every soft 17.  17 is the lousiest hand on the table if the dealer is showing anything but a bust card.  If the dealer's showing a 4,5, or six I double down on it.

      Surrender

      If the house allows surrender I'll do it about half the time if I've got a 15 or 16 and the dealer is showing a 9, 10 or ace. If I'm busting every time I hit a bust card, sometimes I'll surrender a 14 or 13 looking at a dealer 10.

      Insurance

      If I've got a double down hand and my bet is sufficiently high, and the dealer pulls an ace I'll sometimes insure for a quarter of my bet.... mostly, I don't do it.  If the dealer doesn't have a blackjack, you still have to beat whatever he's got underneath, which might well be a 19 or 20, or end up being that or worse.

      On the other hand, I'll usually take even money if I have a blackjack and the dealer's showing an ace unless my bet is table minimum.

      Splitting dueces and trey pairs

      Good piece of action to help bust a dealer run.  Also not bad for getting more money onto the table when the dealer's showing a 5 or 6.  But unless you want more money on the table and the dealer has a bust card, I'd counsel not to do it unless the dealer is refrigerator cold.

      Betting strategy

      You've got to have one if you're going to win at blackjack.  That dealer's going to win 51 percent of the hands, on average.  Even playing every edge available to you, if you don't vary your bets you're going to bleed to death on the long haul.  If you have a single, rigid betting strategy that doesn't take into account the way the table's running, you will lose.  And if don't allow yourself a lot of fluidity to change the strategy as the table changes, you'll lose. 

      I usually bring my bet back to table minimum when a player joins or leaves the table, so's to see how the table runs with one more, or one fewer players.  I lower my bet to table minimum, usually, when the dealer has to burn a card for any reason.  Unless, of course, a hot dealer's been on a run and I want to take advantage of the hope his streak will break because of the change in the number of players for a hand or two and the result will be a break in his wins, however brief, and I want to seize a chance to put a lot of money on the table.  Risky business, but it's a gamblers game.

      I've got several I use, depending on how the table's running.  Likely you have some too.  If you want to discuss possibilities, I'd be all ears. 

      Jack

       

       

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        Posted: July 2, 2005, 8:07 am - IP Logged

        Knowing when to leave the table

        A hot dealer is a metaphysical event, I believe.  It makes no sense any other way.  Some dealers stay hot all the time.  Others come to work hot, then cool off later in the day.  Some never seem to have a hot, even a hot hour.

        When I'm deciding what table to play I look at the dealer's tray.  If it's overflowing it might be the players are not good ones, but it probably means the dealer's been hot or that it's simply a hot table.  If I sit down at it, I do so without letting myself get comfy until I see what the table's doing.  I'll stay three hands of minimum bet no-win before I try a strategy to bust the dealer run.  I try that six more hands, and if it doesn't work, I leave the table, provided the entire table's losing. 

        That's roughly what I do when there's a change of dealers, also.  The burn card can change things, particularly one-on-one when dealers change.  But if I can't break the run one-on-one I'll get up with my chips, go to the refreshment bar, whatever, then return to the table and tell the dealer to burn a card, try again.

        But if the dealer stays hot, or the table's hot, or you're just having a bad day, you might as well change tables or go fishing.

        Choosing a table

        It's worth hanging around watching the play a few hands before you jump in.  Look at the tray.  An empty tray is always a good sign.  Watch to see whether the dealer's busting when he ought to bust.  Watch to see how the other players are playing their hands.  Look at the chips in front of them.

        But another thing I look for when I'm picking a table is the players.  If there's a loudmouth, full of lively talk and advice, someone who yells, Double Down! when the other players are making up their minds, I ask myself whether I want to sit at the table with this guy. 

        If there's someone on third, I watch his play pretty carefully.  I don't play for the table, but if the guy on third who isn't me isn't a table player, I usually won't play with him on third.... which is to say, if he plays the way I do...... I like a consistent, predictable player on third base if it isn't me.

        When to quit

        An acquaintance of mine, Tony, old-time blackjack dealer, card gambler who's worked casinos everywhere for 40 years managed to put together $100K for a snatch and grab operation in Vegas.... he had a friend much like himself with another $100K as part of the operation, both seasoned for life players. 

        The third part of the operation was a mutual friend of both, a dealer in Vegas.  These guys were planning to retire off this trip.  They had every reason to believe they would.  They all knew the ropes.

        When two experienced players know what cards are going to hit next, still can't win, it's time to go watch the naked dancing girls or something.  But it took them too long to set up this exact circumstance.  It was a one time deal.... If those two particular players sat down at with that particular dealer..... well, it just couldn't be repeated.

        So, Tony and his accomplices played out the whole deadly routine..... died and went to heaven moneywise on that table, that setup.....all that saving, all that planning and scheming down the drain, and three guys broke.  Guys who should have known there's a time when it's best just to cut your losses.

        Jack

          johnph77's avatar - avatar
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          Posted: July 2, 2005, 2:02 pm - IP Logged

          Jack -

          Nice work. But card counting, while legal, is frowned upon in Las Vegas and those who make unreasonable bets (usually more than four times what you've been betting per hand) when the cards are right will quickly result in a polite, then a not-so-polite request to leave the casino. And, as your "When to Quit" story pointed out, it doesn't always work in the short term. Furthermore, do it too often and/or in too amny places and you'll make LV's Griffin Book, people who are persona non grata at any casino.

          Buying insurance is one of the worst bets in the game.

          Take care and gl

          j

          Blessed Saint Leibowitz, keep 'em dreamin' down there..... 

          Next week's convention for Psychics and Prognosticators has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

           =^.^=

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            Posted: July 2, 2005, 2:13 pm - IP Logged

            Thanks for the reply..... I'm hoping I never mentioned card counting in the treatise above.  My thought is that it's not possible to count cards in a shoe game, or on an autoshuffler.

            I vary my bets a lot.... never been asked to leave a casino anywhere.  Maybe I've just been lucky.

            Gracias for the comments, amigo

            Jack

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              Poway CA (San Diego County)
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              Posted: July 2, 2005, 2:32 pm - IP Logged

              Rip Snorter,

              I'm not going to comment on each item because I charge for my blackjack teaching and it wouldn't be fair to give you a free lesson.  A number of my students read my posts here.  I have made a living playing blackjack but quit when my wife asked me to.  She likes a steady, predictable paycheck and you can't have that when you are a professional gambler.  I played $5 hands (pressing when winning, of course) and averaged about $100 a day.  But I quit and got a job that paid me $250 a day with a steady paycheck!!

              I will tell you that you have too many "ifs" and "unless", etc.  I don't ever have to think about my hand and how I'm going to play it.  I have a very strict set of rules and I follow them EXACTLY.  Those of my students that have done the same have been VERY happy with the results.  One of them is now a professional gambler in Las Vegas.  When I lived near Las Vegas, I used to go there and play blackjack one weekend out of the month.  I did that for 4 years and NEVER left with less than I went with.  That means that my gambling paid for my room, meals, transportation, shows, etc.

              I wish you luck.  I think you need to rethink all of your uncertainties and find a rule to always play.

               

                Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
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                Posted: July 2, 2005, 2:38 pm - IP Logged

                A few comments from this blackjack fan:

                • For the soft 18's, I agree with your strategy, and I would further recommend doubling down on a soft 18 when the dealer is showing an seven or lower.
                • Splitting aces when dealing is showing a ten: I would ALWAYS do it.  In my experience, winning BIG at blackjack involves placing the right (big) bets at the 3-4 key moments that happen in a night.  This is one of them.
                • Splitting 10's:  Sorry, but never, never do this.  You could very easily be giving away your big winning hand.  As opposed to my previous comment on aces, in which you are GIVING AWAY NOTHING, and instead setting yourself up for a big win.  Splitting 10's gives up a hand that will win 95% of the time, with a good chance of giving you back zilch.
                • Splitting 8's:  Always do this, regardless of what the dealer has.  You're starting with one of the worst hands in blackjack (16), and giving yourself a chance at two decent hands.
                • Hitting 12's: The only time I don't hit a twelve is if the dealer is showing a 4, 5, or 6.  Every other time I hit without thinking about it.
                • Hitting 13's: I stand if the dealer is showing a 3, 4, 5, or 6, and hit on everything else.
                • Splitting 9's: I would do it if the dealer is showing a 4, 5, or 6.
                • Never take insurance, no matter what.  Occasionally you will lose, but you'll lose a lot more in the long run if you take insurance.
                • I agree on your table selection.  I like third base, because I don't count cards.  Also, it's wise to avoid tables with too many newbies -- although if they consistently play their cards based on your advice, it's a GOOD thing (for both of you).
                • In lieu of counting cards, count fives.  If most of the fives have been expended, then the deck is friendly.

                 

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                  Bradly_60's avatar - disney37
                  Atlantic Mine, Michigan
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                  Posted: July 2, 2005, 2:46 pm - IP Logged

                  I have to agree with Todd on all of his advice.  I play blackjack quite a bit at the local casino and with the experiences I have had I tend to find those rules the best to go by.  And about the splitting tens thing...everytime someone does it I was to reach over to their side of the table and smack them.  Why would you throw away a winning hand?  That makes no since to me whatsoever.

                  Brad

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                    Posted: July 2, 2005, 2:57 pm - IP Logged

                    I have to agree with Todd on all of his advice.  I play blackjack quite a bit at the local casino and with the experiences I have had I tend to find those rules the best to go by.  And about the splitting tens thing...everytime someone does it I was to reach over to their side of the table and smack them.  Why would you throw away a winning hand?  That makes no since to me whatsoever.

                    Brad

                    Hi Brad.  Thanks for the comment.  I think I've explained why I split tens sometimes and when.  Different strokes, thinks I.  I do try to keep it to the tables, circumstances I described.  Best you and I never play at the same table, is all..... I don't play for the table.

                    Jack

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                      Posted: July 2, 2005, 2:59 pm - IP Logged

                      Rip Snorter,

                      I'm not going to comment on each item because I charge for my blackjack teaching and it wouldn't be fair to give you a free lesson.  A number of my students read my posts here.  I have made a living playing blackjack but quit when my wife asked me to.  She likes a steady, predictable paycheck and you can't have that when you are a professional gambler.  I played $5 hands (pressing when winning, of course) and averaged about $100 a day.  But I quit and got a job that paid me $250 a day with a steady paycheck!!

                      I will tell you that you have too many "ifs" and "unless", etc.  I don't ever have to think about my hand and how I'm going to play it.  I have a very strict set of rules and I follow them EXACTLY.  Those of my students that have done the same have been VERY happy with the results.  One of them is now a professional gambler in Las Vegas.  When I lived near Las Vegas, I used to go there and play blackjack one weekend out of the month.  I did that for 4 years and NEVER left with less than I went with.  That means that my gambling paid for my room, meals, transportation, shows, etc.

                      I wish you luck.  I think you need to rethink all of your uncertainties and find a rule to always play.

                       

                      Califdude:

                      The fact I don't believe what you're saying in that post doesn't mean it isn't true.  It just means I don't believe you.

                      However, thanks for the reply.

                      Jack

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                        Posted: July 2, 2005, 3:01 pm - IP Logged

                        A few comments from this blackjack fan:

                        • For the soft 18's, I agree with your strategy, and I would further recommend doubling down on a soft 18 when the dealer is showing an seven or lower.
                        • Splitting aces when dealing is showing a ten: I would ALWAYS do it.  In my experience, winning BIG at blackjack involves placing the right (big) bets at the 3-4 key moments that happen in a night.  This is one of them.
                        • Splitting 10's:  Sorry, but never, never do this.  You could very easily be giving away your big winning hand.  As opposed to my previous comment on aces, in which you are GIVING AWAY NOTHING, and instead setting yourself up for a big win.  Splitting 10's gives up a hand that will win 95% of the time, with a good chance of giving you back zilch.
                        • Splitting 8's:  Always do this, regardless of what the dealer has.  You're starting with one of the worst hands in blackjack (16), and giving yourself a chance at two decent hands.
                        • Hitting 12's: The only time I don't hit a twelve is if the dealer is showing a 4, 5, or 6.  Every other time I hit without thinking about it.
                        • Hitting 13's: I stand if the dealer is showing a 3, 4, 5, or 6, and hit on everything else.
                        • Splitting 9's: I would do it if the dealer is showing a 4, 5, or 6.
                        • Never take insurance, no matter what.  Occasionally you will lose, but you'll lose a lot more in the long run if you take insurance.
                        • I agree on your table selection.  I like third base, because I don't count cards.  Also, it's wise to avoid tables with too many newbies -- although if they consistently play their cards based on your advice, it's a GOOD thing (for both of you).
                        • In lieu of counting cards, count fives.  If most of the fives have been expended, then the deck is friendly.

                        Todd:

                        Interesting thoughts.  Nice reply.  Thanks.

                        Jack

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                          Posted: July 2, 2005, 3:53 pm - IP Logged

                          Rip Snorter,

                          I'm not going to comment on each item because I charge for my blackjack teaching and it wouldn't be fair to give you a free lesson.  A number of my students read my posts here.  I have made a living playing blackjack but quit when my wife asked me to.  She likes a steady, predictable paycheck and you can't have that when you are a professional gambler.  I played $5 hands (pressing when winning, of course) and averaged about $100 a day.  But I quit and got a job that paid me $250 a day with a steady paycheck!!

                          I will tell you that you have too many "ifs" and "unless", etc.  I don't ever have to think about my hand and how I'm going to play it.  I have a very strict set of rules and I follow them EXACTLY.  Those of my students that have done the same have been VERY happy with the results.  One of them is now a professional gambler in Las Vegas.  When I lived near Las Vegas, I used to go there and play blackjack one weekend out of the month.  I did that for 4 years and NEVER left with less than I went with.  That means that my gambling paid for my room, meals, transportation, shows, etc.

                          I wish you luck.  I think you need to rethink all of your uncertainties and find a rule to always play.

                           

                          Califdude:

                          The fact I don't believe what you're saying in that post doesn't mean it isn't true.  It just means I don't believe you.

                          However, thanks for the reply.

                          Jack

                          You don't have to believe me.  I don't lie and I hate liars and cheats.  I'm sorry you think I'm a liar but that is your call. 

                          Good Luck with your blackjack.  You will need it!!

                           

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                            Posted: July 2, 2005, 3:56 pm - IP Logged

                            Califdude:

                            Yeah, I hate them too.

                            Good luck.

                            Jack

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                              Posted: July 2, 2005, 4:25 pm - IP Logged

                              If this thread serves any purpose at all, it ought to prove to each of us that we don't know as much about the game of blackjack as we believe we do.  We have differing views on how things should be played, evidently each of us has a body of experience to give us reason for our views, including a history of winning.  All of us probably know a few professional gamblers and have enough experience in that line to know the difference between a pekinese and a pit bull.

                              But evidently there's a lot more leeway on a blackjack table than I'd have thought in order to accomodate all of us with our differing views.

                              Those of you who've offered up some of your own methods, I'm grateful.  I'll give them a try against my own.

                              Thanks for the replies.

                              Jack