Basic Strategy Only
  • If I master the BS rules for Atlantic City, and never learn "counting" or "progressive" betting and bet the same on each hand I play, am I going to get "hammered"?
  • Hammered no, bored yes.
  • The longer you play, the more hammered you get, based on statistics. I'm not sure I buy into the whole progression thing yet.
  • Your leaning basic strategy so you wouldn't get hammered. You'll even make money now and then in the short run, but in the long run the casino has that 1/2 percent advantage. Are you playing blackjack to make money or be entertained. If it's entertainment, then play basic strategy blackjack and enjoy yourself. The mathematicians say there is no advantage to a progression betting system over flat betting, but it's fun when the streaks are going your way.
  • Ted – As others have already said…..You won’t get “hammered”.

    Assuming a game with an EV of -0.50%, a full table where you are getting about 75 hands an hour, and you are flat betting nickels……Your expected loss is about $1.90 per hour.

    Grifter
  • I'd add this to Grifter's reply to Ted: ... which could take the form of losing $100 per hour for the first nine hours and winning $881 in the tenth hour for that net loss of $19.00. Or winning $900 in hours 1-9 and losing $919 in hour ten. Or something in between.
    PS You WILL get hammered in more ways than one if you keep accepting drinks from the cocktail waitress.
  • To Grifter: Correct me if I am wrong. $1.90 in nickels is the equivalent of 38 five dollar chips. Thats $190 in one hour? Is that correct? If I play for 3 hours I would lose $570. I call that getting "hammered".
  • Dog, my drink is tomato juice with ice and a side of diet coke. I give the girl a buck for each drink.
  • Ted - Sorry for confusing you.

    A "nickel" is the accepted gambling term for a five dollar bet.

    Grif'
  • Tad -- Good choice of drinks. As I posted a few weeks back, drinking plenty of Diet Coke just before entering and while at the casino is an excellent strategy to minimize losses.
  • Grifter...still confused. Isn't $1.90 in "nickels" the equivalent of one hundred ninety bucks?
  • Ted, the 0.05% house edge, that is, one half of one percent, translates into ($1.90) One Dollar and Ninety Cents (actually $1.875) if you're flat betting $5 per hand, 75 hands per hour, in one hour. Just don't walk into a casino with the grocery money and expect to come out with just $3.75 less of it after two hours.
  • Ted - Desert Dog's answer is 100% correct.......G
  • Hah DD, and as an extreme case would be to gamble your RENT MONEY or your CAR NOTE.... :lol: :lol: :lol:
  • Let me get this straight. If I play 75 hands in one hour and each bet is $5
    I will lose $1.90. I multiplied 75 hands times 5 and got $375.00. The $375 figure is what I bet for the hour. I will lose one half of one percent to the house because that is their edge. One percent is $3.75 and half of that is
    $1.875 or $1.90....The one half of one percent is predicated on my playing perfect basic strategy. Correct?
  • Ted said:
    Let me get this straight. If I play 75 hands in one hour and each bet is $5
    I will lose $1.90. I multiplied 75 hands times 5 and got $375.00. The $375 figure is what I bet for the hour. I will lose one half of one percent to the house because that is their edge. One percent is $3.75 and half of that is
    $1.875 or $1.90....The one half of one percent is predicated on my playing perfect basic strategy. Correct?


    Sounds about right, but that's the average over a lot of hands (I believe Renzey said approx. 80,000 hands). So your results would likely vary significantly from there. Over the long haul, that's about right, though.
  • Yup, in the veryyyyyyyyyyyyyy long haul, just like you're down 1 out of 200 hands, simulated a couple BILLION hands... streaks up and down will happen MUCH more often than you seeing a 1/200 fault.
  • On the Long Run vs. the Short Run: Every short run, even a single hand is merely one tiny random snipet of the long run. And any short run's anticipated value before it occurs is exactly the same as for the long run. That being true, what strategy could possibly be right for the short run, but wrong for the long run -- since after you add all your short runs together, they become the long run.
  • Does anyone have a table that shows the percentage of wins a person should expect with each specific up card that the dealer shows? ie, if the dealers up card is a ten, how often will he win?
  • I dont, but I can give you close approximations of the dealer BREAKING:

    If dealer shows:

    2-4, They'll end up NOT breaking a little more than 60-65% of the time, we have ~35-40% chance of winning

    5-6, They'll break ~43% or win ~57% (obviously our best winning chances against straightup dealer shows)

    THEY WILL BREAK 35-43% OF THE TIME WITH THESE BUST CARDS

    7-10 They'll break <35% of the time (the higher the card value the less of a chance of them breaking)<br />
    Ace - They will break only ~17% of the time, or 1/6 hands which usually occurs by having a soft 12-16 than drawing 2 "big ones".

    **UNLESS CARD COUNTING YOU SHOULD ALWAYS HIT YOUR HARD 16 AGAINST ACE UP!!**
  • Can anyone explain why it is correct BS to double with an A/2, A/3, A/4,
    A/5, A/6, A/7, against a dealer 4/5/or 6. Like everyone else, I have a "know it all" friend who says you never double with a soft hand against any dealer hand, anywhere in the world. I have seen without exaggeration 15 different charts. They all say to "double" in the hands I described. The problem is, I can't explain why.
  • Michigan Dave said:
    Does anyone have a table that shows the percentage of wins a person should expect with each specific up card that the dealer shows? ie, if the dealers up card is a ten, how often will he win?


    The table you are looking for can be found in Revere's book, "Playing Blackjack As A Business" (1980 edition) on page 70.

    Grifter
  • Ted,

    First of all, it is NOT correct to double on all those soft hands you listed. It is however correct to double all soft hands to *18* against 5-6 ONLY for MC, and 19 for single deck against 6.

    The point is that when the dealer shows 3-6 is the highest probability that he will bust, and, when doubling your seemingly STRONG hands (17-18) against them is actually the correct move because you are a) taking FULL ADVANTAGE of your situation by doubling down when it is opportune, but more importantly b) you're giving yourself an added chance to draw a 3-4 to give you 21, or even ANY 10-valued card to give you the same thing you started with. That is why when you have a soft 17/18 is the best soft-DOUBLE you can do because 8/13 cards will make your hand, and only 5 will hurt you. But the VAST MAJORITY of BJ players wouldn't ever mess up a 18, be it soft or not because they dont know BS and therefore dont know any better. I can still remember when the ENTIRE TABLE gave me guilt feelings for doubling my soft 18 against dealer 4... even the dealer sided them cuz that old fart didn't know any better. But it's all good cuz I know I did the correct play, going into it a 62% favorite.

    Do you know exactly how to properly play your soft hands, Ted?
  • Ted said:
    Can anyone explain why it is correct BS to double with an A/2, A/3, A/4,
    A/5, A/6, A/7, against a dealer 4/5/or 6. Like everyone else, I have a "know it all" friend who says you never double with a soft hand against any dealer hand, anywhere in the world. I have seen without exaggeration 15 different charts. They all say to "double" in the hands I described. The problem is, I can't explain why.


    Mostly you're taking advantage of that weak dealer upcard while you've got an unbustable hand. Plus, soft hands are versatile. Example: double on A/3 (vs dealer 5 or 6 only) and then get a 5,6 or 7 gives you 19, 20, or 21 which is great; get an 8, 9 or 10 and you've got a 12, 13 or 14 vs that weak dealer upcard which isn't terrible; get a 2, 3, or 4 and you've got 16, 17 or 18 again vs that weak dealer upcard is OK too. I can't imagine why anyone would tell you never to double a soft hand. I guarantee that players who don't double soft hands walk away losers more often than players who do.
  • Thanks Dog, I am able to make the argument you made, but I was looking for more detail, ie: percentages etc.
  • Ted, was my post preceding Dog's not detailed enough for you? Is there something I could go in more detail that would fully suffice for you?
  • Bug, I NEVER saw your post 'til now. I don't know how I missed it, but I just didn't see it. Now, I am absolutely satisfied that I know how to play my soft hands. I always use a "cheat card" in Atlantic City which is the only place I play. I'll get it memorized, but that ain't too important yet.
    My chart says...Double A/7 against a dealer 3,4,5,6...........Double A/6 against dealer 3,4,5,6.......Double A/5 against dealer 4,5,6. .......
    Double A/4 against dealer 4,5,6.............and.....A/3 and A/2 are to be doubled aginst a dealer 5,6. Which of these is incorrect BS?
  • Ted said:
    ...My chart says...Double A/7 against a dealer 3,4,5,6...........Double A/6 against dealer 3,4,5,6.......Double A/5 against dealer 4,5,6. .......
    Double A/4 against dealer 4,5,6.............and.....A/3 and A/2 are to be doubled aginst a dealer 5,6. Which of these is incorrect BS?


    None of those are incorrect, Ted. Everything there is perfectly right. The only variation is if dealer hits soft 17, then you would also double on A/8 vs 6, and in single or double-deck you'd also double on A/3 vs 4. (F. Renzey, pages 54-56.)

    The weakest of those soft doubles is a 52% favorite and they go up from there, so with that kind of favorable tilt, you go for it. Somewhere in all the publications and websites there's a chart that gives these percentages but I'm not sure exactly where right now.
  • Ted, it's all cool. I just was wondering since you mentioned nothing about my post :shock:

    Yeah, DD: I'd like to see the % breakdown of those soft hands. That'd be nice!! I actually had some particular questions about soft doubling but I'll address that on a totally new thread to not confuse topics.
  • Here is my current problem. Very specifically it is "splitting 6's". I am convinced that splitting 6's in a DAS game is the correct play vs. a dealer 2-6. But, if anyone can elaborate on the percentages on playing this hand it would be welcome. I hear arguments about splitting 6's such as, "why take a bad hand and make 2 bad hands out of it"? I just got Fred and Walter's books in the mail. They both say to split 6's in the above situation. But, I need percentages on this hand. Mucho gracias.
  • ON SPLITTING 6's: The prevalent comment, "Why take one bad hand and make two bad hands out of it", often stems from that same old twisted perception that the dealer usually has a 10 in the hole -- which is false. You should split 6's in a shoe game even against a deuce (as long as you can DAS) because a total of 12 is already a stiff, but a total of 6 is a long way from being anything.
    THE NUMBERS: If you just hit 6/6 against a deuce, you win 37 and lose 63 out of 100 (counting pushes as a half win and a half loss) for a status of minus 26.
    If you stand, you win 35 (when the dealer breaks) and lose 65 for a status of minus 30.
    If you split 6/6 vs. 2 (with DAS) 100 times, you win 115 units and lose 135 units counting doubles, re-splits and pushes for a status of minus 20.
    When you split 6/6 vs. 2 and cannot DAS, you win 93 units and lose 120 units counting re-splits and pushes for a status of minus 27.
    Thus, splitting 6/6 vs. 2 in a shoe game is correct if you can DAS and slightly wrong if you can't.
    At the other end, with 6/6/vs. 6 -- hitting loses 17 units after 100 tries and standing loses 15 units. Splitting with DAS actually wins 12 units and splitting without DAS loses 2 units. So with this hand, splitting is always better regardless of the rules -- and it's because having 6 twice is NOT tantamount to ending up with two 16's.
  • I'm fighting a losing battle on this specific hand. I am being told that the odds are 8 to 5 against me when I split 6's. I don't know why they are 8 to 5, but my buddy says it is. But, I am dealing with an individual who is my life long best friend who never read a book in his life and has never researched anything. He say's that all the people who publish books and charts on BJ have had all the groundwork laid out for them by people like John Scarne's "Complete Guide to Gambling". Does Scarne, in his BJ charts discuss the 6/6 split? I went to my local library and they have nothing on Scarne. Who preceeded Scarne? I've searched any number of sites on Scarne and I get the idea that he was more of a poker player and magician and an arrogant SOB to boot. Would anyone care to comment on this post, especially on the 6/6 split?

    TO FRED: Many thanks for your reply to my original post. Can you add anything regarding this 8 to 5 against me business?
  • Ted – I will answer part of your question. To my knowledge John Scarne had nothing to do with the development of blackjack as we know it today. Scarne was a premier magician, card shark, and hustler; but not a mathematician.

    Modern blackjack was introduced in 1962 with Dr. Edward Thorp’s “Beat the Dealer, the breakthrough on how to win at blackjack. During the late 60’s and 70’s many other mathematicians analyzed and expanded on Thorp’s original work, namely…. Julian Braun, Lawrence Revere, Peter Griffin, Lance Humble, Stanford Wong, and others. Most, if not all, of the books of these ‘math guys’ are still available and are excellent reading and resource material.

    Regarding the 8 to 5 odds issue, I don’t have a clue where your friend is coming from. Can he give you a source? Personally, I agree 100% with Fred's numbers above.
  • Ted, I had to dig to find it, but it is called Scarne's Guide to Casino Gambling. Yep, they called it gambling back then.... The book was copywrited in 1961 and again in 1974. It was published by Simon & Schuster.
  • Midnite - That is a different book, but does it have tables in it? It may be similar to the one Ted is talking about......G
  • TO MIDNITE: Does Scarne have a basic strategy chart in his book? What does he say about splitting 6's, if anything.

    TO GRIFTER: I thought I saw a site that referred to Scarne as a great mathematician. I am going to get a statement from my friend or at least his reasoning for this 8 to 5 business.

    Thanks guys..
  • Ted - I wrote that from memory this morning so I could be wrong, but I have never seen Scarne associated with the 'big boys' I mentioned and I have been studying this game quite a while (I bought my copy of "Beat the Dealer" in 1966 :lol: )
  • TED: From the way you characterize the sophistication of your buddy, I'm sure that he got his "8-to-5" figure from the fact that 8 hit cards out of 13 (6 thru King) will turn a 6 into a stiff -- and only five will give you a good drawing hand. This is a typical observation for a "street" player.
  • Fred, I almost hate to ask this question, but if 8 cards can hurt a 6/6 split, and only 5 can help, why is he wrong. What is he doing wrong with his computing? He is obviously "missing some point" but I do not have the ability to tell him what he is doing wrong.
  • Ted said:
    Fred, I almost hate to ask this question, but if 8 cards can hurt a 6/6 split, and only 5 can help, why is he wrong. What is he doing wrong with his computing? He is obviously "missing some point" but I do not have the ability to tell him what he is doing wrong.


    Yes, 8 cards will turn a 6 into a stiff hand, and 5 won't. That doesn't mean the odds are 8 to 5 against you to lose. You still have to consider what happens to the dealer's hand. This may be overly simplistic, and Midnite, Grifter, or Fred (or anyone else) can correct me if this doesn't explain it.

    Leaving aside the deuce upcard/DAS exception, the worst odds of losing a 6/6 split are against the 3, and whatever those odds are, while still not over the 50% mark, they're substantially better than 8 to 5. If you just hit you are indeed an 8 to 5 underdog according to page 79 of BJBB II.
  • I have obtained a copy of Scarne's Guide To Casino Gambling. Copyright 1978. Pages 64 to 129 are devoted exclusively to Blackjack. I am going to encapsule Scarne's most provocative words.

    1. In 1976 Scarne challenged Thorp, Wilson, Braun and Revere to a $100,000 challenge. Scarne claimed that the computer-tested systems were "strictly humbug". They accepted his challenge. A ton of rules were written. The game was to be played at the Caribe in Puerto Rico. Scarne claimed that Thorpe had refused a $100,000 challenge in 1964 at the Sands. For all kinds of reasons the 1976 challenge did not come off either. Scarne claimed that all these mathematical geniuses and their counting systems were a hoax and there systems were mathamatical impossibilities. Scarne claimed "they are trying to make a living selling books. sytems and seminars" and additionally had attempted to bribe Vegas dealers.

    Scarne uses a 4 deck system when he claims he "never splits 6's".
    He will not split 8's against a dealer 9, 10 or Ace.
    He will split 7's only against a dealer 5, 6, or 7.
    He will not split 9's against a dealer 7.
    A player should stand with a soft 18 or higher against a dealer 2, 3, 4 5, and 6.

    These are just a couple of BS plays which do not match with any of the BJBS books or charts I have seen. Scarne never even mentions DAS. Scarne talks primarily of Vegas, but I know that AC was brand new in 1976. He was very, very much into the mathematics of BJ. I don't know if he was right or wrong yet, but he was clearly more than just a magician and poker player. Damn, there is so much to read and know.
  • That's just BOLLOCKS!

    Bloody hell, what a load of crap.
  • Ted, I wouldn't worry much about what Scarne said. On page 95 for example, he says never to split four's, five's, six's or ten's. Then on the same page he say "As a matter of fact, I often split 10-valued cards when the dealer's upcard is a 19 count." On page 105, he gives his Scarne Countdown System. That is interesting reading.
  • LoL... yeah, and I too am living in a fantasy world with 100 counts even!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:
  • midnite said:
    Ted, I wouldn't worry much about what Scarne said. On page 95 for example, he says never to split four's, five's, six's or ten's. Then on the same page he say "As a matter of fact, I often split 10-valued cards when the dealer's upcard is a 19 count." On page 105, he gives his Scarne Countdown System. That is interesting reading.



    I wouldn't split 5's and 10's either. In addition, splitting 4's is only OK in a DAS game. I don't know if Scarne ever played in a house with DAS rules. He never evens mentions DAS in his book. I wonder if DAS is an innovation that came about after Scarne. The only problem I have is the damn 6's.

    On page 105 when he refers to his counting system, he uses a one deck game and waits till the end of the shoe to make a "play". I wish I could get something straight about the # of decks being used. Just how important is the # of decks in a game. Is it the single most important feature regarding how you should play your hand or is just incidental and makes only a very, very minor difference?
  • Ted – Midnite is right. Don’t worry about what Scarne is saying. I’m sure it is a “good read” because he was an interesting character, but it is not going to help you learn to play better blackjack.

    Let’s go back to your splitting sixes question for example: Renzey has already shown you the correct percentages against a deuce and a six (and they “say” split). For the trey, four, and five you could go to the library and read Julian Braun’s “How to Play Winning Blackjack”, or Midnite could post those win/loss percentages (he has the book, I don’t). Or maybe Renzey could post them from his own calculations.

    There are many other sources, but Braun's has the best set of tables on this that I have seen.
  • Wow, the cheapest you can buy this book (used) on Amazon is $45. Most copies are selling for over $90.
  • :roll: :roll: Yeah, and you people wonder why I FRET when asked to "buy the book buy the book"! §igh. :roll: :roll:
  • TED: The thing that makes some of the proper plays look wrong (such as with 6/6) is that when you do play them correctly, you're an underdog to win (such as with your friend's 8-to-5 perspective). You must remember that the correct play is the best play CONSIDERING THE ALTERNATIVES.
    When you have 6/6 against a deuce, you're going to be an underdog no matter how you play that hand. But you become the smallest possible underdog by splitting! As mentioned before, when standing you win 35 and lose 65 out of 100. When hitting you win 37 and lose 63 (after adjusting for ties). But when splitting you win 115 and lose 135 (counting doubles and re-splits). Splitting loses the least and is therefore the least of three evils with this hand.
    As for John Scarne? He was primarily a pre-computer era gambling authority. Many of his edicts were found to be in error when analyzed in depth through sophisticated combinatorial analysis and later via mega run simulations.
    Some errors were significant enough that you can discover them yourself. For example, shuffle four decks together and give yourself 8/8 against a dealer's Ace. Just hit it 100 times and record your wins vs. losses (counting pushes as a half win and a half loss, which negates their effect). Then split it 100 times recording the same. DAS doesn't even matter here, since you won't double with 10 or 11 against an Ace. Your individual results may vary somewhat, but the odds are that by hitting you'll go 24 and 76. By splitting you'll go 88 and 126. Hitting loses 52 bets over the course of 100 starting hands. Splitting loses 38 total bets out of the 200 new hands (214 hands counting re-splits). The probability chances that hitting will do better over this sample size is 3%. Note that if you actually care to do this experiment, two decks will work out virtually the same as four (with a single deck, the difference is even more pronounced in favor of splitting). Also, understand that it's perfectly legitimate to just keep dealing through the whole pack, rather than to shuffle after each hand.
    To OTHERS: As far as I can remember from my early reading, I think DAS was standard equipment in Las Vegas before the big Thorp shakeup. So was re-splitting Aces.
  • First of all, let me thank you guys for dealing with my rookie questions. Somehow things bug me until I get them straight. Now, this is what I am going to do: I need input as to whether or not I am doing this right.
    I am gonna take 2 decks of cards. I am going to give the dealer a down card and a deuce. I am going to give the player, (me) a pair of sixes.
    Then I will hit the pair of sixes. I will play basic strategy and the dealer must hit 16. I will play 100 hands. Should take me a couple of days. I wil record wins, losses, and busts for me and the dealer.

    Then after I get that done I will play another 200 hands. The dealer will have his down card and his deuce and I will have my pair of sixes. I will now split my sixes all the time and play 200 hands. I will DAS and play basic strategy.

    What I am looking for is to see how close I come to Fred's figures. I aint gonna shuffle the cards after each hand. I will just play through the entire decks in each situation. Obviously when I use up the 2 decks I will reshuffle. Am I leaving anything out?
  • No. Just be sure to do it at least pb]100x[/b] for an ACCURATELY APPROPRIATE SAMPLE SIZE.

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