## Blackjack Questions Answered!

Here you will find six of the most important and common Blackjack questions and answers -- so feel free to bookmark this site and come back. Also feel free to send me your story or question (your email address will be kept confidential and never traded, sold or given away). My email is

Did you know that the odds of winning at casino Blackjack vary depending on the number of decks used in the game, how often they are shuffled (and if a shuffling machine is in use), and on the "

**info @ winningblackjack.ca**-- remove the spaces before and after the @ symbol.Did you know that the odds of winning at casino Blackjack vary depending on the number of decks used in the game, how often they are shuffled (and if a shuffling machine is in use), and on the "

**house rules**"? Generally, your odds of winning at Blackjack can range from about**42%**for an inexperienced player who thinks it's "all luck", up to around**49%**for someone utilizing perfect "basic strategy". A good card counter can increase their odds of winning up to around 52% over time.**Q1. I was told I would do better if I had a pair of face cards and the dealer’s turn card was a 6 to split – would this be in my favor?**

It's all about the probability of certain cards remaining to be dealt that change your chances of winning or losing a hand. And it definitely is not easy to increase your odds permanently (but it is worth it)! Learning and applying perfect Basic Strategy has to be the first (and most important) step. And Basic Strategy indicates that you MUST stand with your 2 face cards ("hard" 20). You have an excellent chance of beating the dealer's starting point of "6" with your great hand totaling "20". Why double your bet just to have 2 pretty good starting totals of "10"? This is the main reason that casinos let players double and split. Think of all the extra money they are making because people think that the dealer's "6" all but guarantees the player will win no matter what. This is not the case...

That being said, even if you are keeping track of the proportion of high cards versus low cards remaining to be dealt (and not even keeping a perfect hi-low count), there are times where it will be advantageous to do exactly the kind of thing you mentioned - such as splitting your pair of 10's to a dealer's 5 or 6. In order for this move to be advantageous to you, there has to be a significant disproportion of high cards remaining to be dealt. If this is the case, you have a better chance of securing high totals for yourself and/or the dealer busting.

If you do take the time to learn the basic hi-low card counting system as described in the book and you want to take it to the next level, have a look at the

**Blackjack card counting index chart**on the

**Winning Casino Blackjack**website.

You will see by the chart that it is a GOOD move to split your pair of face cards (or any pair of 10-value cards) to the dealer's 6, when the count is +5 or higher. Basically, this means that there are at least 5 more high value cards (on average) than there should be according to the math...

**Q2. Would it eliminate the casino’s edge if I hit on all 16’s and stand on 17 and up, just like the dealer does?**

This would not be a good thing to do. This “mimic the dealer” play is flawed right from the start and is a losing scenario because in casino Blackjack, the player must act on their hand first. If the player “busts”, they lose the hand even if the dealer also busts.

Most casinos have altered the traditional rule regarding the dealers’ required actions in how they play their hands. Most now hit up until “soft 17” and stand on “hard 17” (a soft hand is one that could not be busted by the taking of an additional card – for example, an Ace and a six). This is taken right out of the players’ best known tool – your “basic strategy”. A soft total of 17 should always be hit because it can usually be improved, and if it can’t be improved it was probably a losing hand anyway.

The casino’s only real advantage in the game of Blackjack (aside from the plays made by most players who are either uninformed, stupid, lazy, addicted, drunk, etc), is the fact that they get to play out their hands after the players do. Basic strategy is full of great plays that the player can use to reduce the house’s edge – such as doubling down and splitting at advantageous times.

The surest way to lose at Blackjack is to “mimic the dealer”, avoid basic strategy, bet flat (same bet all the time), or increase bets when losing.

**Q3. How much money should I bring to a casino for a few hours of Blackjack?**

Using proper

**Blackjack money management**when playing in a casino is extremely important. You want to have enough money to ride out an early losing streak, and to take advantage of good opportunities to split and double-down (definitely learn basic strategy first). Of course, if you are counting cards you need a sufficient bank-roll to increase your bet for good positive counts.

I recommend a minimum starting stake of at least 30 betting units for a basic strategy player. This means that if your minimum bet is $5, then you should begin your playing session with $150. At a $10 table your stake should be $300 and at a $25 table, your starting stake should be $750.

**Q4. Should I take insurance when the dealer shows an Ace (or "even money" on my Blackjack when the dealer shows an Ace)?**

If you are counting cards and know that there are a disproportionate number of 10-value cards remaining, then you should take insurance. Otherwise, NEVER take insurance (or even money on your Blackjack).

The insurance bet is in fact a "side bet" that the dealer has a 10-value card under the Ace, and therefore has a Blackjack. The insurance bet is half of your original bet and pays 2 to 1 if you win (that is, the dealer has a Blackjack). In every suit in a deck of cards, there are 4 possible cards that could give the dealer a Blackjack when showing an Ace (ten, jack, queen, king). There are 9 possible cards that the dealer could have that would not produce a Blackjack, and therefore your insurance bet would be lost (Ace through nine).

So as you can see, if you are not counting cards, you have to assume the odds are 9 to 4 AGAINST the dealer having a Blackjack. If you win the insurance bet it pays 2 to 1 (which is like 8 to 4), so the house’s edge on this bet is quite large. The insurance bet is a sucker bet most of the time and should be avoided!

**Q5. Is it possible to win at Blackjack by doubling my bet after losing a hand, and keep doing it until there is a win (there is no way I can lose every hand, so assuming I have lots of money I should be guaranteed to win)?**

This is a betting progression system invented long ago called the "Martingale" where every bet is doubled after a loss, until a win occurs. If you have unlimited money and can find a game that has no betting limit, then it is possible to make money with this system. Because of the betting limits imposed by the casinos, this system cannot work.

Usually, a $10 minimum Blackjack table may have a maximum betting limit of $300 and other tables would have a similar proportionate spread. As soon as you lose more than 5 hands in a row (and it will happen more often than you think), there is no way to get back the money you have lost even if you win the next hand because the table limit is not high enough. Even if you could double the next bet – and finally win, you would have a total profit of 1 betting unit (or in this case $10) after being down $310.

**Lets look at the progression of 5 losses in a row:**1st bet: $10 (total loss is $10)

2nd bet: $20 (total loss is $30)

3rd bet: $40 (total loss is $70)

4th bet: $80 (total loss is $150)

5th bet: $160 (total loss is $310)

If you could double the next bet, you would be risking $320 to try and make a total profit of $10. And the one after that, you could be risking $640, then $1280, then $2560, then $5120, then (well, you get the idea – all to win $10! This is a losing system (mainly because of the table limits) – don’t try it!

**Q6. The casino that I play at only has electronic dealers, and I have done fairly well at it. Is there a difference between an electronic dealer and a "live" dealer"?**

It all depends on what "rules" they are using, how many decks of cards are in play and whether they are shuffled after each hand or not.

Generally speaking, you should follow basic strategy perfectly. The only thing that would be affected is if the cards are shuffled after each hand. If this is the case (and it probably is), then card counting or even trying to track an obvious disproportion of high cards versus low cards being dealt, is useless.

Following perfect basic strategy and "flat-betting" (betting the same amount each hand) will guarantee that the casino has a mathematical advantage (approximately a 2% edge, which means you have about a 48% chance of winning). This assumes that some of the more advantageous rule variations are in use (such as: splitting is allowed, double-down on any two cards is allowed, a Blackjack pays 3 to 2, etc). Not following basic strategy will guarantee that the casino has a much larger advantage than 2% (could be as high as 8% or more - not good)!

I much prefer playing against a live dealer with real cards and chips, dealing out of a shoe and a visible discard rack. It is a much more "real" and interactive experience and by keeping track of the disproportion of high cards versus low cards being dealt, you can have a better idea of what your odds of winning are (they fluctuate depending on this).

*More strategy and reading:***Practicing*****

**Blackjack History*****

**Surrender Strategy*****

**Money Management**

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