How To Play Blackjack
Blackjack is one of the most popular card games in casinos. One of the reasons people enjoy the card game so much is because it is not a complicated game. Anyone who can count to 21 can play this game and possibly win. The dealer is also trying to get closer to 21, so you want to beat them to it. You try to get as many points as possible without going over. Whoever goes over 21, loses automatically. You and the dealer are both dealt two cards. Your cards and each of the other player’s cards or dealt face up. The dealer’s cards are dealt with one face up and one faced down. You have to react based on the one card the dealer has showing.
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- Blackjack Casinos
- Blackjack tips and Strategies
- Easy Guide to Blackjac Card Counting
- Hi-lo Card Counting System
- The Wong Halves Card Counting System
- Omega II Card Counting System
Once you receive both of your cards, you will need to total the points up. The cards 2-10 have their face value, while face cards are all worth 10 points. An Ace is worth either a 1 or an 11 based on what is better for your total. Once you have added up your total points, you can decide whether to stay with that total or accept another card. For example, if you have a Jack and a 5, your total is 15 points. You can choose to stay and see what the dealer ends up with, hoping it is under 15 points or you can choose to take another card, hoping it is a 6 or lower value card. If you choose to take another card, you just tap the table and the dealer will deal you another card. This is called hitting. If you are happy with your cards and choose to stop, you wave your hand over your cards and the dealer will not deal to you anymore during the round.
Some casinos will allow you to split you bet and cards should you get dealt a pair. This means if you are dealt to 5’s, you can split this up between two hands. Another thing some casinos will allow is to make a side bet if the dealer has an Ace showing. One of other option is to double down. This is when you can double your bet after you are dealt your first two cards. These options are based on the casino’s rules, as some may not allow the extra betting to take place.
There are certain strategies you can use to help you beat the dealer. If your total cards equal 8 or less, then you want another card. If your total is 17-21, then you should stay and not accept any more cards. This gives you the best odds against the dealer. If your total comes out to 9 through 16, then your decision should be based on what the one card the dealer has showing. Either way, you should always consider what the dealer’s card total may be based on their one card showing. This will help you make a good decision and possibly help you to win.
Card counting concepts are very effective in giving blackjack players an advantage over the house. There are many strategies employed by players. Many players agree that in order for these strategies to work, players must apply card-counting concepts. The technique can be applied on many blackjack variations and many land-based casinos do not permit card counters in their establishments. True masters who are experienced counters are able to do it mentally without arousing any suspicions.
The count systems can be either unbalanced or balanced. Examples of unbalanced systems include the Speed Count and the Knock-Out count systems. The Running Count (RC) of the shoe deck is never equal to 0 when all cards have been played. Beginners prefer the unbalanced counting methods because they are much simpler to grasp and makes use of fewer point values than compared to the balanced count systems. Unbalanced methods also do not require the player to convert the (RC) to (TC).
On the other hand, a balanced count system has a value of 0 when all cards have been played from the shoe deck. An example of a balanced count system is the Hi-Low System. The (TC) is achieved by dividing the (RC) over the number of decks in use.
In essence, card-counting concepts are all designed with the intention of helping a player to predict the next possible card. The Running Count (RC) is used to work out if the odds favor the player or the house/casino. Cards are placed in order of rank from smaller cards ranging from 2 to 7 and higher cards from 10, Jacks, Queens, kings, and Aces. The cards 8 and 9 do not have much influence on the Running Count and are known as neutral. However, others systems tend to include the Ace as low and 7 as neutral.
Therefore, each card is assigned a point value at which low cards are assigned a positive point value and high card are assigned with a negative value. Hence, low cards increase the RC while high cards reduce the RC
This is how the player’s advantage is determined: Every time a card with a value less than 10 is played, the Running Count (RC) increases and reflects a positive value indicating that there are more high value cards remaining in the shoe deck . Hence, when more high value cards remain in the shoe deck, the dealer is most likely to bust giving players an added advantage.
A deck that is high card rich puts the player in a good position to beat the dealer. The player is most likely to receive a good hand or even possibly get a blackjack! On the other hand, the dealer is most likely to bust by hitting a hand over 21.
As a professional card counter, according to the cards being played on the table, you will be able to know when to increase or reduce your bets. Understanding a variety of counting concepts is highly recommended for any blackjack enthusiast and this is regardless of how long they have been playing the game.
The Hi-lo card counting system used in Blackjack is a balanced system. It is an extremely popular method of card counting as it is an easy, very fast way of counting cards to vastly improve your chances of winning at Blackjack. Here’s your chance to test your skills against the dealer once you have mastered this system. You do not need to be a Maths expert to ace this as it is the simplest form of counting cards. Points are assigned to high and low cards and a Running Count is kept, with the player adding or subtracting from the initial value of the Running Count (RC). The whole system works on High versus Low cards.
Point Count System Hi-lo card counting system is sometimes referred to as the Point Count System, with values assigned to specific cards. These are the Values assigned to each card:
Count 0 = These are the Neutral cards and can be ignored, not taken into the count: 7, 8, and 9 Count – 1 = These are the High cards: 10, J, Q, K, and Ace. Count +1 = These are the Low cards: 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
FaceCard 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T A
Point Value +1 +1 +2 +2 +2 +1 0 -1 -2 0
The lower the cards that are dealt out, the higher your chances of being dealt the higher cards that are still in the deck. And vice-versa; the higher the cards that are dealt out, the more chance you have of being dealt lower cards which are still in the deck.
The player has a greater advantage when the RC is higher in the positive region, which is a sign that you could increase your bet as the deck holds a larger amount of high value cards. However, remember the dealer has the same chance as you of being dealt a high card. The deck is neutral when the running count stays is zero (0). This means that both the house and the player are at an advantage. The dealer holds the advantage if the RC is high in the negative region. Go slowly here, with small bets.
A Balanced System
Being a balanced system means the Hi-lo Card Counting System, when starting from a zero (0) at your initial running count (IRC) using a single deck, your running total will end up at zero or 0 with a 52 deck of cards.
True Count versus Running Count
Convert the running count into the true count this way: Divide the running count by the total number of decks left in the shoe, this gives the True Count (TC). The more cards played away the more accurate the Hi-lo card-counting system becomes.
As with all card-counting systems, this should be perfected at home before attempting your skills at the casino. Because you have perfected the counting system, there is no guarantee you will win every time. This system is just one of the Blackjack card counting strategies used to improve your chances at game.
The Wong Halves system was created by Stanford Wong many years ago. At level 3 it is among some of the most complicated card counting systems of Blackjack, and yet very effective. If mastered, the system can give a player a very high advantage over the house. Like the Omega II count system, the Wong Halves is also a balanced system. This means that a player starts counting at 0 and ends at 0, i.e. if he counted correctly. A simple way of checking to see if a count system is balanced or unbalanced is to add all the values on either side of 0. With the Wong Halves, the total of the negative point values equals to -5.5, and the total of the positive point values equals to +5.5.
The complication of the Wong Halves lies in the allocation of its point values: some of the cards are assigned fraction point values while some are assigned full point values. This is how the card values of the system are assigned:
FaceCard 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T A
Point Value +0.5 +1 +1 +1.5 +1 +0.5 0 -0.5 -1 -1
From the above, it can be seen that no card is assigned a point value of -1.5. Some players find it hard to count or keep track of the Running Count during game play and prefer to double the values. Doubling the point values reduces the complication to a certain degree. Effectively all the values of the Wong Halves become whole numbers as follows:
- The 10s, Aces, Jacks, Queens, and Queens become -2
- 9s become -1
- 8s remains Neutral with a point value of 0
- 2s and 7s becomes +1
- 3s, 4s, and 6s become +2
- And 5s become +3
0.99 is the betting correlation of the Wong Halves count system. With the game of Blackjack, the higher the betting correlation, the higher the chances are of winning. In view of this, it makes perfect sense for a player who intends to make a living playing blackjack to invest a lot of time practicing and learning the system. Avid players can use free online Blackjack to hone and perfect their skill of using Wong Halves before playing for money. Counting the whole deck alone at home several times also works perfectly as a learning method. Memorize what each card’s equivalent point value is. If you are new to Blackjack, it might be helpful to try-out the other less complicated card counting systems before attempting Wong Halves.
With the Wong Halves, there are several things to remember during game play:
- Doubling the point values is allowed, and it makes things a lot easier.
- No card is assigned a point value of-1.5
- As with the Omega system, a player should put a high bet when the count is high, and a low bet when the count is low.
Omega II card counting system is one of the many card counting systems developed for the game of Blackjack. The system is advanced and complicated with a level of 2. At this level, it means that Omega has count values in a wide variety ranging from -2 to +2. For players using this system for the first time, it might be helpful to try and imagine what Bryce Carlson was thinking when he developed the system.
Unlike the Hi-Lo card counting system, which is a basic system with count values of -1, 0, and +1, the
Omega II card counting system has count values of -2, -1, 0, +1, and +2. The point values are assigned to each card as follows:
FaceCard 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T A
Point Value +1 +1 +2 +2 +2 +1 0 -1 -2 0
The betting correlation of an Omega II card counting system is 0.99 if a player keeps an Ace count, but the betting correlation is reduced to 0.92 if an Ace count is not kept. What is meant by an Ace count is keeping track of Aces dealt and those that are still in the deck. Although it might be hard to keep track of Aces, it is beneficial for a player to do so in order to improve the efficiency of this card counting system and increase chances of winning.
As a result of the necessity to keep track of the Aces, it is sometimes difficult to adopt the Omega II card system during game play, especially to players who are new to the system.
Omega is a balanced system of card counting. This simply means 3 things:
- the system is based around a count of 0,
- a negative count means more high cards are still in the deck, and low cards have already been dealt,
- a positive count means that more low cards are still in the deck, and high cards have already been dealt.
To increase chances of winning, a player must put a high bet when the count shows a high tendency, and put a low bet when the count shows a low tendency. There are 3 things that both new-comers and seasoned players of Blackjack using the Omega II card counting system have to know in order to improve their chances of winning:
- Know the point value assigned to each card
- Keep track of the count and understand when to put wagers
- Keep track of the Aces to increase betting correlation
An Omega II card counting system may appear to be complicated and irksome at first, and it is not an easy system for beginners to understand, but it gets better with practice. It is more effective than most of the known card counting systems used in the game of Blackjack