Mar 05

Play blackjack to win, and other casino games for fun.

iGaming Tips: Play Blackjack to Win, and Other Casino Games for FunCasinos are teeming with endless ways to place a wager; especially the online variety. Unencumbered by capacity, internet gambling sites can host thousands of games, never running short on seats. The key to enjoying an online gambling experience is to understand what you want to get out of it, and choose your games accordingly.

There are only two reasons a responsible person plays casino games. They are either looking for a good time, or as a professional expecting to win some cash. If you were hoping for both, you’re already tip-toeing on the borderline of at-risk behavior. The fact is, entertainment is the easiest thing to obtain from a casino. A profit is not a realistic goal unless you’re capable of swaying the odds into your favor. That can be extremely difficult to do, but not impossible. For those who manage it, it really is a job, and anything but fun.

Play Blackjack to Win

Blackjack players concentratingIf you’re hoping to make a living off gambling, or at least a few extra dollars, blackjack is the only game casinos offer that can, under the right circumstances, deliver a positive expectation for players. Don’t expect to have a good time playing it, though.

If you’ve ever been in a live casino and really paid attention to the players around you, blackjack tables aren’t the most lively bunch. The craps table is rocking. The roulette players are on their toes. Slot fans are wide-eyed with wonder as the reels go round. But blackjack players are a whole different breed. At least, the good ones are.

A dedicated blackjack player who’s incorporating enough strategy to get that oh-so-slight edge on the house must concentrate deeply, yet appear not to. That’s because they’re counting every card that appears. They must make the right decisions and the right bets at every turn. One false move, and hours of work goes down the drain. They are the most sullen, if not depressing gamblers in the place.

And, for the record, you cannot count cards at an online casino’s blackjack game. In RNG games, the deck is reshuffled after every hand. In live casino games, a new shoe is brought in prior to 50% deck penetration. If you want to play blackjack to win, you have to play in a land-based casino.

Play Other Casino Games for Fun

play casino games for funIf the experience above doesn’t sound like a very good time, steer clear of the blackjack tables altogether. The fact is, gambling is meant for entertainment. It always has been. Casinos make money just like movie theaters and ice skating rinks make money. They provide a form of entertainment, and we pay to enjoy it. The difference is you could get lucky and leave the casino with more money than when you entered. Outside of gambling, no form of entertainment can offer such an opportunity.

So, if you’re ideal visit to a casino involves having a great time, any other casino games will get the job done. If you like the camaraderie of a group experience, head to the table games section. Play baccarat, craps, roulette, pai gow poker, 3 card poker, etc. If you enjoy the solitude of a one-player machine, head for the slots or video poker games.

So long as you set a spending limit, take your time, and place small bets, playing casino games for fun will provide more than enough entertainment.

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Feb 27

Static jackpots, progressive jackpot games and other not-so-random slot machine musings…

Static Jackpots, Progressive Jackpot Games and Other Slot Machine Musings

There are more types of slot machines on the market than the vast majority of their players ever come to realize. It’s not just about the number of reels, the cost of play, or whether there’s a jackpot up for grabs. Modern machines now offer a complex amalgamation of features and thousands—sometimes tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands—of ways to line up a win in a single spin.

Today we’re going to talk about two very specific types of slot machine that sound similar by description, but have little else in common. I’m referring to slots with static jackpots, as opposed to progressive jackpot slot machines. Let’s have a closer look…

Static Jackpot Slot Machines

Static jackpots can be found on a wide assortment of slot machines; everything from 3-reel and 5-reel varieties, to basic 5-liners and mega-ways paying games. The presence of a static jackpot simply means that there’s a special jackpot prize, usually ending in at least three zeros, that is awarded for combining a special line-up of symbols, or accomplishing a certain goal during a bonus feature.

The size of this jackpot never wavers. It could be $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, or as high as $500,000. It could even be multiple jackpot tiers of all those amounts, often labeled as Mini, Minor, Major and Mega jackpot prizes. Whatever the value, it does not change, remaining static at all times.

Progressive Jackpot Games

These slot machines can come in just as many varieties as their static jackpot cousins. They can even carry the same multi-tier jackpots, rising from minuscule to enormous heights. The difference is that each jackpot grows in size until it is won. Hence the “progressive” nature of their name.

Progressive jackpot slot machines come in all starting sizes. Some will begin with an amount as low as $100 or $1,000, scaling up to $100,000, $250,000, even $1,000,000. No matter where it starts, there’s no limit to how high it can climb.

A progressive jackpot continues to climb higher each and every time the reels are spun. It’s usually a tiny amount, such as 2% of each bet, that goes into the progressive jackpot. However, by networking similar games across a city, country, continent, the entire globe, or all of cyberspace, the jackpots can grow to incredible heights in very little time.

The Mega Moolah by Microgaming is among the most famous progressive slot networks online, due to its million dollar seed and multi-national availability. Likewise, IGT’s Wheel of Fortune Slots series is among the land-based gambling realm’s most famous offerings.

Static vs. Progressive

Now that you know how they work, you might be wondering which one is better to play. Based on the information above, you may think progressives are the clear way to go. But that’s not necessarily the best choice for players.

If you were hoping to win a progressive slot machine jackpot, don’t hold your breath. The odds on these games are always 1 in many-millions. They’re actually a lot better than winning an international lottery draw, but still, it’s not a realistic goal. It takes sheer luck and a whole lot of it.

Static jackpots aren’t too much easier to win, but they do tend to strike a lot more often. It’s easier for a slots manufacturer to pay out a $10,000 jackpot once a month without breaking a sweat. Paying out a $1,000,000+ prize however is no laughing matter.

Sure, progressives are built on the money that goes into them, but not the seed amount. The creator and casino have to cover that out of their own profits. So the less they strike, the better. Having said that, though, it’s worth noting that Microgaming’s Mega Moolah pays its top prize, on average, every 9 weeks, worth (also on average) more than $5 million per strike.

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Feb 23

Be the Better Bettor: Walking the fine line between conservative and professional gambling.

Be the Better Bettor – The Fine Line Between Conservative & Professional GamblingGambling is one of those pastimes that everyone seems to have an opinion about. Some believe it’s a vice. Others believe it’s a classic source of entertainment. Then there are those who believe gambling is the quickest way to get rich. Each of these opinions comes with a flaw of some sort.

Those who turn their nose up at casino goers are seen as prudes and, most often, hypocrites. People who enjoy it for entertainment value rarely put enough time and effort into game methodologies to get the most from each experience. And those who see gambling as a money-making opportunity are either A-grade savants, first-class cheaters, or just plain delusional.

The truth is, there is no such thing as a “perfect gambler”, at least, not by the term’s natural implications. It would suggest that a gambler always wins; always makes the right selections at the track, or the right decisions on the blackjack table. No one is perfect. Even so-called psychics cannot predict the lottery, or there would be multiple winners every week.

The goal should not be to exude the persona of a perfect gambler, as such people simply do not exist. Instead, the proper mission is to be the “better bettor”.

What Does it Mean to be the “Better Bettor”?

The better bettor is someone who isn’t disillusioned by the fallacies of professionalism, nor convoluted by the flippant ways of conservationists. It’s the ability to walk that fine line between the two. Let me explain…

Profile of a Professional Gambler

These players do generally have the peace of mind to stick to games they can beat. In a casino, blackjack is their preferred poison. They may also play poker, handicap sports betting, or parlay on the ponies. Whatever they do, they put a great deal of research into it first. No bet is made on a whim, but with calculated strategy and poise.

This all sounds wonderful, but egos tend to be their worst enemy. A professional gambler is someone who believes they’ve got it all figured out. This gambler will risk anything and everything for the win, because their confidence in their abilities is so high that they can’t see the disaster that may befall if and when they fail.

Profile of a Conservative Gambler

The conservative gambler is the complete opposite. This person is only playing casino games for the entertainment and excitement of it all. They tend to enjoy games like slot machines, roulette, and scratch-off lottery tickets—games where strategy will not assist in the propagation of a higher return. That doesn’t concern them, though, because these players aren’t interested in studying strategies or odds. Many times they aren’t even concerned with total comprehension of the rules because, again, fun is the only goal.

To have such a good time, these players must not lose a significant amount of money. They fear big losses above all else. Therefore they will only place small wagers, playing penny slots or $1 happy-hour table games.

Walking the Fine Line Between…

Odds are, you have already recognized some flaws with each of these patterns. Professional gamblers are high risk takers, while conservative gamblers are too careless. To walk the tightrope directly between them is the be the better bettor.

Learn the rules. Study game mechanics. Know the odds. Understand that the casino always has the advantage, and stick to games that have a higher rate of return. At the same time, keep your bets low, pay close attention to your bankroll and be cautious about your spending. By doing so, you can enjoy gambling for the entertainment and excitement it was meant to provide, and enjoy the maximum playing time, while never exceeding your budget. With just a little luck and conscionable awareness, you may even walk away a winner!

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Jan 24

Upgrade your blackjack game with the Hi-Opt II Count system.

Upgrade your Blackjack Game with the Hi-Opt II Count SystemAs Hollywood has taught us, when something is well-received by the public, the most appropriate course of action is to produce a sequel! It’s rare that the second-coming is better than the original, and often times, it’s nothing but a waste of time and money. But on the rarest of occasions, a follow-up can be a great idea, if not better than the first. Such was the development of the Highly Optimum II card counting system for advanced blackjack players.

The Hi-Opt II is built upon the foundation of the Hi-Opt I; an improved method taken from the 1968 Einstein Count. In this newer version, the point-count system is upgraded. Although a bit more complicated, it does the intended job of giving players slightly more efficient betting correlation.

The improvement is very slight, indeed. Some might say it’s hardly even worth the effort of undertaking the more convoluted mathematical approach. However, for those who execute blackjack card counting systems with ease, any heightened advantage is worth working for. If this describes you, please continue reading. Otherwise, use the following link to head back to safety:

How to Use the Hi-Opt II Count System

Being the younger sibling to a previous point-count, I’ll present the usage of the Hi-Opt II in a few different ways. First, we’ll examine its point values alone:

2, 3, 6, 7 = +1
4, 5 = +2
8, 9 = 0
Any Ten = -2
Ace = 0

Next up, an expanded view:

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
1 1 2 2 1 1 0 0 -2 -2 -2 -2 0

 

And finally, a comparison of the Hi-Opt I versus Hi-Opt II Count Systems.

Card Value Hi-Opt-I Hi-Opt-II
2 0 +1
3 +1 +1
4 +1 +2
5 +1 +2
6 +1 +1
7 0 +1
8 0 0
9 0 0
10 -1 -2
J -1 -2
Q -1 -2
K -1 -2
A 0 0

Employing the Highly Optimum Card Counting System

To make use of this system, you’ll want to start practicing by running through a count of a single deck of cards. Continue running the count down, time and again, until you can end with an accurate total of 0 with ease.

The purpose of this count is to know when to increase and decrease your bets, based on the probability of being dealt a natural blackjack. When the count is running high, place larger bets. When it is low, keep your bets to a minimum.

True Count with Balanced Systems

Being a balanced system (a running count starts and ends at 0), converting to a true count will increase the efficiency of the Hi-Opt II count system in multi-deck games. In theory, it’s easy to do, but the conversion can be more difficult to execute in a real life situation, so be sure to get lots of practice in.

Converting from running count to true count is a simple matter of dividing the current count by the number of decks you estimate are left in the shoe. For example, if the running count is at +2, and you estimate 4 decks remain, divide 2 by 4 to get a true count of +0.5.

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Jan 23

Deciphering the Highly Optimum Card Counting System

The Highly Optimum Card Counting System (Hi-Opt I)Soar back in time half a century to 1968. That was the year Charles Einstein, having been enthralled by the publication of the classic Hi-Lo card count in Edward O. Thorp‘s epic guide to blackjack strategy, Beat the Dealer, went to work to perfect the original point-count system. That was the year the Einstein Count was born.

He may have been a bit hasty in the promotion of this new counting method, though. It wasn’t long before a pair of mathematicians, Lance Humble and Carl Cooper—appreciating Charles’s ability to tweak Thorp’s system—decided to do a little point-perfecting of their own. What they came up with was an alternative count system that’s still in use today. We call it the Hi-Opt I Card Counting System.

Highly Optimum Card Counting System

First things first, you’ll notice the Roman numeral in the name implies this is the first in a series of point-count systems. This is because (much like the Einstein Count it was born from) subsequent minds of greatness came along and tweaked this version, as well.

There’s a Hi-Opt II Count you may want to learn more about. Being the more difficult of the two, I’d recommend starting with the easier Hi-Opt I before progressing to a more complex count, although for dedicated card counters, it will be worth your while, since it’s a bit more efficient and accurate in terms of betting and insurance correlation.

The Hi-Opt I card counting system should be very easy to practice. It’s incredibly similar to the Hi-Lo Count, if you happen to be familiar with that one. The only difference is that the point values given to 2 and Ace are both 0, instead of 1 and -1 respectively. Here’s how the point system works:

2 = 0

3, 4, 5, 6 = 1

7, 8, 9 = 0

Any 10 = -1

Ace = 0

As you can see, this is a balanced system. If you keep a running count through an entire deck of cards, start to finish, you should begin and end at 0. This makes it incredibly easy to practice at home for ease, accuracy and speed development.

If you find this point-count system to be easy enough, it might be wise to add a side count of Aces. It’s not necessary, but doing so will further increase the efficiency in correlative betting.

Hi-Opt I True Count & Execution

Being a balanced system, you’ll want to use the true count method to maximize its benefits. Converting a running count to a true count seems simple enough, but takes extensive practice to execute in live play. The idea is to divide the running count by the number of decks remaining in the shoe.

If there are 6 decks, and the shoe is about 1/3 empty, we can safely estimate 4 decks remaining. If the running count is +4, divide by 4 to get a true count of +1. This example is a simple one, but more often than not, the result will be a decimal, so make sure you’re up for the task before bumbling your count in front of a live audience.

Executing the High Optimum card counting system works the same as any other. Increase your bets when the count is high (more high cards in the deck / better chance for blackjack) and decrease bets when the count is low (more low cards in the deck / less chance of being dealt a blackjack).

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Jan 14

Wong Halves card counting system for advanced blackjack players.

Professional Blackjack Stanford Wong Halves Card Counting System for Advanced Blackjack PlayersThere are three levels of point-count card counting systems. Level 1 counts are designated for beginner blackjack players looking to increase their RTP (return to player) in land-based casinos. Level 2 counting gets a bit more complicated, but will slightly increase a player’s RTP. Level 3 card counting strategies are much more complex, but again, the increase in RPT is very slight.

One of the greatest professional blackjack players of all time is a man by the name of Stanford Wong. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? He’s the best-selling author of more than a dozen gambling strategy books, including his first and most famous works; Professional Blackjack (1975).

In this book, Wong explains the classic Hi-Lo card counting method (ch.4), followed by his personal, expert method of blackjack card counting (ch.7), which he calls ‘Counting Halves‘. It has since become knows as the…

Wong Halves Card Counting System

The traditional Hi-Low counting and Wong Halves counting methods are very similar. They apply numerical values to each card. The corresponding value is added or subtracted from the running count for each card seen.

As Mr. Wong himself admits, counting halves offers the “same efficiency with respect to insurance”, and “requires the same amount of memorizing from tables”. However, this expert formula is more difficult to master, since some of the values are fractional halves. As such, there are more card-to-count values to memorize, and the running count won’t always be a whole number.

According to Wong, the benefit of upgrading to his Wong Halves count is that, “it will add about 0.1 bets per hour to your expected-win rate.

If that doesn’t sound beneficial enough to be worth your while, you’re either not committed to the ways of professional blackjack (in which any increase in RTP is worth the trouble), or you need more practice with beginner and intermediate card counting systems, like these:

The Wong Halves Count Explained

Stanford Wong’s Halves Count assigns the following positive and negative values to each playing card:

2, 7 = 0.5

3, 4, 6 = 1

5 = 1.5

8 = 0

9 = -0.5

10, J, Q, K. A = -1

The above description is clearly not the best way to go about attempting to memorize the point values of the Wong Halves card counting system. Being a method designed for advanced blackjack players only, the easiest way to learn the Halves Count is to compare it to the standard Hi-Lo system—which you should already have memorized—like this.

Card Hi-Lo Count Wong Halves Count
2 +1 +0.5
3 +1 +1
4 +1 +1
5 +1 +1.5
6 +1 +1
7 0 +0.5
8 0 0
9 0 -0.5
10 -1 -1
J -1 -1
Q -1 -1
K -1 -1
A -1 -1

Also similar to the Hi-Lo strategy is the fact that this is a balanced point system. Thus the running count requires conversion to a true count in multi-deck games with 4 or more decks in the shoe. Please scroll down to the True Count Conversion section here for more information.

Practicing the Wong Halves system may take some time. As usual, begin with a single deck of cards and work through the deck, one card at a time, keeping account along the way. You should end with a value of 0 once all cards are played. Continue practicing by this method until it comes easily, and with consistent success.

To make the most of this system, you’ll want to increase your wagers when the count is high (more high cards remain than low cards) and decrease your bets when the count is low (fewer high cards remain). The higher the count, the more likely you are to be dealt a natural blackjack. And therein lies the increased RTP when effectively utilizing this expert card counting system by Stanford Wong.

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Jan 10

If I bet more on video poker, will it pay a higher RTP like slot machines?

When Bet Size Matters on Video Poker and Slot MachinesI could spend hours comparing and contrasting slot machines and video poker machines. They have a great deal in common. They also have a lot of differences between them. Most of the details would be inconsequential, but not all of them.

The most important piece of information gamblers need to know is how the payouts may, or may not, be impacted by alterations to the bet size. A fluctuating RTP, or return to player, is something you generally want to be wary of, unless you know how to use that knowledge to your advantage.

For example, every experienced slot machine player should know that bet size matters. The higher the denomination of the slots game you play, the higher the RTP tends to be. Likewise, in games with variable pay lines, the more lines you activate (by spending one coin per line), the better your odds of lining up a winning combination of alike symbols.

The question is this: Can the same be said of video poker machines?

Should I Bet More on Video Poker Games?

If I Bet More on Video Poker, Will it Pay a Higher RTP like Slot Machines?The short answer is, ‘Yes‘… and, ‘No‘. Video poker games do not see an increase in RTP based on the required denomination of wagers. The RTP of the game will be decided by the rules of that game, compared to its pay table.

For example, Jacks or Better with a 9-6 Full Pay (9x bet for full House, 6x for Flush) will carry an RTP of 99.54% (house edge 0.46%), whether it’s a $1 machine, $10 machine, or $100 machine. In that way, video poker is very different from slot machines. Where higher-cost slots (usually) have higher RTPs programmed into them, video poker RTPs cannot be altered. Only the rules/pays decide that.

However, these games will accept from 1 to 5 coins, and if there’s a ‘bonus multiplier‘ involved, betting max coins is required to reach that optimal 99.54% RTP—just like betting max coins on a slot machine will activate all pay lines for the highest chance of lining up a win.

If I Bet More on Video Poker, Will it Pay a Higher RTP like Slot Machines?A bonus multiplier is what the casino industry calls it when inserting the maximum number of coins delivers an unproportionately higher payout for the best result. In this case, the best result is a Royal Flush. The payout for a Royal Flush when betting a single coin on a 9/6-FP game would be 250. It then rises, per coin, to 500, 750, 1,000 and 4,000—not the proportionate progression to 1,250 you would expect.

So, in order to play this game with that exceptional 99.54% RTP, you must insert the max 5 coins. But that’s not all. You must also follow a perfect video poker strategy, basing all decisions on the probabilities that produce the most likely-to-win outcome. If you play, basing your decisions on whimsy or gut instinct, your return will be lower than the advertised RTP.

Choosing a different video poker game—one with variable rules and/or a different pay table—will also result in a different RTP. Deuces Wild, for instance, tends to draw players based on the fancy name, implying that wild cards will increase the odds of winning. In reality, the RTP tends to be among the lowest, averaging 96.7% (house edge 3.3%) with max coins and perfect play.

So, in some ways, yes, the RTP can fluctuate. And yes, it’s reasonable to argue that bet size matters on video poker. But as I said before, understanding how it can change, and using that knowledge to your advantage, is the most important thing.

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Jan 08

Bryce Carlson’s Omega II Card Counting System for Advanced Players

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been focusing heavily on the expansion of this website’s blackjack content. I’m particularly interested in the efficiency and difficulty ratings of variable blackjack card counting systems.

Bryce Carlson's Omega II Card Counting System for Advanced PlayersThus far, I’ve covered a number of point count systems that are ranked beginner to intermediate, such as Arnold Snyder’s indubitably simple Red Sevens Count, and the somewhat more complicated, professional-approved Hi-Lo Strategy with True Count conversion.

Today, we’ll tackle a more advanced count system than any we’ve described yet. I’m referring to the Omega II Blackjack System, as developed by professional player Bryce Carlson, and detailed in his best-selling strategy guide, Blackjack for Blood.

Carlson developed this system after meeting and strategizing alongside some of the most famous blackjack pros in the world; players like Lawrence Revere, Stanford Wong, Ken Uston, Don Schlesinger, Peter Griffin, and Arnold Snyder. Carlson didn’t just play for money, but for the sheer accomplishment of doing something most people believed impossible—beating the casinos at their own game.

Advanced Omega II Card Counting System

Like all other point-count blackjack systems, the Omega II is based on giving certain groups of cards a specific, numerical value. Unlike more simplistic counting methods, where the values range from -1 to +1, the more advanced Omega II system assigns values of -2 to +2, and the numerical groups are not sequential.

It is strongly recommended that you begin with one of the easiest card counting systems, like the Knock Out Count, before attempting something with this degree of difficulty. It’s not that it’s hard to add or subtract by 1 or 2, or to remember that 8s and Aces are the only 0-value cards in the deck. It’s remembering all of this and more, while keeping an accurate count of every card played, in a public setting, at the dealer’s pace, without being conspicuous about the fact that you’re doing it. That, my friends, takes a great deal of practice.

Omega II Blackjack System – Card Values

Employing this advanced card counting system requires the following values to be assigned to the corresponding cards. Note again the numerical groups are not sequential.

4, 5 and 6 = +2

2, 3 and 7 = +1

8 and A = 0

9 = -1

10, J, Q and K = -2

It may be easier to examine and memorize the values in this way:

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
1 1 2 2 2 1 0 -1 -2 -2 -2 -2 0

To practice, take a single deck of cards and count your way through. The Omega II Card Counting System is balanced, therefore you should end with a final total of 0. Continue practicing until you can complete the count with consistent ease and accuracy.

The object of using this blackjack counting method is to increase your bet size when the count is high, and decrease wagers when the count is low. The higher the count, the more high cards there will be remaining in the deck; thus the higher your odds of being dealt a natural blackjack.

For multi-deck games that use 4 or more decks in the shoe, you’ll get the best results by converting the running count to a true count. Please refer to our section on true count conversion at the bottom of this page for more information.

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Jan 04

The successful simplicity of Arnold Snyder’s Red 7 Card Counting System for blackjack players.

The Successful Simplicity of Snyder's Red 7 Card Counting SystemIn today’s age, most people view blackjack as another unbeatable casino game, glamorized and glorified by Hollywood blockbusters like “21”. The film industry is partly to blame for this. Not only do such movies create a negative stigma around blackjack card counting, they suggest that the art is so complex, only savant-grade mathematicians could possibly pull it off with any hope, or degree, of success.

That’s simply not the case—pun intended. Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to the card counting tactics of many legendary blackjack professionals. Arnold Snyder, for example, describes in his blackjack guides Red Seven Card Counting—a system that’s derived from the most basic Hi-Lo Card Counting Strategy, made even more easy to employ by the purposeful inclusion of an unbalanced count.

Arnold Snyder’s Red 7 Card Counting System

Arnold Snyder Red Seven Card Counting SystemAmong the most successful blackjack strategists of the last century, Arnold Snyder was the first to advise an unbalanced point count system. He was so certain of his Red Seven count—a system he describes as being both “easy and powerful”—that he details its rules of implementation in not just one, but two of his best-selling blackjack books; Blackbelt in Blackjack, and The Big Book of Blackjack.

Snyder details the efficiency of his ‘Easy Red 7 Count’ as capable of reaching “80% of the potential gain” available in complex Hi-Lo point systems that are “significantly more difficult to learn and use”.

Here’s how it works…

Red 7 Card Counting Values

Snyder assigns one of three point values (-1, 0 and +1) to the following groups of cards:

2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and RED 7 = +1

8, 9, and BLACK 7 = 0

10, J, Q, K, and A = -1

If you’ve taken any time to study the minutiae of a basic Hi-Lo point system, you’ll notice this one is extremely similar. In fact, the only difference here is that Red 7s count as +1. Black 7s are neutral, having no point value, as dictated by the standard Hi-Lo system.

So, realistically, all Snyder did to improve upon the original Hi-Lo count, as devised by the legendary grandfather of blackjack, Edward O. Thorp (Beat the Dealer – 1962), was take two little cards – two red sevens, for which the strategy is named – and give them a positive point value.

How could such a slight twist in the system be so beneficial? Because it eliminates the need for any further math. By creating an imbalance in the total value, Snyder eliminates the traditional need to convert a running count to a true count when multiple decks are in use.

If you take a full deck of 52 cards and count it down using Snyder’s Red 7 Card Counting System, you will not end at 0. Instead, you should reach the final card with a count of +2. This imbalance is the genius behind his blackjack strategy, making it just as powerful as Thorp’s Hi-Lo system, but so simple, virtually anyone can do it.

To practice, simply count through a deck of cards until you consistently end at +2. Take your time. There’s no need to rush. Accuracy and reticence are much more important.

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Jan 02

Blackjack hi-lo card counting strategy & true count system explained.

Blackjack Hi-Lo Card Counting Strategy & True Count System ExplainedAnyone with the most basic knowledge of blackjack has heard of card counting. Aside from basic decision-making strategy, counting cards is the most effective way to pull the house edge a little more into the player’s favor. When used with extreme precision, it’s actually possible to turn the tides, eliminating the casino’s advantage and creating a “player’s edge”.

The blackjack hi-lo strategy is the most basic of all card counting systems; the original model from which most other systems are derived. That’s not to say that it isn’t effective. In fact, according to the true blackjack math experts, (Stanford Wong, Don Schlesinger, Michael Shackleford, etc.), using this count with the right basic strategy and bet sizing tactics can increase your edge by 1.182%.

In a blackjack game where basic strategy delivers a 0.5% house edge, that added 1.182% turns the favor to the player by 0.682%. As low as that positive expectation may sound, it is a positive expectation—something no other casino game’s strategy can offer.

Blackjack Hi-Lo Card Counting Strategy

The Hi-Lo count is the simplest of all card counting systems, designed for absolute ease by novitiates. It’s a simple matter of assigning a value to each card, with said values being -1, 0 or +1.

The values are set as follows:

2, 3, 4, 5, 6 = +1

7, 8, 9 = 0

10, J, Q, K, A = -1

The process is simple. When a game starts with a new shoe of cards, you begin keeping a running count, starting at 0 and adding or subtracting the appropriate value for every card seen. For example, if the order of cards is:

5, 9, A, 3, J, K, 7, 2, 9, 10, Q, 8, A

You will run the count as follows, starting from 0:

+1, 0, -1, +1, -1, -1, 0, +1, 0, -1, -1, 0, -1 = -3

The lower the count, the more low cards there are remaining in the deck, as opposed to high cards. Conversely, the higher the count, the more high value cards (10-A) there are left in the deck, as opposed to low cards. Therefore, the higher the count, the higher your bet size should be, since the odds of being dealt a blackjack are greater.

You can practice this method easily enough by counting down a deck of cards at home. If you start and end at 0, you’ve done it right. Then, once you’ve gotten good enough at it, there’s one more rule to consider.

There are five -1 values and five +1 values in the blackjack hi-lo strategy, which make this a balanced card counting system. For that reason—and the fact that so many blackjack games are played with up to 8 decks in the shoe—you must convert to a “true count” for the most accurate results.

Convert ‘Running Count’ to ‘True Count’

I’ve mentioned the use of a true count several times in past card counting articles. However, those all had to do with unbalanced card counting systems that never required its use. So today, for the first time, I’ll explain to you how to convert a running count to a true count for the most accurate blackjack hi-lo card counting strategy in multi-deck games. Note that it’s not necessary in single-deck blackjack.

Converting to true count requires only simple division. You take the current running count and divide it by the number of decks remaining in the shoe. For example, if you’re about a third of the way through a 6 deck shoe, that leaves 4 decks. If your count is +7, divide by 4 for a true count of +1.75. You can round that up to +2 for simplicity’s sake.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , ,