Playing Perfect Blackjack
I don’t know about you, but I’m drawn to blackjack because it’s a game of skill. With time and effort you can learn how to reduce the house edge to nearly nothing. Push yourself further and it’s possible to beat blackjack for a profit.
It’s mathematically proven.
"Mathematically proven… does that mean that it’s possible to play perfect blackjack?"
But that are a lot of ifs, ands or buts.
The thing is, most people don’t have the desire to play perfect blackjack. They say they do, but when it comes down to actually doing the work, they’d rather pass and take the 6-8 percent house edge. They’re not willing to spend the hours, days or weeks necessary to learn the strategies that drive the casino edge down to .5 percent, or even 1 percent in their favor.
Even if you are willing to put in the effort, though, applying said strategies will be difficult. The casinos are on the lookout for players trying to play perfect blackjack because they’re the ones that can put a dent in the casino’s profits, if left alone.
So, with all of that being said, are you still willing to learn how to play perfect blackjack?
I thought so.
Here’s how you do it.
Basic Strategy: The Near Perfect Blackjack System
The first thing you need to learn is basic blackjack strategy. Basic strategy is advice on how to play your hand depending on the table rules and the dealer’s cards.
Basic strategy isn’t what I’d call playing perfect blackjack. However, if you play basic strategy perfectly, you’ll lower the house edge by 80-90 percent.
Now, I’m not going to cover the details of basic strategy here. Basic strategy is different from one variation to the next. Besides, we cover basic strategy and basic strategy charts on other pages of our site. Instead, what I want to do is give you some tips on how to quickly learn basic strategy. It’ll take some work and focus, but I figure if I make it easy more people will see it through.
Note: You must learn basic strategy before you move on to card counting.
Learn Basic Strategy Fast By Making Flash Cards
The fastest way to learn basic strategy is to create flash cards. These will take you an hour or so to make. You can use index cards, office folders or construction paper. Anything sturdy will do.
On one side you’ll write down the player’s (your) hand. On the other side you’ll write down the decision that you should make.
Then for a hour or two each day, or whenever you can find some downtime, go through your flash cards. I recommend going through them both ways. In other words, look at the player’s hand and try to remember the decision, then go back through them looking at the decisions and try to remember what hands you’d have. This technique works well for me when I’m trying to memorize something.
Once you get the basic strategy down, you should start timing yourself. Why? Well, because you want to get fast at it. You need to make decisions quickly at the blackjack table. Even more so if you want to learn how to count cards. You’ll be too busy keeping count to have time to remember whether or not you should split your pair of 9s or not. So the more 2nd nature basic strategy can become, the better.
Counting Cards: The Only Way to Play Perfect Blackjack
Counting cards is the only way to play perfect blackjack. Card counting uses simple math to keep track of what cards have been dealt so that you can determine if the deck is full of high or low cards. Using that information you’ll then decide whether to bet small or bet large.
What You Need To Do To Count Cards
Like basic strategy, there’s too much to card counting to cover here. Instead, here are the steps you need to take to get to card counting, as well as tips on how to quickly learn the material.
Memorize basic strategy. I covered this above. You need to have basic strategy down pat, to the point that you don’t even have to think about it.
Choose a card counting strategy. The easier systems to learn are the unbalanced systems which include the KO system. However, these are less effective (less accurate). Balanced systems are harder to learn, but are more accurate. The Hi-Lo system is recommend by blackjack pros, as it falls in the middle regarding accuracy/effectiveness and ease of learning.
Practice. The easiest way to practice is by flipping through a deck of cards and keeping count. Once you get good at that you’ll want to start converting the count to a true count. To do that you divide the running count by the number of decks left unseen. Start with whole decks first, then work your way to dividing with half decks. Some pros even recommend going to the casino, standing behind the table and trying to keep the count. That’s a good way to get real experience.
Once you’ve practiced to the point that everything is second nature, it’s time to take your skills to the casino. Your goal here isn’t to make money, but to get used to counting cards in a casino environment, which will have distractions like dealers chatting you up, waitresses asking for orders and drunk tablemates. Things you need to deal with, all the while keeping an accurate count.
There are a couple of things you’ll want to remember, too. One, don’t tell anyone that you’re any good at blackjack, practice basic strategy or taught yourself how to count cards. That’s a surefire way to attract unwanted attention. Two, when the count is in your favor you don’t want to bet massive amounts of money. It mathematically makes sense, but it will raise alarms.
Keep these in mind, because if you are caught counting cards the casinos will ask you to leave and to never return. And you can’t play perfect blackjack if you can’t go inside the casino. At least not for real cash.