Blackjack strategy can be a numbers game

2013-10-18T00:00:00Z Blackjack strategy can be a numbers gameJohn G. Brokopp Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
October 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It’s a fact that the 10s, faces and aces are the most powerful cards for blackjack players. Knowing when there are an abundance of them during the middle game of a 6-deck shoe can be advantageous for players.

Today, allow me to present an alternative simplified method of keeping track. This time our concentration will be focused on the cards that as a collective group constitute a powerhouse for the dealer: the four, five and six value cards.

It has been mathematically established that the fours, fives and sixes create big hands for the dealer, who must adhere to rigid rules of play. Dealers MUST hit two-card totals of 14, 15 and 16. Today's target cards can therefore allow the dealer to draw to unbeatable hands.

The players, on the other hand, have flexibility. Depending on the particular basic strategy decision in question, a player can stand on a 14, 15 or 16 in the hopes that the dealer will "bust".

There are a total of 12 four, five and six value cards in each 52-card deck. In a 6-deck shoe there are 72 of them, constituting roughly 23 percent of the total of 312 cards.

Today's "magic number", therefore, is 23. If you chose to keep track of the fours, fives and sixes, about 23 of them should have been dealt after two decks have been played to keep the game on an even keel. Any less means that the middle game of the shoe could be in favor of the house. Any more means that the middle game could be advantageous for the players.

Continuing to keep mental track as the middle game progresses can give you an even greater advantage.

Once again, I must emphasize this requires you to stop being a passive player. You must pay attention to the hands of all the players at your table.

Furthermore, many times your count will have yielded no advantage either way. But for those occasions when your count does reveal a swing, you'll have knowledge that very few players possess.

The card-tracking knowledge you possess is most powerful in games where the minimum bet is $5. When you detect the game has tilted in favor of the house, you can drop your bet to the minimum. When you detect the game has swung in favor of the players, it may be time to risk more.

Finally, if you are inclined to do nothing else, or you wish to introduce yourself to card tracking the easiest way possible, try keeping track of only the fives. Computer studies reveal that the fives are THE most powerful dealer cards.

In a 6-deck shoe there are 24 fives. The more fives that are dealt during the opening game means the middle game may be a "player's game".

Such strategy is designed to make you more successful at the one casino game where the odds continually fluctuate. Knowledge is power.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach him at jbrokopp@comcast.net. John Brokopp's Beat the Odds tips air Sundays at 8:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 10:42 p.m. on WBBM Newsradio 780.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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