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Best of Fred Renzey

Gaming Guru

 

Blackjack Players Don't Know the Right Way to Bet

25 November 2005

Winning blackjack strategy contains two basic components. The first is to play all your hands according to the odds. The second is to bet your money according to the odds.

Now, the average blackjack hoofer at least tries to play his hands according to the odds. That's a good thing – it's getting off on the right foot. Understand however, that even if you play every single hand perfectly, you'll still fall behind by one extra bet for every two hundred hands you play, over time.

Fortunately, that small deficit can be more than made up for – if you bet properly. Sadly, this is where nearly everybody falls flat on their faces. Most blackjack players use every conceivable criterion to determine the size of their next bet -- except the one that matters.

What Doesn't Work

It's human nature to become confident, even euphoric, when you've won two or three hands in a row. At times like these, it seems only natural to "press it up" to take advantage of your "rush" – to play the "heat". Do you know how much that helps?

Jack Squat -- that's how much! Betting like that won't close the gap one iota. That's because this "rush" or "mojo" you feel inside exits only there – inside. The cards and the chips are totally oblivious to it.

I know you don't buy what I'm saying because there have been times when it's worked for you. The grim truth is -- when it has worked, you just got plain lucky. And you'll end up chasing that luck all the way to the poor house.

Who should you believe on this point – yourself or me? Well, just ask yourself how you're doing at blackjack over your lifetime. If you've played at least a few hundred hours total – you've got your answer.

Another prevalent belief is if you've lost several hands in a row, you're due to win and should "pump it up" to catch up. After all, you have to win a hand sometime sooner or later, don't you? Yes, you probably do, eventually. But, you're no more likely to win a hand after a string of losses than at any other time. The law of averages will fall into line somewhere down the road, but probably not right now.

Another popular betting belief is to shoot it up there when the dealer's been busting a lot. Please see this folly for what it is. When the dealer's been busting, it merely means she has been busting. It says absolutely nothing about whether she's likely to keep busting.

The opposite view is if the dealer hasn't busted in a while, she must be due to bust. One confident player even told me he read a book that says mathematically, the dealer busts two out of seven times – which happens to be true. So he waits until the dealer makes five hands in a row, then bets heavily on the next two hands. He didn't understand that in reality, the dealer will break just about 2000 times out of 7000. As for the next seven hands though, that's anybody's guess.

What Does Work

So then, how should you determine the size of your next bet? You should bet more when you're more likely to make money on the next hand, of course. Problem is, all the philosophies above have nothing to do with that. The only thing that governs your chances on the next hand is the high vs. low cards left in the shoe. High cards favor the player – low cards help the dealer.

About the simplest and most casual way ever invented to detect a "high card" shoe is something called the "Ace/10 Front Count." There, you merely add together all the 10s and Aces that come out in the first two decks of the shoe. That two-deck total provides your "read" on how to bet the rest of the way. You measure two decks visually by looking at the discard tray. The Ace/10 Front Count strategy is thoroughly detailed in my book Blackjack Bluebook II. It can give you the legitimate, overall advantage in the game.

Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send $9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009

Books by Fred Renzey:

> More Books By Fred Renzey

Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send $9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009

Books by Fred Renzey:

> More Books By Fred Renzey