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Best of Fred Renzey

Gaming Guru

 

Winning at Blackjack Isn't What You Want It to Be

16 November 2007

A while back, I was hired to do a four-session blackjack seminar for about 15 people. I knew that, as usual, my first hurdle would be to cure all the players/students of their false beliefs about the game.

Maybe twenty minutes into the first night, I was fervently preaching how most players bet their money according to all the wrong criteria. A woman raised her hand, stood up and asked, "Then, when are you supposed to raise your bet - after you win a few - or after you lose a few?"

I explained that sizing your next bet has nothing to do with whether you've been winning or losing, and that betting that way will just lead you down the golden path to oblivion. Within less than three minutes, that woman and the man she came in with stood up and left.

I guess that wasn't what they wanted to hear, but it was the grim truth. The fact is, most people play such a shallow game of blackjack that using some lame betting system is all they know how to do – and it's absolutely no help! Yet it becomes the very crux of their game plan. If you try to convince them it's a hopeless strategy, they'll only resent you for it.

So how about you? Do you play some betting strategy that's based upon whether you've won or lost the last hand, or two, or three? Let me say to you, and you can write this down: As long as that's what you're fixated on, you're dead meat!

I'll put it to you this way. When you first sit down at the table, your chance to win the next hand is, in fact, just about 43.5%. If you win that hand, and the second one, and the third one, do you know what your chance to win the fourth hand is? It's still right around 43.5%. If you lost your first three hands, it's the same story.

Now with that being true, what good can it possibly do to raise or lower your next bet based upon the last result? You're just going to end up winning 43.5% of each different bet size. Yeah, yeah, I know people who say if they win two units on a hand and put one unit aside, then lose the next hand – they're still one unit ahead. But if they lose that two-unit hand, there'll be nothing to put aside. And they'll lose it more often than they'll win it.

To understand a betting system, you need to run through every potential sequence of wins and losses, then look at the cumulative results. And guess what? There isn't a one that'll produce a net profit when you're going to end up losing more hands than you'll win. Yet, blackjack is positively a beatable game.

If you're going to have a long-term chance at blackjack, you need to rid yourself of that fixation on "money management" bet sizing that most players have. Next, you'll have to shake the obstinate belief that somebody else's bad play will hurt your results. Only if you can get past those two stubborn obstacles, will you be ready to absorb some things that can actually turn you into a genuine winner.

So wipe the slate clean, have no preconceived notions about how to play blackjack other than playing your hands correctly, and then learn the real reason for when to raise or lower your bets. It has nothing to do with whether you've been winning or losing, or if there are good players or bad players at the table. It only has to do with what cards are in the shoe.

Today, there are some pretty easy ways to follow the cards that have been played, and to use that information to gain the advantage. But you'll need discipline, fortitude and a pretty fair amount of backup loot to ride out the violent swings of Lady Luck.

For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet, "the Ace/10 Front Count", send $9.50 to Fred Renzey, P.O Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL 60009.

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:

Blackjack Bluebook II

> More Books By Fred Renzey