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Best of Fred Renzey

Gaming Guru

 

You Can Win at Blackjack, But You Must Be Willing to Change

20 January 2005

Let's cut right through all the nonsense. You and I both know that at least 99% of the blackjack players are losers over their lifetimes. Yet, there are people who beat the game, pretty much year in and year out. So just what does the winner do right that all the losers don't?

The whole difference lies in what winning and losing players believe matters in the game. Losers are fixated on money management betting, the hit and run, the "flow" of the cards and the influence of somebody else's play upon their own chances. So focused are they on these non-factors that they never get to the stuff that can turn them into winners. Here's a classic example.

The other night at a social gathering, I met two gentlemen who are pretty "big shooters" at blackjack. When they go to Vegas, they don't pay for room, food, air -- nuthin'! I showed them my book and we began to discuss the fundamentals of winning play.

When I pointed out universal hand playing errors like not hitting 12 against a 3 or A/7 against a 10, they looked at each other and then looked at me. "Naw – I just can't see hitting those hands," one of them remarked. So I turned the page and showed them written explanations of why these hands must be hit. Again, I got a persistent stare that translated into, "No way, Jose."

From there we moved to the subject of when to "press up" your bets. Like most everybody else, these men believed you should bet more after winning a couple of hands. I tried explaining that your chance to win the next hand is not related to the last outcome. And because of that, such betting methods will only cancel themselves over time. This drew another disturbed stare.

"So when should you press it up then?" one of them asked. My answer wasn't one they wanted to hear. "When there are lots of big cards left in the shoe", I replied.

"How the heck you supposed to remember six decks of cards?" they snickered. "You don't remember them", I said. "You just pick out certain key cards and add them up as the shoe plays out. There are some pretty easy ways to do this", I added as I showed them one such method from my book.

"Okay, suppose you got the shoe just the way you want it, then some idiot comes and jumps right into the middle of your shoe?" they challenged. "Makes no difference", I maintained. "He doesn't affect your chances to win the next hand one bit."

They just couldn't swallow this. I was on the verge of losing them, totally. All their gambling lives they paid homage to the sacred order of the cards. To tamper with the "flow" if things were going well would be bordering on sacrilege.

Again, I stressed that it's not order of the previous cards in the shoe that predicts your chances to win the following hands. It's the "high/low" content of the remaining ones that matter. As for preserving their order? The next card out of the shoe has the same chance to be a 10 as the second –- or the third.

That led us to the subject of the 3rd baseman's play, and his influence on the other players' hands. Pointing out the book chapter that basically proves this is a non-factor was like trying to convert somebody to a new and perverted religion. Proof or no proof, there was no way they were going to buy this one. The painful memory of losing because of 3rd base's mistake was too indelible. The hands won for exactly the same reason had been long forgotten.

Still, they each took a copy of my book and maybe they'll even read it. If some of it sticks, I'll feel gratified. It's ironic that even though the information on how to beat blackjack is widely available, most players are unwilling to change their old ways of thinking. That's the casino's Ace-in-the-hole.

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