The ultimate blackjack strategy guide

THE ULTIMATE BLACKJACK STRATEGY GUIDE

The 888casino Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide is the most extensive and comprehensive introduction to the casino game of blackjack that you will find anywhere.

The Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide
 

WHY WE WROTE THE ULTIMATE BLACKJACK STRATEGY GUIDEwriting the ultimate blackjack strategy guide

 

Blackjack is the most popular casino card game in the world.
Yet many players are unfamiliar with the game’s procedures, protocols, and detailed strategies. The Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide was written to fill this void.

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STRUCTURE OF THIS GUIDEultimate blackjack strategy guide structure

This Blackjack Strategy Guide consists of 18 Chapters.
Each chapter begins with bullet points that explain what the reader will find in each chapter. Blackjack Strategies are presented in several formats, including easy-to-follow color-coded charts. Where appropriate, the math of a particular strategy is explained with examples. Each chapter ends with Key Takeaways and a Test Yourself quiz. The guide begins with "How to Play Blackjack" and then incrementally introduces topics that will give the reader the knowledge to play blackjack skillfully.
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WHO THIS GUIDE IS FORthe ultimate blackjack strategy guide book

This 888casino Ulimate Blackjack Strategy Guide was written for players who have never played blackjack, and also for experienced players who want to elevate their game to a higher level of proficiency.
After reading this strategy guide, you will be confident about your ability not only to play the game, but to beat the game.

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WHO WROTE THIS GUIDE

Henry Tamburin
The Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide was written by Henry Tamburin, Ph.D., a respected authority on blackjack. He has over 50 years’ experience as an accomplished player, author, speaker, and teacher of blackjack strategies to players at all skill levels.

Tamburin authored the book Blackjack: Take the Money and Run. He has taught card counting classes throughout the USA, has given numerous seminars to business organizations and conventions, and has been featured on radio, TV, and in several newspapers.

Tamburin is also a skilled blackjack tournament player, and an invited guest at the prestigious Blackjack Ball, an annual gathering of blackjack professional players, mathematicians, and writers.


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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Henry Tamburin wants to thank his good friend Donald Schlesinger for reading and editing this guide to ensure its technical and stylistic accuracy. Schlesinger was recently inducted into the prestigious Blackjack Hall of Fame. He is the author of Blackjack Attack: Playing the Pros’ Way, a book that has been praised by every prominent blackjack expert.

Tamburin also wants to thank the staff at 888Casino for their support and guidance in this project, and for creating the easy-to-read format of this Internet guide that you are about to discover.
 
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WHAT IS BLACKJACK STRATEGY?

The basic blackjack playing strategy is a set of rules that tells you the optimal way to play every hand dealt to you when the only information you have is your hand and the dealer’s upcard. Basic strategy is the mathematically correct way to play every hand because over time it will maximize the amount of money you will win and minimize the amount you will lose. The reason that the game of blackjack is subject to mathematical analysis is because it is, inherently, a mathematical game; that is, blackjack has a fixed set of rules.
 
  • The dealer must hit on 16 or less and stand on 17–21.
  • Blackjack players have only five playing decisions to consider: stand, hit, double down, split, and surrender.
  • The double-bust rule that automatically results in a player loss
  • The payoffs when players win a hand, including the 3-2 bonus for a natural.

All of this information can be subjected to combinatorial analysis or programmed into a computer to play simulated hands of blackjack - not just a few hands, but millions, even trillions if you wish. And computers are marvelous machines because they not only can play the game exactly as you would in a casino, but they will remember how many times you won a hand, and how many times you lost. And that’s exactly how blackjack basic strategy was refined over the years.

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blackjack strategy guide Chapter 1 - How to Play Blackjack

HOW TO PLAY BLACKJACK

Blackjack classic 21Before you can play blackjack, you need to know the basic blackjack rules, table etiquette, understand what makes blackjack different than other casinos games, how the casino has a built-in advantage over players, and what you can do about it. This chapter of the blackjack strategy guide will cover these basics along with a history of the game.

1.1 Blackjack Rules

Before you can begin to learn blackjack strategies, you’ve got to get the lay of the land (so to speak) on how the game is played, specifically the basic blackjack rules, the objective of the game, the player’s options, the dealer’s rules, and a few protocols to keep you out of trouble.

Chapter 1.1 - Blackjack Intro

1.2 Blackjack Etiquette

The casino game of blackjack has its procedures, codes of conduct, and playing etiquette. In this section, you’ll find a list of what these are, including some common faux pas made by novice players.

Chapter 1.2 - Blackjack Rules

1.3 Why Play Blackjack

Players have many choices of table games to play in land-based and online casinos. So what makes blackjack different and the game of choice for smart players? You’ll find out the answer to this question in this section.

Chapter 1.3 - Blackjack Etiquette

1.4 Understanding the Casino's Edge

You’ll learn how the casinos have a built-in advantage against players, and how the basic blackjack playing strategy can reduce this disadvantage to less than 1%.

Chapter 1.4 - Why Play Blackjack?

 

1.5 Blackjack Variations

You will learn about the colorful blackjack history from its origins back in the 1700s and how it evolved into the world’s most popular casino card game. Learn when the game came to America, what caused the name of the game to change from “21” to “blackjack,” who the persons were that developed the first reasonably accurate basic playing blackjack strategy, and who developed and published the first powerful winning blackjack's card-counting system.

Chapter 1.5 - Understanding the Casino’s Edge

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Blackjack Strategy Guide Chapter 2 - Blackjack Basic Strategy

BLACKJACK BASIC STRATEGY

blackjack chipsThie Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide will teach you the basic playing strategy for surrender, pair splitting, doubling down, hitting, and standing. You’ll also learn about the popular side bets known as Insurance and Even Money.

2.1 Importance of Basic Blackjack Strategy

You’ll learn what the basic playing strategy is and, by way of an example, how it can save you a ton of money during your lifetime of playing.
Chapter 2.1 - Importance of Basic Blackjack Strategy

2.2 Blackjack Surrender Strategy

Sometimes we are dealt horrible hands in blackjack. This section explains how we can minimize the damage by using the playing option known as surrender. (Includes black and white tables and color-coded charts that contain the accurate surrender basic strategy for all games.)
Chapter 2.2 - Blackjack Surrender Strategy

 
 

2.3 Blackjack Pair Splitting Strategy

There are three reasons why you would split a pair in blackjack, and in this section you’ll learn what they are. (Includes black and white tables and color-coded charts that contain the accurate pair splitting strategy for all games.)

Chapter 2.3 -  Blackjack Pair Splitting Strategy

 

2.4 Blackjack Doubling Down Strategy

Doubling down allows players to go on the offensive when the dealer is most vulnerable, and in this section you’ll learn how to do it. (Includes black and white tables and color-coded charts that contain the accurate doubling down strategy for all games.)
Chapter 2.4 - Blackjack Doubling Down Strategy

2.5 Blackjack Hit & Stand Strategy

The most frequent playing decision you will have to make is whether to hit or stand, and in this section you’ll learn the correct strategies for hitting and standing. (Includes black and white tables and color-coded charts that contain the accurate hitting and standing playing strategy for all games.)
Chapter 2.5 - Blackjack Hit & Stand Strategy

 

2.6 Blackjack Insurance & Even Money Strategy

Introducing Blackjack Insurance and Even Money are two popular side bets in blackjack. In this section you’ll learn what these bets are and whether or not you should make them.


Chapter 2.6 - Blackjack Insurance & Even Money Strategy

 

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blackjack strategy guide Chapter 3 - COLOR-CODED BLACKJACK CHARTS

COLOR-CODED BLACKJACK CHARTS

blackjack charts / cheat sheetThis chapter contains the complete, accurate basic blackjack playing strategy in color coded charts and white tables for single-, double-, and four-or-more-decks blackjack games.

3.1 Single-Deck Blackjack Game

The accurate basic playing strategy for a single-deck game contained in color-coded blackjack charts and white tables, for different rules.
Chapter 3.1 - Blackjack Single-Deck Game

3.2 Double-Deck Blackjack Game

The accurate basic playing strategy for a double-deck game contained in color-coded charts and white tables, for different rules.
Chapter 3.2 - Blackjack Double-Deck Game

3.3 Four or More Decks Blackjack Game

The accurate basic playing strategy for games dealt with four or more decks contained in color-coded charts and white tables, for different rules.
Chapter 3.3 - Blackjack Four or More Decks Game
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Blackjack strategy guide chapter 4 - HOW TO PRACTICE BLACKJACK STRATEGY

HOW TO PRACTICE BLACKJACK STRATEGY

deck of blackjack cardsThis chapter contains practical tips on how to learn the basic blackjack playing strategy.

4.1 Order of the Decision-Making Process

After players receive their initial two cards, they have a relatively short period of time to decide how they are going to play their hand. This section explains a logical order that they can follow to quickly determine which playing option they need to focus on.
Chapter 4.1 - Order of the Decision-Making Process

4.2 Practice Blackjack Strategy

A blackjack quiz to test you on whether you know the basic playing strategy. Answers are provided.
Chapter 4.2 - Basic Strategy Blackjack Quiz


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Blackjack strategy guide chapter 5 - BLACKJACK ODDS: HOW TO FURTHER REDUCE THE CASINO EDGE

BLACKJACK ODDS: HOW TO FURTHER REDUCE THE HOUSE EDGE

There are blackjack strategies that can help the basic strategy player to have better odds and further reduce the house edge. You’ll learn about them in this chapter.

5.1 Composition-Dependent Strategy

You’ll learn several basic strategy plays that are based on the composition of the cards in your hand.

5.2 Hand Interaction

You’ll learn how and when to make a wager on another player’s hand for profit.

 
 

5.3 Casino Comps

Get insider tips on how you can earn more casino comps than you deserve when you play blackjack.

5.4 Casino Coupons

Every time you use a casino coupon, you will have the edge. Read what they are, how they work, and where to get them.

 




 

5.5 Loss Rebate

Learn how players (mostly high rollers) that skillfully negotiate with casinos a rebate on their losses can give them an edge at blackjack.


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Blackjack Strategy Guide - scouting the tables chapter 6

SCOUTING BLACKJACK TABLES

Blackjack tableMost blackjack players rush into a casino and sit down at the first open seat they see at a blackjack table. That’s a big mistake, and with this bllackjack strategy guide you’ll learn why.

6.1 Searching for the best Blackjack Table: What to Look For

There are several factors that a player should look for before playing, including the number of decks being used, the playing rules, the payoff for a blackjack, and even how the cards are shuffled. Learn the specifics in this section.
Chapter 6.1 - Searching for the best Blackjack Table: What to Look For

6.2 Good and Bad Blackjack Rules

There are good blackjack rules and some very bad ones.
This section summarizes the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Chapter 6.2 - Good and Bad Blackjack Rules

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Blackjack Strategy Guide Chapter 7 - Bogus Betting systems

BOGUS BLACKJACK STRATEGIES

blackjack chipsThis section explores the different types of betting systems that have been invented for blackjack, and why they don’t work.

7.1 Popular Betting Systems

Most popular blackjack systems are based on the results of the previous hand(s). With some, you increase your bet following a loss; in others, you increase following a win. How these betting systems work will be explained in this section.
Chapter 7.1 - Popular Blackjack Strategies

7.2 Why Some Betting Systems Just Don’t Work

Much to the dismay of most blackjack players, this section explains why the popular betting systems for blackjack simply do not, and will not, work.
Chapter 7.2 - Why Some Blackjack Strategies Just Don’t Work

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Blackjack myths exposed chapter 8

BLACKJACK MYTHS EXPOSED

blackjack chips #2In this blackjack strategy guide we explore some of the many popular blackjack myths. You may have heard some of them.
“Bad players at the table will hurt you.”
“The order of the cards is sacred.”
“Always insure a good hand.”
“Increase your bet when the dealer is cold.”
And more.
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blackjack strategy guide chapter 9 - Frequently asked blackjack questions

BLACKJACK FAQ

blackjack FAQThis chapter contains a potpourri of frequently asked questions with answers. Questions such as: “Should I tip the dealer, and if so, how much?” “What should I do if a dealer makes a dealing mistake that causes me to lose?” “Where can I find the best blackjack game in Las Vegas?” “How can I get comps when I play blackjack?” And more.
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Blackjack Strategy Guide Chapter 10 - BLACKJACK CARD COUNTING

BLACKJACK CARD COUNTING

Card counting10.1 Card Counting Myths

There are dozens of myths surrounding card counting, and I’ve heard them all in the past 50 years. What follows are (in my opinion) the most popular myths and the corresponding truths.
Chapter 10.1 - What Is Blackjack Card Counting?

10.2 Effect of Card Removal

You close your eyes, stick your hand into the bowl, and randomly pull out a marble. What are the odds it will be white? Obviously, the odds are 50-50 since there are equal numbers of white and black marbles in the bowl.
Chapter 10.2 - How Blackjack Count Carding Works

 

10.3 How Card Counting Works in Blackjack

It’s important that you understand why the removal of small cards is player favorable and the removal from the deck of large cards is player unfavorable.
Chapter 10.3 - Simple Card Counting Systems

10.4 Learning the Hi-lo Card Counting Systems

Hi-Lo has been the gold standard of card counting systems for many years. It’s also the card counting system I’ve used successfully for nearly 50 years, and have taught to hundreds of players in my blackjack school and seminars.

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10.5 How to Use the Running Count in Single and Double-Deck Games

The good news is that varying your bets in a single-deck game is easy; the bad news is that nowadays there aren’t many “beatable” single-deck games, meaning a game that will give a card counter the advantage.

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10.6 How to Use True Count for Betting in Multi-Deck Games

You are probably wondering how you will be able to determine the number of unplayed decks of cards. Fortunately, the casinos have provided us with a device to do this. No, it’s not the dealing shoe; it’s the discard tray.

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10.7 How to Use the True Count to Vary Your Playing Strategy

Besides using your true count to size your bets, you can also use it to deviate from the basic playing strategy. The reason is that the more positive the count, the more inclined you will be to stand, double, split, take insurance, or surrender.

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10.8 Unbalanced Card Counting Systems

If you have been hesitant to learn card counting over the thought of having to do the mental division of converting a running count to a true count on every hand (Chapter 10.6), I've got good news for you. There is a new-breed of counting systems that use only the running count for betting and playing decisions. This makes card counting much easier for many players.

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10.9 Entry-level Card-counting Systems

The Speed Count system includes conservative and aggressive betting spreads much the same as balanced and unbalanced counting systems sometimes do. The greater the spread, the greater the edge but the more risk to your bankroll.

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10.10 How to Enhance Your Edge

Blackjack dealers never deal all the cards. Most of the time they will deal out anywhere from 50% to 80% of the cards, then shuffle. The percentage of cards dealt is known as penetration.

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10.11 Casinos’ Countermeasures Against Card Counters

Even though card counting is technically legal (if you only use your brain), it is frowned upon by casinos. In this sub-section, I’ll describe the techniques that casinos use to discourage card counting, and how and what they do when they catch a card counter.

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10.12 How to Disguise Your Skills

One warm evening in Las Vegas, a young man was walking on the famed Strip, contemplating what had just happened. He was a good card counter, he could count down a deck of cards accurately in 20 seconds flat, and knew his strategy deviations cold.

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10.13 Bankroll and Risk of Ruin

There are two things you must have to beat the casinos: a winning system that you play accurately and a bankroll to support your betting. Don’t take the second issue for granted because beginning your card counting career (no matter how fast you can count a deck of decks) with a short bankroll is a recipe for disaster.

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Blackjack strategy guide chapter 11 - BLACKJACK SIDE BETS

BLACKJACK SIDE BETS

blackjack side betsThere are a plethora of side bets available on blackjack tables. The Ulitmate Blackjack strategy Guide will explain what they are, the playing rules and payoffs, and which ones can be beaten.
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Blackjack strategy guide chapter 12 - SPANISH 21 BLACKJACK

BLACKJACK VARIANTS

10 cards of heartsThere are several blackjack variants, games that look like a regular blackjack game but are different. In this Chapter you’ll learn what they are, how to play them, and which ones you can gain the edge.

12.1 Spanish 21

How to play Spanish 21, a game with that contains no pip 10s, but has plenty of liberal playing rules.

12.2 Blackjack Switch

How to play Blackjack Switch, a game in which you must play two hands and can switch the second card dealt to each hand.

12.3 Free Bet Blackjack

How to play Free Bet Blackjack, a game in which the dealer will pay you to match your double down and pair splits.

12.4 Super Fun 21

How to play Super Fun 21, a game in which both dealer’s cards are exposed.
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Blackjack strategy guide chapter 13 - EUROPEAN BLACKJACK

PLAYING BLACKJACK ABROAD

eiffel tower and atomium - worldwide blackjackThis chapter provides information on what to expect when playing blackjack outside the U.S., including declaring your winnings. Additionally, the U.S. regulations regarding cash transactions in casinos is reviwed.
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blackjack strategy guide Chapter 14 - blackjack online

BLACKJACK ONLINE

online blackjackThis chapter explores playing blackjack on online casinos, including how online blackjack works, how to get started, what to look for, and more.

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blackjack strategy guide chapter 15 - blackjack tournaments

BLACKJACK TOURNAMENTS

blackjack tournamantes tablesThe Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide explains blackjack tournaments, how they work, and what kind of blackjack strategies you should learn to improve your chances of finishing at a final table.
 

15.1 How Blackjack Tournaments Work

There are several different tournament formats and in this section you’ll learn what they are and how they work.

15.2 Blackjack Strategies for Tournament Play

Playing and betting strategies are different for tournaments than for table play. This section will summarize the most important playing and betting strategies for you to be able to compete with confidence in a tournament.

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Blackjack strategy guide chapter 16 - BLACKJACK LEGENDS

BLACKJACK LEGENDS

legends of blackjack timeYou’ll learn who the legends of blackjack are and what their accomplishments were.

16.1 Major Contributors to Our Knowledge of the Game

This section summarizes the individuals who have made major contributions to our knowledge of blackjack and what their contribution was.

16.2 Blackjack Hall of Fame

You’ll learn all about the Blackjack Hall of Fame, where it’s located, who the inductees are, what their contributions were, and how individuals are voted into the Hall.

16.3 Blackjack Ball

You’ll get the inside scoop on this annual event of blackjack pros that is held at a secret location in Las Vegas. Many of these players have made a fortune playing blackjack in casinos around the world.
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blackjack strategy guide chapter 17 - how to win at blackjack

THE PROCESS OF WINNING AT BLACKJACK

blackjack chipsYou’ll learn the top reasons why most blackjack players lose at a game that can be beaten.
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blackjack strategy guide chapter 18 - blackjack tips

BLACKJACK STRATEGY GUIDE GLOSSARY


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