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  • Zippy is correct. The article is just plain wrong. The article should be amended, starting with this sentence at the end of the second paragraph:

    “Even money should always be taken when the player has a blackjack against the dealers Ace up card. Doing this gives the player a guaranteed profit for the round.”

    The above sentence should read:

    The non-counting, non-hole-carding blackjack player should never take even money, and should never take insurance.

    And that should end the article.

  • Hey Ken. Quick question. I want to try out the casinos in my hometown ~ $5 minimum, 6 decks, H17, ds, late surrender ~ which (depending on which strategy engine I look at) gives the house odds of either 0.58% or 0.66%. Assuming the higher number (worst comes to worst), I calculated out the advantage with different counts, multiplied it by 0.76 as above, and calculated my optimum bet for each true count.

    But here’s the problem! ~ you said a 6 deck BJ game can be beat with a 12:1 split, but using my calculations, the only time I get anywhere close to betting $60 a hand (12×5) is when the true count hits the 11-12 range, which I don’t see happening very often.

    Plus there’s the fact that I might not have $3000 bankroll ~ $1500 is more likely.

    So do you have any suggestions for what by betting spread should be? Thanks!

    • Something’s wrong with your calculations. Let’s look at a true count of +6. That’s roughly 3% added to the base edge of -0.66%. So, at TC+6, your edge is 2.34%. (These numbers aren’t precise enough to use two decimal digits, but I’m doing it anyway to make the process clear.) Multiply that by 0.76 and get 2.34 * 0.76 = 1.78% of your bank. With a $3000 bank, that’s a bet of $53.

      Now, as for a smaller bank, you just can’t effectively play a six deck game with less than about $3000 you’re willing to devote to it. You can do two things: Back-count and play only positive counts until you build up your bank, or play anyway and just realize if you lose your $1500 you’ll need to wait until you build up more ammo.

  • I have to disagree with your advice.

    First of all, if your aim is to minimise variance, then I would have to strongly suggest that you keep your money in the bank and never make any bets.

    Secondly, although the bet is called an insurance bet, it has nothing to do with insurance. It does not “protect” a good hand. The insurance bet is purely a bet on the chance that the dealer has a ten as a hole-card when showing an ace. You win or lose the same amount on this bet regardless of the hand that you have. It makes no difference whether you have 16, 20 or even blackjack, the pay-off is the same.

    So the decision to bet should be based purely on the mathematical expectation for the insurance bet. If you are not counting cards, then never buy insurance and never take even money. If you are using any count system, then follow the “rule” for that system to decide when to buy insurance. The most accurate count for deciding when to start buying insurance is the Archer 10 count. However, the Archer count is notoriously inaccurate for betting strategy and that’s where the most money is to be made.

  • So I believe I found the flaw, and it was in my calculations. I’m just going to put this here for anyone who stumbles across it that and has the same question. In my calculations for High Low, I factored in the disadvantage off the top (a generic .5% for te house) whereas I didn’t for the hi lo lite. That makes sense why the advantage was .5% off. Snyder isn’t quite as straight forward in his book about factoring in the advantage off the top into the true edge count as this website is, but I guess he leaves that up to the reader to assume.

  • Jimmy said:
    (Posted to: About Ken Smith)

    Hey there Ken. I do have an interest in your advanced strategy cards and I will probably end up ordering some. One area of concern I have regards usin them at the table. I imagine when you first released them and maybe even still today, the stealth factor works pretty well at camouflage. But over time, what’s stopping from casino personnel purchasing your cards and getting familiar with them? To me, that just seems like it screams counter if they know what to look for. I still plan on committing theses to memory, but what’s your opinion on that? Is it likely to happen over the next few years or probably not?

    • So far there are under 1000 sets of these in circulation, so I suspect we’ll be fine for quite some time. In addition, I may release a basic strategy set that is the same physical size, so that will help too. I don’t think this is currently a concern.

  • Something I’m confused about. I compared the Hi Low here to the HiLo lite in calculating the edge. And with each hypothetical situation I worked out based on TC and decks remaining, the HiLoLite gave me an edge that was 1/2% more than the HiLow. Is this a known difference or may I be doing something wrong in my calculations? If I’m doing this right, should they come out the same? And if there is a difference, which one would be more preferable?

  • Paul Hennessey said:
    (Posted to: Start Here - Get Blackjack Smart!)

    I am thankful to this site for making me a better player. I do not understand why the basic strategy calls for a hit rather than a double 11 against an ace .With the dealer having proved he does not have a BJ.

    • In H17 games (and 1-deck and 2-deck S17 games too), basic strategy does have the player double 11 vs Ace, so it’s a close call. In S17 games with more than 2 decks, where you should not double 11 vs Ace, the inability to draw again if you make a poor hand slightly outweighs the benefit of doubling the bet. (The dealer busts less often in those games, which probably explains most of the difference.) But as with most questions of basic strategy, it just is what it is. It’s not always intuitively obvious why one play is better than the other.

  • In BlackJack 16 of 52 cards 31% have a value of ten and 4 of 52 cards 7% are aces. This means there is a 31% or 1/3 chance of getting a high card which is a pretty high chance.

    Anyways my opinion is that no matter how many decks there are, blackjacks should be dealt 7 times out of every 100 cards in game play. Or to put it another way one of every 14 cards in play or about one in five hands of play could be a BlackJack because that is when an ace should appear. And that BlackJack could be for the player or for the dealer.

  • It is difficult enough to draw two tens for a 20. Why would anyone sacrifice the second best point total to try to score big? It is easy to turn twenty into two twelve by splitting tens.