I am very pleased and proud to announce the complete revision of The GameMaster’s Blackjack School. For those who aren’t familiar with my “school”, this is a series of 24 written lessons that can teach you how to play a winning game of Blackjack. Here…we have gathered together the entire curriculum, expanded and refined the lessons and added additional resources.
When the state of Missouri legalized casino gaming in 1994, I developed a course of instruction that would show people how to get an edge over the casino Blackjack games. This course, which was taught by me at my home, originally cost $400 and that included all of the training materials, four “classroom” sessions of about 2 hours each, which were spread out over a four-week period and one playing session where I went to a local casino with my graduates in order to assess their skills in the heat of battle, so to speak.
In 1995, I was one of the founders of Rolling Good Times Online (rgtonline.com), the Internet’s first gambling “E-zine” and that was when I began converting my course into a series of written lessons for presentation as a free, internet-based “school”. Until now those lessons have remained pretty much unchanged and have now been licensed to appear on more than 120 gambling related websites.
In July of 1997 I opened our flagship web site The GameMaster Online, from that day forward we have served the blackjack and gaming community with literally hundreds of articles on “getting the edge” on the casinos. I believe this school is the focal point of many of these efforts.
Blackjack is a game of skill and this is where you can learn the skills it takes to beat the game.
The 24 lessons you see here will take you step-by-step through the process of learning how to play each hand properly, how to count cards, how and when to properly bet and literally hundreds of other “tricks of the trade”. The course is long, but this is not something you have to learn overnight. Take your time, do what we say and you’ll soon be on your way to playing a winning game of Blackjack.
Start at Lesson 1 and go as far and as fast as you wish. The thrill of winning at casino Blackjack is literally at your fingertips.
can you make a living if you play bj perfectly?
Yes, of course.
Great school, great approach and presentation. Time to reawaken some
Thanks for being here. Am returning to the course after a couple of years off. I got so I was playing a decent basic strategy, but I hadn’t gotten counting yet. This time around, I’ll probe deeper, because what little I learned and put to use was VERY profitable.
This is the best article about BJ I’ve ever read. I’m sure this will be the start of BJ for me.
Hey so I love this blackjack school. One complaint I have about it is that if I want to review a specific lesson, I have to cycle through each lesson and keep clicking next. It’s honestly a bit of a pain. Maybe because I am viewing your website through an iPhone. But unless you already have it and I just overlooked it, I’d find it so much easier if there was a table of contents with direct links to each page so I wouldn’t have to cycle through each one. The material is great on here and I am using it very often to develop my skills! Thanks!
As you guessed, it has to do with the narrow screen available on phones. The site adapts to the screen width, and eliminates the list of lessons when the screen is too narrow. However, I just noticed that if you turn your phone sideways (landscape orientation), the list of lessons is available if you scroll down the page.
Man, dont know about this system… I mean it doesn’t seem to work as you are saying… I’ve played many hours in 6decks shoe online live casino (you see the shoe and the dealer) , totally of 70.000 euros in bets, I’m playing only at TC >1 and i am losing atm 3000euro… Many times I went losing streaks of 10-15 continuing bets, i did some 2wins 20loses and 3wins 30loses, while i have never won more than 7 continuing times and usually not more than 3-4 times in a row (while losing 7-10 times in a row happens very often). And the most important thing is that when the TC is 4+ I’ve been losing the majority of my bets (about 80%). I m kinda disappointed, I dont think im just “unlucky” and my loss is just statistics since 70,000euros are many many bets. Shouldn’t I be winning more than 50% of my bets since I’m playing only in TC>1 ? I have been doing EXACTLY what the game master suggests and betting exactly as he says, not once i did something wrong… You are saying that you play TC> -1 and you make money, how come i play TC >1 and I’m losing? Thank you for your time, I hope for an answer.
It could be a lot of things, but the most likely is that you are still looking at too small a sample size. You don’t quantify how many hands you played other than “many, many bets”. Until that number is in the tens of thousands of hands, your results in a six deck game with very poor penetration is going to dominated by variance. (Go read about N0 (N-Zero) to learn more about that.)
Also, you still have at least one misunderstanding about the game. You will never win 50% of your hands, even in super-high counts. See https://blackjackincolor.com/truecount5.htm
If you are serious about the game, get some software, check your expected results and practice with the software.
Last of all, since you are playing “live online”, in my experience the shoes in those games are typically brought to the table already shuffled. This of course could be a way for casinos to cheat.
As for the online casino I’m playing, the penetration varies from 70-83% , usually around 75% (pretty good) and the decks are opened in front of you, you see all the cards, and then they shufle them in front of you.
I guess I’ll continue playing till I have more of a sample than the 70k euros (i beliene its around 10-11k bets), I can afford to lose some more money 😛
I watched your link and I have 1 more question if I may. If only at TC 18+ you win a bet more often than you lose, how is it possible to make money (I’ve never seen TC more than 9)? Again thank you for your time!
Its 6decks, DA2, DAS, No surrender, No re-split
Also i always take insurrance at TC>3
How do you make money without winning over 50% of hands? Blackjack pays 3:2. Doubles and splits. That’s it.
you wanna win dont gamble the house AlWAYS WINS
i make living playing bj read a book rookie
Yeah that person is an idiot! Nice reply!
Dude most online black jack.is rigged to.be honest.
Ken hello again !!its me your midnight fan …????????????????
You have opened my eyes for good so one more question 4 you sir !!
In a 6d s17 das bj3.2 double on any 2 cards we need the bet spreads why?
to over come the losses through the negative counts?and if i have to play under tc -1i need that bet spreads more than i would need them if i wong out at 0tc ?or the spreads are the one that creates the edge 4 the player?and if instead of spreading 1/12 at my casino i spread only 1/3 i suppose that my r.o.r its going to be alot lower but what about my e.v?i try to understand the importance of the spread and in a typical game what the affect in the same game rules with 1/12 spread and 1/3.if i wong in only at tc+2 with flat ber of 5 dollars i generate like this 0.5 edge×5 dollars =2.5 this is 0.25cents ? Is there a ror /bankroll/spread mathematic formula or i need cvcx?
Stefan, these questions are beyond the scope of what can be personally answered here. I respectfully suggest you should read every good book out there right from Beat the Dealer to all of Stanford Wong’s books, Arnold Snyder’s books, Don Schlesinger’s books, Norm Wattenberger’s Modern Blackjack and of course James Grosjean’s Beyond Counting. You should also get all of Norm’s software. The technical knowledge will be very valuable in fine-tuning your game along the way and also help how you approach other games.
i want to print this out is there a way to print every lessons at once
There is not a combined print page, but each lesson individually will print nicely without the comments and sidebars.
There is also a book that contains these lessons and much more:
The (Darn Near) Complete Book of Winning at Blackjack
Ken smith hi again !i want to travel from greece to the usa to see the hot action in real.anywhere i can get informed from where to have an economy room to stay until in which casino to go and play.?also a general question is with 20.000 dollars bank roll what spread to u advice me to use to be invisible to the pit bosses and how much hours of session should i make?and what is the average profit an hour?thanks again for your time
Please see response above.
We have an Indian casino about an hour and fifteen minutes away where we play with no heat and very friendly dealers and pit bosses.
Both double deck and 6 deck games have great penetration…85% plus, no surrender but double on anything, split up to 4 times.
A couple of interesting notes. I was on a crazy run and had about $8k of $500 chips and the pit boss leans over to me and says “you know, it’s OK to leave with money…you don’t have to stay and give it back?”
Then on another trip one if the dealers who is a part time pit boss looks at the 6 deck discard and quietly says “there’s about 1 1/3 decks discarded” to me. He obviously assumed I was counting.
Just goes to show that not ALL of the casinos are alike, especially outside of Nevada?
Anybody else have good story?
PLEASE Take a look at this …..
Yesterday one guy in a local cazino made something very strange in bj.he took almost 10.000euro
The strange part of corse was that the game was with smc if i tell them correct.the machine that shaffle after every hand .
More strange was his bettings.he was betting for some rounds the minimum 10euro and after sudenly BOOM !!!200euro in each box.he was playing in two boxes and he decided BOOM maximum bets and sometimes he opend also a 3d box.he was taking all the time tens and ases.also the dealer was taking 10 but for some reason never an ace.when the party was over again only two boxes with 10 euro each for some hands and after 6 or 7 hands BOOM !!!maximum bets with 200euro and always 20 or bj.never again see something like that.the funny part was the 3 pit bosses and the floor manager that come running to that table and watching the game.i was also counting with hi/lo but of corse my counting was air !!!his method/counting was working perfect !!!
U explain very nice your answers but maybe i have a wrong concept of idea from the begging.a counter has 53/100 chance to win!right?i understand that this doesnt confirm by it self that if i play 100 times i will win exacly 53 times .maybe i win 60 times maybe 40.if i have understand it correct this is cause of tbe variance.and to finishe with the variance/luck u need to play to the long run.but as much as i try to find a number or math type to give a number or an amount to these words i cant!!!maybe its something general .real but general like the concept of the “time”.we all now what timeline it is but we cant give a exacly meaning by words
See the mention of “N0” a couple of answers above. That’s the mathematical way of determining how many hands it takes to reach the long run.
U got exacly what i ment.thanks again for your precious advice/answer !
Also when one player wants to play with just the maths and overcome the good and the bad luck i cant understand how much time is needed in continious game?or should i think not in time but in hands??and i cant understand if the tables or the cazino have united memory !i mean that if i play 10 days in the row every day of 5hours each day and i loose every time for those 10 days and i decide to go after on month for 10days again of 5hours each day the maths those days will have to give me profit ????
It sounds like you are wondering whether things have to eventually even out, so if you’ve had a losing streak the coming days “will have to give you profit”. Nope. It never works like that. The cards don’t know you’ve been on a losing streak. Each time you play the odds are the same. There is no “memory”, between casinos, or in the same casino, or in the same session, or over 100 sessions.
When discussing how long you need to play to have a good chance of making a profit despite luck, a useful concept is a statistical measure known as “N0”. That’s N-Zero. It is a measure of how many hands you must play in a game before your expected win is equal to one standard deviation. Even after N0 hands, you still have a roughly 32% chance of being a loser despite playing perfectly. In really good games, N0 can number in the low single thousands of hands. In marginal games, it can be as much as 50,000 hands. In bad games it could be over 100,000. That’s a lot of blackjack!
Here are a couple of threads…
Ken Smith hi again.sorry if i write in a wrong section but i want to ask two things.when the true count is high and its time for us to bet as back counters or betting more like players on the the table and there are three or five bases/players we bet where for better results ?first base ?the last one?or it dont matter.?second guestion i have read that to survive the long run and play all good luck and bad luck we need 50 times the max bet.if i decide to play flat bet of 5dollars it means that i need 250 dollars.right?at this fynny amount of money what profit per hour can u gain?000000.1 cents ????.and last in another post u answered me that its not how much hours a counter can play continiusly but how much he should play?please inlight us.if he plays more or less hours what the results?thanks for your time !!
It doesn’t matter which seat at the table you choose. The only difference is that you get to see a few more cards before making your decision if you sit at third base. But that effect is a minor one.
For your other question, you ask about bankroll needed to flat-bet $5, and how much profit that will yield. I assume you mean you will play only in positive counts, otherwise there of course will be no expected profit. How much earn per hour? Not much. Off the top of my head I would estimate that a $5 flat bet in positive counts might yield around 50 cents an hour in expected win. And you’ll still need that $250 bank you asked about to weather the ups and downs. Your final question about results based on hours, it’s a straight linear relationship. 10 hours will earn 10 times what 1 hour will.
Thank you for the info. I see you calculated stand on 17. I only have the option of hit on soft 17. I can assume the risk of ruin and 100/h win rate will be even worse than the calculations above, correct?
And I claim I looked at your message before deciding! Oops, my mistake!
Here is a run for H17:
$10 to $120 spread:
75% pen, Win per 100 hands: $16, RoR: 32%
83% pen, Win per 100 hands: $22, RoR: 21%
$15 to $180 spread:
75% pen, Win per 100 hands: $24, RoR: 47%
83% pen, Win per 100 hands: $33, RoR: 36%
AND, I realize now that I posted NDAS numbers before.
I corrected the numbers in the S17 reply. They are now DAS as intended.
Hey Guys, I’m having trouble finding a RoR formula if anyone can give me some insight. I have an $8k bankroll and my options are limited to my local area to play. The best I found is 6d, H17, DAS, DA, NO RSA, NO Surr. I think it is .61% house edge. I am wondering what the RoR is for $10 vs $15 units with 1-12 spread top bet of $120 or $180. The $10 tables are very hard to find locally and I am resorting to $15. Please let me know if more info is needed as I don’t have the formula.
I re-read my post and wanted to clear up I am inquiring about “risk of ruin” with the RoR acronym.
I just don’t have time at the moment to run any sims for you. Check at blackjacktheforum.com.(Scratch that. Running sims now.)
Thanks for the reply Ken, In your opinion is $8K bankroll sufficient for $15 tables?
If it’s really a non-replenishable bankroll, I think it’s too risky. My rule of thumb is to not make an initial bet of more than 1% of your bankroll. That would imply a $12K bank for $10-$120, and a $18K bank for $15-$180. I also realize that when starting out, that can be an unmanageable sum to accrue. Most players in that situation will take a shot with the smaller bank. If it falls apart, it’s back to work to build another bank.
I don’t trust my off-the-cuff RoR estimates because I’m out of practice. Let me see if I can do a quick job tonight to get a real estimate for you.
I ran CVCX from Qfit.com to get some numbers.
CVCX is worth the money for these sorts of calculations, even though it takes a while to get the hang of it.
6 decks, S17, DAS, $8000 bank:
$10 to $120 spread:
75% (4.5/6) penetration: Win per 100 hands: $22, RoR: 24%
83% (5.0/6) penetration: Win per 100 hands: $26, RoR: 15%
$15 to $180 spread:
75% (4.5/6) penetration: Win per 100 hands: $32, RoR: 38%
83% (5.0/6) penetration: Win per 100 hands: $40, RoR: 28%
With a $12K bank, 75% penetration $10-$120 RoR drops to 11%.
With a $12K bank, 75% penetration $15-$180 RoR is still 24%.
The killer in 6+ deck games is the cost of waiting through the crud. If you can backcount, it makes a huge difference.
That’s tough most places these days due to mid-shoe entry restrictions and increased heat.
But at least make sure you take breaks on really negative counts. That will help a lot.
I’ve been learning to card count. I’m using the Hi-Lo system. (But I’m looking at the TKO system as well.) I’m dealing one deck and keeping track of my outcome as well as the time it takes me to get through a deck. My best so far is 40 seconds.
There are three questions I have for you…
1. How to best compute “decks dealt” by just looking at the discard shoe?
2. In my second-to-last casino visit I did very well BUT… one of the other players at the table actually said “what are you doing man? Counting cards?” I about $hat my pants! So, how to best “cover up” the fact?
3. What are your thoughts on the TKO system by Daniel Dravot?
1. Estimating the number of decks in the discard tray is a skill that you can practice at home. Buy a few used decks from a casino gift shop, and try guessing how many cards are in various sized stacks. You don’t have to be super-accurate. Getting within a half deck accuracy should be good enough.
2. At low bet amounts, you cannot afford so-called camouflage to hide your tactics. Just keep your sessions at any single table short.
3. KO is roughly equal in strength to Hi-Lo, and most people find it easier. TKO improves on it further, but I would make sure you are very comfortable with regular KO first. You can add the TKO ideas later.
Good luck, and good cards! -Ken-
Is there a way to calculate your risk of ruin to include expenses? So for example, if my expenses account for 10% of the EV gained how do I incorporate this knowledge to calculate my true risk of ruin?
I’m trying to decide whether you can just use 90% of your EV for the calculation instead. I’ll have to think about that a bit.
Hello, I want to ask about the true count, after a round has been done, for example we have a +6 running count and 3 decks haven’t been played, the true count is +2 . But when we start a new round, where shoulld I start counting? From 0 again or continue the +6 running count that I have before? Thank you
Maintain the running count until the dealer shuffles, carrying it forward from hand to hand. When the dealer shuffles, start over at zero.