Blackjack Strategy Cards, Basic and Advanced

We offer two different sets of the highest quality blackjack strategy cards. Our Blackjack Basic Strategy Cards provide perfectly optimized basic strategies for all the common rule variations, while our Blackjack Advanced Strategy Cards add optimal Hi-Lo card counting index numbers as well.


Blackjack Basic Strategy Cards:

Set of Six Blackjack Strategy Cards

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This set of six wallet-size cards shows the optimal basic strategy for each of these games:

Each card features perfect basic strategy from, and is made of solid durable plastic. The cards are credit-card sized to fit easily in your wallet.

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Blackjack Advanced Strategy Cards:

Blackjack Advanced Strategy Cards

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This set of twelve pocket-size cards includes the same perfect basic strategies as the basic set, but then adds the Hi-Lo card counting system index numbers from -5 to +5.

For each game, the set includes two different plastic cards. One card shows the Hi-Lo index numbers printed as small numbers in the corner of the decision square. A second “stealth” version of each card encodes the index numbers using a series of small black dots.

Each card is pocket-sized and made of solid durable plastic.

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33 comments on "Blackjack Strategy Cards, Basic and Advanced"

  • ernest philipp said:

    do you have cards for spanish 21, if not do you know where?

  • Hi Ken,
    I just received the advanced strategy cards and some (but not all) of the numbers for the 2-deck H17 game are different than I’ve seen elsewhere. I saw somewhere (I think Norm W. wrote in his forum) that you should use indexes based on the same method of true count derivation that you use for counting. I am currently using flooring and am wondering: 1) What true count method you used for arriving at these numbers and 2) Whether you think this is the reason for the differences in some but not all the numbers. Most are within one integer, but some are very different….for example, elsewhere for this game I’ve seen the index for 12 vs 6 is -3, yet you have it on the card as -6! Obviously this is a big difference and could result in one $$ won or lost so am wondering if you can clear things up. Many thanks!

    • First up, check the card again for the index 12v6. It is -3 on the 2DH17 card, not -6 as you mention. (In fact the cards only show indexes between -5 and +5.)

      The indexes were created through a lengthy iterative process using Norm’s CVData. Some decisions are quite close, so very small differences in assumptions can create a difference of 1 or even 2 points. In those cases, it’s actually not that important, because the very fact that they are so close means the difference in EV is tiny. I believe these are the best indexes I could have created. Many hours went in to the process. I ran multiple rounds until the numbers stopped changing. (Each index actually depends on those generated downstream.)

      To answer your main question…
      The card indexes are generating by flooring the true count. Just to refresh everyone’s memory, floor(2.9) = 2, floor(-2.9) = -3.

  • george v hillstead said:

    I have read in another book on blackjack counting about counting the low cards then divide by the number of players have knot tried this way as of yet. I am doing real good just using your blackjack strategy. how about the low card system above. any one has it been try-out

  • Wait a min…is the advanced strategy card(s) what I think is is??? Is this the basic deviations based on true count on a card? Already bought three of the basic cards some time ago…I didn’t know what deviations were at the time…I do now…lol.

  • Duneflower said:

    One of the local casinos has a couple of tables with oddball rules, such as one where the house will pay for a double or split under certain conditions. Any easy way to calculate odds for such oddities?

  • Johnny Clueless said:

    Thank you Mr. Smith. Now I know why I am still losing!! Ha Ha !

  • Johnny Clueless said:

    Hi Ken
    My casino here has the rules for blackjack: 6 decks, CSM, D any 2 cards, DAS, soft 17 ,early surrender, no peak,but no surrender if banker has A . Your basic strategy engine says the banker has the edge of -.08%. That mean that the player has .08% against the banker?

    • If you had full early surrender, including against an Ace, that would be correct. The player would have a small advantage.
      However, since you cannot surrender against an Ace, that adds back about 0.4% to the house edge, so the effective total is a house advantage of approximately 0.32%.

  • aaron said:

    The advanced strategy chart I am using for double deck assumes surrender is an option but it is not in all the games I play. So, for 15 against a 10 where it says to surrender against a 10 or stand if TC is at least 4, I assume all I do is replace surrender with hit in this case and I am good, is that right? In other words just treat the surrenders as if they said hit but I still stand if the TC is at least as high as index.

  • aaron said:

    I have now read all your classes and received your advanced strategy cards in the mail.

    I seem to have discovered what appears to me an inconsistency in the variations.

    For my double deck game (see comments above) advice on card for when I have a 12 against a 2 is to stay if the true count is at least 4. The card would on the other hand have me hit a 13 against that same 2 with the same true count of 4. How does that make sense, to hit the 13 but to stay with the 12 with the exact same circumstances?

    To be clear, the card specifically says with my 12 to hit against the 2 as long as the TC is 3 or higher and with my 13 to stay as long as the TC is higher than -1 but that results in the above advice, right?


    • Perhaps you are being confused by the negative index number?
      As you mention in your final paragraph, for a 2-deck H17 game the index for 12v2 is +3. The index for 13v2 is -1.

      If the true count is +3 or higher, you should stand with 12v2.
      If the true count is -1 or higher, you should stand with 13v2.

      In your example, you ask about what happens at a true count of 4.
      Since +4 is higher than both of the indexes (+3 and -1), you would stand with both 12v2 and 13v2. There is no inconsistency.

      • aaron replied:

        Yes, I seem to be confused as to the relationship between the index number and when you perform the alternative from basic strategy play. I latched on to this statement in your lessons.

        “The general rule for understanding the Basic Strategy Variations Matrix is this: If the number in a slot is 0 or a minus, then that play is a Basic Strategy move that you should make as long as the count is higher than the number shown.”

        So, 13 v2 with index -1 would mean play stay as long as count is higher than -1, like +4. What am I missing?

        Of course it seems fundamental that I understand how to understand the index numbers so I will ask about the general rule above. When is that not the rule or is that always the rule? And what about when the index is positive, same general rule of playing basic strategy move as long as count is not higher than the index? Based upon what you said with 12 v 2 hitting until you get to at least +4 sounds like the answer is yes but it seems important to get this right.


        • aaron replied:

          Sorry, I confused myself. Let me restate my reply.

          First of all, is it always the case that with an index of 0 or negative that you play basic strategy move only if the count is higher than the index, otherwise play the alternative?

          Is it also the general rule that it works the opposite when the index is positive? In other words, you only play the basic strategy move if the count is equal or lower to the index? By general rule here do we also mean “always?”


          • Ah, I see the source of your confusion. The line you quoted from the GameMaster’s lesson is always correct when you are talking about the double or don’t double index numbers, but for hit/stand indexes it is only true for positive index numbers. That’s not helpful!
            Since he makes the statement in a section where he is discussing soft hand doubling, I’m sure that’s what he was thinking about, but it sure is confusing. I’ll try to come up with a way to clarify it in the lesson. (I wish I could work with him on it, but his health situation must have worsened. See GameMaster.)

            Despite his wording, index numbers should not be thought of as the point at which you change from basic strategy.
            To see exactly what each group of index numbers does mean, see the section titled What are the different kinds of Index Numbers? near the bottom of the advanced card instructions page. Note that I don’t refer to basic strategy in that section, but instead simply explain what changes at the index number. That is a safer way of describing the meaning of index numbers, and doesn’t lead to the discrepancies that the GameMaster’s wording causes.

            Thanks for the feedback. I need to figure out how to best clarify Lesson 23.

  • aaron said:

    Since I play double deck where dealer hits soft 17, can double after split (except Aces), can double any two cards and no surrender, what would be the easiest next best counting system to learn once I have mastered hi-lo (the easy one you teach) and what would be the best one if I advance that far? Also, should I count Aces as minus 1 or should they be neutral?


    • Hi-Lo works just fine in that double deck game (and Aces are minus 1 in that count). In my own play, I use the Wong Halves count which is covered along with Hi-Lo in his book Professional Blackjack.

      But to be honest, if I was choosing today, I don’t think I would use anything other than KO or Hi-Lo. The extra profit from a more powerful system is pretty small, so it’s really not worth the extra effort and potential for errors. If you want to feel better about the slightly lower win rate, just play an extra five minutes to make up for it. 🙂

  • aaron said:

    Thanks again Ken.

    The strategy engine does not allow you to pick the rule where you can double after split except aces. Does the fact that you can’t split aces have any bearing on the basic strategy decisions for double deck?

    Separately, is there a simple way to explain why in the first place basic strategy changes from 6 deck to double deck. I understand that if you are counting there may be a difference but if you have no idea what is coming (or what has been played) then what does it matter if there is one deck left or 5?

    • I assume you meant No DAS on Aces in your question. That’s absolutely the normal rule. Split Aces receive only one card on each, although some places will let you resplit if you get another Ace. Hitting or doubling after splitting is not allowed, so all the basic strategy charts and index numbers already assume that is the case.

      As for why more decks matter, that would make a good blog topic since it is a common question. I’ll illustrate the basic idea by showing that the “effect of removal” of one card is bigger in 1 deck than in 6. Let’s assume you draw an Ace off the top of a single deck. What is the probability that you will end up with blackjack when you get your second card? There are 16 ten-valued cards left among the 51 cards in the remaining deck. 16/51 = 0.3137
      If you are playing a six-deck game instead, now there are 96 ten-valued cards left among 311 cards. 96/311 = 0.3087
      You can see that you are slightly more likely to draw a blackjack in a single deck game than in a six-deck game.

      This same concept affects all the strategy decisions in a small way.

  • aaron said:

    Ken. I am interested in counting double blackjack. I purchased the advanced wallet cards. My issue is that the matrix under lesson 23 is inconsistent with your double deck basic strategy. For example, on the matrix it says if you have a pair of 2s and dealer has a 2 you should just hit (no number so doesn’t matter what the count is). On your basic strategy engine for double deck (leaving the default drop downs for everything but # of decks) it says for this same hand to split (split up to dealer having a 7 in fact). Is this a mistake and if so which one is right? Thanks,

    • The matrix from the GameMaster assumes you cannot double after split in the 2-deck game. If you change the engine settings to not allow DAS, the results will much more closely align with the matrix he provides. That was easy; it’s just a rule difference. If you dig deeper and begin to look at the index numbers themselves, it gets more complicated.

      I am sure there are differences in the GameMaster’s index matrix numbers and the ones on my advanced card. Generating indexes involves making a lot of decisions on the conditions. I spent months fine-tuning my numbers, and my assumptions may be slightly different than his. In addition, his indexes were risk-adjusted in a few spots, and for the vast majority of players I think risk-adjusted indexes are misguided because most players do not actually bet the relevant percentage of their effective bankroll. Most players have a replenishable bankroll, whether they are willing to admit it or not. For that reason, I chose to not risk-adjust the indexes. (The effect of RA indexes is minimal and only a handful of decisions are even affected at all, so it’s not a big thing.) Another possible reason for discrepancies is the technology used to generate the indexes. There have been improvements since GM did his matrix (not in basic strategy, just index generation). I used CVData from QFIT to generate mine, in an iterative process that took many simulations for fine-tuning.

      The bottom line is… For basic strategy, inputting the correct rules in the Strategy Engine will give you a chart that you can trust whenever there are differences vs other source materials. For card counting indexes, the situation is far more nuanced, but I am confident of the utility of the numbers published on my Advanced Strategy Cards.

      • aaron replied:


        First off, thanks so much for the quick reply; it makes sense (I didn’t know the acronyms well enough to see that I was looking at two different sets of rules).

        So, I have basic strategy memorized although I never knew it varied for double deck so there are about 9 hands I have to memorize to be 100%. Now I am contemplating moving on to the index variation piece by using your cards. I am looking for guidance on cost vs. benefit. For all my purposes by the way I am dealing with Mandalay Bay or Palazzo, which means H17, Da2, das (except Aces), no surrender and I am starting with at least basic strategy and counting where I will up my bet by up to 8 times minimum (sometimes more).

        First of all, assuming penetration of about 66% (deck + 1/3rd deck) and varying bet up to 8 times, about what are my odds (i.e. 1.5%)? Second, if I completely incorporate the index variation piece, what impact does that have on my odds? Lastly, is there an in between that you recommend that is a starting point for my next trip to Vegas that would provide me the most bang for my mental buck? For example maybe I skip the ones where I have a pair as those are a lot less common I think than soft hands and the rest or maybe I just disregard all the ones where the variation starts above 3 or below – 3 because those are less common counts. If you have a suggestion please make it and let me know if you can about what improvement to my odds that might offer vs. just counting with basic strategy.

        Last question, how much leverage do I get by upping my bet by more than 8 times? I usually pay $25 minimum and sometimes find myself doing two or three hands each with a $200 bet when the count is high towards the end of the two deck shoe (in particular when there are a bunch of Aces left). While this has risk of being asked to leave for counting I wonder if this is actually more impactful in terms of my odds then worrying about the index variations in the first place, thoughts?

        I really appreciate it.

        Kind regards,


        • Bet sizing is far more important than strategy changes. I would recommend that you not worry about indexes at all yet. When I started, I played a year or two without any strategy variations at all. The huge majority of your profit comes from bet variation. Once bet variation is solid, you can expect strategy changes to add maybe 20% to your win rate. You’ll know you are ready when counting and just varying your bet starts to get boring. 🙂

  • Francisco said:

    Do you have any information on how to beat California Blackjack? Such as when to bank the game?

    • Author Ken Smith replied:

      Many years ago I was hired by one of the banking teams to calculate the optimal strategy and return for California Blackjack.
      However I don’t even know if I still have the report, and more importantly, I bet the game’s rules are no longer exactly the same.

  • Purchased your Advanced BJ strategy cards. I have seen several people bring a casino version as an “allowed” cheat sheet to play basic strategy at the tables. Even got into a “fun” argument with someone who said I played a basic decision incorrectly based upon their card. I told him I had not and he should check again. He pulled it out and “lo and behold’ I was right……..LOL Amazing how confusing to many A-7 is, right?

    In any event, round about way to get to use of your Advanced cards (stealth mode) in casino. I have them; been tempted to use them at tables but seem to chicken out to actually pulling them out to use. Illustrious 18 I have memorized pretty much. Have you received any feedback from players on them yet? I want to play “dumb” but not THAT dumb at the tables. Would hate for them to confiscate my card………..haha. But it does concern me if a pit boss were to ask me for my card and I had to show it to him. Your suggestions?

    • You asked if I had feedback from players on this issue, and actually, I have not. I need to start asking around, and see what players are experiencing with it.

      It will likely end up depending on the venue a lot. There are some places I play where I would not consider pulling out a card, and yet there are others pits where I would feel completely comfortable.

      Since you have memorized the Illustrious 18, you are getting 80-90% of the value already without the card actually in hand. You have likely also developed some feel for the decisions that are not among the 18, but are marginal. With that in mind, you may find only one or two hands per hour where you would want to look at the card.

      I completely understand the quandary, and I would love to hear your thoughts afterward if you use it.

      Even if the pit actually looks at the card, there is a good chance they would not notice the dots. Worst case, if I found myself confronted with a pit person asking about the dots, I would tell him the dots tell me which hands it’s safe to play on a hunch if I don’t want to follow the advice. It’s just goofy enough to maybe work, and there’s a little truth behind it.

    • Jerry replied:

      Have used at the table many times and have been told by pit bosses that it is perfectly legal. No problem.

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