Playing Blackjack Professionally

Is it possible and profitable to play blackjack professionally? Of course it is. As has been seen, blackjack is a winnable game and anyone willing to invest in hours of practice will consistently has an advantage over the house. Once players master the techniques presented here, they may want to learn some of the more advanced techniques.

How to Practice?

Take a deck of cards and deal off one card at a time while trying to keep a running count. After all the cards are dealt, the count should be zero. As the player gets good at this at increasing speeds, he or she should move to dealing off the cards in pairs and learn to count two at a time. This will train the player to look at cards in groups which will leave them more time during games to calculate their bet, make play adjustments and “act natural.”

A More Complex Betting Adjustment Scheme

The most efficient betting scheme is called the Kelly Criterion. This system, named for the mathematician J. L. Kelly, is much more complex than the system analyzed earlier but it is far more efficient. This system dictates that the player should bet the percent of his bankroll that corresponds to the probabilistic advantage they have on that hand. If your bankroll is $1,000 and you have a 1% edge, then the bet should be $10. If you have a 2.5% edge, then the bet becomes $25.

This system relies on knowing the edge at any point in the game. This can be calculated using the following formula: edge = expectation + (0.5 * real count)

Player expectation is one facet that needs to be addressed next. A player who follows basic strategy in a single deck game where the dealer stands on soft seventeen, doubling down is permitted on any two opening cards (but not after splitting) and there is no surrender will have an expectation of 0%. He will be even with the house. Use the chart below to get an idea of your expectation based on rule differences.

Rule Variation Impact on Expectation
Early Surrender* + 0.62
Late Surrender ( 1 or 2 decks ) + 0.02
Late Surrender ( 4 or more decks ) + 0.07
Doubling on three or more cards* + 0.20
Drawing more than one card on split A’s* + 0.14
Doubling on split pairs + 0.10
Re-splitting of A’s + 0.03
Re-splitting of pairs + 0.05
No doubling on 11* – 0.89
No doubling on 10* – 0.56
No doubling on 9 – 0.14
No doubling on soft hands – 0.14
Two decks – 0.38
Four decks – 0.51
Six or more decks – 0.60
Dealers hits soft 17 – 0.20

*Rarely found these days

Blackjack is a winnable game!

While it is not possible to become an expert at Blackjack overnight, following the basic strategy will amp up the chances of winning consistently. Practice will definitely improve the chances and memorizing basic strategy guidelines and practicing card counting will undoubtedly help the player have an edge against the dealer.

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