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The dealer has the advantage because the player has to go first.
If both of you bust it isn't a tie, but YOU lose.
What would be the best way for one to win a blackjack tournament.
I seem to do quite well in regular play, but can never come out in the top two to advance.
One could write an entire book on blackjack tournament strategy.
When you are last to act is the best time to take chances with big bets.
Sometimes on a cold table everyone else will burn themselves out while you coast to first place at your table.
If the maximum bet is small compared to the player stacks link should get aggressive early.
First let me say I love your site and will be visiting each of the advertisers to help support it.
I hope you are doing very well financially as you are undoubtedly saving a lot of people a lot of money.
My question is do you have any advice for Blackjack players participating in Blackjack tournaments?
I have participated in a few and have came very close to advancing to the "money" round with no real strategy other than stay close to the leaders on the table and bet it all on the last hand.
Any advice would be greatly blackjack texas rules lottery />Thanks for the kind words.
I appreciate the thought of visiting the advertisers.
So unless you might actually play there is no pressure any longer to click through the banners.
Blackjack tournaments are not my strong subject.
For advice on that I would highly recommend.
Wong says that if you are behind to bet opposite of the leader, small when he bets big, and big when he bets small.
If you are in the lead then you should bet with the second highest player.
The book gets into much more detail.
Speaking of supporting my site, it helps to click through my Amazon links when buying books there.
I know I can always turn to you whenever I have a thorny question about gambling math.
My https://microrcracing.com/blackjack/blackjack-tournaments-vegas.html relates to what has come to be known in certain blackjack circles as The Flaw.
One is the recently retired IBM type, who confirms that to find the Flaw a computer simulation would have to be programmed to do so-therefore prior knowledge is REQUIRED.
One percent says it all.
Or is it continue reading BS?
Thanks for the kind words.
This "flaw" theory is a load of crap, which is not surprising considering the cesspools where talk of it is usually found.
Numerous mathematicians have developed the basic strategy from scratch and have all come up with the same thing.
I find it highly unlikely that every one of them, including me, programs in the exact same flaw.
I would imagine my theoretical value has a direct correlation to compatibility from a house point of view.
Thank you in advance.
According to mythe casinos assume a house edge of 0.
So in your example the value of this play would be 0.
Beware of single deck games that only pay even money or 6 to 5 on a blackjack, you are much better off at a shoe game that does pay 3 to 2.
I was at the Luxor this week and I noticed a blackjack machine that looked much like a video poker machine.
Do these things use random generators like online, or do they work like slot machines?
Online blackjack, slot machines, and video blackjack all use random number generators.
It is a Nevada state law that an electronic game with representations of cards or dice must be based on fair odds.
So the https://microrcracing.com/blackjack/official-casino-rules-of-blackjack-uk.html should be fair with odds the same as in a hand dealt game having the same rules.
That seems like somewhat "extreme" wording to me but my question is, is there any validity to that concept?
Might any clumps of generally favorable highor unfavorable, cards make it through one dealer shuffling such that a non-shuffle tracker might take advantage by varying his bets to capitalize on short streaks?
By the way, your site kicks ass.
Thanks for the compliment.
This theory is called card clumping and would make for good fertilizer if it could be bagged.
No legitimate blackjack writer puts any stock in it at all.
What are the pros and cons of burning a card on a blackjack shoe game, john slots blackjack a new dealer click here onto the table?
If you are counting cards then it is like decreasing the penetration by one card.
I have some questions on tipping etiquette.
Blackjack: Can I double, split or take insurance for the dealer?
Caribbean Stud Poker: Can I or do I have to raise also for the dealer?
Let It Ride Poker: Can I place more than one bet for the dealer what happens if I decide to take back one of my bets and there was a tip?
Craps: Can I play a tip everywhere I can play odds and props included?
Roulette: Can I play on numbers for him?
As a general rule, you can make any bet for the dealer in any game.
In general you should tell the dealer which bets are his, except blackjack where its common practice that any bet outside the betting circle is for the dealer.
Blackjack: Yes to all three.
The usual way to bet for the dealer in blackjack is to put the tip on the edge of the betting circle.
Caribbean Stud Poker: I asked a dealer and he said raising for the dealer is optional.
I haven't studied it but I think this would result in the tip having an advantage.
Let it Ride: I'm told that the player should put out three tips initially but must pull them back in the same manner that they pull back their own bets.
Bets that are pulled john slots blackjack go to the player, not the dealer.
Craps: Yes, you can make any bet for the dealer.
The most common ones are the yo-11 and the hard ways.
If you make a line bet for the dealers and back it up with the odds it is implied the odds are a tip too.
Roulette: As in craps you can make any bet link the dealer.
Just tell them in advance.
We recently went to Casino Niagra in Canada I was playing blackjack with a full table of players.
The play went around the table as normal, I stayed on 17.
When it came to the dealer she had an 8 showing flip her unshown card was a ten equals 18.
She then proceeded to take a hit on 18 by mistake and threw up a Jack which was a bust on 18.
I felt this should have been a misdeal or a push for all but the dealer said no it was not valid since the house rules are dealer Stays on 17 and above and Hit on 16 and all below.
I disagreed with the call and the pit boss came over and stated the dealer is correct and you lose.
I sure would appreciate your thoughts as I totally disagreed with the call.
Plus I had a large bet riding so maybe it is just my sore losing side coming out.
I side with the casino.
The rules state the dealer stands on 18.
The dealer has no free will and once she got 18 the 18 is firm.
In a one or two deck game some casinos will reshuffle in that situation.
Why is it better odds for the casino to hit on a soft 17?
It seems they would be more likely to bust and hence have worse odds.
It is true the casino busts more often if the dealer hits a soft 17.
However the dealer also gets fewer seventeens, which john slots blackjack not a very good hand.
A 17 is a lousy hand, and whether the player or the dealer hitting a soft 17 offers two chances to improve upon it.
We have all been at blackjack tables where it appears the dealer cannot seem to lose.
Assuming you cannot count cards and the dealer is winning 3, 4 or 5 hands in a row, is there any assumptions one can make about the count or is all just random?
Or, do you just assume that the past has no influence on the next hand and continue on.
What would the Wizard do?
I know hunches have nothing to do with it but, particularly in Blackjack, are there any mathematical conclusions please click for source can draw about the future from the fact that the dealer has been winning or losing for that matter for what seems like an inordinate amount timex blackjack watch review time.
Actually, if the dealer has been winning it is slightly likely that it is because lots of small cards have come out, which would mean the deck is rich in large cards, in which case the odds would actually bend in your favor the next hand.
But this is a can is blackjack 21 pokerist opinion slight effect and nothing you should be trusting in.
I think in these situations you have just been having bad luck and switching tables will not help.
Lest some perfectionist correct me I will say that between shuffles blackjack hands do have a slightly negative correlation.
If you had asked about roulette or craps I would say the past makes no difference at all.
It would also say that about blackjack if a continuous shuffler were used.
I have a Blackjack question that I did not see already answered on your site.
According to my calculations this would give the player about an 8.
The optimal strategy is the same as that of in most cases.
However if you think the dealer will expose learn more here hole card again I would recommend not making it obvious that you know and not make plays that normally look ridiculous like hitting a 19 against a 20.
If so, would playing the games using basic table blackjack strategy give the player the best payback percentage?
If not, is there a basic strategy for video blackjack?
Any video representation of a card game in the state of Nevada must be dealt from a fairly shuffled deck.
In other words check this out should expect the same kind of outcome as in a live game with the same rules.
So basic strategy tables will also work for video blackjack.
Are the odds or randomness the same for both methods?
I mean do the video programmers give the casinos a better house edge with the video version of blackjack vs.
It is a law in Nevada that video representations of card games must be truly random.
Thus the odds would be same as in live blackjack with the same rules.
Most other jurisdictions more or less accept Nevada regulations.
You should be warned that the vast majority of video blackjack games pay even money on a blackjack, which is a terrible rule whether on a video or live game.
Your strategy cards for Blackjack I presume is basic strategy for the initial cards player's first two cards and dealer's up card.
However, after hitting or splitting the deck composition has changed and the basic strategy may have changed.
What I think would be more appropriate is a basic strategy based on the overall game of blackjack, including after splitting and hitting.
Is there any situation where your initial hand basic strategy and one for the overall game are different?
Yes, my basic strategy charts are designed to be the best play based on the first two cards.
This is the usual approach to developing the basic strategy.
One benefit to this approach is the expected values of each play can be calculated exactly and compared to other sources.
However, you bring up a valid point.
So I asked Don Schlesinger, author ofif there were any known play where the best play on the initial hand is different from the best play to maximize the expected value of the overall game of blackjack.
He replied that a soft 18 against a dealer ace, in a double-deck game, where the dealer stands on soft 17, was such a play.
As my shows the expected value for standing is -0.
So, based on the first two cards, the odds favor hitting by 0.
However, there are many more ways to see soft 18 than one ace and one seven.
The following table shows all the ways this hand can turn up.
Player cards Conditional Probability Hit EV Stand EV Hit Return Stand Return A7 0.
Hit EV:Expected value by hitting Stand EV:Expected value by standing Hit Return:Product of probability and hit expected value Stand Return:Product of probability and stand expected value The right two cells of the bottom row show that overall the expected value of hitting is -0.
So, the table shows the odds favor standing by 0.
To confirm these results I ran two simulations under the rules in question, one simulation hitting and one standing on this play.
I counted only hands where soft 18 against a dealer ace happened at any time during play.
Here are my results.
Soft 17 Hands Played Total Win Expected Value Stand 3857490 -396224 -0.
Thus, for practical purposes of playing all hands, the best play is to stand, contrary to what my basic strategy chart says.
I have a question about a blackjack tournament, where only the largest stack at the end is paid.
If no one knows anything about the other chipstacks, what chipstack should you be looking for before being satisfied?
In your recent Ask the Wizard column someone asked a question regarding the dealer incorrectly burning a funny games fair blackjack online in a blackjack game.
At the casino I work at, when dealing blackjack if a card is incorrectly removed from the shoe and is NOT exposed it is still the next card in play unless it is dealt to the dealers hand, in which case it is burnt.
In Blackjack a card is only burnt a When starting a new shoe, b When a card is boxed facing the wrong way in the shoeor c Incorrectly dealt to a dealers hand.
The basic formula for comps is that the casino will give you back a percentage of your theoretical loss.
That percentage can vary by game, the higher the house edge the higher the percentage.
I asked a former Vegas casino manager and he said the comp rebate is about 15%.
Other pertinent pieces of the equation are 60 hands per hour in blackjack with an average house edge of 1%.
So the value of comps you could expect would be average bet × hours played casino blackjack video games 60 × 1% × 15%.
You can then back out the average bet required.
At high levels of play this may also be subject to skill level, the better you are the less you will get.
They also might have some sympathy and give you more than you are entitled if you had a really bad run of luck.
For rooms, you will have more bargaining power if you ask for one during a https://microrcracing.com/blackjack/house-edge-blackjack-definition.html time when they have vacancies anyway.
I am a part time blackjack player with a lot of success in land based casinos.
I am thinking to start playing online but I have a few questions about this.
Does a payout percentage of for example 98% mean that you lose 2% anyway regarding good or bad play.
In European blackjack with no hole card, if you play last box isn't it better to leave the little card for the bank or must I hit anyway?
Payout percentages such as this are historical.
For example King Neptune's casino posts their June 2006 report on their web site.
In other words an actual house edge of 3.
Your own results will depend on the game rules, your skill in games of decision makingand luck.
In most games the odds are quantifiable so payout reports are not useful.
It shouldn't matter to you how badly other players have played or the mix of games they chose.
Where these reports are very useful is in evaluating the slots.
No casino that I know of volunteers how loose their slots are theoretically set, but such payout reports gives the user a good idea.
If looking at other months you see that King Neptune's pays about 96% in slots.
I also think it is a good sign of a good operation to have return percentages independently verified.
It shows the casino has nothing to hide.
In regards to yourwhat effects does real casino play versus your simulation have on the bank role needed to have a reasonable risk of ruin.
More specifically, casino advantage in blackjack your simulation played head to head with a dealer, where when the count is high you are betting the higher bets more times per shoe than at a real table where 6 players are using up cards when the count is high, resulting in fewer chances to bet when the count is high.
Yes, they will eat up cards when the count is good, but they will also do so when the count is bad.
However, in terms of expected wins per hour, when you have an advantage, it helps to have fewer players, because you will play more hands in the same amount of time.
It will be a lot easier downtown.
Playing blackjack on a continuous shuffling 5-deck system, are the odds of winning different than playing the dealer with 1 deck or 2 decks?
For the beneit of other readers, my explains, the house edge in a five-deck game is 0.
The difference between five decks and two decks, all other rules being equal, is 0.
So the two-deck game without a shuffler would be much better.
As my show difference in house edge between four decks and five decks is 0.
So the benefit of a continuous shuffler learn more here worth less than removing a single deck.
I am a regular blackjack player at a 50-table casino.
There are some dealers I have identified that, when I am playing 6th or 7th position, expose their facedown card perhaps 25% of the time.
I am wondering what the proper play would be without them being moved right away.
I am afraid to take full advantage of seeing the card.
If I know the dealer has 20 should I still hit with a 19 or would that draw too much heat?
Or should I wait on it and take advantage in more marginal situations?
That is what my blackjack is for.
My advice is stick to more marginal, believable, errors.
As part of my desire to increase my game knowledge, as a casino dealer, I began reading your site years ago.
Today, as an instructor, I sought that fact to show my students and was unable to locate it.
What is the correct answer and how is it calculated?
The table below shows the average dealer score, assuming the dealer does not bust, and the dealer already checked for blackjack, according to various rules.
Note how the average score increases with the number of decks.
More importantly, note that the average score is 0.
The probability that the dealer will bust is only 0.
This, hopefully, goes to show why it is bad for the player if the dealer hits a soft 17.
Decks Stand Soft 17 Hit Soft 17 1 18.
I wish I had discovered your web site before my recent trip.
Many casinos are indeed paying 6 to 5 on blackjack in their low-limit games, and it is getting worse quickly.
Those tables are usually the most crowded.
I love the site; thanks for all the hard work.
The is great and I notice that most casinos have more than one set of rules.
Can I rightly assume that the better the rule set, the higher the table minimum at a given casino?
Yes, it is generally the case that the better the rules, the higher the minimum bet.
Every time I go to the Blackjack games there is a grumpy simple individual, who wants to stone some poor soul for "messing up the shoe.
In ten years of running this site I steadfastly denied the myth that bad players cause other players to lose in blackjack.
However, you are the lucky 1000th person to ask, so I took the trouble to prove it by random simulation.
The rules I put in are the standard liberal Vegas Strip rules as follows.
Second, I had the first player follow the same correct strategy, and the second player follow the same correct strategy except: Always hit 12 to 16 Always double 9 to 11 Split any pair Never surrender Never here double In a simulation of 1.
So the house edge of the basic strategy playing first player was almost the same, regardless of whether the second player played correctly or wildly incorrectly.
I hope this puts and end the third baseman myth, but I doubt it.
As I have said many times, the more ridiculous a belief is, the more tenaciously it tends to be held.
Tell them to split, double down, stand etc.
Is it right or wrong to do this?
Thanks for an awesome site!
Thank you for the kind words.
It would be perfectly acceptable to give advice in that situation.
In general, it is acceptable to give solicited advice, even to strangers.
When in doubt, my policy is to keep my mouth shut.
I have always heard a rumor that casinos invented basic strategy.
Where did the basic strategy come from?
John Patrick is probably behind that rumor.
The basic strategy was first published in the September 1956 issue of the Journal of the American Statistical Association.
Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and James P.
It has since been derived from scratch by hundreds of people, including me.
If done properly, under the same rules, the results always agree.
A minor reason is to foil card counters.
However, instead of burning x cards, the dealer could move the cut card x cards forward, and achieve the same purpose.
The major reason is game protection.
For john slots blackjack, the player might catch a glimpse of the top card, and alter his bet and strategy, based on this information.
Such a tactic would not be cheating, I might add.
The top card is also vulnerable to lots of cheating schemes.
It could be marked, the dealer could peek at it, or force a desired card to the top.
If for any reason the dealer knew what the top card was, he could signal that information to a confederate player, giving him a huge advantage.
This issue has bothered me for many years.
In 1999, my father took me to Vegas for my 21st birthday.
The dealer had 20, but miscalculated and thought she busted.
She paid us as if we won.
Roughly 15 minutes later, three suits came down, put their hand on our shoulders, essentially appraised us of the situation, and mandated that we pay back the "winnings" or leave the casino.
We decided to leave the casino, and gamble elsewhere that evening.
Is that standard operating procedure or is this more the exception to the rule?
In my opinion the two most sacrosanct things in gambling are no cheating, and honoring a bet.
No expiration dates, no excuses, a gentleman honors his gambling debts.
The right thing to do would be to return the winnings only if you had a 20, or the winnings pokeronline99 the original wager if you had less than 20.
Do you have any information on video blackjack?
I think your odds are best with the big Table Master units with big video screens housing attractive dealers.
Your odds of finding them will be better in low-roller casinos.
Some pay 3 to 2 on blackjack, and some only pay 6 to 5.
If you play an even-money game, the house edge will be 1.
Be sure to use a player card to earn whatever cash, free play, or comps the casino offers.
The picture below shows one of these products.
Peter Griffin devoted a whole chapter to that question in his book.
His study was based on observing 11,000 actual hands of play in 1987.
The following table summarizes his results of the cost of errors made.
Location Cost of Errors Margin of Error Atlantic City 1.
If forced to guess, I think the cost due to errors is about 0.
I would agree with Griffin that Atlantic City players are more skilled than Vegas players.
This question was raised and discussed in the forum of my companion site.
After this column first appeared, I heard from gaming consultant Bill Zender.
He offered to let me post his articlefrom Gaming Operations magazine.
There is says his own research showed the cost of player mistakes to be about 0.
Between your house edge calculator and effect of rule variations I would be able to figure out the house edge, except you don't indicate the effect of no doubling.
Can you help fill in the missing piece of the puzzle?
Using my blackjack house edge calculator, I get a house edge of 0.
No doubling is worth 1.
So I show the player edge is 0.
This question was raised and discussed in the forum of my companion site.
To me, the key clue is this sentence from the article, "'They also agreed to discount 20 percent of his blackjack losses as an incentive to get him to play,' he said.
The proper john slots blackjack is to quit when you have either achieved a huge win or a moderate loss, whichever comes first.
Most of the time you will lose, so it takes a big bankroll to weather the ups and downs.
Fortunately for the player, he was properly financed to take advantage of such https://microrcracing.com/blackjack/online-blackjack-biggest-bets.html />Besides having an advantage, he may also have exceeded expectations since December.
I salute him for his success.
Now that the Barona has removed their single-deck blackjack game, what is now the best blackjack game in America for the basic strategy player?
In June the sadly removed their single-deck game, which allowed doubling on any two cards, double after splitting, and surrender.
The basic strategy house edge was 0.
According to thethat was the best blackjack mat in America.
So, who rises to fill the top position?
According to my ownthe best game is now at thenear Hoover Dam.
However, I don't keep track of anything outside of the greater Vegas area, so I checked the Current Blackjack Newsletter, which monitors the entire U.
They indicate the Hacienda game is not only best in Vegas but the best anywhere in the U.
So, I congratulate the Hacienda for rising to the number one spot!
To get this figure, take the "realistic house edge" and subtract 0.
Al Rogers, with the Current Blackjack Newsletter, tells me that both the Hacienda and the Peppermill casinos, mentioned below, do not use a cut card, in favor of dealing a specified number of rounds per deck.
Single-deck games usually follow thewhich means the number of rounds per deck is equal to max 2,6-pwhere p is the number of players.
They have the same rules, except no double after a split, for a house edge of 0.
That is probably the best single-deck game that is open 24-hours and doesn't mind large bets.
Shameless Plug: The lists the rules and card-counting conditions for every legitimate casino with table games in the U.
I've been using it as an invaluable resource for over a decade.
This question was raised and discussed in the forum of my companion site.
I've tried to turn my friends on to your.
However, they find it still too difficult, especially the soft 18 exception.
Can you offer anything even more simplified?
Okay, how about read article "Extra Simple Strategy.
That is just 30 words, counting the numbers as words.
The cost due in errors relative to the full basic strategy is 0.
That is a lot more than the 0.
This question was raised and discussed in the forum of my companion site.
Hi, I live spanish 21 vs blackjack Iran.
I read your site and enjoyed your comments about blackjack, in which i have a great interest.
I like to play and use your chart in the game, but it's difficult for me to visit Las Vegas, where great casinos exist with very little house edge.
Since I live in Asia, I would like to know where I can find fair casinos to play blackjack with a fair house edge, besides.
It isn't every day I get a gambling question from Iran.
I could be wrong, but based on a look at thethe closest casino I can find that has confirmed blackjack is the Zodiac Casino in Amaty, Kazakhstan.
Their web site indicates that they have roulette, blackjack, and 6 Card Poker whatever that is.
Unfortunately, I can't vouch that they are fair or have competitive rules.
What is the effect of removing a single particular card 2 to ace from a six-deck shoe in blackjack?
The following table shows the effect on the player's expected return by removing one card from a six-deck shoe, according to whether the dealer hits or stands on a soft 17.
For example, if the dealer stands on soft 17, and the burn card is a five, then the house edge drops by 0.
Card Stand Soft 17 Hit Soft 17 2 0.
The table was created using the at bjstrat.
Normally in 6-5 blackjack the player can't take even money.
What would be the effect to the house edge if he could?
Assuming six decks, allowing even money in 6-5 blackjack, which the player should take if a blackjack pays only 6-5, then it lowers the house edge by 0.
I know that I am not supposed to play 6-5 blackjack, but should I find myself in this situation is there any time that it would be advantageous to double down on a blackjack instead of taking the 6-5 payout?
Using the Hi-Lo count, I show that against a dealer 5 and blackjacks pay 6 to 5, and if the true count is +18 or greater, then you should double on a blackjack.
Not that you asked, but if a blackjack paid 3 please click for source 2, then you would need to get to a count of +27 to double.
These numbers should be considered as estimates.
Against any other dealer up card, the count would need to be even greater for doubling to be the right play.
This question was raised and discussed in my forum at.
I think casinos that shuffle the cards read article in a good count are cheating.
I'm going to file a formal complaint with the Gaming Control Board against the Stratosphere for doing this to me.
No particular question, I just wanted to vent.
Shuffling early, as a defense against card counters, has been part of game for 50 years.
I would say that if casinos were using computers to tell the dealer when the count was good, as a hint to shuffle, that would be cheating.
I also think if the dealer counted himself and shuffled early on recreational players, that too would be cheating.
However, if the dealer is doing it when you raise your bets, well, that is just the way the game is played.
If you won your case with Gaming, the casinos would ruin the game for counters, like they did in Atlantic City over the Ken Uston lawsuit.
The next thing you would see is every game on a continuous shuffler.
Both sides would be better off to leave the cat and mouse game as it is.
This question is raised and discussed in ny blackjack shoes brooklyn forum at.
While everyone remembers the time a bad player took the dealer's bust card and caused the whole table to lose, people tend to forget the times that a bad player saved the table.
Why do you say not to john slots blackjack "even money" on a blackjack when the dealer has an ace up?
It is a sure winner!
There is a 69.
Don't suddenly become risk-averse and give up that 3.
In blackjack, sometimes the dealer unknowingly exposes the hole card.
What is the player advantage when this happens?
Here is the when the dealer exposes both cards.
This is different than the strategy, where the player loses on ties.
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Rules of Card Games: Blackjack
At the height of his 12-hour blitz of the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, last April, he was playing a hand of blackjack nearly every minute.
Dozens of spectators pressed against the glass of the high-roller pit.
Word spreads when the betting is that big.
Johnson was on an amazing streak.
The towers of chips stacked in front of him formed a colorful miniature here />The basics of blackjack are simple.
Almost everyone knows them.
You play against the house.
Two cards are placed faceup before the player, and two more cards, one down, one up, before the dealer.
The goal is to get to 21, or as close to it as possible without going over.
Scanning john slots blackjack cards on the table before him, the player can either stand or keep taking cards in an effort to approach 21.
His next two cards, surprisingly, were john slots blackjack both eights, so he split each again.
Johnson says he was once dealt six consecutive aces at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut.
He was neither nervous nor excited.
He is a veteran player.
Little interferes with his concentration.
Whenever the racily clad cocktail waitress wandered in with a fresh whiskey and Diet Coke, he took it from the tray.
Arrayed on the table before him were the four eights.
When his second hand was dealt a two, he doubled down on that, too.
He drew a 10, so the two cards he was showing totaled 15.
This was a good bet: since all face cards are worth 10, the deck holds more high cards than low.
Johnson won all four hands.
As another skyscraper of chips was pushed into his skyline, he signaled for the next hand.
He was just getting started.
Caesars had cut him off, he says, and then effectively banned him from its casinos worldwide.
Fifteen million dollars in winnings from three go here casinos?
Nobody gets that lucky.
How did he do it?
The first and most obvious suspicion was card counting.
Card counters seek to gain a strong advantage by keeping a mental tally of every card dealt, and then adjusting the wager according to the value of the cards that remain in the deck.
The tactic requires both great memory and superior math skills.
Made famous in books and movies, card counting is considered cheating, at least by casinos.
In most states but not New Jerseyknown practitioners are banned.
The wagering of card counters assumes a clearly recognizable pattern over time, and Johnson was being watched very carefully.
He had beaten the casinos fair and square.
All of these gambling houses were already hurting, what with the spread of legalized gambling in surrounding states.
By April, combined monthly gaming revenue had been declining on a year-over-year basis for 32 months.
For most people, though, the newspaper headline told a happy story.
An ordinary guy in a red cap and black hoodie had struck it rich, had beaten the casinos black-and-blue.
It seemed a fantasy come true, the very dream that draws suckers to the gaming tables.
D espite his pedestrian attire, Don Johnson is no average Joe.
For one thing, he is an extraordinarily skilled blackjack player.
What gives Johnson his edge is his knowledge of the gaming industry.
As good as he is at playing cards, he turns out to be even better at playing the casinos.
Hard times do not favor the house.
Pennsylvania is likely to supplant New Jersey this year as the second-largest gaming state in the nation.
The new Parx racetrack and casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, a gigantic gambling complex, is less than 80 miles away from the Atlantic City boardwalk.
When you add gaming tables or slots at a fancy new venue like Revel, or like the Borgata, which opened in 2003, the novelty may initially draw crowds, but adding gaming supply without enlarging the number of customers ultimately hurts everyone.
When revenues slump, casinos must rely more heavily on their most prized customers, the high rollers who wager huge amounts—tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a hand.
High rollers are lured with free meals and drinks, free luxury suites, free rides on private jets, and … more.
The marketers present casinos as glamorous playgrounds where workaday worries and things john slots blackjack morality, sobriety, and prudence are on holiday.
He was the only Atlantic City casino executive who agreed to talk to me about Johnson.
The industry pays close attention to high-level players; once a player earns a reputation for winning, the courtship ends.
The last thing a skilled player wants is a big reputation.
Some wear disguises when they play.
But even though he has been around the gambling industry for all of his 49 years, Johnson snuck up on Atlantic City.
To look at him, over six feet tall and thickly built, you would never guess that he was once a jockey.
In his best years as a professional jockey, he was practically skeletal.
He stood 6 foot 1 and weighed only 108 pounds.
He worked with a physician to keep weight off, fighting his natural growth rate with thyroid medication that amped up his metabolism and subsisting on vitamin supplements.
The regimen was so demanding that he eventually had to give it up.
His body quickly assumed more normal proportions, and he went to work helping manage racetracks, a career that brought him to Philadelphia when he was about 30.
He was hired to manage Philadelphia Park, the track that evolved into the Parx casino, in Bensalem, where he lives today.
Johnson was in charge of day-to-day operations, including the betting operation.
He started to learn a lot about gambling.
It was a growth industry.
He has served as a state regulator in Oregon, Idaho, Texas, and Wyoming.
About a decade ago, he founded a business that does computer-assisted wagering on horses.
The software his company employs analyzes more data than an ordinary handicapper will see in a thousand lifetimes, and defines risk to a degree that was impossible just five years ago.
Compared with horse racing, the odds in blackjack are fairly straightforward to calculate.
Many casinos sell laminated charts in their guest shops that reveal the optimal strategy for any situation the game presents.
The way averages work, the larger the sample, the narrower the range of variation.
A session of, say, 600 hands will display wider swings, with steeper winning and losing streaks, than the standard casino charts.
He does not just walk into a casino and start playing, which is what roughly 99 percent of customers do.
But the vast majority of players lose, and the longer they play, the more they lose.
Because the casino values high rollers more than the average customer, it is willing to lessen its edge for them.
Beyond the usual high-roller perks, the casino might also sweeten the deal by staking the player a significant amount up front, offering thousands of dollars in free chips, just to get the ball rolling.
The player still loses.
But two years ago, Johnson says, the casinos started getting desperate.
With their table-game revenues tanking not blackjack tips basic strategy single deck seems the number of whales diminishing, casino marketers began to compete more aggressively for the big spenders.
By late 2010, the discounts at some of the strapped Atlantic City casinos began creeping upward, as high as 20 percent.
He had the money to wager big, he had the skill to win, and he did not have enough of a reputation for the casinos to be wary of him.
For Johnson, the game began before he ever set foot in the casino.
A tlantic City did know who Johnson was.
But he was not considered good enough to discourage or avoid.
In fact, in late 2010, he says, they called him.
Johnson had not played a game at the Borgata in more than a year.
He had been trying to figure out its blackjack game for years but had never been able to win big.
The way any discount works, you have to lose a certain amount to capitalize on https://microrcracing.com/blackjack/how-many-blackjack-hands-possible.html />When this happened to Johnson, he knew the ground rules had skewed against him.
So it was no longer worth his while to play there.
He explained this when the Borgata tried to entice him back.
The casinos use computer models that calculate the odds down to the last penny so they can craft terms to entice high rollers without forfeiting the house advantage.
Johnson did not miss the math.
Johnson could calculate exactly how much of an advantage he would gain with each small adjustment in the rules of play.
When Johnson and the Trop finally agreed, he had whittled the house edge down to one-fourth of 1 percent, by his figuring.
In effect, he was playing a 50-50 game against the house, and with the discount, he was risking only 80 cents of every dollar he played.
So when Johnson got far enough ahead in his winning sprees, he reasoned that he might as well keep playing.
When Johnson insisted that he wanted to keep playing, he says, the pit boss pointed out of the high-roller pit to the general betting floor, where the game was governed by normal house rules.
Johnson went upstairs and fell asleep.
These winning streaks have made Johnson one of the best-known gamblers in the world.
He was shocked when his story made john slots blackjack front page of The Press of Atlantic City.
Donald Wittkowski, a reporter at the newspaper, landed the story when the casinos filed their monthly revenue reports.
But because he is so far in front of us, we have modified his discounts.
He is enjoying his fame in gambling circles, and has gotten used to flying around the world on comped jets.
Everybody wants to play against the most famous blackjack player in the world.
But from now on, the casinos will make sure the odds remain comfortably stacked against him.
We want to hear what you think about this article.

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Blackjack, gambling card game popular in casinos throughout the world. Its origin is. Alternative Titles: B.J., Pontoon, Twenty-one, Van John, Vingt-et-un.

Blackjack | card game | Britannica
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Blackjack | card game | Britannica
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