GENERIC BASIC STRATEGY
THE HIGH-LOW SYSTEM
HOW TO WIN WITHOUT GETTING KICKED OUT
Good Blackjack Plays To Avoid
In general, do not deviate from the playing strategy recommended in this website in an effort to hide your card counting ability. Strange as it seems, most casino personnel do not even know basic strategy and do not recognize an expert play when they see it. If the table says to hit ace-7, then hit it. If the dealer thinks you are stupid, fine.
Let the dealer, the pit boss, and the other players think that you do not know what you are doing, that you throw your money away too rapidly.
Sometimes a pit boss who is watching you intently will walk away when you split 10-10 or double down on ace-9. You will be a preferred customer if you bet heavily and appear to play stupidly. One word of caution -when splitting 10-10 is a wrong decision, it is a very costly wrong decision. Do not split 10- 10 just to give the impression of playing poorly. Do not deviate from the correct strategy for the pit boss's benefit. The pit boss likely cannot distinguish a good play from a bad play.
Blackjack By Country
Don't look like good player, look lucky player
Although dealers at some casinos alert their pit bosses to some good plays, such as surrendering, I still continue to use an obvious basic strategy play. But sometimes it is annoying to hear the dealer shout out, "Double on soft eighteen," or "Hitting soft eighteen against a 10!"
On playing strategy; with two exceptions, I stick precisely with the website. I even double down on eight; that play attracts zero attention nowadays.
One exception is at single-exposure I split 10-10 or double down on ace-9 only if I have established a "wild" image. If I have established an image as a player who probably knows basic strategy but occasionally plays hunches, I generally forgo splitting 10-10 and doubling down on ace-9. The problem with splitting 10s is the only people who split the mare idiots and card counters. If the rest of my play looks solid to the people watching, I cannot pass for an idiot. Therefore, splitting 10s makes me look like an expert.
Other hands I play correctly Insuring a stiff has never brought me any heat. When I am playing in a casino that allows surrender, I do surrender when ever it is the correct decision. This has never caused a problem for me. My experience is that surrendering does not make me look like an expert. On insurance and surrender and other plays that I think could attract attention, I pause as if I am thinking before I make the play I also pause frequently before making an obvious play (such as before hitting fifteen against 7), to give the impression that I am seriously considering an alternative.
The only place where doubling down on soft hands or hitting soft eighteen has brought me any attention is Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. I too have had a dealer say: "Doubling down on soft eighteen," and, when I did it again, "Doubling down on soft eighteen like he knows what he is doing." I attribute this to my not toking the dealer. Dealers at Caesars Palace are accustomed to generous tokes.
The only other way I sometimes deviate from proper play of the hands is something I have found valuable for camouflage: buying insurance on the first round after a shuffle if l have a small bet out. Pit bosses seem to relax when I buy insurance, if they are certain I have made a bad play. The reason this ploy is effective only on the first round is that, unless the boss is counting cards or checks the discards, the first round after a shuffle is the only time he can be certain insurance is a bad play (at single deck right after a shuffle, if you can see the cards in two or more hands and you see no 10s, insurance is a good bet).
More than once a pit boss has seen me buy insurance (or accept even money on a natural, which is the same thing), glanced down at the discards, seen it is the first round after a shuffle, and walked away smiling.
Bet Size Variation
Casino personnel know that variation in bet size is part of most winning systems. If you could get away with it, you should bet more whenever you have a larger advantage over the dealer. Your expected win is how much you bet times your advantage, summed over all the hands you play.
Any mathematician can demonstrate that an optimal betting scheme involves betting an amount that varies directly with your advantage. The higher the count per deck, the higher your advantage, and thus the more you should bet. Thorp, being a mathematician, recommends bet size variation when he started playing his big bet was ten times his small bet. Revere recommends less drastic bet size variation. Both Thorp and Revere recommend making a small "waiting bet" when the pack is neutral or the dealer has the advantage, and making larger bets when you have the advantage. Casino personnel look for this sort of bet-size management, and can spot it because it differs from a typical gambler's variation in bet sizes.
If you wish to bet more when your advantage increases or less when it decreases, be certain that your bet size variation looks like that of a gambler. A gambler often will try to capitalize on winning streaks. After winning a few consecutive hands, the gambler feels lucky and increases the bet size. Of course winning streaks cannot be extrapolated.
In a similar vein, losing one hand does not make losing the next more or less likely. A few diehard gamblers double up after a 10ss again and again on the theory that the next win will be big enough to wipe out a string of losses. There is no mathematical justification for this behavior either; the gambler who doubles the bet after a 10ss and reverts to a small bet after a win will be wiped out for certain, though ruin may take a few days.
Actually you need not appear to vary bet sizes at all. You can win handsomely with an identical bet on every hand that you play. If bet size variation identifies you as a system player, then bet size variation is something you can do without.
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