Can You Win at Blackjack?

Yes you can, but it takes many hours of practice, and there are quite a few skills to be learned and mastered. The secret to winning over a period of time at blackjack is to become an expert card counter. Card counting is of limited value if you play at the online casinos, but in some special cases it may help you.┬áDr. Edward O. Thorpe, a mathematics professor, was the first to conceive a method that a gambler could use to win and even make a living at blackjack. He outlined his strategy in his book, Beat the Dealer, which was written in the 1960s. In that book, using computer simulations, he proved that the casinos could be beaten at blackjack by keeping track of the cards that had been played. The casinos changed the rules, and Thorp’s original method probably no longer works. However, others (such as Sanford Wong) have written extensively on modifications, simplifications, and more effective methods based on Thorpe’s original work. The strategy that Thorpe developed was card counting, which if practiced meticulously would give the player about a 1% edge over the casino. What’s card counting? In simple terms: if the unplayed cards contain a lot of high cards and few low cards, the player benefits. Why? The dealer (most common rule) must continue to take cards until his total is 17. If the deck is rich in high cards, he is more likely to bust.Card counting is perfectly legal, but casinos have the right to refuse to allow any person they want to play at their tables. Ejecting card counters does not make for good publicity, so the casinos take other measures to make it hard for card counters to operate. The casino employees will talk to the suspected card counter to make it harder for him to concentrate; they will add more decks of cards to make it harder to keep track of what’s been played; they will shuffle the cards when only a fraction of the cards have been played which destroys the count of the cards – you have to start back at zero.There is disagreement as to whether card counting is so complicated that only a brilliant mathematician can accomplish it or whether it can be “dumbed down” to where anyone with practice can become proficient. The recent movie, 21, leaves the impression that it takes a high-IQ to become an expert card counter. In reality the math involved is simple; you only have to work with one or two-digit numbers, but you must be able to do it quickly. Dealers are trained to rapidly sweep up the cards at the end of a hand. In addition to keeping count of the cards you have to keep track of the amount that you will bet on the next hand if you win or if you lose. You must develop extraordinary powers of concentration to overcome the casino surroundings – people are talking around you and to you, waitresses are offering you drinks, the casino may be noisy with the clinking of slot machines.