Advice for the recreational player!

By: Ed Teller

Don't want to be a pro but would like to lose less frequently and win more often? Just want to have a good time and get those great freebies, comps for room, food, and beverage?

Seriously, we can help. Not every one has an interest in becoming a professional card counter. Many recreational players would be happy to reduce the casino's "edge" and allow them to play longer, lose less, and win more often.

Typical casino blackjack players are at 2%-8% disadvantage due to a combination of (1) the mathematical disadvantage and (2) the disadvantage caused by incorrect plays.

Not much we can do about the mathematical disadvantage (casino edge) without learning to count cards but we can do something about the playing errors.

Basic Strategy is the mathematically correct way to play every hand you can get in blackjack. Players have a one half percent disadvantage to the casino when playing perfect Basic Strategy.

By far, the errors by not playing Basic Strategy are the most insidious. So, what do the playing errors cost?

Let's assume we make a monthly trip to Las Vegas (or some of the other 700+ casinos in the US) and each we play for three days totaling about 8 hours at the table. We will also assume our skill is slightly better than most and are likely playing with a 5% disadvantage. We are not a high roller, but we do like to bet those green chips ($25) and sometime we "chip up" to the black ones ($100), probably averaging about $50 per hand. 

With these thoughts, our mathematical expectation might look like 100 hours at 100 hands per hour times $25 bet equals $250,000 worth of action. With our 5% disadvantage the math tells us, and the graph shows us ("Civilian"), we could expect to lose $12,500 for the year, and understand that the range of our results could much higher or lower, depending on our short term luck.

Now, let's spend a little time over the next couple of months and remove those incorrect plays by learning perfect Basic Strategy and reducing the casino's edge to around .5%. Now we are ready to go back to Vegas and play the same scenario.

Our new skill has our disadvantage down to about .5% on our total bets of $250,000. Our new mathematical expectation is to lose $1,200 not $12,500! Our graph shows us that our errors were costing $11,300! Certainly a worthwhile payoff for learning basic strategy!

As the numbers show us, we are much better off and we did not have to learn to count cards. As an added benefit, the casino will view your play as having the same value so your comps and freebies should not change.

An effective, but inexpensive, way to learn basic strategy is to purchase our Basic Strategy and Card Counting Training System and then use the Basic Strategy Flash Cards included. By memorizing 28 rules you have mastered basic strategy.

(2) Comments

  1. John Jones June 24, 2015, 8:47 am

    Wow, no wonder I been blowing all my cash!

  2. Billy Bob Thorton June 24, 2015, 7:57 am

    Thank you, very helpful. Will certainly learn basic strategy before my next Vegas trip!

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