Beating Blackjack DVD transcript

Below is a full transcript of my Beating Blackjack DVD. It should be helpful if you’re hearing-impaired, or just for making notes while watching.

Beating Blackjack with Andy Bloch

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This DVD assumes you know
the basic rules of how to play blackjack.

If you need to learn them, you can
find them at www dot expertinsight dot com. [Note: domain name now belongs to someone else.]

Are you ready to leave Las Vegas a winner?



Hi, I’m Andy Bloch.
10 years ago I started playing blackjack for profit
with the infamous MIT blackjack team.

Since then, our teams have earned
more than $5 million.

In this Expert Insight presentation,
I’m going to teach you
the skills I learned
on the MIT team.

I’m going to teach you how to
play basic strategy, how to count cards
and how to spread your bets.

Then I’m going to teach you how to
camouflage your skill
and use team play
to make some serious money.

By the end of this DVD,
you’ll know how to beat blackjack
like I did with the MIT team.



Come along with me
as I play some real blackjack
in a fictional casino
with some fictional players.

The first step in beating blackjack
is basic strategy,
knowing whether to hit,
stay, double down, or split.

– Give me a ten. Face card.

– It isn’t hard to learn, and
I’ll show you how in a minute.

All right, the dealer’s showing a 10,
and I have a soft 18.

You’ll see that basic strategy
teaches us that facing a 10,
we should hit this hand.

– I’ll take one.

– Ouch. Now I have 14
facing a 10, I have to hit that too.

– Great!

– Nice hitting on the 18 buddy.
Alright, you took all the 6s.
C’mon, give me a 5.

– This guy doesn’t know basic strategy.

– Where’d you learn how to play, rookie?



– Blackjack is beatable because cards
aren’t shuffled every hand.
And, depending on the remaining cards,
the advantage can swing to the player.

This means you can keep track of the
cards that have already been dealt,
and then determine whether the cards
remaining are more favorable to you
or to the casino.

Fortunately, the system I’m gonna teach
you for counting cards is pretty simple
even if you didn’t go to MIT.

Finally, blackjack is beatable beacause
you are allowed to vary your bet.

I’m gonna teach you how to vary your bet
based on the count, so you’re
betting more when you have an advantage.

This is called optimal betting.



Dealer: 21.|Andy: Alright!

New player: There we go.
Hot table?|Andy: Now it is.

– Most tourists play at a 2-4%|disadvantage to the house.
But not you. You’re gonna combine|basic strategy, card counting,
and optimal betting and play at|a 1% advantage over the hose.

Casinos don’t like whe you|have the advantage,
so I’m going to teach you|how to disguise your abilities
so they keep welcoming|you back.

Dealer: 14

– You’ll see that sometimes,|playing incorrectly is the right
choice, just to convince the house|that you’re like every other tourist.

Dealer: 20|- Can I see the next card?

Dealer: I’m sorry sir…|- I know they can’t show me
that card. Anything to convince the|house that I’m just another chump.

When you start making big|money playing blackjack,
casinos will start noticing your game.

For me, that’s part of the fun.



Basic strategy is the mathematically|correct way to play
based only on your cards|and the dealer’s up card.

The basic strategy chart included|with this DVD gives you the correct
play for every possible|situation at the blackjack table.

It will show you whether you|should hit, stand, split, double,
or surrender.

You look across the top of the|chart for the dealer’s up card,
and along the left side|for the hand that you hold.

Let’s say you have a 9|and the dealer has a 6 up.
The chart says to double down.



The chart is broken|down into 5 sections.

The sections make basic|strategy easy to learn
by grouping similar types|of hands together.

For instance, this section tells you|that when you have a total
of 11 or less, you should|always hit or double down.

The same holds true for when you|have soft 13 through soft 17.
You should always|hit, or double.

With soft 19 and 20, you|should always stand.

Soft 18 has a few|ways to be played.

And everybody loves|a blackjack!



There’s one section|just for pairs.

Always split aces.

Always split 8s.

Never split 5s or 10s.

With every other pair,|you’re almost always
or doubling.

With a pair of 9s, you should|stand against a 7, 10, or Ace.



There’s also a chart that|tells you whether to hit,
or surrender,
when you hold a hard|12 through 16.



Learning this chart is|easier than you think.

Don’t worry if it takes time.|But do learn this chart.

It is the basic building block|of beating blackjack.



This chart is based on typical|Las Vegas strip casino rules.

Shoe contains 6 decks.|Blackjack pays off 3 to 2.

You can double down|on any 2 cards.

You can double down|after splitting.

First hand 11, double down.


Re-splitting is allowed.

Some casinos hit on soft 17.

This affects basic strategy|in only a few instances.

Notice that insurance isn’t listed.

Insurance is for suckers|and for card counters.

Since you’re not counting yet,|just playing basic strategy,
you should never take insurance.



By playing perfect basic strategy,|you’ll be cutting down the casino’s
edge from up to 4% to under 1/2%.

Look at it this way, a typical|tourist who visits Vegas for
a weekend, plays about|6 hours of blackjack,
which translates to|around 1,000 hands.

If this tourist is betting|$25 per hand,
and losing 2% on average, he|can expect to lose around $500.

But if this tourist applied|perfect basic strategy,
he can expect to lose about $100.

He saved $400 just by|memorizing a chart.

Obviously our goal is to make|money, not just lose less.

We’ll get to the winning part
when we start counting cards|and varying our bets.

I suggest you keep a chart with|you and play at a casino with it
until you know basic strategy|without even thinking.

Most casinos don’t mind you|referring to a chart when playing.

In fact, they probably like it,|because it indicates to them
that you are a novice player|and pose no threat.

If you don’t have easy access|to a casino, there are
software programs that|let you practice for free
by playing in a simulated casino.

Go to www dot expertinsight dot com slash blackjacktoolbox for details. [Note: domain name now belongs to someone else. Email or post a comment here.]



Basic strategy summary.

Using a chart in a casino is|legal, even encouraged.

Basic strategy cuts the house’s|edge and saves you money.

Just in case you thought I was|kidding the first 3 times I said it,

I really, really, mean it.|Use the chart.



Let’s head back to the fictional|casino and look at basic strategy
in action.

Since the casino still has an|advantage, I want to find the table
that gives me value for my money.

This’ll do.

– Hi.

[Ladies in unison]: Hi!

– 2000 please.

I’m going to be betting|100 a hand.

Dealer: Change 2000.

Andy: 2000 will give me a nice|cushion for now.

We’ll talk more about bankroll,
and how much to bring|to the table a little later.

Dealer: Alright players, make your|bets. Here we go.

5… 6… 8… 9…
8… 9…

It doesn’t matter what|card the dealer gets,
I know that the basic strategy|card says to always split 8s.

Now, let’s look at the girls’|hands and see what
basic strategy would|advise them to do.

Always hit or double down|when you have 11 or less.
You can’t bust.

Dealer: 8 hits. 15. 15 on a 9.

When you have a hard 15,|and the dealer has a 9,
you’ve gotta take a hit.

[Craps table in background: Yo 11.]

Dealer:|20. Congratulations. 9 on a 9.

Andy: You already know to|always hit or double down
when you have 11 or less.

Dealer: Hit.|17. 17 on a 9. Stay.

– Nice, very nice.

Andy: OK, my turn. Let’s look at|the order in which I make my
basic strategy decisions.

My first decision is whether or|not to split, or surrender.

We already know to always split 8s.

Dealer: 8s.|Andy: Now I have 2 hands.

Dealer: 11.

Andy: My second decision is|whether or not to double down.

With an 11 against a dealer’s 9,|I should double down.

Double that.|Dealer: Double down, here we go.

21.|Everyone: Nice.

Andy: It’s always fun|when it works.

Dealer: 15.

Andy: My final decision is|whether to hit or stand.

You’ve got to hit a 15|versus the dealer’s 9.

Dealer: Hit again.|Andy: 6.

Dealer: 25|Andy: Oh well. That happens too.

At least I know I played it right.

Dealer: 16 against a 9.

Blonde: Can I surrender?

Andy: She can do whatever|the hell she wants.

Dealer: You can surrender.

Andy: Many beginners haven’t|even heard of surrender
and most casinos don’t offer|it, but it’s favorable
if you know when to surrender.

The basic strategy card will tell|you when you should surrender.

Just one more reason|to learn the card, folks.

Dealer: Dealer opens up 14. 14 hits.
24. Congratulations. You guys win.

Blonde: Let me get this straight,|so the only way to win money
in blackjack is by counting cards?|Dealer: Basically.

Brunette: Don’t you have|to be a genius to do that?



Andy: Don’t you have to be|a genius to count cards?

Not at all. In fact, on the|MIT team, we used to say,
we could teach|plywood to count cards.

But before I show you|how simple counting really is,
let me explain why it works.

Blackjack professionals count|because as cards are taken out
of the shoe, the edge swings|towards you or towards the
casino depending on what|the remaining cards are.

When there are a lot of 10s|and Aces left in the deck,
and fewer low cards,|the deck favors the player.

That’s mostly because|blackjack becomes more likely,
and the player gets paid a|50% bonus on every blackjack.

The card counting system I’m|going to teach is called Hi-Lo.
It’s simple to learn, yet|powerful enough to serve
as the prefered counting system|for the MIT blackjack team.

Here’s how it works. Low cards,|2 through 6, are good when removed,
and are assigned the value plus 1.

High cards, 10s through|Aces, are bad when removed,
and are assigned the|value negative 1.

The middle cards, 7, 8, and|9, are mostly neutral,
and assigned the value of 0.

You always want to start counting|at the beginning of a shoe,
starting with 0. Let’s practice.

The 5 is a low card. Plus 1.

The 7 is worth 0, so|the count stays at plus 1.

The 5 is worth 1, so the|count goes to plus 2.

Another low card brings us to plus 3.

8s are zero, we stay at plus 3.

An Ace is minus 1.|The count drops to plus 2.

The 6 is worth 1 and|brings us to plus 3.

The soft 18 would double|down. So would the 11.

The Queen is worth minus 1, so our|running count goes down to plus 2.

Plus 3.

Plus 4.

Plus 3.

See, you don’t have to|be a genius to count cards.

You just have to practice.

Let’s try it a little faster now, and|I’ll only say the running count,
not the value of each card,|starting again at zero.

Plus 1.

Plus 2.

Plus 1.

Plus 2.

Plus 3.

Plus 2.

Plus 3.

Once again, a little faster,|starting from zero,
with no yellow|numbers to help you.

Minus 1.

Minus 1.


Plus 1.



Plus 1.

Plus 2.

Plus 2.

Plus 3.

Plus 2.

Here are a few practice drills
that we found effective|on the MIT team.

You should always|carry a deck with you.

Count down an entire deck.

If you do it correctly, the count|will come out to zero.

Try determining if the last card|is going to be low, middle, or hi.

When you’re counting right,|you’ll know what it is.

Deal cards on a table|while keeping the count.

Deal the cards out while saying|the total of each hand.

If you can get a friend|to deal to you,
there are some great drills|you can do with a partner.

Have a partner deal to you,
as you try to play and|count at the same time.

Do the same thing, but this time
have the dealer say the|card values out loud.

The stress test,|or the check-out.

While your partner deals|and tries to distract you,
count down and play 3 full shoes.

If you can get through all|3 shoes making less than
3 mistakes total, you’re ready to
try your new skill in a casino.

OK, we have a new shoe,|time to start counting.

In a casino environment, counting|cards is much more difficult
than in a practice environment.

Sometimes, you only get to peek|at the cards that have been dealt.

Try your best to spot the cards|and keep the correct count.

Do you know the count?

If you got zero, good for you!

Dealer: 13 on a 5.|Stay.

16 on a 5.

Brunette (softly):|Let me see this thing.

Andy: I hope she didn’t buy that|chart from a casino gift shop.

Some of them are wrong,|and for different rules.

I’m gonna stay.|Dealer: Stay.

Andy: Double that.|Dealer: Soft 16 double. Here we go.

19.|Andy: Alright.

Blonde: I’ll stay.|Dealer: 19. Stay.

Dealer opens up 15.

Hit the 15. 17.

OK. So what’s the count?

The count is plus 1.

If you were correct, good job.

If you weren’t, don’t worry,|this is gonna take some practice.

One thing that makes|counting cards easier
is grouping pairs of cards in your|head that cancel each other out.

Let’s take a look at|that same hand again,
and let’s not start counting until|the second face up cards are dealt.

That way, we can pair cards|together more easily.

I wish this dealer would get|his big head out of the way.

The queen and the 3 cancel.

The 6 and the Jack cancel.

My Ace and 5 cancel.

I don’t even pay attention to the 9.

After all my training, the 7s, 8s,|and 9s are practically invisible.

My eyes jump right over them.

So I’ll group this 10|with the dealer’s 5.

The 10 and the 5 cancel.

So right now, the count is zero.

Dealer: 13 on a 5.|Stay.

16 on a 5.|Brunette: I’m gonna stay.

Dealer: Stay.

Andy: Double that.|Dealer: Soft 16 double. Here we go.

Andy: The 3 makes the count plus 1.

19.|Andy: Alright.

Blonde: I’ll stay.|Dealer: 19. Stay.

Dealer opens up 15.

Hit the 15. 17.

The two cards we hadn’t|seen yet, the Queen and the 2,
also cancel.

The count remains plus 1.

Now that you have|the correct count,

it’s important to|remember this number
as we move to the next hand.

Dealer: Alright players,|make your bets.

Remember, our running|count is at plus 1.

Can you group these next cards,
to see which cancel, and|which affect the count?

Dealer: 11. 6. And the|dealer opens up a 6.

Andy: How are you|doing with the count?

Right now, the count is plus 8.

Dealer: Hit.|19 on a 6. Stay.

10 on a 6.|Hit.

19. 19 on a 6.|Stay.

11 on a 6. Double|down. Here we go.

12.|Andy: Great, thanks dealer.

Can you still keep the count with|all the numbers being called out?

Right now, we’re at plus 6.

Dealer: 6s on a 6. Hit.

17. 17 on a 6. Stay.

Some casinos encourage|dealers to say as many

numbers as possible, to|throw off card counters.

Dealer: Dealer opens up 16.

Here we go. 16. 26. Here we go.

Andy: OK, what’s the count?

If you’re at +5, you’re|doing a great job.

Let’s watch this hand again.

Try to see if any of the players|make a basic strategy mistake

as you keep the count.

Dealer: 9 on a 6. Hit.

Andy: Oops, that’s a|basic strategy mistake.

She was supposed to|double a 9 against a 6.

Dealer: 19 on a 6. Stay.

10 on a 6. Hit.

That was another|basic strategy mistake.
You should also|double a 10 against a 6.

OK. What’s the count?

Remember, it was plus|1 going into this hand.

The count is plus 7.

Dealer: 19. 19 on a 6. Stay.

Double down.

Andy: We already know I made|the right basic strategy decision.

And, got a terrible card.

Dealer: 6s on a 6.

Andy: What would you do|with two 6s against a 6?

You’d split them, right?

Blonde: Hit.|Dealer: Hit. 17. 17 on a 6.

Blonde: Stay.|Dealer: Stay.

Dealer opens up 16.

Here we go. 16. 26.

Andy: Well, even though the ladies|didn’t play it as they should have,

– Let me see that chart.

– the dealer was kind|enough to bust for us.

– Aren’t you supposed to|double on a 10 against a 6?

Dealer: Yeah, you a, you do|want to double on that.

Guess the chart’s wrong.

Brunette: Guess so.

Andy: OK, ok. Time to get serious.

The current running count is plus 5.

One more hand, at casino speed.

Remember, we’re starting at plus 5.





Dealer: Dealer opens up. 7.

Andy: Still at 9.

For the rest of the hand, you’re|going to have to count it yourself.

See if you can keep the count.

Dealer: 12 on a 7. Hit.

15 on a 7. Hit you.

21. Very nice.

10 on a 7.

Feeling lucky.|Double down or split?

Brunette: Double down.|Dealer: Double down. Here we go.


Deuces?|Andy: Split.

Dealer: split the deuces. Here we go.

First deuce, ooh 11.

Andy: Double down.

Dealer: Double down on the 11.

Very nice, 20.

Andy: Split again.|Dealer: Split again.

Here we go.

Andy: God, this guys a slob.

Dealer: 7 on a 7.


8. Hit.


17. Stay.

Andy: How you|doing with the count?

Is the dealer distracting you?

Dealer: 21. Very nice. Alright.

Dealer opens up…

a 9.


Andy: The running count is…

plus 15.

If you were able to keep|count, you’re on a roll.

At 15, the count|is getting favorable,

especially considering the number|of decks remaining in the shoe.

The advantage has swung|from the casino to us,

‘cuz there are a lot of 10s|and Aces left in the shoe.

Now is the perfect time|to learn optimal betting.



You’ve got basic strategy down pat,
you count to perfection,
now it’s time to start making money
by varying your bet optimally.

First, before you start play, you|have to determine your betting unit.

Then, when you have the|advantage and the count’s favorable,
you bet in multiples of your betting|unit according to the count.

Let’s get started|determining your betting unit.

Your bankroll is what you’re|willing to invest in yourself
as a blackjack player.

If you want to do|this for serious profit,
you need to invest in|yourself over time.

Your betting unit should be|1/1000 of your total bankroll.

If you’re gonna bet $10 a hand,
you should bring about|$350 to the table.

If you want to bet $25 a hand,
be prepared to sit down with 800.

For this demonstration, my|bankroll will be $200,000.

What can I say, the MIT team|was very profitable for me.

My betting unit will be $200.

As you learn to play,|you should start off
with a much small unit
until you have confidence|in your abilities.

Raise or lower your unit|as your bankroll changes.

Say I lose $100,000,|half of my bankroll.

I would then drop my unit to $100.

What if I win $300,000?

In this case, my bankroll|would be $500,000,
and I’d raise my unit to $500.

By constantly adjusting|your betting unit,
you will never go broke,
and, your bankroll will|increase faster in the long run.

Your maximum bet should be at|least 4 times your betting unit.

Your maximum bet|can be higher if it
won’t get you kicked|out of the casino.

In our case, our maximum|bet is at least $800.

Never bet more than 1/4 of|the money you have on you
on one round, because you always|want to have enough money
to be able to split and double down.

So now we know our|unit and maximum bet
and we figured out how much|money to bring to the casino.
It’s time to learn how to calculate|our optimal bet based on the count.

First, we take the running count
and divide it by the number|of decks remaining.

We know our running count is +15.|But how many decks remain?
We can estimate how|many decks remain
by looking at the|number of discards.

Considering that this casino|uses a 6 decks shoe,
how many decks would you|say remain to be dealt?

This takes a little practice.
On the MIT team, we|practiced with discard trays
just like they use in casinos.

There are 6 decks of|cards in this discard tray.

Remember what they look like.

Now, we can take the cards out.

Split the pile in half.

Now each half is about 3 decks.

Here’s 3 decks. Remember|what this looks like.

Let’s see what 2 decks look like.

You can cut into 3 equal piles.

Here’s 2 decks.

Let’s add 2 more.

4 decks.

Let’s add one more deck.

And 5 decks.

Study these images long enough,
and you’ll be able to|guess very accurately
how many decks|remain in the shoe.

And, you’ll know this|song by heart too.


Now that we can accurately|estimate the remaining
decks in the shoe,
we’re ready to|determine our optimal bet.

Optimal betting. First, keep|an accurate running count.

Approximate the|number of decks remaining.

They’re using a 6-deck shoe,
so take the number of decks|you see in the discard tray,
and subtract it from 6.

That’s how many decks|are remaining in the shoe.

Divide the running count by|the number of decks remaining.

This is called the “true count.”

Subtract 1 from the true count to|determine how many units to bet.

Multiply the number of units|to bet by your betting unit.

Play two hands at a time|on spots next to each other,
and bet that amount per hand.

If you’re the only player at the|table, or if you can only play 1 hand,
bet 25% more on one hand.



Back in the fictional casino,|our running count got up to 15.

There were about 5 decks|remaining in that shoe.

15 divided by 5 is 3.

3 is our true count.

3 minus 1 equals 2.

So we should be 2 units.

If your result is ever less than 0,
bet as little as you can
without drawing too|much attention to your bet.

Even sit out if you|can get away with it.

Ideally, you don’t ever|want to place a bet
when you don’t|have an advantage.

But if you sit out or leave every|time you don’t have an advantage,
the casino will suspect|that you are a card counter.

A quick review before|I put out my money.

Our running count is at plus 15.

The blonde laughed at my jokes but|won’t give me her phone number.

We’ve played through about 1 deck

so there are about|5 decks remaining.

15 divided by 5 equals 3.

Our true count is +3.

Now we subtract 1 from|our true count of 3,
and we get 2, so we bet 2 units.

So I’m going to bet 200|times 2, or $400 on each hand.

Dealer: Here we go.

19. 18. 10. 18. 16…

Andy:|What’s the dealer got under there?

Dealer: …17.|What does the dealer have?

Dealer has a deuce.

Girl with glasses: Stay.|Dealer: 19 on a 2. Stay.

18 on a 2. Stay.

Andy: Of course I’m gonna double|my 10 against a dealer’s deuce.

I learned that on|my basic strategy card.

– Double that.|Dealer: Double on the 10.

Andy: Nice. 19.

Dealer: Very nice. 18 stays.|16 on a deuce. Stay.

Andy: Are you still keeping|track of the count?

Dealer: Here we go. Dealer opens up a 6.

And 10.


21. Oh, I’m sorry.

Andy: That was a bummer.

As a blackjack player, there’s going to many times when the cards don’t fall your way.

The good news, is that even though we lost that hand,
the running count went up by 4 and is now a very juicy plus 19.

Did you get 19? If you didn’t watch that section of the DVD again, until your count is coming out the way it should.

There’s about 4 and 3/4 decks left.

19 divided by 4 and 3/4 is…

well, it’s too difficult to figure out at the blackjack table.
So let’s make things easier on ourselves.

I’m rounding the number of decks remaining up to 5.
and I’m also going to round the running count up to 20,
which is a multiple of 5.

Because I’m rounding both numbers in the same direction
and then dividing, the result will still be close.

20 divided by 5 is 4.

Our true count is plus 4.

4, our true count, minus 1, is 3.

So I’m going to bet 3 times my unit, or $600.

Dealer: Checks play.

The pit boss checked me out when I raised my bet.

That doesn’t always mean I’m in trouble.

It can mean he’s tracking my play so he can offer me a comp.

Or maybe he’s just lonely.

Keep track of the count as the hand progresses.

Remember, we started this hand at plus 19.

Dealer: Ah 20 very nice. 20 again.

Andy: Blackjack!

Dealer: Big hands! 20. Wow|Great hands.

And dealer opens up. 10.|21. Congratulations.

15. Here we go. 25.

Andy: What’s the running count?

It was plus 19 at the beginning of the hand.

Two big cards dropped the count by 2.

Two more big cards do it again.

The blackjack was worth minus 2.

Two kings means subtract 2 more.

The 9 is invisible, and my ace cancels with the dealer’s 5.

Two more invisible cards.

Then two more big cards.

And the running count drops to plus 9.

There are about 4 and 1/2 decks left in the shoe.

9 divide by 4 and 1/2 is 2.

Our true count is 2.

The advantage has dropped, so we should lower our bet.

Blonde: What’s with that guy?

The easiest way to spot card counts is by their betting patterns.

I recently raised my bet up to $600.

Then, many high cards were dealt,
which resulted in me reducing my bet to $200.

So the pit boss is justifiably suspicious about my play.

He may be calling sureillance and asking them to keep an eye on me.

To throw them off my scent, I’m gonna make some camouflage
plays. I’m not gonna let them catch me.



You’ve mastered basic strategy, you count cards in your sleep,
you never fail to put out the correct bet.

It’s time to get rich, right?

Well, not so fast.

The casinos that once welcomed your amateur play
they’re not going to be so happy about your action
now that you’ve become a skillful player.

There are 2 ways to camouflage your play.

Good acting, and bad playing.

Good acting is essentially behaving like a typical gambler,
and not like a typical card counter.

This seems obvious, but it actually can be pretty challenging
to play and act, while at the same time keeping the count
and determining how much to bet.

Here are some examples of good acting.

Acting uninterested in other players’ cards.

Talking to the other players at the table.

Pretending to chase a winning streak when the count is high.

Preteding to be drunk.

Pretending to be a high roller.

Bad playing is another good way to make the casino think
you’re a juicy customer.

If you think you’re getting too much heat,
you might want to make a bad play
by going off basic strategy.

Here’re some examples of bad playing.

Making a basic strategy mistake.

For example, standing a 16 against a 10.

Don’t make a mistake that will cost you too much,
like doubling a 12 against a 6.

Another way to throw them off is to raise your bet when the count goes down.

Or you can raise your bet when the count is even.

The key is to keep camouflage inexpensive.

You’re playing blackjack to win money. Right?

Just remember to save bad plays for those times when you’ve made small bets.

And only use them when necessary. Don’t over do it.



I want to remind you that counting cards is perfectly legal.

All you’re doing is using your skills to beat the game.

But obviously, casinos don’t like losing their money.

And they have the right to ask you to leave at any time for any reason.

Because of this, you have to be able to detect heat.

You have to develop a sense for when your play is being scrutinized.

On the other hand, you don’t want to be overly paranoid.

Let’s consider some common scenarios,

to see how much we should be concerned about certain behaviors.

The pit boss looks at you, and then begins scribbling notes.

This isn’t usually a cause for concern.
They might be recording the amount you’re betting,
so they can offer you a comp.
If they offer you a comp, take it.

The pit boss starts talking to you.

This probably isn’t a cause for concern.
Act calm and friendly and continue play.
Avoid a confrontation.

The pit boss instructs the dealer to shuffle up.

This probably means they strongly suspect you’re counting.
Play a few more hands to put some doubt in their mind.
And then leave quietly.

The pit boss glares at you, and then gets on the phone.

This is probably a cause for concern.
You should think about leaving if you’re not in the middle of a hot shoe.
So you can come back another day.

The pit boss asks you to stop playing blackjack or to leave.

Don’t argue, just leave.



I’m not gonna let the pit boss intimidate me.

If he sees me acting nervous, he’ll suspect I’m a counter.

The key is to play it cool.

Our running count is at 9.

Because of the low true count, I’m only betting 1 unit on each hand.

Dealer: Nice so far.|Andy: Good start.

Dealer: Good start.

Andy: Alright! Blackjack.

– I love getting blackjack, it’s better than anything.

Well, almost anything.

Dealer: Dealer opens up a 3.

This looks like a good time for me to make a bad play,

but I’m not going to take a hit|with a 15 against the dealer’s 3.

Dealer: 15 on the 3. Stay.

20 on the 3. Stay.

Here we go.

Dealer opens up 6.



You’re still counting, right?

The running count has dropped to +3.

I don’t have an advantage,
but since I’m about even with the casino,

I’m gonna make a camouflage play that won’t cost me much.

I’m gonna raise my bet from $200 to $500.

When the pit boss sees me raising my bet
after a round of almost all face cards,
it’s unlikely that he’ll think I’m a counter.



The most effective camouflage happens to cost you nothing.

It’s called “team play.”

Team play is a division of labor.

When it works, it’s invisible.

Nearly impossible to detect.

It’s where the big money is in the world of blackjack.

Here’s how it works.

Each player on the team has a role.

A spotter is responsible for keeping track of the count.

When the count is high enough for the players to have the advantage,
the spotter signals another player,
a “gorilla” or a “big player”.

A gorilla acts like a high roller or drunk,
making large bets based on the signal from the spotter.

There are also back spotters or back counters.

They count cards from behind the table.
When the count is high enough to call in a player,
they give a signal.

A big player is different than a gorilla.

Once they’re passed a signal, they can keep
track of the count and adjust their bets on their own.

To an unsuspecting casino, team play is invisible.

It’s the ultimate camouflage.



The team should never meet in the|casino where they plan to play.

Andy: Hey.|Kat: Key.

Andy: Book a room at another casino.

10 years ago, Kat made a bundle of|money with the MIT blackjack team.

So money isn’t a motivator for her.

It’s the buzz of beating the casino|that keeps her in the game.

Kat: God, I love this city.

Andy: How’d he do?|Kat: Not bad.

Is he an alum?|Andy: No, I met him at the tables.

-Tyler is the newest member of the team.

He’s a rock solid counter|and will make a great spotter.

He’s never played for the big money.

But I think he’ll be able|to keep his nerves in check.

Andy: Hey. How’d it go?

Tyler: It was great.

Kat: Good, then. You won’t mind|doing another check out.

Andy: Team members should always practice their skills.

Kat: 12. 10. 9. 8. 7.

Do you come here often?

Andy: Especially the new members of the team.

Kat: What’s you’re name?|Where you from?

My name is Kat. Do you know what time it is?

Are you staying at the hotel?

Paul: Hey brother.

Andy: Hey, where you been?

– Paul was once the best|blackjack player in the world.

Recently he got himself stuck|pretty good betting sports.

His weakness is emotional control.

– What’s the signal|for the “deck is hot”?

Kat: OK. Good. What’s the signal for a cold shoe?

Paul, get out now.

Paul: Come on you guys, this was like 6 years ago.

Can we just drop it?

Andy: Ok, let’s talk about the target.

– Which casino should the team target?

Here’s why we chose our fictional casino.

The music awards are in town this weekend,
and this casino will be packed|with rock stars and high rollers.

This casino’s gonna be taking a lot of action.

The surveillance is going to be strethed thin.

In other words, we should be able to put out the big bets
without attracting heat.

Another reason to choose a|casino is deep deck penetration.

This casino deals at least|75% of the cards in a shoe,
which increases the likelihood|of higher true counts.

Remember, we all|have specific jobs.


Big player.

And gorilla.



There she goes, like a machine.

Tyler gave Kat the signal for a positive shoe.

Kat came over to the table.

And Tyler passed the|count with a verbal signal.

Then Tyler stuck around to make|sure Kat picked up the right count,
by watching how much she bet.

Based on the current team bankroll,|our betting unit is 500.

Now, Tyler’s looking for a|shoe that’s being shuffled,
or about to be shuffled.

That’s the way it’s done.

Keeping records is critical.

I’ve been playing for over an hour,|and I haven’t had a decent shoe.

The running count is now plus 8.

The true count is less than 2.

Not quite enough|to signal Paul over.

You don’t want to call in|a big player or a gorilla,
until the true count|gets up to about 3.

Try to keep up with the count as|the team plays a few hands.

We’re starting with a running count of 8.

Remember, if you wait until|the second pass of cards
to start counting, it will|be easier to group them.

The running count is now plus 12.

There are 3 decks remaining.

12 divided by 3 is 4.

Our true count is 4.

Subtract 1 to get 3.

It’s time to start|betting 3 times our unit.

And it’s time to signal in Paul.

Paul: Hey everybody!

Andy: Hey brother.

Paul: Lucky lady, right dealer?|Dealer: I hope so.

Andy: I wonder if Paul|picked up the count.

He picked up the count|and bet the correct amount.

I’ll just play one hand,|and Paul will play 2.

It’s good to mix it up|every now and then.

You’re still counting, right?

When things go well, you’re gonna|have a lot of money out on the table.

Keep your head together.

You still have to know your basic strategy.

And remember to count.

Paul: Lady luck, I love you.

After all those cards, the|running count is still at 12.

Always watch that the|dealer pays you off correctly.

They’re usually not|trying to rip you off.

They just make|mistakes once in a while.

[Phone rings.]

Griff: Yah.|Got it.

Keep your eye on that guy.

Pit says he’s moving|his money with the count.

Woman: Hmm. OK.|Let’s see what he’s up to.

Andy: Doesn’t Paul see the pit boss?

Considering how much he’s|up, this heat is legitimate.

Paul: Alright Pamela.

Big cards.|Little cards.

Andy: How you|doing with the count?

We started this hand at plus 12.

When you split aces, you|only get one card on each.

Paul: Come on!

That’s right, bust. Bust!



Andy: Good. Paul sees the pit boss,
and will probably|make a camouflage play.

Our running count|is now up to 16.

What is he doing?

We were only gonna|bet $2000 max tonight.

He’s gonna get kicked out.

Andy: We started this hand|with a running count of 16.

I hope you can control|yourself better than Paul.

Ugh. That hurts.

But our running count|is up to an incredible 18.

Paul: 35.

Andy: Paul is really|exceeding our maximum bet.

No one else is betting|that much tonight.

Paul: Come on, two blackjacks.|Two blackjacks dealer. Right now.

We’re starting with|a running count of 18.

Make sure you keep the count.


Ah, well, the dealer got blackjack.

But the count is still plus 16.

There are about 2|decks left in the shoe.

Our true count is a|very favorable 8.

Griff: Yeah, he’s moving|his money with the count.

Too bad the cards|aren’t falling his way.

C’mon, we just need|to ride out this shoe.

The count is so high, Paul|has got to keep it together.

I’m trying to get his attention.

I’m gonna kill him.

Dealer: Good luck.

Andy: He’s betting like|an out of control freak.

Yeah, we have a|very favorable count.

But is it worth getting|kicked out now?

Dealer: 19. 9.

Paul: Split ’em.|Dealer: Splitting tens.

Andy: Oh my god. Splitting|10s is for morons or counters.

Or in this case, moron counters.

He’s killed himself.

He’s gonna get kicked out.

We have way too much to gain|this weekend to be this risky.

I hope you’re still counting.

Paul: Big card, big card,|big card, big card.

Dealer: 21.

Andy: Our running count is up|to an astronomical plus 23.

The true count is over 13.

Pit boss: Shuffle up.

Andy: We could’ve made|a killing on that shoe.

Pit boss: Excuse me sir.|Sir may I have a word with you?

Paul: I’m in the|middle of something.

Pit boss: Sir, may I please,|if you wouldn’t mind.

Step right over here for me.

Paul: Money plays.

Pit boss: Don’t accept|this man’s money.

Sir, don’t have me remove you.


Griff: That guy in the|cowboy hat is Bloch.

Andy Bloch, MIT guy.

That punk is mine.



Andy: She quit.|Paul: Kat quit?

Andy: What were you thinking?

The pit boss was right|there and you still split tens.

Paul: Yeah, but the count|was so high, I couldn’t lose.

Andy: You got yourself kicked out,
and you put the rest|of the team in jeopardy.

Paul: I’m sorry, OK,|It won’t happen again.

Andy: You’re right, it|won’t happen again.

Paul: What?

Andy: Paul, I gotta kick|you off the team.

Paul: What?

Andy: You can’t go|back in that casino

Paul: Oh Andy, come on.

Andy: Think about it.

Paul: Fine.

[Door closes.]


Griff: Bingo. Right monitor.

Keep your eye on the|guy in the cowboy hat.

Make sure he doesn’t leave.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know who|he looks like, but it’s not him.

It’s Bloch.

Pit Boss: Sorry sir, I’m gonna|to need you to follow me.

Rock star: What’s the problem?

Pit boss: I need you to come|with me, right this way please.



Andy: If they think that’s|me, they’re way off.

This is me right here,|looking very 1978.

With Kat gone, our|bankroll is smaller,

so our betting|unit is down to 400.

Tyler: Was it this|crowded on Friday?

Andy: That was my verbal signal.

The count is plus 13.|There are 4 decks left.

The true count is about 3.

I subtract 1 and get 2.

I multiply my current unit by 2
giving me $800.

We started this hand at plus 13.

Dealer: Insurance anybody?

Andy: Because the true|count is greater than 3,

I’m gonna take insurance.

When the dealer has an Ace,
it’s critical to count the|cards as fast as possible.

If they have blackjack, they scoop|up the cards very quickly.

Did you catch the count?

It’s now plus 11.

Hey, it’s Johnny Chan.

And Owen Wilson’s counsin.

I’m only supposed to bet|800 dollars here. Two units.

But I want to vary|my bet from Tyler’s,
so it doesn’t look like we’re|both betting the same amount.

Perfect. Our combined bets equal|two hands at $800 per hand.

Tyler’s doing a great job.

He’s supposed to surrender that 16.

Ooh, he hits and busts.

Any big card.

How about a 6.

I guess Johnny’s sticking to poker.

Tyler remembered to surrender|his 15 against a dealer’s 10.

Our running count is at plus 15.

The true count is at 5.

5 minus 1 means we|should bet 4 units.

I’m gonna make an over bet|knowing Tyler will even us out.

Two twenties. I like it.

And a blackjack for Tyler.

Ten in the hole.

C’mon, bust!

There we go!

Our running count has dropped to 7.

I feel like Howard Stern in this wig.

OK, it’s later in the evening,
and thankfully, Kat decided|to rejoin the team.

This is great news.

Our betting unit is now up to 1000.

Kat: Well boys, are we here to|gamble or are we here to gamble?

Tyler: Pool still open?

Dealer: Sorry, closed at 11.

Tyler: So I’ll just keep playing.

Andy: It’s easy to remember that|”pool” is the verbal signal for 8.

The two Os in the word pool|look like an 8 on its side.

The true count is 3,|so we’ll bet 2 units.

But I’m just gonna bet 1000.

Watch Tyler.

Like clockwork.

Tyler saw that I only bet 1000|when I was supposed to bet 2000.

So he made up the difference by|betting the extra $1000 himself.

We’re playing on the same bankroll,|so the main thing that matters
is the average amount|wagered per hand.

Remember, don’t split|9s against a 7.

Our running count is up to 9.

Casino manager: There’s a rock star|being detained in my hallway.

Griff:|You’re not falling for that accent.

That guy is Bloch.

Manager: I see.|So then tell me detective,

how did Andy manage|to shrink himself 6 inches?

Griff: That’s Bloch!

Andy:|This the last hand for this shoe.

And the true count is positive 11.

This is awesome. We’re spreading|bets by a multiple of 10 units.

What the hell is he doing here?

We’re probably already made|and the count’s so high,

I’m gonna split 10s.

C’mon, let’s see some high cards.

Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!

If we can just get this hand played!

Damn, here comes the heat.

Flip the damn cards!

Deal! C’mon dealer, let’s|go, let’s go, let’s go!

Let’s get this hand played. Deal!

Yes! 22! The dealer busts,|we just won 80 grand.

Paul: Hey, he, he just cheated me.

Andy: Thanks Paul.

Security: Settle down, calm down.


Paul: That was kinda fun, wasn’t it?

Andy: A little too much fun.

Paul: Yeah.

I’m sorry about the other night.

Oh boy, is she gonna|rip me a new one?

I know, I know…

Kat: You took one for|the team, didn’t you?

Tyler: Thanks man!

Andy: To the team!

Tyler: The team.



Andy: And hey, if you happen|to see me playing blackjack,
please don’t blow my cover|by thanking me for this DVD.

Thanks again and good luck.

Dealer: Better luck next time.

Andy: Hi.

Ladies: Hi.

Dealer: New player.

Andy: Two thousand.

Blonde: Ooh, high rollin’.

And you got an|ace up your sleeve.

Brunette: Let me see that.|That is so cute.

Andy: God, I love this shirt.


  1. Just a couple of comments. First, Expert Insight is no longer in the DVD business. The domain name was sold to another company.

    Second, someone just pointed out a mistake in the DVD. I said “If you’re the only player at the table, or if you can only play 1 hand, bet 25% more on one hand.” I should have said 35%. (A more accurate number would be about 37%.)

    If you find any other errors, let me know and I’ll post them here.


  2. For expedited or international shipping, I charge the actual cost of shipping. The DVD and packaging weights under 6oz, and is shipped from Las Vegas, NV (zip code 89101).

    International shipping (via US Postal Service):

    First Class Mail (shipping times vary) is free.
    Priority Mail (6-10 business days) is $10 extra.
    Express Mail (3-5 business days) $28
    Express Mail (1-3 business days) $42

    Great Britain:
    First Class Mail: (shipping times vary): $6 extra.
    Priority Mail (6-10 business days) is $15 extra.
    Express Mail (3-5 business days) $36
    Express Mail (1-3 business days) $50


  3. Hey Andy,

    Is there any point at which you allow the count to override the basic strategy, for instance if you have a true count of +6 and you have a 13, 14, 15, or 16. Wouldn’t it make more sense to stand even though basic strategy says to hit?


    1. Yes, there are lots of times when it can be correct to deviate from basic strategy. Most card counting literature call the threshold count for a deviation from basic strategy a strategy “index”. (“Index” is a misnomer, but that’s what you’ll need to search for in google. On the MIT team, we just called them “numbers”.)

      For example, you should stand 16 against a 10 when the true count is 0.5 or higher (if you can’t surrender). Insurance, which you should only take if the true count is +3 or higher, is the single most valuable strategy deviation. In my DVD, you see me splitting tens with a very high count on the the last round of a shoe.

      With the exception of insurance and maybe 16 v 10, I don’t recommend learning and using deviations from basic strategy until you’ve mastered almost all other card counting skills, including your act. There are a two reasons. First, you may make mistakes that cost you more than you gain. Second, deviations may make it obvious to the casino that you are a card counter, and not just a beginning card counter, but one advanced enough to be feared. On multiple occasions I’ve been kicked out of casinos for splitting tens, so I don’t recommend splitting tens unless you don’t care about getting kicked out, or the count is so high that it may be worth it. If you don’t split tens, the remaining strategy deviations aren’t worth so much.


  4. Hey Andy,

    I found a chart for European BJ which sais, that on soft 13-17 i should hit. I ask myself what I have to do after I got the 3rd card?

    Looking forward to your answer!



    1. You should always at least hit with soft 13-17, but you should also double depending on the dealer’s up card (and the rules, including the number of decks and whether the dealer hits soft 17). If you hit and get a card low enough that your hand is still soft (total 11 or less with aces counting as one), then you continue to play as a soft hand. Here’s a good blackjack strategy chart generator:


      1. Thx Andy for your answer.

        some aspects are not yet clear. I already found that generator. Do you consider it as good?
        If I change down from 4 to 2 decks only the field hard card 9 vs. the dealer’s 2 becomes a double or hit. Is that such a huge difference? Do you have other sources where I can also find something about calculations and the math behind it or do you learn that skills only inside MIT? 😉

        Doesn’t a soft hand just mean that I got an ace on the first two cards? Sorry, I’m a complete nerd and just found out about the MIT BJ-Team, equation of probability and so on but I’m very interested in it. Especially some videos I found on youtube fascinate me! But before I loose money I’d like to know all the tactics. And as everybody says: Practice practice practice!


      2. When rules or number of decks change, basic strategy will only change in a few places.

        The math behind basic strategy is simple but lengthy, impractical to do without a computer. You have to consider ever possible sequence of cards for each possible result and strategy, and calculate the average return.

        A soft hand means any hand with an ace that can total 11 or less. It doesn’t matter how many cards are in your hand, except that usually you are not allowed to double after taking a hit. For example, 42A is the same as A6, except you can’t double.


      3. How does everything work with an automatic shuffler? I dont know how many decks there are in that machine? Is there another way to write with you?


        1. It depends on the type of automatic shuffler. Some shuffle continuously and make counting practically unprofitable. Some shuffling machines just shuffle at the end of a shoe, so you can still count, and it saves time waiting for the dealer to shuffle. Some machines are non-random and trackable, though you won’t find those too often.


  5. Andy, what do you think about the Aces,fives and Fours strategy? Is it a good one to use? Also, I notice even if you are counting cards and you are not in the right seat it’s pointless. Everyone around you is winning and you have the losing hand. Also, when do you come in? At a +10, +15, +17, etc.


    1. I’m not familiar with the “Aces, fives and fours” strategy. If you mean just counting those cards, then it’s not as powerful as the simple hi-lo (2-6 plus 1, 10s and Aces minus 1, 7-8-9 zero). When you’re counting cards, it doesn’t really matter what seat you play, and it doesn’t matter whether the other players are winning or losing. The running count or true count when you decide to start playing depends on a lot of factors, including the casino rules, your minimum bet compared to your betting unit, the number of players, the number of decks remaining, etc.


      1. A few times the count went to a negative 12 and negative 15 and we were winning. Is this a possible card count strategy?


        1. You actually tend to win while the true count drops and lose while it’s rising. When the count is positive, the count is more likely to drop, meaning more good cards like tens and aces are likely to come out, giving the player an edge. That’s how card counting works. However, it doesn’t always happen that way. The average advantage of a card counter is only around 1% typically, which means you will often lose even though the count said you have the advantage.


          1. If you are by yourself and dont have a team, would wait for the count to get to about +10 and then get in the game? Cause playing until the count gets better I usually go through about 40% of my bankroll or sometimes even half


            1. First, normally when card counters talk about “bankroll”, they mean their entire gambling bankroll, which can be much more than the amount they bring on a single trip, and is usually much more than the cash they have available while playing at the table. I assume you meant the amount of cash you had available.

              If you often lose that much, then you are probably betting too high or not bringing enough cash with you.

              It’s usually best to wait at least until the true count gives you an advantage before sitting down, which depends on the rules of the casino. Usually it means waiting until a true count of between 0.5 (for a casino with very good rules) to 1.5 or higher (for a casino with bad rules). If you have a limited bankroll and the minimum bet is too high, you should wait a little longer, unless it’s not awkward at that casino to sit out frequently. Waiting until a running count of +10 is probably a safe strategy, but if the rules are better you can sit down earlier.


          2. Is it possible that dealer is switching cards when he is bouncing the shoe stating that the cards are stuck? The cards can’t be stuck every single time he deals directly to me and when I place a big bet.


  6. Hi Andy,

    A question for index numbers. I have seen different variations for Hilo for example I’ve seen 10v10 as +4 and in other instances +7 are they for different rules? also for some numbers they are 1.5, -3.5 etc what is best in this instance to round up or down?



    1. I think you may be looking at variance-adjusted (or CE adjusted) indices. When you’re doubling or splitting, if you are betting close to your optimal bet, you should take into account the additional risk, just as you would vary your bet based on your advantage. In between those two numbers, it might be correct to double for less, but only if you never want to hit a second time. (For example, you could double for less on A6 v 2, if the true count is above +3.)

      It’s usually better to round away from 0, but why round? If you’re ever unsure about a number while playing, it’s probably better to be conservative.


  7. I watched your video again, and notice you said play two hands when the count is favorable. Is that a key to success? Because I only play one hand


    1. You should play 2 hands when the count is high enough to give you an advantage, but if you’re the only player at the table, play one hand and bet 37% more on that one hand. When the count is 0 or negative, you should play one hand. You can still make money if you always stick to one hand, but you won’t make as much.


  8. Hi Andy, I’ve just watched this DVD for the first time… I have to say it was incredibly inspiring.
    At this moment in time I actually predict roulette wheels using simple charts that a roulette phenomenon created in decades of years in play. But watching your DVD has inspired me to widen my play in a casino. It’s one good way of deflecting heat!
    I have already learnt basic strategy and can count a deck in under 25 seconds… But putting the 2 together is causing quite a mental disturbance!!! Practice right?..
    I just wanted to say Thank-you for the inspiration, hopefully when I need help you might reply 🙂
    Thanks, Reuben


    1. Are you predicting roulette by timing the wheels (using physics)? Or by detecting a physical bias in the wheel, by recording 100s of spins per wheel?

      Practice is crucial, and make sure you test yourself before you try it in the casino.


      1. Quite the knowledge man yourself aren’t you Andy… In all we can put all these factors together; by recording spins… No need for 100s of spins as conditions change constantly due to different factors. In these tests we can detect physical biases in the wheel (cannot elaborate on these). Therefore finding the correct method to predict that wheel.

        Lucky for me, no wheel is made 100% perfect which can give me up to a 50% edge! However as you can imagine… The heat is hard to shift unless in a team.


      1. I apologise I cannot. These charts are not even on the internet, they are by purchase only. The guy I bought them from spent the years and years of research on them, his website is [edited] if you want more information.

        Andy this is not advertisement, I only want to show you where the methods I learnt came from. Thanks


        1. I edited out the website because I’m not familiar with it. It’s possible that the information there can actually help someone win, but on the first page I looked at I read a few things that make me question the writer’s understanding of probability and statistics. Also, the site offers for sale roulette computers that would be illegal to use in many or most gambling jurisdictions, including Nevada. However, at least some of the strategies mentioned on the site could make money.


          1. That’s fair to question his methods. I did until I met him. And the computer he uses is legal in the UK which is where I live anyway. Anyway I just wanted to thank you for giving me a second insight into my gambling strategy. I have started practising on online live blackjack casinos without paying, and I’m starting to get the hang of counting and basic strategy together. All I need to do now is speed it up… And gets me a 5 grand bankroll! Haha, thanks again Andy.


            1. One other thing. If you’re going to be playing blackjack in the UK or Europe, the rules can vary a lot from the rules my DVD is geared towards. In particular, the no hole card rule (dealer has no hole card and thus doesn’t check for blackjack until the end of the hand, and the player loses all doubles and splits) is bad for the player (most of the time;) and changes the basic strategy for splits and doubles. Here’s a basic strategy calculator that works for most rule sets:



              1. Aw man? I have to learn a new freakin basic strategy… Thanks for telling me tho, appreciate it 🙂 also there’s weird “extras” games going on in BJ such as the 3 card poker where if your 2 cards match the dealers up in any sort of poker hand (eg. Straight, flush etc..) you win (I don’t remember the odds ), but what I do know is that your betting box is split into 3 boxes of choice; normal BJ, 3 card poker and the last one is pairs.. (Obviously if you have a pair you win, again I don’t remember the odds) you have to put your chips in which ever game you want to play.
                Not sure if you know this? I don’t play either extras games… But I’m damn sure there’d be a way to count them.


                1. Luckily you don’t have to learn a whole new basic strategy. Each rule (or number of decks) only changes a few strategies. For example, the no-hole-card rule only affects doubles or splits against an ace or ten.

                  Sometimes, casinos add a side bet that may be more countable than the regular bet. (Over/Under 13 was an example.) But, usually, they are not worth playing, especially if the casino has a relatively low limit on them.


                  1. Awesome! Thanks your reply buddy. If you ever need a spotter in a couple of months, you know my email 😉 haha

                    Thanks, Reuben


                2. Hey Andy, my local casino does 4 card blackjack and I’ve learnt how to play it well now.. There are a few things I need to know however. What is a high count in a 4 deck game? And also what alterations to basic strategy would you make when the count is high?
                  For example: the count is +5 and therefore I would no longer hit a hard 12 against dealers 2 or 3. OR I would now take taking insurance/even money. Then maybe +10, you would stand a hard 14, 15 and 16 against anything etc… Would be great if you could let me know your suggested alterations. Also the count that would be high in a 4 deck.
                  Cheers, Reuben


                  1. If you are converting the running count to the true count by dividing by the number of decks remaining, then a high count for a 6 deck game is the same as a high count for a 4 deck game or 1 deck game, etc., if the rest of the rules are the same. Make sure you adjust your basic strategy if any of the rules are different, and calculate the casino’s edge against basic strategy. You should subtract twice that from your true count before using it to bet. If the casino’s edge against basic strategy ends up being more than about half a percent or so, you might want to find a better game.



  9. Hello Andy,
    What would be the best situations when you pull multiplied cards making it hard 15 vs 10, would you keep hitting it or would you surrender if there is late surrender. Also, is there a difference between index number when dealer hit s17 vs dealer stand s17?



    1. If surrender is allowed after hitting (which it almost never is), you’d surrender 15 vs a 10. By the way, “late surrender” means you can only surrender after the dealer checks for blackjack, but before you hit, not that you can surrender after hitting.

      There are a few basic strategy changes when the dealer hits soft 17, mostly against dealer A and 6, and if you are using index numbers, a few of them will change. However, it’s not worth much to learn the new index numbers as they don’t occur that often.


  10. Hello again Andy,
    So from what you are saying, is that the dealer stay on s17 index number still works for dealer hits s17 BS chart. Oh yeah, thanks for the reply.


  11. I must be missing a key point when counting and betting. I win more just waiting on a good count then when the shoe is favorable for the player. When the shoe does become favorable. The dealer is getting the 19’s and 20’s. This is about 90%. I’m losing


  12. So, what do you do when the shoe is rich in tens and the dealer gets the 20’s and blackjacks? Cause I know the MIT Team bets 10,000 and table max


    1. Usually you lose, but you don’t have to pay the dealer 3:2 when he gets blackjack! (Plus, you can surrender bad hands if allowed, and make some count-based strategy deviations, and hit soft 18.) Each of your hands has the same chance of getting the tens and aces as the dealer, but when you get blackjack, you get a 50% bonus. That’s one of the main reasons that the advantage swings to the player when the true count is higher.


    1. You could do ok waiting for a high enough running count that the deck has to be positive, but it won’t tell you how positive it is, like the true count does. You’ll be missing opportunities to bet big and/or you’ll be betting big with a slim or no edge. The true count is easy, just divide the running count by the number of decks remaining. Then subtract approximately 1 (depending on the rules and number of decks).


        1. You subtract 1 from the true count because, at the start of the shoe, when the true count is zero, the casino has the advantage. Roughly, the player’s advantage increases half of a percent (0.5%) per true count. If the casino’s advantage is 0.5% at the start, then when the true count reaches +1, the advantage is neutralized. If the rules are worse for the player, you probably want to subtract more than 1.

          Here’s a brief summary excerpted from the transcript above:

          Optimal betting. First, keep|an accurate running count.

          Approximate the|number of decks remaining.

          Divide the running count by|the number of decks remaining.

          This is called the “true count.”

          Subtract 1 from the true count to|determine how many units to bet.

          Multiply the number of units|to bet by your betting unit.


  13. One more question. Lot of casinos now have the shufflemaster. Not the continuous shuffler, but the regular one. I hear they are about 7500 each, and have the ability to re-order the cards in such a way that the shoe stays negative or a very low positive. Did you ever play these? And is there a method of beating it?


    1. I don’t think there’s much chance that a casino would manipulate the shuffling of cards to prevent card counting. That would probably be illegal in Nevada and New Jersey at least. I doubt that the manufacturers of the shuffling machines make such manipulation an option, though that does not stop a casino from reprogramming the machines.

      I don’t know if many or any of the 6 or 8 deck shufflers can read the cards and manipulate the shuffle, but I do know that there are single-deck shufflers that can read and sort the cards. In theory, a casino could manipulate the shuffle, but it would be illegal and, in a well-regulated jurisdiction like Nevada, could cost them millions in fines or their license.


  14. Thanks for info. So, I played at the new Horseshoe casino in Baltimore and they have the new shufflemasters and about two tables that were hand shuffled. I played there for three days in a row, and the tables were constantly negative some got all the way up to -23. Also, they had a tech that was working on one and it had two processors/cpu and looks like a three-phase circuit board. A rotator with a red optical light. After about staring for a few minutes. The tech asked if I could kindly step away.


  15. So, back at the casino again this weekend. I saw two guys pretending not to know each other. The big player was playing two hands (first and second) the spotter was playing (last two spots). they were winning at every table they went. But I was trying to figure out there strategy. They was playing hi-lo because none of them asked to see the first card. Big player keep his bet at $300 per hand no matter what. I know they knew each other because I caught one of there hand signals. The spotter would take off his glasses and put them on the table. Then they would both leave on the next hand. They did it about five times. But anyway I would love to know what card counting technique they were using


    1. I doubt they were counting. (Asking to see the first card of the shoe adds very little to any counting strategy and not asking wouldn’t indicate any particular strategy.) They probably weren’t doing anything that actually gave them an edge, but they could have been using an advantage play like tracking and/or steering the bottom card.


  16. Andy,

    I watched your DVD and noticed there wasn’t anything about Basic Strategy Deviations except for splitting 10s but no count was specified. What do you recommend for deviations? Also what’s your opinion on unbalanced counts? Would they be as good as the HiLo?


    1. I don’t recommend learning deviations (except insurance at a true count of +3) until you’ve completely mastered basic card counting, deck estimation, and calculating the true count (to within about 0.5). Otherwise, (1) the cost of errors may be larger than your gain, and (2) you are likely to get increased attention from the casino, resulting in getting kicked out sooner. Wouldn’t you prefer to play twice as long at 80% of the edge? That’s kind of the difference between playing basic strategy versus deviating with the count. On the other hand, if you know you’re getting kicked out anyway, like in the DVD, and the count is high enough, then split those tens!


    2. To answer the second part of the question, on unbalanced counts: Though you can play a winning strategy with some unbalanced systems, like KO, I recommend sticking with a balanced count, for several reasons. (1) It’s much easier to go from 6 decks to 8 decks to double deck with a balanced count. You don’t really have to change anything about your strategy, just don’t forget how many decks you started with when estimating the number of decks remaining. Even if you do forget, the worst that will happen is you will overbet a little, and you’ll probably figure it out well before the end of the shoe. If you are using an unbalanced system, with different number of decks you have to start with a different count. If you are used to playing 6 decks and play at 8 decks without changing your starting count, you’ll end up betting big most shoes near the end, even when the count would be negative. (2) I don’t like negative numbers much when counting, you’re too likely to make a mistake by counting in the wrong direction. With unbalanced counts, you can start at 0 instead of say -20, but then you have to remember to subtract 20. (3) The optimum initial running count will depend on the penetration. (3) If you move to shuffle tracking (of clumps), you will have to adapt your KO counting system. I’m sure it’s been done, but there’s not a lot of literature on it. And, one important skill when shuffle tracking is deck estimation — a skill that you won’t have practiced if you use KO.


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