Kenny Uston writes about downswings in Million Dollar Blackjack:
". . . if you were to play and enjoy a 2% advantage on every hand (which
is unrealistically optimistic), after 2,500 hands you would have a 20% chance
of losing. This statistic is continually borne out by our actual playing experiences
. . ."
He then goes on to describe a 22-day period "in some of the most favorable
games I've ever experienced. The interval included five days of playing only
positive four-deck shoes at the Fremont (team play), five days of juicy single-deck
game at the Dunes and six days of playing only positive shoes at the Desert
At the end of this period, betting optimally to his large bankroll and with
the true count, Kenny was down $35,000.
Now you have an understanding of why I stressed two bankroll divisor numbers
in Chapter 3 of Blackjack: A Winner's Handbook; today's player, playing to the
short-term, with winning strategies in this book, can start with a bankroll
1/or even 1/10th the size of the traditional card counters' bankroll.
Here, then, are my recommendations for the traditional card counter in confronting
the realities of today's multi-deck shoe games:
1. Do not bet up with the count on successive losses as most other blackjack
books recommend; set a rigid table stop-loss amount and adhere to it count or
no count. Table departure is the best decision you can make under these losing
conditions because it is quite possible that this same low-card clump may come
back to whack you in the next shoe.
2. Consider some alternatives from Blackjack: A Winner's Handbook and my best
selling Casino Gambling on how to exploit those other 90% of the hands where
the count does not indicate an increase in your bet.
3. Consider abandoning the count altogether in the multi-deck shoe games and
choosing an alternative non-count method (see Chapters 13 and 14) of Blackjack:
A Winner's Handbook and Chapters 7 and 8 in Casino Gambling.
4. Play the single- and double-deck games in which card counting results more
closely approach the theoretical models. Use a short-term strategy in these
games. There are many such games in the Nevada casinos and many casinos in other
locations also offer these games. Study the methods in Chapter 17 of "Handbook"
for possible use.
QUESTION 2: CAN BLACKJACK BE BEATEN IN TODAY'S BLACKJACK ENVIRONMENT?
Yes, blackjack can still be beaten. But it is not as simple as it was in the
'80s when blackjack players could learn a point-count system, a basic playing
strategy, and money-management betting tactics.
You have to recognize two realities of today's game:
1. For reasons already discussed; i.e., the non-random shuffle engendered card
clumping, the count does not always work. You must learn when to use a count
system and when not to.
2. Even if the count would always work against today's game, the pit bosses have
become very adept at spotting card counters by their betting patterns. In Atlantic
City, where state regulations prohibit the casinos from barring gamblers, pit
bosses can either restrict a player's betting spread (the ratio between a big
bet when the count is high and a small bet when the count is low) or shuffle up
(shuffle and restore the cards to a new deck or new shoe to effectively remove
the player's advantage) on a player if his or her betting spread becomes too high.
In Nevada a person detected as a card counter or thought to be a card counter
may be barred from play.
An internationally known gaming author, player, and instructor, Jerry is the author
of five gaming books:
Blackjack - A Winner's Handbook
Sports Betting - A Winner's Handbook
Blackjack's Winning Formula
Casino Gambler's Winning Edge.
The two most popular are Casino Gambling and Blackjack:
A Winner?s Handbook. Either can be purchased at Amazon by clicking the links
below, or at Jerry?s Web Site: CasinoGamblingEdge.com