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Blackjack Questions and Answers

25 Apr 2023

By Frank Scoblete
QUESTION: Is blackjack still the most popular table game in the casino?

ANSWER: Yes, it is and has been since the mid-1960s. Craps used to rule the felt (all those World War II guys coming back from the war where craps gained a great fascination for them) but then the card counting revolution occurred in the mid-1960s thanks to Edward O. Thorp’s book “Beat the Dealer” and people started to believe – by the way, correctly started to believe – that blackjack could be beaten by players using card counting and the correct “basic strategies.”

QUESTION: Was this true?

ANSWER: It was all true. But there was a problem with the analysis in real world time periods. Card counting was not an easy skill to develop; it took work and practice and a bankroll to sustain the player when the cards went against them.

QUESTION: Yes, in the long run a skilled player could beat the game but no one won all the time and even being an expert still meant you could take a clobbering during various sessions.

ANSWER: Most players who tried card counting quit. This was true back then and it is still true now. Casinos have also made blackjack a tougher game to play by changing how many decks are offered in the shoe, creating much tougher rules and also closer scrutiny of the play of some players, visually and by software.

Great game? Yes.

Beatable? Yes.

Can you do it? Remains to be seen, dear reader, remains to be seen.

Why did so many players abandon the hope of getting a real edge against the house? They couldn’t do the techniques of counting. Or, yes, even mastering the techniques, these actually ruined the fun of playing the game for them.

Finally, proper counting required the manipulating of their bets from low to high at certain times. A bad streak when big bets were being contested could be devastating for the players. Card counters needed a lot of money to back their play and many casino players just don’t have that kind of bankroll to challenge the palaces of Lady Luck.

Card counting is a serious business and players found that the casino bosses were not thrilled by the card counting players’ attempts to beat the house. Casino play was no longer fun for such blackjack players and these blackjack players were not “fun” for the casinos to have in their houses.

Card counting was a revolution that never got too much traction. While it is still being done by some players, it is a revolution whose time has largely thwarted it.

QUESTION: You mentioned a “basic strategy” early on. What is that?

ANSWER: Today, computers have shown us the proper play of every player’s hand against every dealer’s up-card. In all situations a studious blackjack player can keep the house edge somewhere around a half percent, depending on the game’s rules and the number of decks being used by the casino.

There are basic strategies for every type of blackjack game and also general basic strategies that can fit most of the games.

I’ll have more to say about blackjack in the future.

All the best in and out of the casinos!


Frank Scoblete’s web site is www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books, libraries and book stores.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

 
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