BJ Math for Dummies?

Are you having difficulty on the tables? I think your search for mathematical understanding is a very natural progression that all serious players eventually realize. I am pretty determined to learn the math concepts myself and not rely completely on the Masters for spoon feeding me what they have determined I need to know. But I do want to add a basic unserstanding of it all to my AP toolbox. Consider studying the art of counting cards - technically legal even if casinos don't like it - and view it as a way to read the value of each hand. I have never been driven to get past that before.

Before the Math: a Short Blackjack Wiki

Blackjack Math vs. Luck

You do this by "hitting" or "sitting" - either getting a new card or keeping the ones you have if you think the other players will go over 21 or will not get as close to it as you have.

In this game, suits do not matter. A "Blackjack" is a hand that equals 21 in two cards - the best hand to get - a valued card and an ace. Before we get into strategy and the art of blackjack math , there are a few more terms we need to discuss. Dealers generally stand on a 17 unless it is a "Soft 17" e.

Ace-6, Ace-Ace-5, or Ace Dealers cannot split their hands in standard rules. If you sit in the "Third Base" position i. There is a certain amount of chance to Blackjack - especially since it can be played with up to 8 decks - but the major plan to employ when playing is Blackjack Math. The first thing to know is you always want to stand on a hand that adds up to 17 or higher because it is a strong hand and the odds are against you drawing anything that won't cause you to "bust" over Any hand valued at 11 or lower should automatically be hit as you won't win or bust unless you hit it.

Beware of the dealer showing an ace, lest he gets a valued card next draw. This is more likely than any other value because there are four cards with that value. Remember that the dealer has an advantage because he responds to your play. Since it's the "middle" value cards that offer the most challenge, it is with these that you want to focus your attention.

If you have 17 or higher, you're golden, so if you have between 11 and 16, that's the most unstable hand. Understand that the House has a serious advantage, especially in a multideck shoot. Consider studying the art of counting cards - technically legal even if casinos don't like it - and view it as a way to read the value of each hand.

The hi-lo method is what they use in the movie " 21 " with Kevin Spacey. Read the book " Beat the Dealer " by Edward Thorp if you are interested in their strategy without the Hollywood flair. The "hard" of counting cards is the self control and the dedication to learning to count multiple cards at a time to make a non-math analogy, counting several cards at once is like reading a word instead of a letter.

None of those things are "math" I'm not a math-minded person either Don't play in casinos with real money until you're confident enough that you can watch a card game on TV in a crowded sports-bar, while flirting with the bartender or waitress, and know the balance of the remaining deck.

Hinoon , Aug 1, I guess it helps to understand it a little but unless you want to become the greatest bj player that ever lived, I would think that one or two bj books is enough. Actually, the mathematics of bj is pretty complex. Have you read through Peter Griffin's Theory of Blackjack? I've had 5 years of college mathematics and couldn't understand a lot of it. If you really want the math of it, that is the book but it won't really help you make any money.

If you want to make money, read about about casino surveillance and casino management and learn what makes pit bosses tick. We math minded and non math-minded should all remember and be thankfull that there are people out there who have done that extensive number-crunching so that we don't have to.

People like Stanford Wong have beautifully worked the difficult math into something accessible and approachable People like Eliot who have dozens of essays that take the math-mystery out of the numbers, and put them into laymans terms. Fortunately, executing the resulting strategies are far less so. Thanks to all of you math-minded folk out there who have given us such workable systems! Hinoon , Aug 2, I should add Twentywun, I am not sure where you are in your skills. Are you having difficulty on the tables?

These programs will help you make more money because they can tell you what your optimal spread for nearly any particular game. I apologize if I was too harsh. It does seem like their is a wealth of mathematics that can be applied to bj. It is very difficult to apply any kind of probability or odds to a bj game while the game is in progress.

Also, I can't remember who it was but a famous bj player once figured out a technique that would enable him to know every single last card remaining in a single deck of cards. He decided to show his friends his new technique and he was accurate down to the card and suit.

Then his friend asked him, "ok, you got a 9 and a 7 and then dealer is showing a 10, do you hit or stand. It was funny because he was using his toes, his stomach muscles, and everything else to keep track of these cards but he had no idea what to do with this information.

Snyders 7 duckboy 3 count. Ever since I read that article, every time I'm in the casino and I see someone who resembles a duck, I can't get "7 duckboy 3" out of my head.

Screws up my counting. If I ever meet anyone named Farley, I'd better leave. Automatic Monkey , Aug 2, It gave me a great understanding of basic probability theory. Pretty much everything else you need to know about the math behind blackjack is in Schesinger's "Blackjack Attack.

That is where I would suggest you start. Sonny , Aug 2, I guess I should have been more specific rather than simply stating "my game has now progressed to the point that I learned recently that I can backcount two almost-full 6D tables simultaneously, which was a very cool discovery. Now, if I could just learn to do that without looking so obvious, I might be able to do something with it. What I want to be able to do now is to analyze my game and find how I can make it stronger, and to analyze games available to me to find the best way of taking advantage, etc.

I want to understand Co-Variance, Certainty Equivalents, etc. I feel I need to go deeper now and without a background in math, I am finding it difficult. TwuntyWun , Aug 2, May your reach exceed your grasp. As for two books being more than enough, I guess I must be a an overachiever or b exceptionally dense as I have already read at least 8 and am still wanting to learn more.

Now--have I understood everything I read? Griffin makes me dizzy and I believe myself to be incapable of grasping it all without an understanding of the basic concepts.

I also acknowledge and agree with you that the math is complex. But I don't accept that because others already understand it all and have boiled various parts of it down for people like me means I should not attempt to understand it all! I am grateful for your reaction to my question, because it has helped me to clarify my goals and reasons for pursuing them. I am pretty determined to learn the math concepts myself and not rely completely on the Masters for spoon feeding me what they have determined I need to know.

I have been among this group, and I'm looking to reach higher. I recall a blessing that goes something like, "May your reach exceed your grasp. I'll check it out! All serious counter will reach the point you are at. You have learned the necessary skills and can execute them in a casino environment.


Leave a Reply