How to Win at Blackjack
1) Read Turning the Tables on Las Vegas by Ian Anderson(the author's pseudonym). While it does not discuss 4 or 6 deck count systems (it discusses 1 or 2 deck systems), it does discuss disguising your card counting from casinos (and dealing with casino personnel).
2) Avoid sitting at a table with many other people. The more people at the table, the more diluted card counting strategies become. If you are playing one on one the dealer can't assume you are card counting because you looked at the cards.
3) Avoid drinking alcohol. Drinks are free in most casinos for reasons: Casino's expect players to get "free" drinks, and if you're drunk you make bad plays more. Pretend to sip your drink, but drop it off somewhere when you change tables, then get another drink (which you don't really drink).
4) If you plan to count cards, go to Atlantic City instead of Vegas, because over there, they have to kick you out one by one.
5) Have an understanding of the basic probabilities. Doubling Down, Insurance, Splitting, and Surrender are examples of bets that usually favor the casino (because they are usually not intelligently used).
- Insurance Pays 2:1. The chances of the casino getting a blackjack are 4:13. Advantage Casino. Insurance should be taken only when you are card counting.
- Doubling Down can cost you the hand; If you turn up a poor card, then you may have donated an extra amount to the casino. Only double down when the casino appears to have a "stiff".
- Splitting may turn a good situation bad, or a bad situation good.
- Never Split 5's.
- Splitting Aces is dangerous! There is usually no HSA (hit split aces.) Once again, you have a 4:13 chance of a blackjack, the casino will only pay you 1:1 (unless 2 card 21 after split is BJ.)
- Splitting 9's can change your "pat" hand to a "stiff".
- Splitting 7's or 8's may change your "stiff" hand to "pat".
- Surrender guarantees a win for the casino (although only half as much). It's a good deal when used intelligently.
7) Start with the table minimum.
8) New counters should begin learning with an unbalanced count system. Unbalanced count systems are the easiest to learn (although still far from easy). They are more intuitive, but lack some of the power of a true balanced count system. For more info, look to “Blackbelt in Blackjack”, "Knock-Out Blackjack” or other unbalanced beginner systems.
9) Balanced Count systems are the most accurate, but are MUCH more complicated. They require more mental math (converting your running count to a true count mentally, calculating your advantage, betting according to your true advantage), and will take much longer to learn. For more info, look at Hi-Lo systems like in “Professional Blackjack”, or any of Wong’s books.
10) If you want to learn an advanced count system, decide if the extra 1/2-1% advantage you will gain by learning an advanced system is worth it ($0.50 to $1.00 per $100 wagered advantage).
11) Card counting is perfectly legal. As long as you don't partake in anything that alters the course of the game, you are not cheating. If a casino asks you to leave, do so willingly but do not surrender your chips. Unless you have broken the law, they are rightfully yours.
12) Card Counting is primarily a betting strategy. In some situations, you can improve your odds in winning by knowing the "count". Movies overemphasize the playing end of card counting; movies especially overemphasize the winnings of card counters. Card counters have about a 1-2% advantage over the house. In other words, a card counter who bets $100 can expect to leave with $102 (on average luck).
13) A count system can take about six months to learn if you practice every day. Figure 1-3 years for a regular or semi regular player who remains dedicated to learning the system. Do not attempt to learn card counting if you only go to Vegas twice a year. You will never master a system. You should only learn sound basic strategy to play better when you do go.