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Part Two: The Dum-Dum on Blackjack12 April 2007
You met Dum-Dum last time. He's a real person who has the wrong ideas about gambling but thinks he has the right ideas. He is a follower of a modern gambling author and an Internet gaming guru who have taught him everything he knows -- which is, to be truthful, just about nothing. Dum-Dum is, in fact, typical of many millions of gamblers who frequent the casinos. They have very strong and wrong ideas.
The quotes below are all Dum-Dum's, as he wrote about his ideas on my private web site at www.goldentouchcrpas.com. What follows are his concepts about blackjack and my responses to them.
DUM-DUM: "Step Number Three: At blackjack, all the so-called experts ... say that basic strategy should be played at all times. But everyone knows that basic strategy is a losing system. Even these big shot authors know that it is a loser. Yet they recommend that you play it. Does that make sense? How can you recommend a losing system? That means there is a better method of play than basic strategy. What strategy is that? This method, created by [he names an author], has you splitting your fives, not doubling on eleven against dealer's sevens, eights, nines, tens, and aces; not splitting eights against dealer's nines, tens and aces; not splitting aces against dealer high cards. Those are just some of the moves. By playing this way, you can overcome the advantage of the casinos. But none of the blackjack so-called authorities know this or, as I believe, they refuse to recognize this because they are jealous of what [names author] has created, the ultimate strategy to beat the game of blackjack even without card counting."
SCOBE: Sorry, but almost all systems of gambling are losing systems because the house has a built in edge at most games. The normal blackjack player faces a two percent house edge give or take a few tenths of a percent. The followers of the system you recommend face a little more probably because the moves you are recommending are completely and utterly wrong and are money costing. You either make the right move or the wrong move and you must make those moves each and every time a particular hand arises against certain dealer upcards. Basic strategy gives you the right moves to make each and every time.
Take splitting eights against a dealer's ten. It is a losing hand no matter how you play it. It is a losing hand whether you hit that 16, stand on that 16, or split those eights. However, you will lose less money by splitting those eights than by hitting or standing on them.
Splitting fives instead of taking advantage of doubling on a two-card 10 against a dealer's 2 through 9 is going to cost you a lot of money. A two-card hand of 10 is a strong starting hand and should be exploited by getting more money on the table.
I'll repeat, when you play blackjack, you must make all the right moves, all the time. The basic strategy, derived from billions of computer simulations over the past 30 years, does that for you. It reduces the house edge to about one-half percent, sometimes even less. No, it is not a winning system and no authority claims it's a winning system against today's blackjack games. But would you rather lose one-half percent of all the money you bet at blackjack or four times that much at 2 percent?
Now, someone using the Golden Touch Blackjack Speed Count and the new optimum basic strategy, or any good card counting system, will have an edge over the casino. It is not a huge edge as there are no huge edges in card counting -- but an edge is an edge. What an edge at blackjack means is this - when the cards remaining to be played favor the player -- there are more tens and aces remaining to be played -- we know this fact and structure our bets accordingly.
To review: The basic strategy is a good system of play. It reduces the house edge to a half percent or less. Your strategy is a disaster. You will lose money about four times as quickly as a basic strategy player. Card counting with Speed Count or any good card counting system can give the player the edge at most blackjack games. Your strategy can't give you the edge. It can just lose you more and more money.
DUM-DUM: "Step Number Four: Card counting is over rated. My precision shooting teacher is also a blackjack expert and his theory, which he used on television, is to go with the flow of the cards. When the cards are running your way, bet more. When the cards are running the casinos' way, bet less. How hard is that to comprehend? But the so-called experts ... have no idea of this truth about blackjack. So what kind of experts are these? Dummies!!!"
SCOBE: I covered card counting above. It is not overrated; it gets you small edges, which over time will win savvy counters money. It is better to play with an edge than to play against an edge. The simple sounding phrase "go with the flow" is one of the worst ways to play and is one of the reasons why the casinos make 15 percent on the blackjack hold. There is no flow of the cards. That is an illusion. You may have won hand after hand and think some kind of flow is happening. No, it just happened; you have no way to know it will continue to happen. The best "go with the flow" betting systems are progressive ones, such as Walter Thomason's Four-Step System. Unfortunately, while Walter is my dear friend, every major study of progressive betting tells us one thing -- it doesn't work. The player faces the same losses as he always does based on the house edge. Those losses will be differently patterned because you are betting more or less money at any given time but the house edge will hit the total you bet, just as it hits the total everyone else bet.
"Go with the flow" is merely another losing gambling idea in a random game. Even on television the idea lost as your instructor got his head hammered by going with the flow.
To review: card counting does work. It can give you between a half percent to (maybe) a 1.5 percent edge over the house, depending on how much you bet in favorable counts, and how good a counter you really are. It is not a road to riches for most players. Going with the flow, as romantic as it sounds, is a bad marriage and will end with a divorce between you and your money.
Dum-Dum's next journey into gambling land has to do with the often repeated, little understood concept of "quitting while you are ahead." Is this concept legitimate or another false construct? Next time you'll find out!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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