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Best of Frank Scoblete
Readers Write21 May 2000
Assuming a multiple-deck game, a true count (TC) of +2 (you'd have approximately a half percent edge over the casino) would be a good time to increase your bet -- perhaps by doubling. At TC +3, you might want to double that and at TC +4 double that and at TC +5 or above double again. This would look like the following for a $10 player: neutral = $10, +2 = $20, +3 = $40, + 4 = $80, +5 and above = $160. This would give you a 1-16 spread which is more than enough to beat 2-4-6 and, maybe, eight-deck games. Whether the casinos would allow you to get such a spread is debatable. You would never want to jump from a $10 to $80. You'd want to increase slowly so it looked as if you were gambling and not following the count.
A rule of thumb that John May, a contributor to our gaming pages, uses is the spread necessary to beat a game is twice the number of decks involved. So a 1-4 spread can beat a two-deck game, a 1-8 spread can beat a four-deck game, a 1-12 spread can beat a six-deck game and a 1-16 spread can beat an eight-deck game. (We assume decent rules, of course, and at least 75 percent penetration.)
Single-deck games are a little different. Any positive count would call for an increase in your bet as most single-deck games with decent rules are almost even games off the top. (The house usually has about 0.10 or 0.20 edge on the ones that hit soft 17 and limit splits.)
In multiple-deck games (4-6-8) you might want to leave or sit out if the TC is -2 or -3. In single and double-deck, low counts would occur too frequently to sit out every one and sitting out or leaving at all such low counts would start to look obvious. Sit out a hand in a low count every so often and go to the bathroom once or twice during a session to reduce exposure, but you're going to have to play in some of these counts because that's what gamblers do. A good card counter has to look like a gambler.
All the best in and out of the casinos!
For more information about blackjack, we recommend:Twenty-First Century Blackjack: New Strategies for a New Millennium by Walter Thomason
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The Morons of Blackjack and Other Monsters! by Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Blackjack! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
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