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The Oracle at Odds - Part 228 July 2001
This is the age of lists -- the top 100 movies of all time, the top 100 books of the 20th Century, the top 100 colleges for academic excellence or bargains or partying, and the top 100 women former President Bill Clinton scored with; plus all those weekly top 10 this list, and top 10 that list and top 10 those other things list. In the interests of keeping up with the list makers as well as the (Dow) Joneses, I decided to list the top 60 questions I am asked whenever I give talks about casino gambling. My list is in no particular order of importance, but these are the most-asked questions of yours truly and the answers that I give when I'm asked them. All value judgments are mine. So if I say this is the best thing, that is just my not-so-humble opinion. Of course, in my opinion my opinion is the correct opinion as today I assume my new identity as The Oracle at Odds -- Nostragamus! Ask and it shall be answered!
6. How much time does it take to learn to count card at blackjack?
Here are the steps you must take. First get a good blackjack book and learn basic strategy. It will probably take you a week or two of memorizing to get it down pat. This is the toughest part of the process. You will have to memorize what to do with every hand you get against every dealer upcard. Break it up over a couple to three weeks and you'll master it. Then go to a casino and play for small stakes and when you are perfect in your decision-making, you can learn a count system. It will take you all of five minutes to learn the basics of counting. But it will take you weeks to do it proficiently enough to go into a casino and do it. Figure two months for the whole process.
7. Is one basic strategy good for every type of blackjack game?
Actually, there are different basic strategies for different games. The single-deck strategy is a little different from the multiple-deck strategy; the strategy for games where a dealer hits soft 17 (ace-6) is slightly different from a game where the dealer stands on soft 17, and on and on it goes. But you don't have to go crazy memorizing six or seven different basic strategies. The differences in the strategies are not great enough to warrant panic. Memorize one and play it perfectly. After you learn to count and after you become proficient, then begin to incorporate the changes in basic strategy for the various types of games.
8. Is there anything else?
Yes. Once you become proficient and once you alter the basic strategy for the game you are playing then you will want to learn about 16 or so basic strategy changes based on the count. All of this is easy. Most good blackjack books will give you all the information you will need to become a winning player.
9. What blackjack books would you recommend for a motivated beginner?
Lacking even a shred of humility, I recommend my own book, Best Blackjack, and I also recommend Henry Tamburin's book, Blackjack: Take the Money and Run as good books to learn what you need to know to win at blackjack. Once you have learned to count, then I would also recommend that you read Ken Uston's, Stanford Wong's, and Arnold Snyder's books. There are many other good blackjack writers as well, such as Walter Thomason, Fred Renzey, Lance Humble, and Bryce Carlson. If you really get into blackjack, you will find that there is an enormous amount of literature on the game and that most of it spans a continuum from good to damn good with a few not-worth-reading books thrown in for bad measure. You can't go wrong with the writers I've mentioned, however.
10. Can the slot machines be beaten?
Of course! If you buy the right Craftsman hammer and plant one or two whacks firmly on the frontage, you should be able to get the money. A good drill would help as well. This technique should only be used in casinos where the security guards are sluggish and, preferably, unarmed. This is a great strategy for people who don't fear jail.
For more information about blackjack, we recommend:Best Blackjack by Frank Scoblete
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
Blackjack: Take the Money and Run by Henry Tamburin
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.
Articles in this Series
Best of Frank Scoblete