THE GAME OF BLACKJACK

By John Botdorf

Most of our readers know we like to research and write about complex topics like Black Hole Theory, Artificial Intelligence, and subjects like valuation modeling and even whether or not Aliens exist on earth. Every now and then it is time for a discussion on something relatively simple just to have some fun. Of course, we involve the same level of intensity and research even if the subject matter is easier to explain. For our blog this month, we chose to discuss the game of Blackjack and whether one can one win consistently in this game of chance, or any game of chance for that matter?

As a matter of disclosure, I have personally developed, tested, and tweaked the “Avoidance Method” I will disclose in this article and can confirm it works about 85% to 90% of the time over two or more sessions of blackjack. To be clear there is no such thing as a method that will consistently outperform the house odds on any table game. Then again, a player need not win over 50% of the hands played to win money. They just need to win more hands than the Dealer during any given session of play assuming they bet the same amount on every hand. A Blackjack session is described as playing the game for a period of at least 60 to 90 minutes, suffice to accommodate at least 100 hands of blackjack depending on how many players are at the table.

Some interesting points about the game. Blackjack on the one hand is like every other game of chance in any casino in the world, the odds of winning generally do go down the longer one plays. Blackjack is also the only casino card game where you can just say “no” under the rules, still play, and make the Dealer bust over your hand. We have looked at a mathematical model that seems to cut the gap between the “House odds” and the player win odds, in favor of the player. We are going to teach you a method the House will never mention as it reverses or narrows the gap on the regular 7% advantage the House maintains under normal conditions.

Blackjack is also the only card game where if you and the dealer lose (you each bust over 21) the Dealer still gets paid on some other hands, particularly with four or five players at the table. Think about the three people or so who busted before the Dealer busted. They lose, and yet the House wins their money even though the Dealer eventually busted, at least on those people who busted first. This reality is why the House can play the game of Blackjack the way it is played. The remaining players who did not bust would win in this case if they just stayed in the game with any two cards, even if their cards make no sense in a “normal game”. In essence the Dealer has two bites of the hand to beat each player if one is playing under the “house rules”. I don’t prefer this “double jeopardy” which is why I don’t play by their rules. The whole concept behind Blackjack is built on one single principle; the requirement that the player bust first. Get rid of the double bust principle and now we have a real shoot out.

Although gamblers can and do win on short runs, there is no such thing as a mathematical model that will inure to the benefit of a player over the long run. Or is there?

The longer one plays under the “Avoidance Method”, the more likely the statistics behind this strategy will deviate toward the mean, meaning the odds actually produce odds similar to what the House enjoys, about a 49% win rate. We are going to flip that advantage to the player under our thesis that is supported by credible data. Remember one does not need to win over 50% of the hands dealt during any given session to win because a draw cancels the game with no one winning or losing. Is it then possible for a player to have odds very close or better than the House? What happens to the “ties” under the current rules? The Dealer essentially just returns the money to the player. So, under the Avoidance Method, if ties currently represent 8% of all blackjack hands under the current rules (rounded to 50% for the House, 42% for the Player, and 8% are cancelled bets), the what happens if the odds of a tie drop be over 50%, say 8% to 4% (after all, a player cannot tie a 12, 13,14, 15, or 16,) who then gets the other 4%? Well, we are going to show you why these “tie” hands can help the player under the Avoidance Method.

How is this possible? We shall discuss the strategy of how and why this method works in just a minute. The real value behind this article is not about winning a few bucks in a game of chance. It is really about why it is important to elevate your thinking when faced with how such a possibility can exist in the first place. How is it that a game that makes Las Vegas well over one billion dollars a year (in just Blackjack) can be tweaked to allow the player to have a near equal advantage or superior one? Under the so called “rules of blackjack”, the house maintains a 7% advantage over the player over the long run. This is because of the way the game is played by 99% of the population.

Therefore most people would agree there can be no greater challenge than trying to win money from a billion dollar industry that built Las Vegas. That said, the real exercise in this article is about thinking outside the box, and by looking at what is wrong with this picture? Before we reveal how to flip the game of blackjack toward your favor, let us review how much money is bet on blackjack and how often does the average player win under the traditional rules of blackjack, i.e. hit on cards at 16 or below in most cases and rest on 17 or above.

According to Sportstalkphily.com, (and multiple other sites) the odds for a player winning a game of blackjack are as high as 42.22%. This leaves the house winning 49.1% of the time, with the third possibility of a draw being 8.48%. (www.sportstalkphilly.com. Apr 2, 2024). Similar sources report numbers that are very close to these figures. Deviations can and do occur due to a wide variety of assumptions, including over 100 variations of Blackjack that exist around the world that use different rules.

What is not revealed is the amount of time playing blackjack but it really does not make any difference as far as the house is concerned how long any one player engages in playing the game.

Your Pit Boss may care because he or she has to log your time of play. It does make a difference when looking at the game from the inside out. Think about it. If one were to gain a slight statistical advantage playing blackjack against what the house “teaches” than this slight advantage might increase you chance of playing longer and leaving the table with a net win.

While any player advantage may be limited to just a few certain card profiles, if one can draw to a breakeven while playing under a different model, then is it possible to make all of your profits on the few hands that better favor a player outcome? We provide the table for this new model in our conclusions.

As a drag along benefit most Casinos grant “perks” depending on two factors. How many hours a day does a player sit at the table and what is their average bet per hand. This information is very stealthy reported to the pit boss at the larger tables ($50 per hand or above), and that creates the “level of play” which in turn may grant a player free rooms, free meals, and even airfare, show tickets and airline reimbursements, depending on your gambling score.

The House does not care whether you win or lose over any particular period of time. They know the odds will eventually get your money; hence they want to encourage you to play longer and bet more over time. In essence, some players might not care whether they win or lose if they can gain thousands of dollars in “perks” and can leave the tables on a breakeven. That is why I choose the Avoidance Method of play because I am not there to win, I am there not to lose.

Frankly, I do not play much anymore because I don’t need free suites anymore. I own time shares with up to three bedrooms on the strip that cost me far less than a hotel suite and come with kitchens, knock out views and multiple Large Screen Television Screens. **Selfish Plug** (See “Mastering Your Timeshare” on web site). I go to Vegas now to see the shows, go to the gym, then the Spa’s, work, and go to great dinners and restaurants. I do not spend much, if any time anymore, playing blackjack because I prefer doing other things. **Another Selfish Plug**- See “Mastering Your Diva” on web site.

That said, a few decades ago, I played at least five hours a day with $50 to $100 a hand average bet so I could get perks that on some trips were worth thousands of dollars. Of course, there were a few trips when losing a few thousand was the end result.

Although I won most of the time if you count the perks, I decided to refine a system that was not based on trying to win but rather was focused on trying not to lose. I rationalized the free perks, provided a much better “net win” than playing the way the “House” wanted me to play. When I focused on a different strategy I rarely lost much money, nor won much, but the perks really were free. Perks worth thousands in free dinners, show tickets, spa upgrades, and first class airfare and hotel suites picked up by the Casino.

The problem was it took almost half of my time playing blackjack to earn my free perks. I finally reached the point where even the free perks were not worth it for me. I wrote this white paper for the younger crowd who like I did, enjoy the challenge of beating the house, looking less stupid in front of your soulmate on how you gamble, and having the mindset and money to blow $1000 bucks on dinner and show tickets. (If one could win the 29 Blackjack busts-per every 100 hands played-average 4 blackjacks per 100 hands, both which are a casino provided stat), this leaves the player with 33 wins per 100, before the other 67 are played over 100 hands. How many of the other 67 hands does a player need to win to beat the dealer. Answer just 17 hands. That is 17 hands out of 67. Do you think it is possible to win 25% of the remaining hands?

These are the shootout hands where the player is putting up their “two cards” against the Dealers two or more cards with a chance of beating a 16 without busting. You will not win 50% of these hands, but you have a pretty good shot at more than 25%, sometimes in the 35-40% area. Now you are winning money. Under most any circumstance, you might lose, lose less, come close to break-even, or win a small sum. Now, your “perks” really are free if you are a rated player.

As most of us know, free perks by a Casino are not normally free at all. They are usually kind of like your spouse telling you they saved you thousands of dollars at the after Christmas sale while your next credit card statement confirms you spent thousands of dollars so you could save one thousand.

A player may play three or four times a day, meaning the combined time of play could equal about five or six hours of play. The point here is that a player may win on one session, draw to a tie on a second session, and have one or two losing sessions, all in the same day. At the end of the day the only real statistic that matters to most players, is did they end the day up or down, with or without perks.

__How much does Las Vegas make on gambling?__

According to Forbes.com, Las Vegas had gambling revenue of $8.28 billion in 2022, up 17% from year ending 2021 which saw $7.96 billion in gambling revenue for 2021. Everything you see in the above picture was built on gambling revenue with up to 29% of it coming from the game of Blackjack. We present from Forbes the breakdown on table gaming and how profitable card games are for casinos.

Sports Books generated $446.7 million in revenue on $8.7 billion in wagers. Revenue and wagers in 2022 broke the previous year’s record of $445.1 million in revenue derived from $8.1 billion in wagers. Baccarat surged last year with $1.18 billion in revenue, a massive 25.4% increase over 2021. **Blackjack brought in $1.29 billion**, a 14.4% increase over 2021, craps hit $447.2 million, a 9.7% increase, and roulette made $456 million, an all-time record for the game. (www.forbes.com. 2023).

__Is there something wrong with the blackjack picture?__

So we know that in 2022, the casinos in just Las Vegas made $1.29 Billion in profits on Blackjack (the most of any game) as their portion of the $8.7B that was gambled during the entire year. Now, there are two things one should question before even ascertaining what the best way is to “game” the system to win more often playing Blackjack in Las Vegas. These two statements are key to understanding how to rival the old method of playing Blackjack.

**Is it smart to take advice on “how to play blackjack” from the same source that makes over a billion dollars a year on the very game they are advising you how to play?**

**Why the odds of hitting against a Dealer on any given scenario do not matter 99% of the time.**

Remember, it makes no difference if you might hit a 13 against a dealer showing a 10 on top under what we are about to reveal. The only thing that matters here is what is the Dealer forced to do under the same circumstances. In this case the Dealer must hit a 13 regardless of what you are showing as your card on the table or what you have in the hole, whether it may be a ten or a two on top or in the hole. It is absolutely irrelevant when reverse engineering the game of Blackjack.

If you have ever played the game of blackjack, you will often hear a player ask either the Dealer or another player say something like this,

“Is it right to hit a 16 when the Dealer is showing a 10 on the table?” Most if not all of the time, Blackjack players will answer or wish the last person to hit before the Dealer showing a 6 on top, should just stand and let “the Dealer bust”. In fact if the person with a 16 does hit and gets a 10, the result from the table is usually one of huge frustration and disappointment, essentially blaming the person on third base for the loss of all of the players remaining in the game on that hand.

The reverse is also true, if the Dealer is showing a 10 on top and you have 16, the advice from the “Casino” is to always hit because it is assumed the Dealer will have a 20. It may be assumed but it is mathematically more likely a Dealer will not have a 20, and has a better chance of busting that you pulling a 5, the only card you can win with if the Dealer supposedly is sitting on a 20. Either way your chances of winning in this case are slim but given a 62% bust rate with a 16, I will take the risk of the Dealer not having 17-20 and busting. Either way, it is essentially a lost hand in most cases.

__Why understanding different math may prove the key to increasing blackjack wins__

Most people if they visit Las Vegas enough will be offered a chance to “learn” how to play Blackjack with a lesson from the Casino. These lessons are usually offered on Saturday mornings or other slow times, where the casino will “help” you to understand how to play games of chance. This is like being thrown into a cage with a Gorilla and watching the Zoo Keeper throw a pile of bananas into the Cage and then trying to have a conversation with a Gorilla on how to split the bounty fairly. Let us put this into perspective, If you made $1.3 Billion a year on blackjack, would you be unbiased in how to teach the game?

There are a number of books on gambling with many blackjack “how to play” strategies based on this or that statistic. You can determine how many “tens” are left in the Deck by counting cards, when to split cards, and whether a player should hit with a twelve (10 and 2) when the Dealer is showing a ten or a face card on top. None of it really matters when one converts their thinking about how blackjack really works. The whole game of Blackjack is a partial misdirect. It is not about what number or what odds are dictating whether one should hit or not hit at all. The real science behind Blackjack is the key to increase your odds of winning by defusing your risk profile.

The real math behind Blackjack has to do with the overall odds of busting. To understand the one move that matters in Blackjack and rules supreme over all others, one must understand what the **overall** odds of busting on a single hand of Blackjack are and why ignoring this risk profile may have a razor thin likelihood to increase your overall wins. Our approach simply avoids the risk of ever busting and transfers this risk to the dealer. It does not matter what the odds are on any given hand or scenario because we are not taking any “Bust” risks.

“As for overall bust rate, in a common six-deck game, dealers bust about **29 percent of the time** overall, and just under 30 percent if they hit soft 17.” (Tunica, 2017). These are 29 juicy hands we are going to take without every risking a dime out of every 100 hands we play. This data comes from the casino industry and even using different sources and different House rules, the data seems to cluster within 1%-2% of 29% as to the percentage of times a Dealer will bust on Blackjack. We will also employ some other strategies designed to improve the player odds of winning more hands. Remember, these odds are over the long run, which means they could deviate of any one hundred hands.

“The main reason why dealers win more often than players is this: the dealer has an edge because of the so called “double bust” rule in blackjack. Whether you are a new player or a seasoned blackjack pro, you will always act first. If the total value of your cards exceeds 21, you automatically lose.” (Blackjackreview.com. Aug 21, 2022).

“One of the biggest myths is to always assume that the dealer always has a 10 in the hole. That’s only true around 30% of the time (16 tens per 52 card deck). Here is a fact about Dealer hands. According to the math provided by Blackjack Age the dealer busts more than 28% percent of the time.” (edgevegas.com. 2012).

Probabilities of blackjack and the impact of using the bust avoidance method versus the “house” taught method:

Probability of obtaining a blackjack from the first two cards is P = 32/663 = 4.82654% in the case of a 1-deck game and P = 64/1339= 4.77968% in the case of a 2-Deck game. (Probability Theory Guide, 2022). According to the Gambling Gods, you and I should see 4-5 Blackjacks per 100 hands played. *Note: For some reason this seems to work better for the Dealer?*

Part of our thesis involves understanding what Dealer outcomes we can count on to provide a 100% percent win probability. There is only one outcome that gives us this win other than the Dealer busting win. It is all about getting a Blackjack-unless you tie. Sometimes we can estimate a blackjack from the Dealer. Expect 3-4 Blackjacks per 100 hands on either side.

We will then add this figure to our 29 Bust wins and then examine other outcomes to add to our total wins under the Avoidance Method per 100 hands played. **Note: **In our Avoidance Method when playing Blackjack, it is statistically likely you could get a blackjack tie along with the Dealer. While the odds of this happening ** before **cards are dealt are 1 in 461, they skyrocket to 28.68% if you draw a Blackjack and the Dealer draws an Ace on top. We will gladly take even money versus losing our win.

**Note:**there are slight statistical variations on this figure depending on the number of Decks used in play but they are statistically not a big deal, like 10.55 versus 10.58.

Most Casinos will offer you even money before showing their hand if they have a ten up. We advise to take the even money and avoid the risk of tying the Dealer and forfeiting your win money. Doubling your money on a risk free option is important in the overall Avoiding Bust Method strategy. We will add the four or five wins to the 29 Bust hands and now look at what happens with continuing our strategy.

__What is the probability of getting a blackjack on any particular hand?__

“The probability of being dealt two cards that total 21 (i.e., a 'natural blackjack') from a shuffled deck of 52 cards is calculated as follows. Adding the previous results gives the probability of a blackjack: p = 0.024133 + 0.024133 = 0.048266, or once in every 20.72 hands. (Quora.com. Oct 10th, 2019).” “What is the Probability of getting Blackjack”?

“But players win with 20 a lot more often than they lose, with about 70.2 percent of player 20s winning, 12.2 percent losing and 17.6 percent pushing. Twenty is a profitable hand for players against every dealer face up card. (Tunicatravel.com. 11-2-2016). PS: The draw rate is so high because of so many tens in the decks.

Remember, just calculating the odds of being a dealt a 20 with just two cards does not mean you will win. It just means you have a better chance. We present the figures below for the number 20. We will use 19, 18, and 17 in our model to reasonably ascertain what the odds are of winning with the “Avoidance Method”. We will first dispel the theory that there is a bid difference on playing with a single Deck versus a four or six Deck shoot. Frankly a single deck can produce slightly better odds, the difference between four or six decks is statistically irrelevant. Here is the math.

**Mathematical Analysis Using Four Decks**

Hard 20 (drawn from among 64 ten-point cards)” 64*63=4032 possible variations.

Soft 20 (drawn from among 16 aces and 16 nines): 32*16=512 possible variations.

Any Hand (drawn from among 208 total cards): 208*207=43056 possible outcomes.

Probability of any 20: (4032+512)/43056=284/2691 (within one standard deviation)=

**10.5537%**

**Mathematical Analysis Using Six Decks**

Hard 20 (drawn from among 96 ten-point cards): 96*95=9120 possible variations.

Soft 20(drawn from among 24 aces and 24 nines): 48*24=1152 possible variations.

Any Hand (drawn from among 312 total cards): 312*311=97032 possible variations.

Probability of any 20:(9120+1152)/43045=428/4043 (within one standard deviation) **=10.5862%.**

We provide this math for those of you who may be traveling with the “Gambling Expert” hell bent on having you waste time going all over town looking for a casino with the fewest decks, suggesting this act will provide you a “huge” advantage affording you the opportunity to fill your suitcase with cash because the “Casino” just does not get the math.

the blackjack avoidance method-what do the numbers say?

Like any theory about gambling models, the output is only as good as the input. Our first note is simply about the number of “Blackjacks” one might expect over playing 100 hands. Data seems to indicate the number is somewhere around 4-5 five hands per 100 hands dealt. We round down in our analysis in all cases because one cannot win 4.75 Blackjacks, so we use 4 per hundred or 1 in 25, well below the 1 per 21 reported on most sites.

Most Gamblers might assume that 20 has a high rate of winning. It really has the highest stat on getting dealt to you or the Dealer because there are 16 tens in every deck. Surprisingly, it also comes with the highest “tie rate” at 17.60%, well above the numerical tie average of 8.48%. So remember not to celebrate too much when you get a 20. The Dealer may be right behind you.

It is important to note that with any gambling model theory, many calculations can be modified under this or that rule. For example, we multiplied the “Two Card Dealt Probability Column” by the “Win Rate” (Column 2 X 3) to account for times when the Dealer may beat you, like your 19 losing to the Dealer 20. We then discounted the times you win by averaging down to account for slippage and might occur when you get an 18, you hold and the Dealer bust. Did you win because you got an 18 or because the Dealer bust. Where do you record the result as the statistical times we project you will draw an 18. You cannot count that 18 if you won because the Dealer busted. Our model assumes 29 bust hands per 100, so our discount reduces natural wins by around 20% to avoid double counting on some results.

You will note our draw rate is significantly lower than the “Blackjack” average of 8.48% as the time you will tie the Dealer per 100 hands. This is because under the “Avoidance Method”, your opportunity to draw to a tie is severely reduce because you cannot tie the Dealer with a 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16. Therefore you chance to draw a card to get to 17,18, 19, 20, or 21 is compromised by the fact you are not ever taking a third, fourth, fifth or even sixth card. Hence, the adjustment is necessary to determine how this stat impacts your overall “wins” versus the Dealer.

Our model ran has high as 55.00% win rate versus the Dealer but we chose to reduce the profile because of overlap and use the lowest player figure of 49.00% under our model. Due to the above note about the reduced tying probabilities we ended up with the Player having a 49% win rate versus the reported Blackjack win rate of 42% (rounded) for the Player and the House falling to 47.36% from 49.10% under “normal Blackjack rules. While the Avoidance method is not a path for getting rich or even winning at all, when combined with splitting cards and double downing on opportune card profiles, it may swing your overall loss to a win, remembering that you make most of your money on Blackjacks, card splits and double downs which does not show up in the statistics on number of wins, however it does show up where it counts the most, in your wallet.

__Possibly my last great gambling story?__

I recall the days when I chased the VIP status at the Tropicana Hotel, now about to be blown up for a new baseball field. When my Casino Representative was picked off by the New York, New York hotel, he called and offered a Grand Opening deal. Free everything, but I of course had to gamble. I also got to drive the tires off of a new Porsche Turbo over at the UNLV parking lots. I had to watch some videos and then got to drive through various race courses set up with cones. Very cool trip. Then came “my job” to gamble. I sat down at about six o’clock on a Friday night. The casino was brand new, packed to the max and I had a pretty cool suite on the 30th floor with all of the trimmings one could want.

As I approached the tables, I saw a new table open where I sat at third base. Within a few minutes, four New Yorkers showed up and filled the table. All the flash was present, gold chains, Yankee baseball caps, leather Italian shoes, plenty of attitude and drinks were present. I sat there in blue jeans, had on my Cole leather shoes, a white business shirt, and a fake Rolex, something I always took to Vegas. Could care less about it but hey, it was Vegas and most assumed it was real. I was ready to play and so were my four new friends. I decided since I needed to average at least $50 a hand I would use my avoidance method, which is more focused on not losing, with the hope of winning five or six “net hands” over an hour of play. Let's assume a round of one hand takes one minute, about right, so I would gamble $50 a hand or $3,000 bucks over an hour to make $250 or $300 if my system worked.

I had about $500 on me, about half of what “normal” Blackjack recommends. Under “the rules'' you should have a bank roll of twenty hands to sit at a table. So if you bet $5 a hand, you should bring $100 to the table. I had about $500 bucks on me. Not enough to sustain a bad run and keep playing so my length of stay was on the margin to say the least. Under the avoidance method, I recommend doubling the amount because the theory is based on the law of averages which could take time. I should have had $2000. I could have always pulled a Marker out with the Casino but I did not want to lose more than $500 on this trip because of other expenses I had going on at the time. I was not only betting on Blackjack, but I was also betting on Lady Luck showing up early.

As we settled in, the hands came in fast and furious. Within ten minutes one of the guys to the right of me (which was all four of them), had burned up $1500 at $100 a hand and was rather upset. He quickly pulled a Marker and $2000 showed up within one minute. He signed for it and proceeded to double his bets. I was up and down and then came my bad run. I was down to $150 bucks, three more bets. I stayed the course, got a few great hands, a 19, a blackjack, and a few 20’s and a few “double down or split cards”. I got lucky and won four or five bust wins after the cards shifted to the Dealer busting about 5 out of 7 hands in less than five minutes. I was now 90 minutes into playing and on a roll.

I quickly got to now being up $1000 all the while hearing the New York boys commenting on what an idiot I was. Meanwhile, Lady Luck left for a while and though the next hour I neither lost nor won as the hands rolled on, I was still in the game without a loss. I still had about $800 and was on the way to getting rated at $50 a hand over three hours. I thought maybe just one more hour and at least I will have been within one hour of my unofficial requirement to play five hours a day. I did not play for me. I played for my Casino Rep because I knew his total take for the weekend was reviewed. How many of his whales played, what did they gamble per hour, etc. He pulled out the stops for me. I was not a whale at all compared to the big guys, maybe a grubby I thought.

I owed it to him not to make him look bad, granting me about $5000 in trip perks complete with a VIP trip to visit Porsche who had set up one parking lot as a “Porsche Party”. Note: No drinking allowed until your drives were over.

As the final hour of gambling rolled on, the drinks had met their intended effect. The four guys to my right eventually pulled Marker after Marker as they rolled on making bad choices, trying to play catch up in a game already designed to take their money. By this time the dealers had reported that I was an idiot and did not “know how to play”. The Pit Boss came over to me and gave me a card, and suggested I take “a Blackjack Class” so I could learn the game. He knew I was up and reminded me that sooner or later I was going to lose and understanding the odds would better allow me to win. I just thanked him and told him he was right, now up over $1000 playing like a moron in his eyes. As it came time for the four Musketeers to leave, I got to witness a great scene. The Pit Boss on duty now aware that four Blackjack experts had dropped about $15,000 together as between them needed to be reminded why they love Blackjack.

The Pit Boss offered the four of them a “Dinner” at any restaurant in the Tropicana. He pulled out a card for each of them, signed it, and replied “We hope you enjoy your dinners on the Tropicana.” Please come back and visit us. As the math guy I am thinking these guys will order steak and lobsters, the best wine, and drink themselves silly but it will still only cost about $2000 bucks. That is still $13,000 large in profits and it was only Friday night. They will remember the dinner more than the losses by the time the night is over I reasoned.

They looked over to me as they were leaving like it was just to bad the Moron is not a mini whale like we are. I wanted to tell once particular guy “Why are you trying to school me, I am the only one leaving the table with $1000 bucks more than I came here with.” Instead, I just said, yea, I had a bad night. I was not worthy in their eyes to pay attention too. They thought I was down because of my stupid play and even contributed to their losses, even though I never once hit a bust card all night, and the Dealer took the “tens” that were intended for me. I seemed to pull them most of the night. I walked away thinking I had “it” figured out.

Maybe I should move to Vegas and do this more often I pondered. Well, it does not work that way. Not with my Avoidance method, not with any method. Blackjack should be played for entertainment value only, not to make money. If my system has any merit, it is it may allow you to lose money at a slower rate. My entertainment was watching the guys next to me lose a lot of money and act as though they had something to celebrate, Maybe they did, after all they were probably in bigger suites than I had. I later got a call from my Casino Rep who seemed pleased with my “score” after I had returned home.

I had slayed the gambling beast over three days. I gave back most of my wins on other sessions I had to play, if only to chase my free perks. I left with a few hundred up and a few thousand in free perks. I reasoned my system kept my bad runs shorter albeit I might have done better throwing out much larger bets when Lady Luck was on my side, but then again, I would have likely ended up like most, paying dearly for my free perks.

The Porsche experience is still with me today. We were encouraged to “open up the cars” reminding us they were Porsches meant to be driven. I thought seriously, you are encouraging me to push the car to the limit. I drove one every weekend on Mulholland Drive at the top of Benedict Canyon where I lived. My real return from the trip came from returning a Porsche 911 Turbo without much tread left on the tires. I was told to pull the car into a mock shift service bay as I was leaving the make shift race track. Like me, it had meant its fate and was done for the weekend. Those memories will last a lifetime for me, the real reason one should go to Vegas.

__Blackjack: A Common Sense Conclusion About The Math__

There are now over 100 variations around the world on the House Rules and what variations any given Casino may offer for the game of Blackjack. For example, some casinos may offer 2X odds on Blackjack, if only during a promotion to attract gamblers. Others may offer different rules on splitting cards, can you split Aces for example, or how a player can double down on their bet. Each of these tweaks along with the number of players, the ability to count cards, the number of Decks used and the style of play from each of the players, can all play a role on the outcome of any given hand. It seems the “House” is stealing back some of the few Blackjack plays that help the players win. What is next, not allowing a player to split “Aces”.

The Avoidance Theory of playing blackjack is already taking hold with some players. It is not just about declining to take bust cards. It is about staying disciplined by betting the exact same amount on each bet, otherwise the statistics are not in play. It is about taking advantage of every double down and card split that comes your way where the odds are in your favor. The “old rules” of blackjack can advise on how and when to split cards and double down. Most of all it is realizing the method is based on 100 hands, not ten hands. You are in it to get 29 bust cards wins. That means you have to last. Keep in mind several of the hands you might have hit under the old rules you may have busted on anyway. You cannot play one way through 100 hands and then another way as your hands carry on. You will never get your 29 bust wins playing back and forth. It does not work.

Over time you should get to 29 wins per 100 hands on average. I did not come up with this number. It comes from the casino industry and has been tested over millions of hands of Blackjack. That does not mean you will win; you might lose a lot of money on any given run. Also remember you do not need to win over 50 hands, just a few more than the dealers. Your real wins come from the special card profiles like doubling down at the right time and splitting cards. These special conditions (about five to ten per 100 hands) may likely produce 75% or more of your net profits when it is all over. You just have to wait for them. Meanwhile you are just playing “war” with your Dealer. On occasion you may get a twelve and the Dealer gets a 15 and then pulls a bust card.

You effectively lost twice but still got paid. You are getting rid of double jeopardy, losing twice and still winning some of the time. Do you think the “House” is going to teach you that on Saturday morning? Do not get excited about this whitepaper. It is simply a theory that may give you the slightest of edges but reduces the game to single jeopardy for you and double jeopardy for the House. It may be the very difference between you winning versus losing. The odds are too close to call either way in Blackjack. The best way to win is to bring Lady Luck with you.

Regardless, this is why some Casinos are now changing the rules to require Dealers to hold on 16 now, instead of taking a card. They are really transferring “bust” risk back to the player. It will be interesting to see how far this goes. Since the odds of busting are 62% on a 16, why would a Casino want this risk? I guess they finally did the math. Frankly, if everyone learned how to “relearn” blackjack, the game would cease to exist. I guess I should figure on losing my free perks if I ever play again. What Casino would want to comp a guy who pointed out the game is all wrong. So in the interest of keeping my rights to earn free perks, please do not forward this to anyone. Let’s just keep it to a few thousand people between us. Remember a Spa Day, a great show, and a great meal will always produce more memories than gambling ever will. Make sure you give a weekend to that someone special in your life and keep the gambling at bay, unless of course you get a chance to drive the pants off a new Porsche Turbo, then all bets are on!

__Important: Our Gambling Disclaimer__

We want to remind any of our readers that all forms of gambling exist to make the Casino money. We do not recommend any theory of gambling as a means for making money. Neither Botdorf Research nor John C Botdorf, our heirs or assigns along with our Distribution Partners represent in any way, that the theories or the statistics included herein will prove profitable in the game of Blackjack, nor should any third party statistics in this report be relied upon for any gambling purpose. The theories presented herein may or may not prove accurate in any one or more attempts to play Blackjack or any other game of chance. This report was prepared solely for Entertainment purposes and to present another way of thinking about the overall Blackjack model for gamblers. Blackjack rules are now over 100 versions worldwide and each model could be affected positively or negatively by the theory in this report. We advise never to gamble more than you can afford to lose, and remind you a slight statistical advantage may or may not exist under the theories presented herein and could even produce substantial negative results while playing Blackjack. We advise to test our theory at home for fun and to use extreme caution if you follow any Blackjack Theory including ours presented in this report.

Remember, it is not particularly fun playing black jack this way while most people try and teach you “how to play”. Also the Avoidance Method requires patience and a long time to come on either side of a breakeven. That said, if you just want to have some fun, pad your playing time and come close or hit six of seven hands out of a hundred, the avoidance method has some merit when looking to mitigate how much you may lose, and with a bit of luck, give you a few net wins per hour. Pay attention to double downs and split cards and remember this method of play requires the same bet each time.

__References__

Tunica, Travel. (Oct 19th, 2015). “Blackjack: Do Players Bust More Often than Dealers?” https://tunicatravel.com/blog/2015/10/blackjack-do-players-bust-more-often-than-dealers/

Edge Vegas. (Dec 5th, 2012). “Blackjack Dealer Bust Rates”.

Probability Theory Guide. (June, 2022). “The mathematics of blackjack: ProbabilitiesTheory Guide”. https://probability.infarom.ro › blackjack.

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