Systems for Beating Blackjack
Please accept my apologies up front if I get a little overboard talking about blackjack betting systems.
Betting systems and the scum of the earth that try selling them to people are amongst the lowest things on my rank of things that should be eliminated. (Just to clarify, I don’t think the people selling the systems should be wiped off the face of the earth, but they shouldn’t be allowed selling the crap.)
The people selling betting systems for blackjack and most other casino games either know what they’re selling is complete crap or they’re too stupid to know what they’re selling is worthless.
Blackjack betting systems don’t work. Period. Ever. End of statement.
You can do something to get a long term edge against blackjack, but it’s called counting cards and it isn’t a system. After the main section below about blackjack betting systems I’ve included a short section about what really works.
Examples of Systems
One of the most famous systems is the Martingale. You’ll find most other systems include some parts of this system combined with other things. The Martingale system basically says to double your bet after every loss. This only works on a close to even money wager, but by doubling after every loss when you win you cover your losses and show a small profit.
On a true even money bet you win the amount of your first wager and cover all your losses.
Here’s an example:
You make a $5 bet playing blackjack. This bet loses so you make a $10 bet. This bet also loses so you bet $20. This bet also loses. Finally you make a $40 wager and win. You receive your $40 bet back plus a $40 win. The $40 win covers your bets of $5, $10, and $20 ($35 total) and leaves you a profit of $5.
The problem is eventually you’ll lose enough decisions in a row to run out of money or reach the top wager amount the casino will accept.
Another type of system requires you to watch for a certain event to happen a number of times before making a bet. For example you might have to wait for the dealer to win three hands in a row before placing a bet.
The author of the system wants you to believe the past actions have something to do with future results. While the cards dealt out of a deck or shoe does cause the edge to go up and down, the only way to learn if it’s favorable is counting. It doesn’t have anything to do with who won the last hand, or hands.
The system possibilities start to get complicated from here. I’ve seen ones where you keep a list of results and cross off things as they happen to figure out the bet size for the next hand. I didn’t bother reading the explanation, but I was so confused I’m not sure I could have ever followed all the rules.
I’ve also seen systems where you increase your bets after some wins and reduce them after some losses.
Another system seller trick is convincing you that riches can be won by proper money management. You leave after getting up a certain amount and / or set loss limits.
The simple truth is that money management won’t make you a long term winner and the only way bet sizing can help you is if you count and increase your bet when you have an edge.
What Does Work
If you’ve reached this point you know that no system can beat blackjack.
You can use a few things to beat blackjack in the long run in live play.
None of them have anything to do with a system. Here’s a quick overview of a few options.
Card Counting – When a deck or shoe has more high cards than low cards the edge can move toward the player instead of the dealer. Card counters add or subtract to a running count based on the cards that get played. When the count goes up you wager more and you bet less when it goes down.
Hole Card Play – Some dealers flash the identity of their hole card when dealing blackjack. It’s fairly rare, but if you find a dealer that does this it can be used to beat the casino.
Edge Sorting – Some cards have patterns on the back that aren’t perfectly symmetrical. This creates a situation where you may be able to turn all the high cards one way and the low cards the other way. This way you can see if a high or low card is coming next. This doesn’t work very well if you’re the only one doing it at a table with other players.
Shuffle Tracking – During the normal flow of a blackjack game some rounds have more aces and high cards than others. If you can track these slugs of cards through the shuffle and see when they’ll be dealt you can increase your bets as they’re coming.
These strategies require hard work, a sharp eye, and lots of practice. They only work in live play, but if you’re willing to learn and do the work you might be able to gain a real edge at the blackjack table.
A Final Word of Advice
Any casino game with a fixed house edge can’t be beaten with a system. I see systems for sale for roulette, craps, slot machines, and baccarat all the time. You can’t beat any of these games in the long run using a system. Anyone who tells you differently is lying.
The only way to beat a fixed odds game is by cheating. You may be able to win in the short term, but the house edge always wins in the long run.