Black jack is one of the most famous casino games in the world. Almost everyone knows what black jack is and most people know how to play black jack.

The goal of the game is to come closer to 21 then the dealer without going over. The goal is often said to be to get as close to 21 as possible but this is not the case. It does not matter what you have if the dealer goes bust. You win regardless.

Black jack is a game that can be found in most of the worlds casinos. There are however some countries where the game is strangely absent. One such example is Costa Rica where casinos offer the game Poonton instead. A similar game that give the casino a lot larger edge.

Card counting

Black jack is the game that is most associated with card counting and a game where you are able to earn money over time by being a skilled player.

Black jack allow you as a player to chose whether you should draw a new card or whether you should stand. This allow you to affect the outcome of the game. Something that isn’t possible in most other casino games. The fact that you can affect the outcome of the game give you the chance to eliminate the house edge and get the upper hand.

You can decide when to draw and when not to draw. The bank can not decide when to draw or not to draw. The bank has to draw cards in accordance with strict rules. The result of this is that any shoe that contains a lot of tens will give the player an edge. A lot of tens increase the chance that the bank goes bust. It does not affect the payer since he can chose not to draw. When we know this we know that we can get the upper hand if we are able to know when there is a lot of tens in the shoe, when the shoe is in our favor.

This is where card counting comes in. Card counting is a way to keep track of how many tens that have been dealt and how many that are left in the shoe. It is a way to determine when the odds are in your favor.

Statistical averages

Card counting in black jack can never tell you whether you are going to win any individual hand. That a shoe is in your favor does not guarantee that you are going to win money by playing. You can lose a lot even if the shoe is in your favor. Card counting will help you get the odds in your favor long term but will not prevent you from losing money in the short term.

Statistical averages win in the long run but they do not effect individual hands, sessions, days or even weeks. You will experience hot and cold streaks as a card counter.

Not all black jack games are equal

Not all back jack games are a good choice if you want to be able to make money at the table. There are a long row of different rule variations that effect the odds in the casinos favors and that makes it harder or even impossible to get an edge. Below we are going to take a look at some common rule variations that makes it harder to win money.

  • Black jack pays 6:5 instead of 3:2. This dramatically raises the house edge by more than 2%
  • House wins on push/egalite
  • Continuous shuffling machines. The table use an continuous shuffling machine making sure that the deck never favors the player. These games can not be beaten. Using a continuous shuffling machine does slightly decrease the house edge but it also makes it impossible to count cards and get an edge.

Optimal strategy

Most player get thought that they should use optimal black jack strategy when they play black jack. The strategy that minimize the house edge and gives you the best chance to win. This is true if you want to play for as long as possible before you lose your money or if you want to maximize your chance that lady luck is on your side and you leave the table with a profit. It is however not always the best strategy to use if you are counting cards. If you are counting cards you need to adjust your strategy depending on how rich the deck is and you might want to stand in positions where you normally would take another card to avoid going bust.

Optimal black jack strategy is not the optimal choice when counting cards.