Modern Blackjack
Creating a Blackjack Strategy

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card has a point value like +1 or -1. There are several characteristics of counts as follows:

Ø  True Count vs. Running Count – As cards are seen, you keep a running sum of the card tag values. Running Count systems use this count for both betting and playing decisions. True Count systems require that you divide the RC by a number representing the number of cards that have been seen. There are various methods of converting RC to TC (e.g., division, multiplication, tables). TC systems generally use this TC for all playing decisions. Most also use it for betting decisions. There are exceptions to both of these rules. RC strategies are generally easier to use and TC strategies are generally more accurate.

Ø  Balanced vs. Unbalanced – In a balanced strategy, all of the point values sum to zero. In an unbalanced strategy, the sum of all the cards is positive. (It is possible to create an unbalanced strategy where the tag values have a negative sum. But this requires different playing strategies for different deck depths.) Unbalanced strategies have an advantage because they can be used in the easier running count systems, although they can also be used in TC systems. Balanced strategies have an advantage in that they are generally a bit more accurate (there are exceptions) and the count hovers around zero, making counting easier and betting strategies easier.

Ø  Ace-Reckoned vs. Ace-Neutral – Generally the ace is counted as a negative number (Ace-reckoned) or zero (Ace-neutral). Ace-Reckoned strategies are generally better for shoe games and Ace-Neutral strategies are generally better for single- and double-deck. (Not always true.) There are compromise strategies (e.g., Zen, UBZ II) where the Ace is counted at half of the normal value. This is particularly good for double-deck and not bad for single-deck or shoes. These days, Ace-reckoned strategies are more popular.

Ø  Level – The level of a strategy refers to the number of different positive values assigned to cards. Level II and III card counting methods are more efficient, but quite a bit more difficult for most people. Level IV and V strategies also exist. But this is overkill. The most popular strategies these days are level I. In a

© 2009 Norman Wattenberger

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