Ways to Win at Blackjack

Every year or two a new blackjack book is published that purports to give players a sure-fire system for winning at blackjack without card counting. And every year, casinos remain safe in their profits despite the stampede of players arriving daily to deploy these new systems and head off to blissful early retirement.Most of these “new” systems are variations on betting systems that have been around since cavemen started rolling bones over who would get the choicest cut of that day’s hunt. System sellers know that there are tens of thousands of blackjack players who have tried to learn to count cards, but didn’t have the time or dedication needed to master the strategy, and now are in the market for a simpler way to beat the game.Is there no hope for the player who does not want to learn card counting?Actually, there are quite a few professional blackjack players who make a great living at the game without counting. The easiest way professional gamblers win at blackjack without counting is by playing at casinos that offer gifts for playing. For example, some online casinos will give you free money (called a bonus) equal to the amount you’ve deposited to play on. You are typically required to put some action on their tables in order to withdraw the free money.If you deposit $100 into one of these casinos, receive $100 free as a bonus, and must put $2000 in action on the casino’s blackjack tables at a house edge of 0.5 percent in order to withdraw the free money, the long-term cost to you of meeting the wagering requirement is $2000 times 0.5 percent, or $10. That is, although you may win more or less on any particular play, over time and many plays of this type it will cost you, on average, $10 to meet this wagering requirement. This means that on average, this play will leave you $90 in profit to withdraw with your original deposit.Since there are many online casinos that offer deals like this, with many offering such bonuses again and again, there are actually professional gamblers who make a living at online blackjack bonus play.Casinos in Las Vegas, Reno, Atlantic City, Mississippi and elsewhere will often give similar valuable gifts to entice people to play on their blackjack tables. A common gift is free promotional chips to play on the casino’s tables. If you win on the chips, you keep the money. If you lose the chips, you’ve lost nothing, because you got the chips for free. Any time you spot a gamble where you can win but not lose, grab it!Other casinos offer coupons, sometimes called “Lucky Bucks”, to promote their blackjack games. A typical coupon may be a “match play”–you bet an amount up to some limit (say $10) and the casino coupon essentially becomes a matching bet on your hand. If you lose, you’re out the $10 you bet. But if you win, the dealer pays you on both your bet and the match play. On most blackjack hands, that means you win $20 for risking only $10.If you win $20 on half your blackjack hands, and lose $10 on the other half, you’re profiting, on average, $5 for every $10 you bet, for a 50 percent edge! (The actual edge will be a bit lower, because of the cost of the house edge on your hands, and because players actually win a little less than half of the blackjack hands they play, but you would still be playing with an edge that professional blackjack players would die for.)The key to winning at blackjack from bonuses, free play chips, and coupons is to play perfect basic strategy (to keep down the house edge), give the casino as little wagering as possible in return for the free money (again to keep down the house edge), and be able to stay in the game long enough for the short-term fluctuations to even out.