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VALUE OF BASIC STRATEGY CARDS

By Henry Tamburin

 

Henry Tamburin has been an advantage blackjack player for some 30 + years. During this time he also has taught more players how to be successful at card counting in his courses and seminars then any other instructor living or deceased. He currently teaches Speed Count in weekend classes, edits/publishes this newsletter, runs a book publishing company with his wife Linda, and writes the Total 21 column and Blackjack Magic columns for Casino Player and Midwest Gaming & Travel Magazines respectively. He is a prolific writer with over 700 published articles and a dynamic speaker that motivates his audiences. He also teaches advantage video poker classes in Las Vegas. After all these years, he still enjoys playing blackjack mostly in casinos in Las Vegas and Mississippi. Visit Henry's web site for a full catalogue of personally selected advantage gambling products, including books, software, videos: www.smartgaming.com.

You canít argue that those small blackjack strategy cards are a valuable aid to players who havenít completely mastered the playing strategy. Iíve advocated for almost 40 years (yes, Iíve been writing for that long) that blackjack players would be foolish not to use a basic strategy card when they play. They are casino legal so why not have the correct plays at your fingertips, which you can, when you use a basic strategy card. Making playing mistakes is costly and you can virtually eliminate them when you use the strategy card. Enough said.

Now, when you say "basic strategy card" and "card counters" in the same sentence, most players think thatís an oxymoron. I mean, come on, card counters donít need basic strategy cards. Theyíve memorized the basic strategy up and down and sideways and for good measure memorized a bunch of indices to boot that tells them when itís profitable to deviate from the basic playing strategy. The point is that most card counters wouldnít think of using a basic strategy card when they play. And thatís unfortunate.

Why would I make such a statement? Suppose youíre a casino floor supervisor and you see two players winning a lot of money. Player A is using one of those strategy cards. Player B isnít. Which player would you start watching if you think you are dealing with an advantage player? Get my drift?

In my humble opinion using a basic strategy card when you are a skilled counter is just another tool you can use to make you appear to be just another ploppy. When you look like a gambler and play like one, the chance youíll get heat from the pit will decrease.

There are plenty of blackjack strategy cards on the market. If you are a basic strategy player that needs some help making the right play, I recommend the following basic strategy cards.

Blackjack 6-7-8 by Stickysoft. This set of 4 strategy cards covers single deck, double-deck, and 4-8 decks. The fourth card is a unique Counterís Basic Playing Strategy, which can be used with the High Low counting system as an alternate to learning strategy indices.

Donald Schlesingerís Ultimate Basic Strategy cards. These are three strategy cards Ė one for single deck games, another for double-deck, and the third for 4-8 deck games. These strategy cards not only contain the traditional basic playing strategy, but they also include the composition-dependent playing strategy. The latter means you must consider the composition of your hand so if you were dealt an 11 consisting of a 9-2 vs. dealerís ace in a DD, s17, das game you would hit but if your 11 consisted of a 7-4 you would double. The composition depending strategy will decrease the house edge slightly more than the traditional (total-dependent) basic playing strategy.

If you are a Speed Counter, I highly recommend you consider using the Optimum Basic Strategy cards that are described in Frank Scobleteís book, Golden Touch Blackjack Revolution. Because the OBS is slightly different than the traditional basic strategy, the playing strategy provides camouflage from the peering eyes of the Pit. Using the OBS cards, is like icing on the cake. Better yet, when a pit critter asks to see your OBS card, gladly hand it to them (floor supervisors sometimes do this to show off how smart they are at blackjack). They will be dumbfounded when they glance at the OBS strategy card and will tell you the strategy on the card is incorrect. That is music to my ears. When the pit critter walks away from the table, what do you think he thinks about your blackjack playing skills?

My good friend and fellow blackjack instructor Dominator pulled off the all time classic ploy using the OBS strategy cards that is described in Golden Touch Blackjack Revolution. For those that havenít read it, here is Dom at his best acting like a ploppy.

 

I am playing at a very well known and popular Strip casino in Las Vegas. I am playing their shoe game when I get dealt a two card total of eight and the dealer is showing a six. So I take a look at my OBS card and when it is my turn I put out a double down bet.

The dealer says to me, "Sir, are you sure that your card says to do that?"

I take another look at my card, use my fingers and go down the column and say, "Yes, it sure does!"

The dealer says to me, "Sir, where did you get that card because I have never seen that play before?"

I just love when they ask me that because I say, "Susan, I got this card from my grandfather. My grandfather brought this book over from Italy that had this blackjack strategy in it, and he always used it. Out of respect for my grandfather, I use it also. My grandfather always seemed to win, or at least that is what he told all of us."

The dealer gives me a shrug of her shoulders, deals me an ace and I win my double down. Now the pit critter lady comes over, not for anything more than just to watch the game as the casino was dead and I think she was bored. On the next shoe, I get dealt an ace-three against the dealerís four. I proceed to look at my card and proceed to put out my double down bet. The Pit lady says to me, "Sir, are you sure that your card says to do that?

I donít have to answer because the dealer says, "Oh yes Linda, and his card does say to do that. He got that card from his Italian grandfather."

Linda the pit critter says, "His grandfather should learn how to play blackjack!"

Now I am asking myself, should I act mad that Linda said that my grandfather, who never played blackjack in his life, didnít know how to play? Or should I just think that my camouflage is just so good and be happy they think of me as a complete idiot?

I wait till the end of the shoe to make my decision about Linda and then I canít resist. I call her over to the table and say to her, "Linda, I want two apologies from you. First you insinuate that I donít know how to play blackjack, and what difference does that make to you? Everyone at this table can bet their money anyway they want to. But more important, you insulted my grandfather, a WWII veteran, even though he fought for Mussolini, and I want an apology!" At this point this little old man next to me, who didnít say one word as we were playing, says in a very strong Italian accent, "You betta apologize to his grandfather, I fought under Mussolini too!" The table went quiet and the apology was given with me smiling and saying to myself, "Thank you Golden Touch!"

 

 

So whether you are a basic strategy player looking for an aid to help you make the right play, or an advantage player looking for another tool to camouflage your skills, give the basic strategy card a try. There is no downside to using one, only potential value.

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