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TEAM TACTICS

by The GameMaster

Every month, I'll be posting an article which will, I hope, make you a better Blackjack player. Naturally, the question follows: Just who am I to say I can make you a better player? My background in Blackjack began in Atlantic City in 1978 where I learned, by attending a four-session school how to count cards. That led to considerable involvement with Blackjack teams and travel to a lot of places to take the casinos' money. After the liberal rules in Atlantic City were dumped by the casinos, my Blackjack-playing days went dormant for some time. I'd do the occasional trip to Reno or Las Vegas, but it wasn't until casino gaming came to Missouri in 1994 that I got back into Blackjack with both feet. Now I live close to four casinos, can play as much as I want and can tell you - with first-hand experience - how to win at Blackjack. My Website is www.gamemasteronline.com

Editor's note: This article is the third in our series on Blackjack Team-Play Techniques:

  • More Money Management, Sept. 2007
  • Team Money Management, Aug. 2007

    As Iíve tried to show you in previous articles in the BJI, the most important component of team play, besides honest and competent team members, is money management. Once youíve resolved that issue, itís now time to plan the team strategy youíll use in the casino.

    I come from a background of career military service (if 15 years can be called a "career"), so I tend to look at situations like this as more of a military operation rather than just a trip to the casino. After all, we are facing an "enemy;" we must use camouflage and good team work in order to succeed; discipline - both individual and team - is important, and proper planning is required. Of course, this is no life-and-death situation, but my military training has helped me over the years in many ways, not just in winning at Blackjack, so Iím grateful for it.

    Like any military operation, checking out the landscape by doing a thorough reconnaissance is not always possible, but is very desirable. A Blackjack team should "recon" its intended target - the casino - by a physical visit, or at least by an Internet visit in order to determine, at a minimum, whether or not the game available there is beatable in the first place.

    The primary weapon casinos have in their defense against card counting teams is the "no mid-shoe entry" (nms) rule, which basically says that a new player may not place a bet at the table once the first hand has been dealt from a newly-shuffled shoe. While this effectively negates the value of the Big Player type of team, it does not affect the team whose members all sit at different tables and play individually, while benefiting from a team bankroll. So, if your team lives near several casinos and they are your intended targets, you first need to see if the nms rule is in effect at any, or all, and plan accordingly. You can find information like that in the monthly publication "Current Blackjack News," which is published by Stanford Wong ( www.bj21.com).

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