How to win at blackjack (21) with gambling expert Michael “Wizard of Odds” Shackleford

  • October 17, 2018

Hi and welcome to our series of educational videos that are designed to make you a smarter gambler. My name is Steve Bourie and I’m the author of the American casino guide, which is the number one bestselling book in the US on the subject of casino gambling and travel and the only book that comes with more than one thousand dollars in casino coupons. If you want to know more about me or my book be sure to visit my website at in this video I’ll, be speaking with gambling expert Michael Shackleford, who is also known as the Wizard of Odds – and I ask him all about blackjack, We videotaped his Interview with Mike in Las Vegas in September 2010, and I’m sure that it will help to answer many of the questions that you have about blackjack and how you can be a long-term winner at the game.

What is the object of the game of blackjack? The object of blackjack is to get more points than the dealer without going over 21. How is the casinos mathematical advantage determined in blackjack?

The casino gets its advantage in blackjack because the player has to act first, if both the player and the dealer bust, the player loses now. How is the house advantage calculated in blackjack, you might ask, it’s very calculated, can be done a number of different ways, but basically you need computers to either simulate a game or run through every single combination of the ways the cards could play out. Assuming the player plays correct strategy and under most common sets of blackjack rules with basic strategy, the house advantage is gon na range anywhere from about 0.25 percent.

All the way past two percent for horrible games, like those that pay six to five on a blackjack, Is a single deck game, always better for the player. The number of decks is very important in blackjack the fewer the number of decks, the better the odds for the player, however, be careful. The casinos know that the players know that so they’re trying to trick the players with single deck games that pay only six to five on a blackjack.

It’S much better to play an 8 deck game that pays 3-2 on a blackjack than a single deck game. That pays only 6-5, in other words, what that they pay on a blackjack is much more important than how many decks they use.

What are some rule variations and how do they affect the casinos advantage? The rules have a lot to do with the house advantage in blackjack, and the rules vary significantly from casino to casino and table from table within the casino. The most important thing the players to look for with good rules is that they pay 3-2 on a blackjack.

If they don’t walk away, makes no difference what the other rules are. Once you find a 3-2 game, then it’s good, the fewer the decks the better. If you can play a double deck game, that’s better than a six deck game and other good rules to look for are: does the dealer hit or stand on a soft 17?

It’S to your advantage.

If the dealer stands on a soft 17, it’s good! If they let you double after a split, it’s good, if they let you surrender it’s good, if they let you resplit aces, Can you explain what a continuous shuffler is and how it affects the game?

A continuous shuffling machine is a time-saving, shuffling device that was invented. So that the dealers don’t have to shuffle the cards every single time they reach the cut card.

The way a continuous shuffler works is, after the dealer has dealt around, they will scoop up all the cards put them in a little pile and feed them into the shuffling machine.

There are usually five decks of cards in the shuffling machine, and the Machine will randomly place those discards back into the shoe. Another question I get asked a lot is: are the odds a worse in a continuous shuffle game? Actually, the odds are a little bit better.

Just a little bit better in a continuously shuffled game, it’s mathematically complicated to explain why. However, the player should also keep in mind that, because the dealer isn’t taking breaks to shuffle the cards, there’s going to be more hands per hour likely in a continuously shuffle game, and that’s going to be more money that you can expect to lose per hour. What is basic strategy Blackjack basic strategy is a strategy that tells you the mathematically, correct way to play any player hand and any dealer up card.

It looks like this to use it. You would look up your hand going down this way across the dealers up card. This way, for example, say I have an ace in a seven or soft 18, a dealer showing a 10 most players with incorrectly stand. On that hand saying well, an 18 is good enough, but you look at the chart and It’ll say say H for hit.

So the odds favor hitting in that situation, Any good blackjack player should memorize this basic strategy.

Once you memorize this, you can cut the house advantage down under good rules to about 0.25 percent, considering the comps you’re gon na get from the casino it’s like free entertainment. Can a player be a long-term winner using a progressive betting system? Well, first, let me explain what a progressive betting system is. The most common one is called a martingale and the way that works is every time you lose a bet.

You double your bet.

The next time, so let’s say you start with a dollar bet you lose, then you bet two. You lose then bet four.

You lose that you bet 8. You lose that you bet 16 and then let’s say you win that you would win 16, but you will have lost 8, 4, 2 and 1, which add up to fifteen. So no matter with the martingale. As long as you eventually hit a win, you’re always going to net one dollar for every single win sounds good.

No, because, no matter how much money you have its eventually gon na happen that you hit that string of losses, and you don’t have enough money to double again now.

A lot of players falsely believe that these that these betting systems, like this win because most of the time they do but the day that you can’t double your bet, that last time is gon na, be the day that you have given back everything that you ever Won up until that point, computer simulations have shown that no betting system can survive the long-term. They can’t. Not only can betting systems not overcome the house advantage, they can’t even dent it and please no matter what you do never pay for a book or a website that is selling betting systems. These are all charlatans and scam artists.

They do not work over the long run. How can a player be a long-term winner at blackjack? Probably the most common way is through card counting, which absolutely does work.

Ther are a lotta movies about it and books about it.

The basic principle is: is that when the remaining cards in the shoe are rich in tens and aces the odds favor, that player when the remaining cards are rich in small cards, the odds favor the dealer. So the players going to bet more when the deck is rich in good cards and he’s going to make adjustments to his strategy to um, to hit less and double more in the situations when the deck is rich in the good cards, Can a player be a Long term, winner, using basic strategy, the basic strategy is great. You can cut down the house advantage to 0.26 percent under liberal strip rules. However, you can’t overcome the house advantage with basic strategy alone.

The casino is always going to have a slight advantage, so the player should not count on winning long-term with the basic strategy. However, if the player factors in comps and tournament, invitations and other niceties that the casino gives you much like in video poker, you can come out ahead with the basic strategy.

Does it matter where you sit at the table? One question I get a lot is: does it make any difference where you sit at the blackjack table, whether it be first base or the first player to act or third base the last player somewhere in the middle? The odds make absolutely no difference.

Another common myth is that the third baseman controls the game for all the players and if he makes a bad play its gon na up cause everyone to lose. That’S absolutely a myth. The odds are the same, no matter how the third baseman plays his cards Since blackjack is a game of skill.

If you are at a table with a lot of bad players, does it affect your odds of winning? Blackjack is absolutely a game, a skill.

However, what matters is your skill. What the other players are doing makes no difference at all. It’S a common myth that bad players at the table cause everybody to lose. Absolutely not true.

You could be playing with the world’s worst blackjack players and its not gon na make any difference to you over the long run. Does it matter if you play at a full table or an empty table.

Mathematically speaking, the odds, don’t matter whether you’re playing at a full table or the or an empty table, however, at a full table, you’re going to be getting a lot fewer hands per hour.

So if you’re trying to minimize your expected losses per hour, then it’s better to play Casinoslots. If you want a lot of hands per hour, obviously you should be playing by yourself now when the casinos calculate comps, they go by average bet and time played. So if you’re trying to get the most comp mileage out of your play, play at a full table because you’re gon na be betting less money, but still getting the same benefit as a player playing by himself. Should a player ever taken insurance Unless you’re counting cards?

Absolutely never take insurance.

The house advantage on the insurance is 7.7 percent, it’s a lousy bet and before you ask, don’t take insurance or even money. Even if the dealer has an ace up, it’s still a lousy bet try to get the full 3-2 pay out. Now.

There is an exception for card counters. If somehow you know the remaining cards are rich in lotsa tens, then insurance can become a good bet, but if you have no idea, if you’re, not tracking, for that always decline insurance, What is your best advice for blackjack players? My best advice for blackjack players is to seek out games with good rules 3-2 in a blackjack, preferably double-deck, preferably the dealer stands on a soft 17.

You can look up the house advantage for any set of blackjack rules on my website and there’s lots of other books and sources that give you that information as well. Then you should play good strategy. The basic strategy is a great place to start. This will cut down the house advantage to a very thin amount if this is too complicated.

I have something on my website: called the wizard simple blackjack strategy, which is just about 16 rules of thumb that will get you very close to the house advantage that you could get with the basic strategy.

Would you suggest going to comedian Jimmy JJ Walker for blackjack advice? No problem, they don’t know, but thank goodness I came in the professional. Is here leading the way Your best piece of advice, rather blackjack players Never hit on 12.

That’S a cardinal sin never hit on 12 ever, never Absolutely not. How can people people learn more about you and your work If you want to improve your odds in any casino game, I welcome you to visit my website. Wizardofodds.Com it’ll show you the correct strategy to at least a hundred different casino games, or you can buy my book gambling 102, which will show you how to play the most common casino games.

Don’T forget that you can see more of our educational gaming videos on our YouTube channel just go to

Candice Lawrence

E-mail :