Perhaps the best way to protect your games against the card counter, is to learn to think like a professional player. Only then will you come away with a true, understanding and appreciation for the skills necessary to play this game on a serious level. Only then, will you know what it takes to win. It's timeV-to look at the mechanics of playing the game skillfully.

Over the last forty years, the most significant change in the technical aspects of card counting can be summed up in one word: simplification. Learning to count cards is easier today than ever; before. Fundamentally, there are five steps in the process: basic strategy, counting, true count, playing, and betting strategies. Forgive me for the rehash, but X will fly through these fundamentals in the fewest words possible, yet attempt to share with you some perspective and insight not generally found in books on card counting.

Basic Strategy

Learning to count cards starts with basic strategy, the core of all winning strategies. Simply stated, it's the best way to play any two cards against the dealer s upcard when no other information is taken into consideration. The strategy changes slightly depending on the number of decks and rules. We've assumed multideck as our base strategy; single-deck changes are noted. If your club offers double alter split, or surrender, make sure to learn the cotrect plays for these rules. ^:

So, you would hit 12 versus the dealers 2,?^dIff2l^rsus|3astam^^faU otherj'stiffs against a small card, and nit allistiffs'against a big card^^S^^^^^^my^pf; better.

Stiffs, which represent almost 3^%fo|ElTn^ds^ar^l5ginig»Rrop^itipns;^un^m^pcafd.;; When you hit 16;vHsus" 7, for example, the goal isto^^^i^yot^ loss." Your 16 versus the Healers 7 only wins when the dealer breaks, abouW6%1of^ hands. Tnemetloss is~48 bets'(74 - 26 = 48). Hitting wins about 30% for a net loss of 40 bets (^0;- 30 = .40). Although both piaysjj^e^hitpng Joses^ess, only 40 bets .versus, 48:;Ur:

Basic ^strategy is all about .comparing?yo’^options and making the aecisipnftna| loseplessg ^wins more, or^ occasionally turns a losing hand into %Aymnerli

These simple rules, when added to^the blackjacks, and totals of 5,6, 7, 8,17,18,19,20, A-8 or A-9, represent about 75.% of the complete basic strategy.

There are alfew; fihefpphts'rega^ (marked with an asterisk in the previous

table). In single-deck game^double'll versus an; ace/;9 versus 2,{8 versus 5, and 8>versus’6.;.

|p§iThe mathematics of doubling down are worth mentioning. It’s ldgical&fass'ume that by doubling ,:down and’restricting the hand toonejhituardonl^ybujmust lessen the probability of winning. This jil!S;true..Ybulosejmof e'hands:by doubling! But there’s a*catchv,;For example, when doublirig lO versus] 7, hitting wins 63% of the hands, a net; profit oT26'-bsfa^(63|ia^7^=-26'hl!clbubluteJftiB!^^SD^B^ net'(profitfofi20 bets (60,^- 40 = 20). The double down winners, however, are double bets. Assuming $100 units, hitting wins $2,600 (26 x $ 100)>■' doubling wins $4,QQo|||C) x $200). Hitting wins more vh'andsl doubling wins more rnoney it’s that simple.

it Adding the hard doubles, about 12.5%rofiaU hands', brings us' to almost 90% of the complete strategy.

he fine points of basic strategy allow more aggressive soft'doubiing in single-deck. ‘Double A-2 and A-3 versus 4, and ^-6,yersus 2. You may even double A-8 versus 6 if die dealer 'stands on all 17s. You can also double A^-7 versus ;2imtwopr more decks if the dealer hits soft 17.