Blackjack is the ideal game to employ the Star System. The design of the entire system, as it stands today, is primarily to beat the game of Blackjack. The reason Blackjack is easier to beat than other games is because a single win - a blackjack – will result in a profit and end the set. Also, being able to go down for doubles and splitting pairs is a big advantage. In addition, card counting [already a proven casino beater], can be integrated with the system for even better results.
The author did not learn to card count until several months after the system was completed. As a result, statistics given in this chapter were obtained without the aid of card counting. Even now, I prefer to play without card counting, although I will be the first to admit, my winnings would increase if I used it.
The reason I don't use it is because I think card counting is to much work, It takes all the fun out of the game for me. The extra profits that are attainable are not worth all the extra work and concentration as far as I am concerned. As long as I can have fun and consistently win without using it, I don't plan on consciously using it. Notice that I said “consciously”. I am sure that because I learned to card count, and understand the principles involved, unconsciously helps me. I always seem to be well aware as to when the deck is positive or negative by any appreciable amount.
The next chapter [card counting], will explain how to integrate card counting with the system. It is for those of you who already card count, or those of you who want to get the maximum profits attainable from the system. It will also give a simple, but very effective way to card count in the event you wish to take that extra step. Let me re-emphasize, the system does not require that you be able to card count. It will give you an average advantage of twenty-five percent as is. Card counting may result in you picking up another one to three percent.
BASIC Blackjack STRATEGY
There is one thing the system does require if you wish to obtain the quoted percentages of this book. You must be able to play Basic Strategy. When I first began work on designing this system, I was just another average tourist who didn't have the slightest idea about what basic strategy is.
What is basic strategy? To keep it short, basic strategy is a result of the computer age. Every hand possible was put into computers and played against every other hand possible, millions upon millions of times. The results are what is known as basic strategy. Mathematically speaking, in order to achieve your best chance of winning, there is one and only one correct way to play each hand. It all depends on what the dealers up card is and how many decks are in the game.
Besides being the best way to improve your chance of winning, it also ensures a set pattern for playing from which accurate statistics can be accumulated and worked with. Playing basic strategy theoretically gives you about a fifty-fifty chance of winning. If you don't play basic strategy the house probably has a five to ten percent advantage over you. That is way to much. You would be better off playing the Pass or Don't Pass line on the crap table.
You must play basic strategy to order for this blackjack system to work at its peak efficiency. The next chart should help you learn basic strategy. Notice that it is for four or more decks. The Star System strategy is just the opposite of what the card counter looks for. The card counter prefers to play one on one and a single deck game. The Star System player looks for a full table and four or more decks in use.
Reference pg. 51 Changes to make for single deck play
Double down on 5-3 and 4-4 (not 6-2), against dealers 5 or 6
Double down on 9 against dealers 2 thru 6.
Double down on 11 against everything.
Double down on A-2 against dealers 4, 5, or 6.
Double down on A-3 against dealers 4, 5, or 6.
Double down on A-6 against dealers 2 thru 6.
Double down On A-8 against dealers 6.
Do not hit A-7 against against dealers Ace.
Split 2-2 against dealers 3 thru 7.
Split 6-6 against dealers 2 thru 6.
Stand on 7-7 against dealers 10.
Basic Strategy. Four or More Decks
The preceding chart must be learned to the point so that its application becomes second nature to you. Keeping track of where you stand on the progression ladder should be the only thing you need to be concentrating on. If you are already a card counter, or plan on becoming one, then your basic strategy will be different.
The basic strategy chart for card counters will be found in the chapter on card counting.
In an effort to learn everything I could about the game of blackjack, I bought and studied many books on the subject. I feel there are two that are outstanding. These two books will always be on my desk, readily available for review when needed. Both books are small, to the point, and easy to understand. They contain everything a student of the game needs to know. For that reason [if your serious about the game of blackjack], I highly recommend you obtain both books.
The first of these books is primarily concerned with how to play the game of Blackjack. Its title is: "Blackjack To Win", published by Grey Knight Publications, 3725 Investment Lane, Riviera Beach, Fla., 33404. Its author is George Williams, who for obvious reasons writes under a pen name to protect his true identity. For me to tell you how to play blackjack could cause me to be sued for a copyright infringement because it would be a reprint of his book.
The second book is primarily concerned with casino deportment. Its title is: "Turning The Tables on Las Vegas", published by Vintage Books, Random House Inc., New York, N.Y. Its author is Ian Anderson. Mr. Anderson ranks as a world class player. In his book he teaches self-discipline, camouflage, and how to deal with the various stresses present in casino gambling. It will give you a good understanding of the psychological and motivational aspects of the players and casino personnel. In short, the book tells you how not to get barred from the casinos.
As already mentioned, you don't have to be a card counter to get barred. The casinos don't enjoy getting beat by anybody. If you can consistently do that, they would much prefer that you do your gambling in another establishment.
If you truly wish to become a top notch blackjack player, I strongly recommend that you obtain a copy of both books. If you use the Star System coupled with the knowledge you gain from those two books you should become virtually unbeatable.
There is a third book that I find very interesting. If the exact mathematical statistics arrived at by computers concerning the laws of probability interest you, then you should obtain it.
I suppose you could call it the Father of Basic Strategy. Its title is: "Playing Blackjack As A Business", published by Kyle Stuart Inc., 120 Enterprise Ave., Secaucus, N.J., 07094. It was written by one of the all time great blackjack players, Mr. Lawrence Revere.
The book contains several chapters about some of the best card counting systems there are. They may be a little to difficult to learn for the average person. Besides, card counting is not required when playing the Star System. It does however- contain the statistics that resulted in basic strategy. Pages of very interesting statistics will show you such things as how often you can expect a blackjack, why you should hit an A-7 when the dealer is showing a 9 or 10, why you should never insure a blackjack unless you are counting cards, and why you should go down for doubles with an A-2 through A-7 when the dealer is showing a 5. I doubt if there is any question you can think of, that pertains to the odds in blackjack, that you won't find answered in the book.
The most important thing you need to do right now is to learn Basic Strategy. The things you may pick up from reading the above books could be compared to getting a final tune-up on your car after it just had a major overhaul. The major overhaul is learning basic strategy.
The basic strategy chart looks simple enough. I am sure the average person can memorize that one page in an hour or so. After you think you have it memorized, then give yourself the following test. I'm sure you will be in for quite a surprise.
Take the basic strategy chart, plus a deck of cards, and sit down at a table. Since the 5, 6,7 and 8 are always the same, and no problem to remember, you will by-pass them and start with the nine.
Lay two cards that total nine face up in front of you. Don't use an ace as one of the two cards. These will represent your first two cards (dealt face up) in a multi deck game.
Take the remainder of the deck and turn over one card at a time. This card represents the dealers up card that you will always see after the deal. Don't deal a down card to the dealer as it is irrelevant. You will always count the dealer's down card as a ten.
Don't even think anything else. The dealer's down card is always a ten as far as you are concerned. Each time you turn a card over, ask yourself what you should do according to basic strategy. Check your answer against the chart.
After you have gone through the entire deck against a nine, go to the next line on the chart and repeat the same procedure for a ten.
Do the same for ever players hand on the chart. When you can make the correct decision, in each case, within two seconds after seeing the dealers up card, you will know basic strategy perfectly. I think you will find, even though you may have had the chart memorized perfectly, your recall must be trained to trigger itself from seeing the cards themselves.
Don't forget, single deck basic strategy is different from multi deck basic strategy. There are about fourteen differences between the two. According to the material I have read, you will not win if you play single deck basic strategy in a multi deck game and visa versa.
Sometimes [as a handicap], I will practice at home with a single deck using multi deck strategy. On the average, I lose a few more hands and progress up the progression ladder a little farther, but I have never yet lost my daily bankroll.
For your practice at home, I recommend that you make or purchase yourself a shoe from which to deal your cards. It is more convenient and easier than trying to deal four or more decks from your hand. One place you can obtain one, plus other blackjack oriented books and products, is R . G . E . , 414 Santa Clara ave., Oakland Ca., 94704. Write them and they will be happy to send you their catalog free of charge.
As mentioned earlier, the system works best at a crowded table with four or more decks in play. It is a slow progression system, and the ideal situation for it is to have a neutral deck at all times. This theoretically gives you a fifty-fifty chance of winning each hand you play.
For those of you that are not familiar with the term "neutral deck", let me explain. Neutral deck, positive deck, and negative deck are all terms that apply to card counting. A positive deck contains more high cards than low cards and favors the player. A negative deck contains more low cards than high cards and favors the dealer. A neutral deck has about the same number of high cards and low cards, and favors neither the dealer or the player.
These positive and negative situations occur primarily because of the clumping of high or low cards in the deck. Since you are not card counting you won't know the status of the deck. In order to keep the affect of such a clumping of cards to a minimum, you therefore want the cards distributed out as much as possible. By doing so, you improve the chances that your next card will be the results of a completely random draw. The more players there are at the table, the better your chances are that this is the case. It dilutes any clumping of the cards.
It is an accepted fact among professional blackjack players that the more decks in use, the less volatile is the action. In other words, the larger number of cards present has a diluting tendency that tends to stabilize the ratio of high cards to low cards. This makes unfavorable (negative) decks compositions less frequent than with a single deck. As a result, in a multi deck game, the count stays closer to neutral a higher percentage of the time than in a single deck game. In addition, if you're a card counter [since you always count the dealers down card as a ten], all cards are face up. This makes card counting a piece of cake.
There is another reason for the multi deck game. It is much harder to get cheated when the cards are dealt out of a shoe, rather than by hand. You probably don't even need to worry about getting cheated. Professionals agree that cheating rarely ever occurs in the big casinos now days. Still, it remains a fact, almost all common cheating methods are not detectable by anybody.
Even other experts in the field, who are aware they are being dealt seconds, cannot detect it being done.
These type dealers still have control of the shuffle in a multi deck game, but about all they can do is attempt to keep the deck neutral. Why would they want to do that? First, let's ask ourselves two questions.
- Why do casinos bar card counters? The answer is simple. The card counter knows when the odds are in their favor.
- What would be the best defense against card counters? The answer is again simple. Try bo maintain a neutral dack.
In a single deck game it is obvious and a well known fact. They attempt to maintain a neutral deck by re-shuffling the deck whenever they feel like it. In multi deck games they are not allowed to re-shuffle the deck at their own discretion. As a result, if any adjustments need to be made they must be done during the shuffle prior to putting the cards in the shoe. Any good dealer knowing the location of a particular clump of cards in the discard tray can easily isolate and re-distribute them evenly back into the deck during the shuffle.
I am not insinuating that it is ever done, but I hope it is because a neutral deck is exactly what the Star System thrives on.
Try to keep track of a particular group of cards during a multi deck shuffle sometime. It's like playing the old pea under the pod game. It's practically impossible to tell what went where, but I strongly suspect that almost all of the dealers do.
I have read that, according to computers, it takes twenty three shuffles to thoroughly change the composition of a single deck. If that is true, then imagine how many shuffles it must take to thoroughly change the composition of a four or six deck shoe. For that reason, I recommend the following procedure. It will ensure that you get a one hundred percent change in deck composition when you most need it.
Whenever you lose a session move to another table. Odds are good that you are currently playing with a highly negative shoe.
Why start a recovery session with the same set of circumstances.
Remember, multi deck shoes run truer than single decks. Normally, a bad shoe will tend to stay bad for a while and a good shoe will tend to stay good for a while. By changing tables you can ensure that particular composition of bad cards is gone forever. If you can't change tables for some reason then take a break for a while.
There are several good ideas given in Mr. Anderson's book on how to leave a negative table without the pit bosses or dealers suspecting your real reason. Of course, the fact you just lost all your money is reason enough.
That is why you should always buy into a game with just enough money to cover the session you are getting ready to play. Example: Let's say you are getting ready to play your first session of the day and plan on using a five dollar base bet ($1000 bankroll). If twenty dollars is the price of a one dollar losing set, then it will cost you five times that amount, or one hundred dollars, to play a five dollar session.
You proceed to win about $30 and then lose the set and session (a lost set always ends the session) . Chances are good that the deck (or shoe) is negative and is going to stay that way for awhile. You could say something like: "That's all for me. Maybe I can take this thirty dollars I have left and go get lucky on the slot machines." After you leave the table, figure up what you lost ($70) . Seventy divided by ten is seven. You know to use seven dollars as the base bet of your first recovery session at the new table. Seven times twenty dollars (the cost of a one dollar set) equals $140, so buy in at the new table for $140. Your new preprogression numbers could be 1-1-2-3 (totals 7). Your progression ladder would be 7-14-21-35-56. The sums of both equal your buy in of $140. It's O.K. to round thet off to 7-15-20-35-55.
Keep repeating the above procedures until you have reached your win goal or lost your daily bankroll. Anytime you are looking for a table to play at remember this. Look for one that has some activity and everyone seems to be having a good time. Such a table probably has a positive shoe going for it, and chances are good it will remain that way for a while.
The average blackjack player has a misconception about luck.
They believe their success depends on how their luck is running.
That is not true; their success depends on how the dealer's luck is running. The dealer's luck depends on whether the shoe is positive or negative.
In tournament play, almost all the players are on about the same skill level. They all start with the same amount of chips and play for the same amount of time.
Time after time, I have noticed that the results of such tournaments follow a set pattern. Each individual table will have its own idiosyncrasy. Everybody at the table will be on about the same monetary plateau. Example: At one table everybody will be big winners. At another table everybody ends up with about what they started with. At another table everybody is having bad luck and are almost broke. Some are already out of the game.
That can only be the result of a positive table, a neutral table, and a negative table. Think about it. The casinos know it, and have taken the following steps to correct the situation. Only the top three winners from each table are chosen to go on to the finals. In other words, three players from the negative shoe table, who actually lost money, advance to the finals. But, three players from the positive shoe table, who each were big winners, are eliminated from the tournament.
The above process continues until there are only six or seven players left. They all then play at one table against the same shoe until the time limit is up and there is a winner. If that doesn't convince you that it is the condition of the shoe, not your luck, that makes the difference whether you win or lose then nothing will.
You don't need to be a card counter. Just pay attention to what kind of luck the table is having, and you will know the condition of the deck. Most of the time you won't be able to see a definite trend. That suggest a neutral deck, and that's what the Star System is designed for. When a highly positive shoe comes along you won't have any problem in recognizing it. Everybody is winning, and the dealer is busting more than usual. When a very negative shoe comes along the opposite is true. Everyone's pile of chips is dwindling away at a steady pace. A few may even go broke and leave the game.
I am sure you have to agree. There is nobody that has ever gotten to the top of their profession without having some prior experience in the field. To become among the best at what ever you do is going to take some practice, and then some more practice. It does not have to be at a casino. It can be at home where the cost of mistakes is only going to cost you time instead of money. When the time comes that there is absolutely no question in your mind about what your next move should be, you will know that you are good enough. With practice, all your plays will eventually become just an unconscious reaction for you.
As with anything else, there are good ways and bad ways to practice. There are shortcuts you can take that will save much time and effort. I believe you will find the following method a simple and fast way to practice. It will also provide you with an easy way to keep accurate records in the event you want to. Once you know basic strategy, and the Star System betting procedures, you will be ready to start practicing. Now, no chips are necessary; they will only slow you down. In the beginning, all you need is a table, four decks of cards, paper, and a pencil. Once you have those materials then draw yourself up a tally sheet like the one below.
** $X ** = Base Bet. i.e. ** $5 ** = $5 Base Bet.
Profit: Lost: Won:
Plan on using a complete sheet of paper (30-40 lines).
Now shuffle the cards together and deal out two hands. Deal as though the dealer was dealing. The first card is dealt face-up to yourself. The second card goes face-down to the dealer. The third card goes face-up to yourself and the fourth card goes face-up to the dealer. Make your decision according to basic strategy, and finish playing the hand out. Now pick up all the cards from that hand and place them on an imaginary win or lost line on the table.
Win Line -----------------------------------
Lost Line -----------------------------------
Start at the left of the line and work your way to the right until the set is either won or lost. At that time you will take your pencil and transfer the results to your tally sheet. Then you pick all the cards up and place them in your discards stack.
The following is an example of how the cards would look on the table if you just lost your four pre-progression bets, plus two progression ladder losses, followed by two wins.
Win Line X X
Lost line . . . X X X X (space) X X
Your tally sheet should look like this after you have
transferred it to paper. Numbers are the actual amount of wager.
You won the set and made a $10 profit. Put the cards in the discard stack and begin set # 2. With average luck, you will easily reach your win goal without ever having to play any recovery sets. On the average, you will lose one set per twenty-eight in the game of Blackjack.
A point you don't want to forget is (when in your progression ladder), if you had lost the second $15 bet in the above example it would have cancelled out the previous $15 win. Both of the hands would have then gone to the discard stack and you would replay the hand.
All ties (or pushes as they are called in the game of blackjack), also go to the discard stack.
Just the opposite happens if you have a win, followed by a loss, while in your pre-progression numbers. Because you were letting the previous bet ride and lost, it counts as a single loss.
Think of a Rider as merely being an extension of the previous hand. If you win, you win three times your original bet. If you lose, you have only lost your original bet. Let's say you won your first hand in your pre-progression bets. Your cards laying on the table would look like this.
Win Line .... X ______________
Lost line . . . . _______________
You lose the next hand. The results are that you lost your*
original bet. You have to move that card straight down to the lost line. This means that you will never see a lone X on the win line of your tally sheet after you are finished with your preprogression numbers bets.
There will either be two Xs on the win line and end of set, or four Xs on the lost line followed by your progression ladder bets.
See the example at the bottom of page 57 It also means that if you want to keep records concerning your win/lost ratio, the figures on your tally sheet will not reflect all of your wins. You can play as many as eight hands in your preprogression numbers (W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L), but your tally sheet will only show four losses.
If you wish to keep tabs on your win/lost ratio, you need to figure out your own way to do that. I do not keep track of that figure. It has already been proven by computers that using basic strategy results in the player having about a fifty-fifty chance.
That is good enough for me. I'm sure that if I kept records for years concerning that figure, my results would be the same.
The following chart is the actual results of thirteen sets of blackjack played now without card counting. A $5 base bet and pre-progression numbers 1-1-1-2 will be used.
Number of hands = 61 Total $ won = $ 72 »«Total bet = *** $182 Percentage = 39% Average bet = $2.98 Average win = $1.,18
*** Total bet equals out of pocket money. Monies won from the previous hand, left on the board, and used to wager on the present hand, is not out of pocket money. It is house money.
House money is winnings that you leave on the board for the next bet (rider). It is just like the daily double at a race track.
- Win/loss ratio = 47.5%. Remember, several wins occurred in the P.P.#s that don't show. Ratio is actually 50/50 or better.
The preceding chart is typical of what the system does on a steady basis. A five dollar base bet calls for a thousand dollar bankroll. As can be seen, you were off and running without having to invest even ten percent of your bankroll.
The system will not maintain a thirty nine percent profit over the long run. This is because a losing streak is bound to come along from time to time and cause you to play a recovery session.
When playing recoveries you are not making any money. You are only recovering a previous loss. Over the long run it will average out to about a twenty five percent profit over out of pocket monies invested.
The average bet of $2.98 is within a cent or two of being right on the money for the systems average. The $1.1<8 average win is a little on the low side [seven cents below average), but normally this average will pick up during a recover session.
This is because a recovery session usually ends with more money being recovered than tried for. It is not unusual for them to end up with twenty to fifty dollars more than tried for. This could be the result of one of the wins being a blackjack or doubles.
Your average win works out to be twenty five cents per one dollar base bet. A five dollar base bet = 5 X 25, or $1.25 per hand. The previous example can be considered as average.
An above par set will sometimes show an eighty percent or better profit made for money invested. A below par winning set may sometimes get down in the ten percent range. A losing set (and session), comes along about once every 28 sets or only 3.5% of the time. Reminder; A lost set always means it is also the end of the session.
If you win the current hand you will have a $20 profit and the set will be over. If you lose the current hand it cancels the last win. In that case you would take the current hand plus the last winning hand off the board and place them in the discard stack. You would then replay hand # 7»
If the last hand (#7) had been a blackjack you could end the set with a $5 profit. Memorizing the charts on pages 62 and 63 will be a big help when It comes to figuring your Tally sheet.
Let's look at a typical recovery session. Let us say you were using a five dollar base bet, and just lost your first nine hands resulting in a lost set and session. You would be one hundred dollars down, and need to start a recovery set using a ten dollar base bet. Your P.P.#s for a $10 base bet = 2-2-2-4.
X = Blackjack [X] = Doubles R = Rider w = won
You have recovered your one hundred dollar loss, plus you made a forty six dollar profit. Now you return to your five dollar base bet primary session.
There are going to be some people who will say that the 25% average profit is an erroneous figure. They will say that anybody can get on a lucky streak, and then quit as soon as it shows a good profit. That is not the case. The statistics given in this chapter are the results of a 100% mechanical betting system. The 25% figure is the over all average for at least a hundred thousand hands.
The following information is based on two consecutive wins. It is presented so you will have an idea of the profits attainable during certain situations in the game of blackjack.
WIN...PULL ORIGINAL BET...BET WINNINGS
- Win, pull winnings & bet same again, pays double your original bet.
- Win, pull winnings & bet same again, followed by a blackjack, pays 2 & 1/2 times your original bet.
- Win, pull winnings & bet same again, followed by doubles, pays three times original bet.
- Blackjack, pull original wager & bet B.J. winnings, followed by a win, pays three times original bet.
- Blackjack, pull original wager & bet B.J. winnings, followed by another blackjack, pays three & 3/4 times original bet.
- Blackjack, pull original wager & bet B.J. winnings, followed by doubles, pays four & 1/2 times original bet.
- Doubles, pull both original bets & bet winnings, followed by a win, pays four times original bet.
- Doubles, pull both original bets & bet winnings, followed by a blackjack, pays five times original bet.
- Doubles, pull both original bets & bet winnings, followed by doubles, pays six times original bet.
NOTE: In numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, and 8 of the above, you have pulled your original bet. A loss results in the hand cancelling out, and you remain on the same step of your progression ladder. Think of it as a free shot. If you win, you win big. If you lose, you lose nothing as it was all house money. In numbers 3,6,and 9 (because you also went down for doubles on the second hand), a loss occurring on the second doubles results in you having to take one step up the progression ladder.
There is another version of the game Blackjack that should be mentioned. Double Exposure is its name. In Double Exposure the dealer deals both his cards face up. To compensate, the dealer wins all ties. If you can see both of the dealers up cards, and they amount to 17 or above, you hit until you win or bust. It will also be the deciding factor on many occasions whether to go down for doubles or not. The Star System was tested for roughly ten thousand hands against Double Exposure. The results were like taking candy away from a baby.
The below chart is basically the same as the one on the previous page only you don't pull your original bet and you let it all ride. By doing so, a loss on numbers 1,2,4,5,7, & 8 means you take one step up the progression ladder. A loss on numbers 3, 6,& 9 means you take two steps up the ladder.
Win — LET IT ALL RIDE — WIN AGAIN
- Win, followed by another win, pays three times original bet.
- Win, followed by a blackjack, pays four times original bet.
- Win, followed by doubles, pays five times original bet.
- Blackjack, followed by a regular win, pays four times original bet.
- Blackjack, followed by another blackjack, pays 5 1/2 times original bet.
- Blackjack, followed by doubles, pays 6 1/2 times original bet.
- Doubles, followed by a regular win, pays six times original bet.
- Doubles, followed by a blackjack, pays eight times original bet.
- Doubles, followed by doubles, pays ten times original bet.