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Current issue : #43 | Release date : 1993-07-01 | Editor : Erik Bloodaxe
IntroductionDatastream Cowboy
Phrack Loopback Part IPhrack Staff
Phrack Loopback Part II / EditorialPhrack Staff
Line Noise Part IPhrack Staff
Line Noise Part IIPhrack Staff
Phrack Pro-Phile on Doctor WhoDoctor Who
Conference News Part Ivarious
Conference News Part IIvarious
How To Hack Blackjack (Part I)Lex Luthor
How To Hack Blackjack (Part II)Lex Luthor
Help for Verifying Novell SecurityPhrack Staff
My Bust (Part I)Robert Clark
My Bust (Part II)Robert Clark
Playing Hide and Seek, Unix StylePhrack Accident
Physical Access and Theft of PBX SystemsCodec
Guide to the 5ESSFirm G.R.A.S.P.
Cellular InfoMadjus
LODCOM BBS Archive Informationunknown
LODCOM Sample Messagesunknown
Step By Step Guide To Stealing a CamaroSpy Ace
Acronyms Part IFirm G.R.A.S.P.
Acronyms Part IIFirm G.R.A.S.P.
Acronyms Part IIIFirm G.R.A.S.P.
Acronyms Part IVFirm G.R.A.S.P.
Acronyms Part VFirm G.R.A.S.P.
International Scenevarious
Phrack World NewsDatastream Cowboy
Title : How To Hack Blackjack (Part I)
Author : Lex Luthor
                              ==Phrack Magazine==

                 Volume Four, Issue Forty-Three, File 9 of 27

                            How to "Hack" BlackJack
                                  Lex Luthor
                         The Legion of Gamblerz!! (LOG)
                 lex@mindvox.phantom.com (or) lex@stormking.com

                               Part 1 of 2 (50K)

"I learned a lot of things I didn't know from Lex's File" ---Bruce Sterling


   With the DEF CON 1 hacker/cyberpunk/law enforcement/security/etc convention
coming up in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 9-12 1993, I felt that now would be a
good time to write a "phile" on something the attendants could put to use to
help legally defray the costs of going. The thought of a bunch of ex-hackers
running around Las Vegas without shirts (having 'lost' them in the various
Casinos) frightened me into immediate action. Besides, I don't write articles
on 'Underground' topics anymore and since I have done a lot of research and
playing of Casino BlackJack, the CON in Vegas provided me the perfect excuse
to finally write an article for PHRACK (not withstanding the pro-phile in
Issue 40 which doesn't really count).

   Regardless of whether you go to this DEF CON 1 thing, if you ever plan to
hit a casino with the purpose of MAKING MONEY, then you really should
concentrate on ONE game of chance: BlackJack. Why? Because BlackJack is the
*ONLY* casino game that affords the educated and skilled player a long-term
mathematical advantage over the house. All the other casino games: Craps,
Roulette, Slots, etc. have the long-term mathematical advantage over the
player (see table below). BlackJack is also the only casino game for which the
odds are always changing. Don't be fooled by all the glitter, a casino is a
business and must make a profit to survive. The profit is ensured by using a
set of rules which provides them with an edge. Now you say: wait a sec, how do
they make money if BlackJack can be beaten? There are a couple of reasons. One
reason is that there are very few good players who make it their profession to
beat casinos at BlackJack day in and day out. There are many more who THINK
they are good, THINK they know how to play the game, and lose more money than
the really good players win. Notwithstanding the throngs of vacationers who
admit to not being well versed in the game and consequently are doomed to
lose...plenty. Another reason is that if a casino thinks you are a "counter"
(a term just as nasty as "phreaker" to the phone company) there is a good
chance that they will ask you to leave. See the section on Social Engineering
the Casino to avoid being spotted as a counter. Also, the house secures its
advantage in BlackJack from the fact that the player has to act first. If you
bust, the dealer wins your bet regardless of whether the dealer busts later.

   The following table illustrates my point regarding house advantages for the
various casino games and BlackJack strategies. The data is available in most
books on casino gambling. Note that negative percentages denote player
disadvantages and are therefore house advantages.

   GAME                             Your Advantage (over the long run)
   Craps                            -1.4 % overall average
   Baccarat                         -1.1 % to -5.0 %
   Roulette                         -2.7 % to -5.26 %
   Slots                            -2.5 to -25 % depending on machine setting
   Keno                             -25 % more or less

   BlackJack (WAG Player)           -2 % to -15 %
   BlackJack (Mirror Dealer)        -5.7 %
   BlackJack (Basic Strategy)       -0.2 % to +0.3 %
   BlackJack (Basic Strategy &      Up to +3.1 % depending on card counting
              Card Counting)        system and betting range.

   A -2 % player advantage (2 percent disadvantage) means that if you play a
hundred hands at a dollar each, then ON AVERAGE, you will lose two dollars.
Note that the typical "pick three" State Lottery game is a disaster as your
advantage is -50 %. If you make 1000 $1 bets, you will lose $500 on average.
Some people say that state lotteries are taxation on the stupid...

   This article contains thirteen sections. It was written in a fairly modular
fashion so if there are sections which do not interest you, you may omit them
without much loss in continuity however, all the sections are networked to
some degree. For the sake of completeness, a fairly comprehensive list of
topics has been presented. Due to email file size restrictions, I had to
divide this article into two parts. Note that I am NOT a Professional
BlackJack player, the definition being someone whose livelihood is derived
solely from his/her winnings. I did however, dedicate a summer to gambling 5
evenings a week or so, keeping meticulous records of wins, losses and expenses
incurred. I averaged 1-2 nights a week playing BlackJack with the other nights
divided among 3 different forms of Pari-Mutual gambling. At the end of the
summer I tallied the wins/losses/expenses and am proud to say the result was a
positive net earnings. Unfortunately it was instantly apparent that the net
money when divided up by the number of weeks gambling was not enough to
warrant me to quit school and become a professional gambler. Besides that
one summer, I have played BlackJack off and on for 7 years or so. In case you
were wondering, no, I have never been a member of GA [Gamblers Anonymous]
contrary to what one of those Bell Security "Hit-Lists" circulated many years
ago would have you believe. The topics contained herein are:

     o    Historical Background of the BlackJack Card Game
     o    Useful Gambling, Casino, and BlackJack Definitions
     o    Review of BlackJack Rules of Play
     o    Betting, Money Management, and the Psychology of Gambling
     o    Basic Strategy (End of Part 1)
     o    Card Counting (Beginning of Part 2)
     o    Shuffle Tracking
     o    Casino Security and Surveillance
     o    "Social Engineering" the Casino
     o    Casino Cheating and Player Cheating
     o    Some Comments Regarding Computer BlackJack Games for PC's
     o    A VERY Brief Description of Other Casino Games
     o    Selected Bibliography and Reference List


     a) I made extensive use of my many books, articles, and magazines on
gambling and BlackJack along with actual playing experience. References are
denoted by square brackets [REF#] and are listed in the Selected Bibliography
and Reference List section.

     b) It's hard to win at something you don't understand. If you want to win
consistently at anything, learn every thing you can about it. BlackJack is no

History of BlackJack:

   I provide this historical background information because I find it rather
fascinating and it also provides some insight into contemporary rules and
play. I think it is worth reading for the sole reason that you might some day
use one of the historical tid-bits to answer a question on Jeopardy!#@%!
Seriously, the first couple of paragraphs may read a bit like a book report,
but bear with it if you can as I did all of the following research
specifically for this file.

   First, a brief history of cards: Playing cards are believed to have been
invented in China and/or India sometime around 900 A.D. The Chinese are
thought to have originated card games when they began shuffling paper money
(another Chinese invention) into various combinations. In China today, the
general term for playing cards means "paper tickets". The contemporary 52 card
deck used in the U.S. was originally referred to as the "French Pack" (circa
1600's) which was later adopted by the English and subsequently the Americans.

   The first accounts of gambling were in 2300 B.C. or so, and yes, the
Chinese again get the credit. Gambling was very popular in Ancient Greece even
though it was illegal and has been a part of the human experience ever since.
Today, with the all too common manipulation of language to suit one's own
purposes, gambling is no longer a term used by casinos....they prefer to use
the word GAMING instead. Just as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has replaced
the term Shell Shock in military jargon. Since this manipulation of language
is all the rage these days, why don't we water down the name Computer Hacker
and replace it with Misguided Information Junky or someone who is afflicted
with a Compulsive Curiosity Disorder?

   The history of the BlackJack card game itself is still disputed but was
probably spawned from other French games such as "chemin de fer and French
Ferme", both of which I am completely unfamiliar with. BlackJack originated in
French Casino's around 1700 where it was called "vingt-et-un" ("twenty-and-
one" in French) and has been played in the U.S. since the 1800's. BlackJack is
called Black-Jack because if a player got a Jack of Spades and an Ace of
Spades as the first two cards (Spade being the color black of course), the
player was additionally remunerated.

   Gambling was legal out West from the 1850's to 1910 at which time Nevada
made it a felony to operate a gambling game. In 1931, Nevada re-legalized
casino gambling where BlackJack became one of the primary games of chance
offered to gamblers. As some of you may recall, 1978 was the year casino
gambling was legalized in Atlantic City, New Jersey. As of 1989, only two
states had legalized casino gambling. Since then, about 20 states have a
number of small time casinos (compared to Vegas) which have sprouted up in
places such as Black Hawk and Cripple Creek Colorado and in river boats on the
Mississippi. Also as of this writing, roughly 70 Native American Indian
reservations operate or are building casinos, some of which are in New York
and Connecticut. In addition to the U.S., some of the countries (there are
many) operating casinos are: France, England, Monaco (Monte Carlo of course)
and quite a few in the Caribbean islands (Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Aruba, etc.).

   Now: The first recognized effort to apply mathematics to BlackJack began in
1953 and culminated in 1956 with a published paper [6]. Roger Baldwin et al
(see Bibliography) wrote a paper in the Journal of the American Statistical
Association titled "The Optimum Strategy in BlackJack". These pioneers used
calculators, and probability and statistics theory to substantially reduce the
house advantage. Although the title of their paper was 'optimum strategy', it
wasn't really the best strategy because they really needed a computer to
refine their system. I dug up a copy of their paper from the library, it is
ten pages long and fairly mathematical. To give you an idea of its importance,
the Baldwin article did for BlackJack playing what the November 1960 issue of
The Bell System Technical Journal entitled, "Signalling Systems for Control of
Telephone Switching", did for Blue Boxing.

   To continue with the analogy, one can consider Professor Edward O. Thorp to
be the Captain Crunch of BlackJack. Dr. Thorp, then a mathematics teacher,
picked up where Baldwin and company left off. In 1962, Thorp refined their
basic strategy and developed the first card counting techniques. He published
his results in "Beat the Dealer" [3], a book that became so popular that for a
week in 1963 it was on the New York Time's best seller list. The book also
scared the hell out of the Casino's. Thorp wrote "Beat the Market" in 1967, in
which he used mathematics and computer algorithms to find pricing
inefficiencies between stocks and related securities. Currently he is using an
arbitrage formula to exploit undervalued warrants in the Japanese stock

   The Casinos were so scared after Beat the Dealer, that they even changed
the rules of the game to make if more difficult for the players to win. This
didn't last long as people protested by not playing the new pseudo-BlackJack.
The unfavorable rules resulted in a loss of income for the casinos. Not making
money is a sin for a casino, so they quickly reverted back to the original
rules. Because Thorp's "Ten-Count" method wasn't easy to master and many
people didn't really understand it anyway, the casinos made a bundle from the
game's newly gained popularity thanks to Thorp's book and all the media
attention it generated.

   Beat the Dealer is rather difficult to find these days, I picked up a copy
at the library recently and checked the card in the back to see how popular
it is today. I was surprised as hell to find that it was checked out over 20
times in the past year and a half or so! How many books from 1962 can claim
that? I do not recommend reading the book for anything other than posterity
purposes though, the reason being that newer books contain better, and easier
to learn strategies.

   Another major contributor in the history of winning BlackJack play is
Julian Braun who worked at IBM. His thousands of lines of computer code and
hours of BlackJack simulation on IBM mainframes resulted in THE Basic
Strategy, and a number of card counting techniques. His conclusions were used
in a 2nd edition of Beat the Dealer, and later in Lawrence Revere's 1977 book
"Playing BlackJack as a Business".

   Lastly, let me mention Ken Uston, who used five computers that were built
into the shoes of members of his playing team in 1977. They won over a hundred
thousand dollars in a very short time but one of the computers was
confiscated and sent to the FBI. The fedz decided that the computer used
public information on BlackJack playing and was not a cheating device. You may
have seen this story in a movie made about his BlackJack exploits detailed in
his book "The Big Player". Ken was also featured on a 1981 Sixty Minutes show
and helped lead a successful legal challenge to prevent Atlantic City casinos
from barring card counters.

Useful Definitions:

   Just as in Social Engineering the Phone Company, an essential element for
success is knowing the right buzzwords and acronyms. Therefore, I list some
relevant definitions now, even though the reader will probably skip over them
to get to the good stuff. The definitions merely serve as a reference for
those who are uninitiated with the terminology of gambling, casinos, and
BlackJack. If you encounter a term you don't understand in the article, look
back here. The definitions are not in alphabetical order on purpose. I grouped
them in what I feel is a logical and easy to remember fashion.

Action: This is a general gambling term which refers to the total amount of
        money bet in a specific period of time. Ten bets of ten dollars each
        is $100 of action.

Burn Card: A single card taken from the top of the deck or the first card in
           a shoe which the dealer slides across the table from his/her left
           to the right, and is placed into the discard tray. The card may or
           may not be shown face up (which can affect the count if you are
           counting cards). A card is burned after each shuffle. I have
           not been able to find out how this started nor the purpose for
           burning a card. If you know, drop me some email.

Cut Card: A solid colored card typically a piece of plastic which is given to
          a player by the dealer for the purpose of cutting the deck(s) after
          a shuffle. Cutting the cards in the 'right' location is part of
          the 'shuffle tracking' strategy mentioned later in Part 2.

Hole Card: Any face down card. The definition most often refers to the
           dealer's single face down card however.

Shoe: A device that can hold up to eight decks of cards which allows the
      dealer to slide out the cards one at a time.

Hard Hand: A hand in which any Ace is counted as a 1 and not as an 11.

Soft Hand: A hand in which any Ace is counted as an 11 and not as a 1.

Pat Hand: A hand with a total of 17 to 21.

Stand: To decline another card.

Hit: To request another card.

Bust: When a hand's value exceeds 21....a losing hand.

Push: A player-dealer tie.

Pair: When a player's first two cards are numerically identical (ie, 7,7).

Point Count: The net value of the card count at the end of a hand.

Running Count: The count from the beginning of the deck or shoe. The running
               count is updated by the value of the point count after each

True Count: The running count adjusted to account for the number of cards left
            in the deck or shoe to be played.

Bankroll: The stake (available money) a player plans to bet with.

Flat Bet: A bet which you do not vary ie, if you are flat betting ten dollars,
          you are betting $10 each and every hand without changing the betting
          amount from one hand to the next.

Black Chip: A $100. chip.

Green Chip: A $25.00 chip.

Red Chip: A $5.00 chip.

Foreign Chip: A chip that is issued by one casino and is honored by another
              as cash. A casino is not necessarily obligated to accept them.

Settlement: The resolving of the bet. Either the dealer takes your chips,
            pays you, or in the case of a push, no exchange of chips occurs.

Toke: Its not what some of you may think...to "toke" the dealer is just
      another word for tipping the dealer.

Marker: An IOU. A line of credit provided by the casino to a player.

Junket: An organized group of gamblers that travel to a casino together.
        Junkets are usually subsidized by a casino to attract players.

Comp: Short for complimentary. If you wave lots of money around, the casino
      (hotel) may give you things like a free room or free f00d hoping you'll
      keep losing money at the tables in their casino.

Heat: The pressure a casino puts on a winning player, typically someone who
      is suspected of being a card counter.

Shuffle Up: Prematurely shuffling the cards to harass a player who is usually
            suspected of being a counter.

Nut: The overhead costs of running the casino.

Pit: The area inside a group of gaming tables. The tables are arranged in
     an elliptical manner, the space inside the perimeter is the pit.

House: The Casino of course.

Cage: Short for cashier's cage. This is where chips are redeemed for cash,
      checks cashed, credit arranged, etc.

House Percentage: The casino's advantage in a particular game of chance.

Drop Percentage: That portion of the player's money that the casino will win
                 because of the house percentage. It is a measure of the
                 amount of a player's initial stake that he or she will
                 eventually lose. On average this number is around 20 percent.
                 That is, on average, Joe Gambler will lose $20 of every $100
                 he begins with.

Head-On: To play alone at a BlackJack table with the dealer.

WAG Player: Wild Assed Guessing player.

SWAG Player: Scientific Wild Assed Guessing player.

Tough Player: What the casino labels an '3L33T' player who can hurt the casino
              monetarily with his or her intelligent play.

Counter: Someone who counts cards.

High Roller: A big bettor.

Mechanic: Someone who is elite in regards to manipulating cards, typically for
          illicit purposes.

Shill: A house employee who bets money and pretends to be a player to attract
       customers. Shills typically follow the same rules as the dealer which
       makes them somewhat easy to spot (ie, they don't Double Down or Split).

Pit Boss: An employee of the casino whose job is to supervise BlackJack
          players, dealers, and other floor personnel.

Review of BlackJack Rules of Play:

   The rules of BlackJack differ slightly from area to area and/or from casino
to casino. For example, a casino in downtown Vegas may have different rules
than one of the Vegas Strip casinos which may have different rules from a
casino up in Reno or Tahoe (Nevada). The rules in a casino in Freeport Bahamas
may differ from those in Atlantic City, etc. Therefore, it is important to
research, a priori, what the rules are for the area/casino(s) you plan on
playing in. For Nevada casinos you can order a copy of [1] which contains
rules info on all the licensed casinos in the state. Later in this article,
you will see that each set of rule variations has a corresponding Basic
Strategy chart that must be memorized. Memorizing all the charts can be too
confusing and is not recommended.

   The BlackJack table seats a dealer and one to seven players. The first seat
on the dealer's left is referred to as First Base, the first seat on the
dealer's right is referred to as Third Base. A betting square is printed on
the felt table in front of each player seat. Immediately in front of the
dealer is the chip tray. On the dealer's left is the deck or shoe and beside
that should be the minimum bet sign--something that you ought to read before
sitting down to play. On the dealer's immediate right is the money drop slot
where all currency and tips (chips) are deposited. Next to the drop slot is
the discard tray. Play begins after the following ritual is completed: the
dealer shuffles the cards, the deck(s) is "cut" by a player using the marker
card, and the dealer "burns" a card.

   Before any cards are dealt, the players may make a wager by placing the
desired chips (value and number) into the betting box. I used the word "may"
because you are not forced to bet every hand. Occasionally a player may sit
out a hand or two for various reasons. I have sat out a couple of hands at
times when the dealer was getting extremely lucky and everyone was losing. If
you attempt to sit out too many hands especially if there are people waiting
to play at your table, you may be asked to leave the table until you are ready
to play. If you don't have any chips, put some cash on the table and the
dealer will exchange them for chips.

   Once all the bets are down, two cards (one at a time) are dealt from left
to right. In many Vegas casinos, players get both cards face down. In Atlantic
City and most every where else the player's cards are dealt face up. Should
the cards be dealt face up, don't make the faux pas of touching them! They are
dealt face up for a reason, primarily to prevent a few types of player
cheating (see section on cheating in Part 2) and the dealer will sternly but
nicely tell you not to touch the cards. As most of you know the dealer receives
one card down and one card up. The numerical values of the cards are:
(10, J, Q, K) = 10 ; (Ace) = 1 or 11 ; (other cards) = face value (3 = 3).

   Since a casino can be as noisy as an old Step-by-Step Switch with all those
slot machines going, marbles jumping around on roulette wheels, demoniacal
shrieks of "YO-LEVEN" at the craps table, people screaming that they hit the
big one and so on, hand signals are usually the preferred method of signalling
hit, stand, etc.

   If the cards were dealt face down and you want a hit, lightly flick the
cards across the felt two times. If the cards were dealt face up, point at the
cards with a quick stabbing motion. You may also want to nod your head yes
while saying "hit".  The best way to indicate to the dealer that you want to
stand regardless of how the cards were dealt is to move your hand from left
to right in a level attitude with your palm down. Your hand should be a few
inches or so above the table. Nodding your head no at the same time helps,
while saying "stay" or "stand".

   Permit me to interject a comment on the number of decks used in a game.
Single deck games are pretty much restricted to Nevada casinos. In the casinos
that have one-deck games, the tables are usually full. Multiple deck games
typically consist of an even number of decks (2, 4, 6, 8) although a few
casinos use 5 or 7 decks. The two main reasons many casinos use multiple decks
      1) They allow the dealer to deal more hands per hour thereby increasing
         the casino take.

      2) They reduce but in no way eliminate the player advantage gained
         from card counting.

   Dealer Rules - The rules the dealer must play by are very simple. If the
dealer's hand is 16 or less, he/she must take a card. If the dealer's hand is
17 or more, he/she must stand. Note that some casinos allow the dealer to hit
on soft 17 which gives the house a very small additional advantage. The
dealer's strategy is fixed and what you and the other players have is
immaterial to him/her as far as hitting and standing is concerned.

   Player rules - The player can do whatever he/she wants as far as hitting and
standing goes with the exception of the following special circumstances. See
the section on Basic Strategy for the appropriate times to hit, stand, split,
and double down. The aim is to have a hand which is higher than the dealers'.
If there is a tie (push), neither you nor the dealer wins. Should a player get
a BlackJack (first 2 cards are an Ace and a ten) the payoff is 150% more than
the original bet ie, bet $10.00 and the payoff is $15.00.

DOUBLE DOWN: Doubling down is restricted to 2-card hands usually totalling
9, 10, or 11 although some casinos allow doubling down on any 2-card hand. If
your first two cards provide you with the appropriate total and your cards
were dealt face down, turn them over and put them on the dealer's side of the
betting square. If your first two cards provide you with the appropriate total
and your cards were dealt face up, point to them and say "double" when the
dealer prompts you for a card and simultaneously put an equal amount of chips
NEXT TO (not on top of) those already in the betting box. The dealer will give
you one more card only, then he/she will move on to the next hand.

SPLITTING PAIRS: If you have a pair that you want to split and your cards are
dealt face down, turn them over and place them a few inches apart. If your
cards were dealt face up, point to your cards and say "split" when the dealer
prompts you for a card. The original bet will go with one card and you will
have to place an equal amount of chips in the betting box near the other card.
You are now playing two hands, each as though they were regular hands with the
exception being that if you have just split two aces. In that case, you only
get one card which will hopefully be a 10. If it is a ten, that hand's total
is now 21 but the hand isn't considered a BlackJack. That is, you are paid 1:1
and not 1:1.5 as for a natural (BlackJack).

Combined example of above two plays: Say you are dealt two fives. You split
them (you dummy!). The next card is another 5 and you re-split them (you
chucklehead!!). Three hands have grown out of one AND you are now in for
three times your original bet. But wait. Say the next card is a six. So one
hand is a 5,6 which gives you eleven; another just has a 5 and the other hand
has a 5. You decide to double down on the first hand. You are dealt a 7 giving
18 which you stand on. Now a ten is dealt for the second hand and you decide
to stay at 15. The last hand is the lonely third 5, which is dealt a four for
a total of nine. You decide to double down and get an eight giving that hand a
total of 17. Shit you say, you started with a twenty dollar bet and now you
are in for a hundred! Better hope the dealer doesn't end up with a hand more
than 18 lest you lose a C-note. The moral of this example is to not get caught
up in the excitement and make rash decisions. However, there have been a
couple of times where Basic Strategy dictated that certain split and double
down plays should be made and I was very low on chips (and cash). Unless you
are *really* psychic, don't go against Basic Strategy! I didn't and usually
came out the better for it although I was really sweating the outcome of the
hand due to my low cash status. The reason it was stupid to split two fives is
that you are replacing a hand that is great for drawing on or doubling down
on, by what will probably be two shitty hands.

INSURANCE: This option comes into play when the dealer's up card is an Ace. At
this point all the players have two cards. The dealer does not check his/her
hole card before asking the players if they want insurance. The reason being
evident as the dealer can't give away the value of the hole card if the dealer
doesn't know what the hole card is. If a player wants insurance, half the
original amount bet is placed on the semicircle labeled "insurance" which is
printed on the table. If the dealer has a BlackJack the player wins the side
bet (the insurance bet) but loses the original bet, thus providing no net loss
or gain since insurance pays 2 to 1. If the dealer does not have a BlackJack,
the side bet is lost and the hand is played normally. If you are not counting
cards DO NOT TAKE INSURANCE! The proper Basic Strategy play is to decline. The
time to take insurance is when the number of non-tens to tens drops below a
2 to 1 margin since insurance pays 2 to 1. It's simple math check it yourself.

SURRENDER: This is a fairly obscure option that originated in Manila
(Philippines) in 1958 and isn't available in many casinos. There are two
versions, "early surrender" and "late surrender". Early surrender  allows
players to quit two-card hands after seeing the up card of the dealer. This
option provides the player an additional 0.62 percent favorable advantage
(significant) and therefore the obvious reason why many Atlantic City casinos
abandoned the option in 1982. Late surrender is the same as early except that
the player must wait until the dealer checks for a BlackJack. If the dealer
does not have a BlackJack then the player may surrender. The following table
was taken verbatim from [5] and is valid for games with 4+ decks. It details
the best strategy regarding late surrender as determined from intensive
computer simulation:

        TWO-CARD HAND           TOTAL           DEALER'S UP-CARD
        -------------           -----           ----------------
             9,7                 16                    ACE
             10,6 *              16 *                  ACE
             9,7 *               16 *                  10
             10,6 *              16 *                  10
             9,7 *               16 *                  10
             10,5 *              15 *                  10
             9,7                 16                     9
             10,5                16                     9

        "In a single-deck game, you would surrender only the above hands
         marked with an asterisk, as well as 7,7 against a dealer's 10
         up-card." [5]

Casino variations - Note that some casinos do not permit doubling down on
split pairs, and/or re-splitting pairs. These options provide the player with
a slight additional advantage.

Betting, Money Management, and the Psychology of Gambling:

   Let me begin this section with the following statement: SCARED MONEY RARELY
WINS. Most gambling books devote quite a bit of time to the psychology of
gambling and rightfully so. There is a fine line to responsible gambling. On
one hand you shouldn't bet money that you cannot afford to lose. On the other
hand, if you are betting with money you expect to lose, where is your
confidence? When I used to gamble, it was small time. I define small time as
bringing $250.00 of 'losable' money. I've lost that much in one night. I
didn't like it, but I still ate that week. One pitfall you can easily fall
into happens AFTER you lose. You scold yourself for losing money you could
have done something productive with. "DAMN, I could have bought a 200 MB hard
drive with that!#&!". You should think about these things BEFORE you play.

   Scared money is more in the mind than real. What I mean by that is even if
you gamble with your last $10.00 in the world, it is important to play as
though you have thousands of dollars in front of you. I don't mean piss the
ten bucks away. I mean that there are certain plays you should make according
to your chosen strategy which are the optimum mathematically. Don't make
changes to it out of fear. Fear is not your friend.

   The "risk of ruin" is the percent chance that you will lose your entire
bankroll. This percentage should not exceed 5% if you plan on playing multiple
sessions to make money. The risk of ruin is dependent on the sizes of your
bets during a session. The "Kelly Criterion" provides a zero percent risk of
ruin. The system requires that you bet according to the percent advantage you
have at any one time. For example, if you are counting cards and your
advantage for a certain hand is 2% then you may bet 2% of your total bankroll.
If your total is $1000. then you can bet $20. Note that if you won the hand
your bankroll is now $1020 and if your advantage dropped to 1.5%, taking .015
times 1020 (which will determine your next bet size) in your head isn't all
that easy. The literature provides more reasonable systems, but do yourself a
favor and stay away from "betting progressions". See Reference [16] (available
on the Internet) for more information regarding risk of ruin & optimal wagers.

   If you are gambling to make money, it is important to define how much cash
you can lose before quitting. This number is called the "stop-loss limit". My
stop-loss limit was my entire session bankroll which was $250 (50 betting
units of $5.00 or 25 betting units of $10.00). This concept is especially
important if you expect to play in the casinos for more than one session. Most
books recommend that your session bankroll be about a fifth of your trip
bankroll. Unfortunately, most people who have $500 in their wallet with a self
imposed stop-loss limit is $200 will violate that limit should they lose the
two hundred. Discipline is what separates the great players from the ordinary

   Obviously you don't want to put a limit on how much you want to win.
However, if you are keeping with a structured system there are certain limits
to what your minimum and maximum bets should be. I am not going to go into
that here though.

   In my gambling experience, there has been one non-scientific concept that
has proven itself over and over again. NEVER BUCK A TREND! If you have just
won three hands in a row, don't think that you are now 'due' for a loss and
drastically scale back your bet. If you are winning go with it. A good friend
of mine who was my 'gambling mentor' won $30,000 in a 24 hour period with a
$200 beginning bankroll. This was not accomplished by scaling back bets. By
the same token, if you see that the players at a certain table are losing
consistently, don't sit down at that table. One problem that I've seen is when
someone has won a lot and starts to lose. Mentally, they keep saying, "if I
lose another $100 I will stop". They lose the hundred and say "no, really, the
NEXT $100 I lose, I will stop", etc. When they go broke, that's when they stop.
Live by the following graph typically designated as The Quitting Curve and you
won't fall into that trap:

                    |             *                  <-+
                    |            *  *                  |   Loss
                 ^  |           *    *                 |   Limit
                 |  |          *      * <----QUIT!   <-+
                 |  |         *
                 W  |        *
                 i  |       *
                 n  |      *
                 n  |     *
                 i  |    *
                 n  |   *
                 g  |  *
                              Time ---------------->

   Determine your loss limit and stay with it. Obviously the loss limit will
change as you keep winning. Standard loss limits are 10 to 20 percent of the
current bankroll. Note that this philosophy is also used in stock market

Basic Strategy:

    If you only read one section of this file, and you don't already know what
Basic Strategy is, then this is the section you should read. Knowing Basic
Strategy is CRITICAL to you gaining an advantage over the house. The Basic
Strategy for a particular set of rules was developed by intensive computer
simulation which performed a complete combinatorial analysis. The computer
"played" tens of thousands of hands for each BlackJack situation possible and
statistically decided as to which play decision favored the player. The
following 3 charts should be duplicated or cut out from a hardcopy of this
file. You don't want to wave them around at a BlackJack table but its nice to
have them on hand in case you fail to recall some plays, at which time you can
run to the rest room to refresh your memory.

   I hope you don't think this is weird but I keep a copy of a certain Basic
Strategy chart in my wallet at ALL times...just in case. Just in case of what
you ask? Permit me to go off on a slight(?) tangent. The following story really
happened. In 1984 I was visiting LOD BBS co-sysop, Paul Muad'dib up in New York
City. After about a week we were very low on cash despite the Pay Phone
windfall mentioned in my Phrack Pro-Phile ;->. I contacted a friend of mine
who was working in New Jersey and he offered us a job for a couple of days. I
spent just about the last of my cash on bus fair for me and Paul figuring that
I would be getting more money soon. Some how, the destination was
miscommunicated and we ended up in Atlantic City, which was not the location of
the job. We were stuck. Our only recourse was to attempt to win some money to
get us back on track. First we needed a little more capital. Paul, being known
to physically impersonate phone company workers, and a Department of Motor
Vehicles computer technician among others, decided to impersonate a casino
employee so he could "look around". Look around he did, found a storage closet
with a portable cooler and a case of warm soda, not exactly a gold mine but
hey. He proceeded to walk that stuff right out of the casino. We commandeered
some ice and walked around the beach for an hour selling sodas. It wasn't all
that bad as scantily clad women seemed to be the ones buying them. To cut the
story short, Paul knew ESS but he didn't know BlackJack. He lost and we
resorted to calling up Sharp Razor, a fellow Legion member residing in NJ, who
gave us (or is it lent?) the cash to continue our journey. For the record, I
was fairly clueless about BlackJack at the time which really means that I
thought I knew how to play but really didn't because I didn't even know Basic
Strategy. The same goes for Paul. Had we had a chart on hand, we would at least
have made the correct plays.

   Here are the charts, memorize the one that is appropriate:

                    Las Vegas Single Deck Basic Strategy Table

                                Dealer's Up-Card
               Your  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+----+---+
               Hand  | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | A |
               |  8  | H | H | H | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               |  9  | D | D | D | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 10  | D | D | D | D | D | D | D | D |  H | H |
               | 11  | D | D | D | D | D | D | D | D |  D | D |
               | 12  | H | H | S | S | S | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 13  | S | S | S | S | S | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 14  | S | S | S | S | S | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 15  | S | S | S | S | S | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 16  | S | S | S | S | S | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 17  | S | S | S | S | S | S | S | S |  S | S |
               | A,2 | H | H | D | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | A,3 | H | H | D | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | A,4 | H | H | D | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | A,5 | H | H | D | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | A,6 | D | D | D | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | A,7 | S | D | D | D | D | S | S | H |  H | S |
               | A,8 | S | S | S | S | D | S | S | S |  S | S |
               | A,9 | S | S | S | S | S | S | S | S |  S | S |
               | A,A | P | P | P | P | P | P | P | P |  P | P |
               | 2,2 | H | P | P | P | P | P | H | H |  H | H |
               | 3,3 | H | H | P | P | P | P | H | H |  H | H |
               | 4,4 | H | H | H | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 6,6 | P | P | P | P | P | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 7,7 | P | P | P | P | P | P | H | H |  S | H |
               | 8,8 | P | P | P | P | P | P | P | P |  P | P |
               | 9,9 | P | P | P | P | P | S | P | P |  S | S |
               |10,10| S | S | S | S | S | S | S | S |  S | S |
               H = Hit  S = Stand   D = Double Down   P = Split

                  Las Vegas Multiple Deck Basic Strategy Table

                                Dealer's Up-Card
               Your  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+----+---+
               Hand  | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | A |
               |  8  | H | H | H | H | H | H | H | H |  H | H |
               |  9  | H | D | D | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 10  | D | D | D | D | D | D | D | D |  H | H |
               | 11  | D | D | D | D | D | D | D | D |  D | H |
               | 12  | H | H | S | S | S | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 13  | S | S | S | S | S | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 14  | S | S | S | S | S | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 15  | S | S | S | S | S | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 16  | S | S | S | S | S | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 17  | S | S | S | S | S | S | S | S |  S | S |
               | A,2 | H | H | H | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | A,3 | H | H | H | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | A,4 | H | H | D | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | A,5 | H | H | D | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | A,6 | H | D | D | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | A,7 | S | D | D | D | D | S | S | H |  H | H |
               | A,8 | S | S | S | S | S | S | S | S |  S | S |
               | A,9 | S | S | S | S | S | S | S | S |  S | S |
               | A,A | P | P | P | P | P | P | P | P |  P | P |
               | 2,2 | H | H | P | P | P | P | H | H |  H | H |
               | 3,3 | H | H | P | P | P | P | H | H |  H | H |
               | 4,4 | H | H | H | H | H | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 6,6 | H | P | P | P | P | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 7,7 | P | P | P | P | P | P | H | H |  H | H |
               | 8,8 | P | P | P | P | P | P | P | P |  P | P |
               | 9,9 | P | P | P | P | P | S | P | P |  S | S |
               |10,10| S | S | S | S | S | S | S | S |  S | S |
               H = Hit  S = Stand   D = Double Down   P = Split

                   Atlantic City Multiple Deck Basic Strategy Table

                                 Dealer's Up-Card
                Your +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+----+---+
                Hand | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | A |
               |  8  | H | H | H | H | H | H | H | H |  H | H |
               |  9  | H | D | D | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 10  | D | D | D | D | D | D | D | D |  H | H |
               | 11  | D | D | D | D | D | D | D | D |  D | H |
               | 12  | H | H | S | S | S | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 13  | S | S | S | S | S | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 14  | S | S | S | S | S | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 15  | S | S | S | S | S | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 16  | S | S | S | S | S | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 17  | S | S | S | S | S | S | S |  S | S | S |
               | A,2 | H | H | H | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | A,3 | H | H | H | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | A,4 | H | H | D | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | A,5 | H | H | D | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | A,6 | H | D | D | D | D | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | A,7 | S | D | D | D | D | S | S | H |  H | H |
               | A,8 | S | S | S | S | S | S | S | S |  S | S |
               | A,9 | S | S | S | S | S | S | S | S |  S | S |
               | A,A | P | P | P | P | P | P | P | P |  P | P |
               | 2,2 | P | P | P | P | P | P | H | H |  H | H |
               | 3,3 | P | P | P | P | P | P | H | H |  H | H |
               | 4,4 | H | H | H | P | P | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 6,6 | P | P | P | P | P | H | H | H |  H | H |
               | 7,7 | P | P | P | P | P | P | H | H |  H | H |
               | 8,8 | P | P | P | P | P | P | P | P |  P | P |
               | 9,9 | P | P | P | P | P | S | P | P |  S | S |
               |10,10| S | S | S | S | S | S | S | S |  S | S |
               H = Hit  S = Stand   D = Double Down   P = Split

                 End of "How To Hack BlackJack": File 1 of 2

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