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Learning BJ for newbies:


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Hi Ellis,

Sorry if private messaging isn't the right protocol for these questions. I play baccarat only, but I want to start blackjack too. I notice that there are three options to purchase and was wondering on which one to start with. I understand how the game works, but I am totally new to blackjack. Do I need to know the basics first? What’s the learning curve like for the program(2)? I didn't know baccarat at first, but I learned NOR here quickly.

Thanks for your teaching in baccarat. I have had success with NOR. The only thing is that there are not enough tables and I am getting burnt out waiting around for games. Is blackjack just as successful or possibly even more than baccarat?

Thanks,

Zack

To answer your first question first, I believe we still have a 2 for 1 special going on in BJ. So your best option is to take advantage of this and go for both NBJ and Zero Proximity first.

I have had big wins in both games but the bigger and most consistent wins have been in BJ. For instance, I was able to play BJ full time in Atlantic City, the toughest BJ game in the world, for 3 years W/O a single losing day - a record that, I'm sure, still stands today. I did this by playing exactly what I teach in the BJ manuals.

The two games are vastly different:

In Bac, the player does't participate in the game itself. He just bets. And once the first card is dealt the die is cast for the whole shoe.

In BJ, every decision any player makes completely changes the shoe hence forth. All players actually participate in the game.

In the U.S. BJ is the most popular and therefore the most plentiful table game. In the rest of the world Bac is the more popular and therefore the most plentiful.

Since Bac is a 50/50 game the actual house odds against you are created by commission alone and are 1.25% of your buy in money regardless of what any casino or Bac teacher tells you.

In BJ the average house odds are 15% of your buy in money again regardless of what any casino or BJ instructor tells you.

In Bac there is little instruction available to you other than mine and what other instruction there is are actually good lessons on what NOT to do.

In BJ there are all kinds of books and internet instruction in what I call traditional card counting. Pay these no mind. The casinos completely destroyed any advantage of card counting 30 years ago with the introduction of the cut off card and multiple deck BJ rendering card counting instruction a complete scam.

Watch my lips: All of the card counting instruction put together has not produced a single BJ year end winner in 20 years. I played with their best player ever, Kenny Uston, God rest, many times in AC and outperformed him every time. He finally quit in disgust. Card counting movies are pure Hollywood B.S.

Just like Bac, what I teach you works and is the ONLY way the game can be beat consistently.

I was once challenged by five top card counters to play in A.C. I beat all 5 very handily and have never been challenged by card counters again. The proof is in actual casino games. They are far greater proof than all the rhetoric written. Rhetoric doesn't beat casinos. NBJ does!

Card counters try to play to a 0.5% supposed advantage but never seem to be able to do it. I play to a solid 15% advantage and actually do it. To me card counting is like playing for waitress change and not worth the effort.

I once challenged the Pit Boss at Gold Strike that I could not only beat every BJ table in his pit but also in every other pit. Then I proceeded to do exactly that. The last table, a $50 6 deck table, was the most challenging and took me almost an hour.

At my Taj 1 exhibition I won $10,000 in a half hour at a $100 table head to head W/O ever betting more than $200. I did Taj 2, two weeks later at the bequest of Jerry Patterson because he and his entourage had missed Taj 1. I did the exact same thing again, with an audience of 200 and with Nancy and Jerry Patterson looking over my shoulder every play. Card counters can't even think about doing that. In some 300 public BJ exhibitions, I never lost. Card counters claim I cheated. Ha.

So, am I bragging? No. The hardest part for you is to have total confidence in what I'm teaching you because it is totally different than what anyone else will teach you. The difference is that what I teach you works and has been proven time and time again and again at real tables in real casinos with real money. I teach you what actually happens in real games - not what is supposed to happen according to somebody's computer. To play for real the first thing you have to do is live in the real world - not some make believe world. So, are you still game?

E. Clifton Davis

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Oh I am game. I’ve downloaded and read over the manuals. I’ve also read through the forum posts non-stop.

This terminology is totally new to me and I want to make sure I get this correct before I continue on learning:

Zero Proximity is for counting with head to head/low number of players. Random is good. Correct?

NBJ is for hit and hole card recognizing with 4-5 players. Clumping is good. Correct?

I eventually want to learn both, but I would prefer to play head to head, since a lot of tables at my casino have no midshoe entry and they are always open. I don’t have experience in counting however. Is Zero Proximity still a good idea or would NBJ be better to start for a newbie? Given the same skill amount in each, which wins more consistently, do you think?

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Oh I am game. I’ve downloaded and read over the manuals. I’ve also read through the forum posts non-stop.

This terminology is totally new to me and I want to make sure I get this correct before I continue on learning:

Zero Proximity is for counting with head to head/low number of players. Random is good. Correct?

NBJ is for hit and hole card recognizing with 4-5 players. Clumping is good. Correct?

I eventually want to learn both, but I would prefer to play head to head, since a lot of tables at my casino have no midshoe entry and they are always open. I don’t have experience in counting however. Is Zero Proximity still a good idea or would NBJ be better to start for a newbie? Given the same skill amount in each, which wins more consistently, do you think?

Well, you are close:

O Prox is really a table selection process. It is telling you that the tables with counts closest to 0 (0 Proximity) are the best tables to play because the cards there are closest to random giving Basic Strategy its highest hit rate.

This is pretty much the opposite of card counting. Card counters are looking for high + counts because this means the remaining cards are rich in tens. This is true BUT they are ignoring the more important fact - the higher the count, the lower your Basic Strategy hit rate. Therefore card counters tend to select the hardest tables to beat. Recognize that when the remaining cards are ten rich, the dealer is just as likely to get those tens as you are - sometimes more likely.

You do not need to be an experienced counter. All we are doing with the count is identifying tables with random cars. THOSE are the tables we want to play because Basic Strategy produces its highest hit rate when the cards are random. But you can identify random cards the way I showed you below - highs following highs just as often as lows following highs. That works just as well as counting but is far easier to do especially if you have no counting experience.

NBJ is actually two different systems: For random cards, 3rd base with a 3 bet prog.

For clumped cards, 1st base with only a low bet and a high bet.

Clumping is never good! It's just that NBJ 1st base is the best way to play clumped cards when you must. - No random tables available. While NBJ 1st base takes advantage of clumping you are still better off with 3rd base at a random table.

In spite of the fact that most BJ books tell you to avoid new cards for 2 hours, new cards are the closest to random you will ever see and therefore the BEST tables to play. They are also the easiest to get a head to head game especially at the higher stakes tables. Head to head keeps the cards random. Head to head also eventually turns clumped cards into random. This makes head to head from 3rd base the best game in the casino. While you will eventually learn some neat NBJ plays, for now, Basic Strategy will do just fine in this game type.

Recognize that different pits open up with new cards at different times during the day. Therefore one of your favorite questions should be: "What time will this pit open?"

Blackjack is not about beating every table in the casino. It is about only playing the tables you can beat while avoiding the tables you can't.

Avoid: old cards and 5,6 and 7 player games.

Find: random cards with 4 or fewer players - the less the better.

BTW, 1 and 2 deck games tend to stay the closest to random and therfore are often the easiest to beat from 3rd base. This is because these cards are shuffled the most relative to the number of hands played.

The worst games are 6 and 8 deck with old cards and 6 or 7 players. Yet those are the tables most players play. Idiots! We are surrounded by idiots. They gravitate to the very tables that can't be beat. The casinos love those guys.

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Thanks for clearing that up. It makes more sense now.

I am going to use the table selection process when playing regardless. But hearing that head to head 3rd base is the best game in the casino is good to hear. There are many “no midshoe entry†games at my casino that are usually played head to head most of the night. I assume that this is a great sign that the cards should be random?

Also, about those continuous shuffler machines… there are some tables that don’t even have a shoe, they just put the cards in the machine and keep dealing continuously. Would they be random cards? I know I need to first qualify if the cards are random, but would this be a good sign to play 3rd base head to head/ few players if I could? Kind of makes me wonder why the casino would have them.

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Thanks for clearing that up. It makes more sense now.

I am going to use the table selection process when playing regardless. But hearing that head to head 3rd base is the best game in the casino is good to hear. There are many “no midshoe entry” games at my casino that are usually played head to head most of the night. I assume that this is a great sign that the cards should be random?

Also, about those continuous shuffler machines… there are some tables that don’t even have a shoe, they just put the cards in the machine and keep dealing continuously. Would they be random cards? I know I need to first qualify if the cards are random, but would this be a good sign to play 3rd base head to head/ few players if I could? Kind of makes me wonder why the casino would have them.

Be wary of the continuous shufflers. They duplicate hand shuffling. Don't believe the casino party line that the cards must be random because they are continuously shuffled. They still pick up the break cards first so the cards going into the machine are going in clumped when you have multiple players. The machine is designed to preserve clumping, not to dissipate it. OTHERWISE the casino wouldn't have continuous shufflers.

Use the high low process below to determine the degree of clumping of continuous shufflers. When you determine the cards are random then play the 3rd base NBJ system, head to head if possible.

But regardless of the shuffle used, what you DON'T want to see is Basic Strategy losing 3 hands in a row from 3rd base. Once in a great while is OK but once a shoe is getting too often and is your departure signal.

Recognize that at third base (last seat) your cards are most like the dealer's because each of her cards are dealt immediately after each of your cards. This makes you highly likely to swap wins with the dealer. THAT is what you want. You aren't trying to win every hand. You are trying to win every other hand, hence the 1 4 6 progression.

Winning 2 or several hands in a row presents somewhat of a delimma. Your winning hands have gotten out of sequence. When this happens, and it surely will, you are best, when you finally lose, to back off of your 4 bet and just bet 2 until your every other hand sequence returns - tricks of the trade.

Never be tempted to bet up as you win in BJ. BJ is definitely NOT the right game for this. Be completely satisfied with winning every other bet. Once you progress up to the 146 you make more money winning half the hands than you would winning all the hands - as strange as that may seem.

While overall, Basic Strategy only has a 43% hit rate, your hit rate is highest at 3rd base with random cards and often exceeds 50%. THAT is why you are betting a 3 bet progression but NEVER more than 3 bets.

Counters say that progressive betting is too risky for BJ and they are RIGHT for the way they play. But they know nothing of third base or random or clumped cards. Once you know and understand when to do it, progressive betting is by far, the best way to go but ONLY from 3rd base with random cards.

BTW, I've gone for as long as 10 hours straight W/O losing 3 hands in a row playing this way. I only won about half the hands but I killed the casino and all the other players attempting to get in that game lost because they simply didn't know how to play it. That was a lot of hands because it was 8 deck and I play faster than anyone you ever saw. I litterally train the dealer to play at my speed. But the faster you play, the longer you can remember the cards. THAT is where you are striving to get to.

And BTW#2: We LIKE the no mid shoe entry rule. It helps our method of play. With this rule no one can interrupt your head to head shoe. New players getting in mid shoe can really foul things up. I often get out when this happens and leave them to their own devices. They'll be gone usually within a shoe or two and I can come back. More tricks of the trade.

Eventually you get to the point where the casino KNOWS you are going to beat them but there isn't a damn thing they can do about it. Which reminds me, watch out for ringer dealers. Remember, the casino is trying their damnest to beat you. It's their job!

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It’s pretty easy to find head to head games (usually quarters) where I play. What if the tables are just empty and nobody is playing? I won’t be able to count the high lows coming out to determine the randomness. Let’s say it’s an early weekday afternoon at a no midshoe entry table. Should I just play anyway with a 112 3rd base progression and just see?

Should I always start with a 112 progression and raise it no matter what? I have an 8 deck shoe with random cards and have been practicing basic strategy to get my feet wet. I’m just not sure when to change the progressions… it’s hard to tell sometimes how well or not well I’m doing with a 112. I guess when you’re breaking even, that’s actually a good sign to move forward? If I’m not losing 3 in a row, then move forward? When I start off the bat with 146 it works pretty darn well. Would you ever recommend starting at 146 in the casino if I know the cards are random? I must admit, I’m a little nervous with a 146 with real money… but I know that’s what makes the money and should be used when conditions are good… and I am gaining confidence with this :-)

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It’s pretty easy to find head to head games (usually quarters) where I play. What if the tables are just empty and nobody is playing? I won’t be able to count the high lows coming out to determine the randomness. Let’s say it’s an early weekday afternoon at a no midshoe entry table. Should I just play anyway with a 112 3rd base progression and just see?

Should I always start with a 112 progression and raise it no matter what? I have an 8 deck shoe with random cards and have been practicing basic strategy to get my feet wet. I’m just not sure when to change the progressions… it’s hard to tell sometimes how well or not well I’m doing with a 112. I guess when you’re breaking even, that’s actually a good sign to move forward? If I’m not losing 3 in a row, then move forward? When I start off the bat with 146 it works pretty darn well. Would you ever recommend starting at 146 in the casino if I know the cards are random? I must admit, I’m a little nervous with a 146 with real money… but I know that’s what makes the money and should be used when conditions are good… and I am gaining confidence with this :-)

I'm very impressed with your grasp so soon because you are asking exactly the right questions.

No, don't start with a 146 no matter how good a table might seem from the isle. As you said, start with a 112 or 123 test the water progression. If all goes well, QUICKLY move up to a 134 and then 146 as soon as you see you are not losing 3 hands in a row.

See, the fact of you getting in the game changes the player number. This nearly always changes the game, sometimes for the better sometimes for the worse.

When we sit down to a table we ALWAYS go through a quick test the water routine. Either of 2 things can happen. Either we successfully graduate up to the 146 or we are out of there. The ONLY criteria for departure is losing 3 hands in a row right up front. If we can avoid that we automatically win.

Always start with 12 chips and NEVER buy in at that same table again. NEVER. If you lose the 12 you are out of there and sometimes even before that. Your first objective is to make the 2nd pile of 12. Sometimes this is quick and easy and sometimes it isn't. But if you are struggling to make your second pile, leave. There are always better tables.

It isn't about challenging the casino. It is about taking advantage of their weaknesses.

Right, You can't study the card fall at tables that are not in play. Yet head to head tables are the best. Somewhat of a paradox. Test the water. Not all new games are good but usually new cards are the best cards you'll see all day.

Sometimes, in fact frequently, dead tables are dead because everyone left because no one could win because the cards are over clumped. Sure, head to head play will unclump the cards - eventually. BUT, is that the best opportunity in the casino? Sometimes it is, depending on the time of day, but often there are better opportunities and often in some back corner of the casino.

But, if you stick to only the tables you can beat, you win.

Always ask yourself this question: What is the best use of my time right now? Sometimes the answer is go eat or go sleep. The WRONG answer is play anyway. We NEVER play for the sake of playing. That is what amateurs do. WE ONLY play to win!

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I was reading over the practice section in the NBJ manual and noticed this: "Do not play head to head unless you plan to play it in the casinos. That is a different game altogether. Head to head play will be one of our continued education topics."

Is the continued education covered in the third base section of the manual? Or is there more info on it in other manuals or on the forum, etc.?

I would love to read as much information on it as possible... but I don't want to jump the gun and get ahead of myself before I learn the fundamentals. Do you recommend learning third base first and applying it to head to head games to get proficient... and then move up to more advanced continued education?

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I was reading over the practice section in the NBJ manual and noticed this: "Do not play head to head unless you plan to play it in the casinos. That is a different game altogether. Head to head play will be one of our continued education topics."

Is the continued education covered in the third base section of the manual? Or is there more info on it in other manuals or on the forum, etc.?

I would love to read as much information on it as possible... but I don't want to jump the gun and get ahead of myself before I learn the fundamentals. Do you recommend learning third base first and applying it to head to head games to get proficient... and then move up to more advanced continued education?

You are missing the point. That is my fault because of poor wording. My point was practice the game you plan to play as much as possible. Some new players are too intimidated to start with head to head. What I was trying to say is don't practice only head to head unless you plan to play only head to head. Practice with differing numbers of players. In other words, duplicate casino conditions as much as possible. With 4 players you are seeing a lot of cards. Head to head you must make your decision from only 3 cards on the table. Therefore you must remember the prior hand(s) to know what is running. But with practice you will find that this is not as hard as it sounds.

Practice, practice, practice. You want to get to the point that you are virtually playing by rote. This is especially true with head to head. The faster you can play, the more cards you remember. The vision of the cards stays in your head even after they are picked up.

Your continued education is this forum.

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That’s what I initially thought, but second guessed myself. Ok I totally understand now. Thanks for clearing that up and for your ongoing support, Ellis. I hope that was my last “newbie†question. I think I should be ok to really start diving into this now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The information is good . Any newbie can understand what is blackjack and he can start playing easily. It was very interesting game which is more popular all over the world. This game is available also in the internet in many websites so that anyone can play in the online with more comfort and convenience.

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The information is good . Any newbie can understand what is blackjack and he can start playing easily. It was very interesting game which is more popular all over the world. This game is available also in the internet in many websites so that anyone can play in the online with more comfort and convenience.

I had a thought you all might find interesting. Unlike Baccarat, in BJ the more random the cards are the better your Basic Strategy hit rate. Some on line casinos use random generators to deal the cards. There is a simple way to play random cards that virtually can't lose in a casino. I wonder if this might also give us an advantage over a random generator on line??? Wouldn't it be neat if we could all make money sitting at home drinking beer!

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