Switching Strategy in Blackjack

 Switching Strategy in Blackjack

Basic strategy players know there’s a best average play for every hand in blackjack. That’s what you’ll find in strategy charts online and in books.

But for card counters, there’s a grey area where sometimes the composition of the remaining deck dictates a strategy switch.

Les is a card counter who wrote to me to say he made one of those switches, and got an earful from another player.

“I was using a Hi-Lo count and got into a big positive count. I stood on 16 against a dealer’s 10, and this other player started in on me.

“He asked if I ever hit 16s against 10s, and I said sometimes. He said, ‘When isn’t it the right play? The book says to hit that hand.’

“I just let it go. I want the house to think I’m playing by gut and I don’t want to tell anyone I’m standing because the count says so.”

I sympathized. We’ve all encountered players who want to give unwanted advice. Les’ attempt to brush it off without explanation is how I try to handle the situation, and from there I try to ignore it as best I can.

There have been times I’ve tried to distract them by enlisting their help. I’ll ask, “What would you do with this hand?” If their advice is not what I want to do with the hand, I’ll say, “I suppose that might be best, but I’m not feeling it.” Then I’ll make the play I want to.

That makes it a game for me, and I relax and have a little fun with it instead of letting the would-be adviser bother me.

If the other player is particularly aggressive or abusing, I might change tables. But as you say, the count gave you good reason to stay at that time.


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