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Introduction
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Games you Can Play
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Imperfect Deck
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Draw Poker
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Draw Poker
General Rules of Poker
Stander Hand Rank of Poker
Basic Draw Poker Rule
Draw Poker Variation
Low and High-Low Variation
Spit Card Variants Poker
Miscellaneous Draw Poker Variants

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Stud Poker
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Stud Poker
Five Card Stud Variation
Miscellaneous Stud Poker Variants
General Poker strategy
Possible Poker Hands
Paring your Hole Card

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Rummy Games
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Rummy Games
Six Seven Card Straight
PIF-PAF
Six Seven Card Knock Rummy
Coon Can
Five Hundred Rummy
Continental Rummy
Fortune Rummy
Kalooki (CALOOCHI)
PAN

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Gin Rummy =================

Gin Rummy
Standard Hollywood Gin Rummy
Jersey Gin

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Canasta
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Canasta
Variation of Canasta
Typical Four-Handed Score Sheet

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Bridge: Contract and Auction =================
Contract and Auction
Contract Bridge Scoring Table
Bridge Poker
Minimum Biddable Suits
CONVENTIONAL LEADS
CHANCES OF VARIOUS SUIT
The Laws of Progressive Contract Bridge
The Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge
Auction bridge

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Cribbage and How it is Played
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Cribbage how to Play
Strategy at Cribbage

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Casino
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Casino
Strategy at Casino

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Children and Family Card Games
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Family Card Games
Old Maid
Animals or menagerie
TWENTY –ONE

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Miscellaneous Card Games
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Miscellaneous Card Games
Briscola
Primiera
Scotch whist
Lift smoke
Preference
Grand
Crazy eights

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Solitaire and Patience Games =================

Solitaire and Patience Games
Single-deck solitaire
Decade
Auld Lang Syne
Klondike
Four Seasons
Beleaguered Castle
Trefoil
Poker Solitaire
Two-deck solitaire
Tournament
Multiple solitaires

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Chess, Checkers, and Teeko
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Chess
Checkers
Teeko
Standard Teeko Strategy
Start Teeko Game
Standard Checkers Law

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Parlor Games for All
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Parlor Games
Twenty Questions

Black Jack Strategy

In the following pages I shall show you exactly where the house extracts its advantage, and how you can shave that percentage to a minimum. But, more important, if you adhere to my poker strategy, you will certainly improve your game, and become as Black Jack sharp as most professional gamblers in Las Vegas or, for that matter, anywhere else in the world.
In Black Jack, the house advantage is the result of the dealer playing last. When you bust by going over the mathematical deadline of 21, the dealer doesn’t bother to wait to play his hand. He rakes in your bet; and, as far as you are concerned, the transaction is closed. You are through. All you can do is sit around and wait until the hand is completed and a new deal takes place. This is the crux of the hidden percentage that works in the house’s favor; this is the real reason why gambling-house operators get richer and players get poorer. However, this isn’t as unfair as it may appear, because the dealer has five disadvantages going against him. These disadvantages will help to reduce the dealer’s advantage of playing last-providing the player knows what to do at the proper time.

  1. Despite the fact that the dealer sees the player’s hand (and knows the player is standing with a count of 12, 13, 14, or 15) and he holds a 16 count, he (the dealer) must hit.  On the other hand, if the player holds a count : of 18, 19, 20, or 21, and the dealer has a count of 17, he must stand.
  2. The player is paid off at 3 to 2 odds on t a black jack (or natural). This happens about once in 21 deals. The dealer, therefore, pays S out one additional unit as a bonus every 42 deals for a player advantage of 2.37 percent. (The standoff that occurs when both dealer and player hold a natural 21 happens once in 441 deals. It affects the percentage figure so very little that we can forget about it.)
  3. The player may call double down and double the amount of his original bet in favorable circumstances.
  4. The player may split a pair and double the amount of his bet by playing two hands instead of one in favorable circumstances.
  5. The player sees one of the dealer’s cards (the upcard) and may use this information in deciding how to play his hand. This, combined with the dealer’s predetermined rules of drawing to 16 or less and standing on 17 or more, is going to figure prominently in the strategy I have outlined in the following pages.

To set the record straight, I repeat what I first claimed in Scarne’s Complete Guide to Gambling in 1961 and what is now accepted as fact, namely: The dealer’s bust advantage is 8.27 percent when the player adheres to the dealer’s fixed strategy by hitting a count of 16 or less. Then, by subtracting a player’s 2.37 percent advantage when paid 3 to 2 odds when holding a natural, the dealer’s advantage comes to 5.90 percent. The author was also first to calculate the dealer’s advantage at 8.72 percent when the player refuses to hit a possible bust count and stands on a count of 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16. Subtracting the player’s bonus of 2.37 percent for a natural black jack, the dealer’s advantage is 6.35 percent. These results have been proven to be correct over the years; without this information, any mathematical analysis of the game of Black Jack would be meaningless. The player can cut down the bank’s overall edge of 5.90 per- cent or 6.35 percent considerably if he follows the Scarne Black Jack strategy that follows. The bank’s edge is cut:

  1. About 21/2 percent for proper hitting or standing on both “hard” and “soft” hands.
  2. About 2 1/2 percent for proper doubling down when the casino permits a double down on any two cards. About 1/4 percent for proper doubling down when the casino permits a double down on a count of 9, 10 or 11; the same holds true for doubling down when the casino permits a double down only on 11.
  3. About 1/2 percent for proper splitting of pairs.

To emphasize, these figures apply only when the Scarne strategy is used intelligently. All the mathematical analysis contained in this chapter is based on the use of a single 52- card deck. However, I would like to point out that the bank’s favorable single-deck advantage of 5.90 percent or 6.35 percent increases to a mere 6.00 percent or 6.45 percent when four decks are in use. The Scarne strategy as depicted in this text equally applies to single- deck and double-deck Black Jack. However, my strategy does not guarantee that you will win-it simply cuts down the bank’s percent- age to its lowest possible level and gives you a better opportunity to win than any other method of Black Jack play, including those of the many so-called computerized systems making the rounds.

Scarne’s Basic Strategy for Black Jack
Hitting and Standing on Hard Counts
  1. Always stand on a count of 17 or more.
  2. Always draw to a count of 2 to 11.
  3. When the dealer’s upcard is a 5-spot or 6-spot, the player should stand on a count of 12 or more, draw to a count of 11 or lower.
  4. When the dealer’s upcard is a 2-, 3-, or 4-spot, the player should stand on a count of 13 or more, draw to a count of 12 or lower.
  5. When the dealer’s upcard is an ace or 10-count card, the player should stand on a count of 16 or more, draw to a count of 15 or lower.
  6. When the dealer’s upcard is a 7-, 8-, or 9-spot, the player should hit a count of 16 or  less.

Soft-Hard Strategy. When a player holds a hand that contains an ace, there are some- times two possible counts, neither of which exceeds 21. A hand containing an ace and a six may have a count, or value, of either 7 or 17, because an ace can be valued as either 1 or 11. This ambiguous type of hand is known to Black Jack dealers as a soft count or as a two-way hand. Playing it correctly requires special strategic considerations, as follows:

  1. When the dealer’s upcard is an eight, nine, ten, or ace, the player should stand on a soft count of 19 or higher, and draw to a soft count of 18 or lower.
  2. When the dealer’s upcard is a two, three, four, five, six, or seven, the player should stand only on a soft count of 18 or higher, and draw to a soft count of 17 or lower.

Note that the holder of a soft hand should never stand ‘until his total count is at least 18. He should continue to draw to his oft count, and stand as indicated above. If, when the player draws one or more cards, his soft count exceeds 21 (this occurs often, since a high soft count is being hit), the player should revert to the standard hard count hit-and-stand strategy, because he no longer holds a soft hand.  Example: The dealer’s upcard is a 6-spot; the player hits a soft 14 and draws a 9-spot. His total count is now 1.   If he counts the ace as 11, he has a count of 23. The hand is no longer soft, so the player reverts to his standard strategy, and stands on 13.
Soft hands are advantageous to the player because, if he uses the right strategy, he gets two chances: First, he tries for a high count by hitting a soft count; and if that fails, he reverts to the standard hard count hit-and- stand poker strategy.

Splitting Pairs

  1. Always split aces, even when the casino rules permit only a one-card draw to a split ace.
  2. Never split fours, fives, sixes, or tens.
  3. Always spilt eights unless the dealer’s upcard is a nine or ten.
  4. Split sevens when the dealer’s upcard is a two, three, four, five, six, seven, or eight.
  5. Never split nines when the dealer’s upcard is a seven, ten, or ace.
  6. Always split twos and threes when the dealer’s upcard is an eight, nine, ten or ace.

Doubling Down

  1. Always double down on a count of 11, no matter what the value of the dealer’s up- card is.
  2. Double down on a count of 10 when the dealer’s upcard is anything but an ace or 10-count.
  3. Double down on a count of nine when the dealer’s upcard is a two, three, four, five, or six.
  4. Double down on a soft 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, or 17, when the dealer’s upcard is a six.  The strategy rules shown above take into consideration all the Black Jack bets permitted in all the casinos the world over. However, rarely will you find a casino in which you can put into play all strategy rules described above. Example: Casinos in Puerto Rico permit a double down on 11 only. Casinos in Curaao, Aruba, and St. Maarten permit a double down on 10 and 11 only. Most casinos in Nevada permit a double down on any two cards. And so it goes, from country to country. However, the hit-and-stand strategy rules on both the hard and soft counts are usable in all casinos, and will be of greater help in cutting down the house’s advantage than all the other strategies. combined. So, memorize them first.

Insurance Betting. As previously mentioned, some casinos allow players to make a , so-called insurance bet against losing to a natural whenever the dealer shows an ace as his upcard. Since the insurance bet pays off at 2 to 1 odds, the player must win one-third of the time to get a dead-even proposition. If the dealer’s upcard is an ace, and you have no knowledge of any other cards, then the dealer’s down card may be considered drawn at random from 51 cards that remain unseen. But under such conditions the 51-card deck contains 16-10 count cards, and the player can win this bet only when the dealer has a la-count card in the hole. In the long run he will win only 16 of his bets, losing 35. Since insurance bets are paid off at 2 to 1, or 32 to 16, against an expectation of 35 to 16, the ‘I’ player is shorted 3/51, or approximately 6 percent; or, to be exact, 5  15/17 percent.

Most gamblers unwisely insist on buying insurance whenever they hold black jack on the grounds that they want to be sure of a win. The odds are 34 to 15 that the dealer doesn’t have a natural, and you will not collect the 2 to 1 insurance bet. Your ex- pectation is minus 4/49, for a house edge of about 8 percent. The casual card caser (counter) can use the insurance bet advantageously if he has kept track of the 10-count cards dealt in previous hands. For example, suppose half the deck (26 cards) has been dealt and the card caser recalls that only three 10-count cards have been dealt. If an insurance bet could be made on the next deal, it would be wise to take out insurance. Under these circumstances the player will win 13/26, or 50 percent, of his bets. Since the bank pays insurance bets off at 2 to 1, the player has an edge of 33 1/3 percent over the bank on this bet.
For the above reason, banks permit play poker players to bet only half the amount of their initial wager when making an insurance bet, and for the same reason several small casinos no longer permit any insurance bets. But don’t think for a moment that card casing and the memorizing of previously dealt cards will put the Black Jack percentages in your favor- .not with the present-day method of dealing t casino Black Jack. I have known only six  professional gamblers in my entire gambling -history who ever beat the game of Black Jack by putting the percentages in their favor through “card casing,” or, as it is more commonly known, “counting down the deck.” I was the first person to beat the game with a countdown, and the first to be barred from playing Black Jack in Las Vegas, back in 1947.

  I was barred because I told Benjamin (Bugsy) Siegal, builder of the swank Flamingo Hotel Casino, that I could beat the game with a countdown.  He challenged me to prove it.  I did, by beating every casino on the Las Vegas Strip.  The result – I was barred from the casino Black Jack tables throughout Nevada and the rest of the country.
Though card casing, or counting down the deck, has been a lost gimmick since 1963, now and then you’ll spot a Johnny Come Lately trying it on some casino boss.  If the boss doesn’t know his business, the card caser may get away with it.  The machinations of a modern-day card caser stand out like a bright light in a moonless night.  First, he seeks a casino that deals single-deck, then he takes a vacant Black Jack table for himself.  Then his confederate, who is a partial card caser, takes his position beside him – sometimes the caser makes use of two confederates.  At the beginning spaces.  This type of betting continues until near the end of each deal, when a whispered consultation takes place between the card caser and his assistants.  If they agree that the remaining undealt cards appear disadvantageous to the house, they increase the size of their bets to the maximum house limit.  A smart house man counters this Black Jack chicanery by reshuffling the entire deck, including the undealt cards.  The card caser complains a bit, calls off his bets, exits from the casino, and shops around seeking a casino whose boss is stupid enough to stand for such card caser.  Most of these casers haven’t got a dime.  Therefore my advice is: Don’t try to be a card caser.

However, I should like to emphasize an important practice to follow at the Black Jack tables: When your luck is running good, and you’re winning money, by to win as much as possible in the shortest space of time.  However, if your luck is running bad, decrease the size of your bets.  Better yet, seek the nearest exit.

Protection Against Black Jack Cheats.  More cheating takes place at the Black Jack tables than in any other  casino banking game because Black Jack offers more opportunities for cheating.  Many complaints about cheating usually come from players, but very often it is the casino operators themselves who have been cheated.  Actually, casino operators lose millions of dollars annually by crooked Black Jack dealer tipping off (signaling ) their facedown or hole card to player cheats (when the dealer’s upcard is an ace or ten).  I don’t intend to explain all the cheating methods used to beat the o9perators because I don’t want to aid and abet the Black Jack cheats.  But because I I am interested in protecting the public, I will explain how some dishonest casinos fleece the honest player.  The most common cheating method used in crooked casinos when making use of four decks (208 cards) is to remove a number of 10 count cards and to replace them with 5- count cards.  Because the dealer must hit a count of 16, the substitution of fives for tens avoids many a normal dealer bust and sup- plants these with additional dealer twenty- ones. To protect yourself against such cheating subterfuges, count the 5-counts and 10- counts as the hands are played. If you count less than sixty-four 10-count cards or more than sixteen 5-count cards-seek the nearest exit. For your own safety, don’t make a scene. A thief caught red-handed is always a dangerous thief.

More cheating takes place when the game is dealt single-deck from the hand than in any other phase of the game. For additional in- formation on card cheating, see Protection Against Card Cheating. The best assurance you can have that the game is honest is to see that the players’ cards are dealt face up, out of a shoe (card box) containing four decks, instead of one or two decks being dealt from the hand.

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Cheating at Blackjack.  Scarne demonstrates (left) now a dishonest dealer can, under cover of looking at his hole card, get a peek at the top card of the deck held in his left hand.  if the top card is one the dealer wants to retain, he deals the second card instead (right), but you can’t stop the action as the photographer did here; the move is undetectable when it is fast and smooth.

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Hole-card switch.  Cheat looks at the his hole card (left) as right hand approaches with ace palmed.  Ace slides in under king (center), and is left on table (right) as right hand goes away with the king palmed.  The whole action takes only a second or two.

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AMERICAN WHIST =================

AMERICAN WHIST
BID WHIST
VINT
BOSTON
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Pinochle Many Variations
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Pinochle Many Variations
Two-Handed Pinochle
Two-Handed Doubling Redoubling
Auction pinochle
Strategy at Auction
CAD found
Partnership Auction
Auction pinochle without wido Individual play
Partnership Aeroplane Pinochle
Radio Partnership Pinochle

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Other Members of the Bezique Family

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The Bezique Family
Rubicon bezique
Two-handed sixty-six
Two-handed piquet
Imperial
Jass
Boo-Ray or BOURÉ

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The Big Euchre Family
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The big euchre family
Strategy of euchre
Auction euchre
Table of scoring points
Napoleon
Spoil five
Double hasenpfeffer
Ecarte
Three-card loo
Schafkopf

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The Heart Group
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Heart Group
Spot Hearts
Black Widow Hearts

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The All-Fours Group
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All-Fours Group
Shasta Sam
Auction Pitch Joker
Razzle-Dazzle

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Banking Card Games
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Banking Card Games
Black Jack, Casino Style
Black Jack Strategy
Pontoon
CHEMIN DE FER
CHEMIN DE PER must play
Baccarat Banque
Faro or farobank
ZIGINETTE
CHINESE FAN-TAN
Banker and broker
Red Dogs


Card craps
Lottery
TRENTE ET QUARANTE

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The Stops Games
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Stops Game
SNIP-SNAP-;SNOREM
ENFLE
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Skarney® and How It Is Played
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Skarney® and How It Is Played
Alternate Skarney
Skarney Singles
SKARNEY GIN ®
Skarney Gin Doubles

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Cheating at Card Games
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Cheating at Card Games
Professional Card Cheats
Nullifying the Cut
The Peek
How to Shuffle Cards

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Dice and their Many Games
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Dice and their Many Games
The Casino Game: Bank Craps
THE CASINO’S LPERCENTAGE OF BANK CRAPS BETS
SCARNE’S RULES FOR OTHER DICE GAMES
English Hazard
Hooligan
General
Double Cameroon
Partnership Straight scarney Dice
Scarney Duplicate Jackpots
Scarney Chemin de Fer

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Games Requiring Special Equipment
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Backgammon
Parcheesi
Hasami Shogi
Scarney
Follow The Arrow
Roulette

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Lottery and Guessing Games
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Lottery guessing game
Tossing Game
Race Horse Keno
Moko
The Match Game

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Glossary of Game Terms
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glossary
glossary1
glossary2
glossary3

 

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