DrEntropy
Joined: Nov 13, 2009
• Posts: 198
August 1st, 2011 at 8:38:36 AM permalink
When friends come to Vegas, they often want to play blackjack, but won't take the time to learn basic strategy. After I finally get them to understand the concept (sometimes a task in itself!), I used to start them off with the simplified strategy stated here:

http://www.deepnettech.com/article3.html

Usually they could remember rules 1-4, so they ended up with a 1.0% house edge against the typical low limit rules (6D, H17, DAS, RSA, NS). The soft doubles and additional splits beyond Aces and 8's was too much for them. 1% is not so bad though, and they can usually get this down pretty good.

But then discovered the wizards strategy:
http://wizardofodds.com/blackjack

This definitely seems easier to learn, and CVData sims predict a house edge of 0.70% against the rules above. Pretty good, as full basic strategy does about 0.56%.

HOWEVER, my friends keep getting hung up on the soft 18 exception. Also, it is a bit odd to hit A7 vs a dealer 7, and the other ploppies might give you dirty looks. So I ran a sim with a slightly simpler rule for Soft 18: Always stand. Result:0.73%. Am I missing something here? If not I am going to start teaching them this slightly simpler version:)
"Mathematical expectation has nothing to do with results." (Sklansky, Theory of Poker).
DonPedro
Joined: Dec 15, 2010
• Posts: 260
August 1st, 2011 at 8:57:00 AM permalink
when I 1st started , I remembered soft 18 as the most complicated hand, because you have 3 options.

Stand vs 2,7,8

Double vs 3-6

Hit vs 9-A

Also you can goup hands together:

A/2-3 double vs 5/6

A/4-5 double vs 4-6

A/6-7 double vs 3-6

A/8 double vs 6

Same w/ splits and hard hands

I would suggest, they find the BS for the rules they will be playing, and study that before the trip .

Also review the LVBJS, so you will have a good idea of the game offered .
" If I had the money and the drinking capacity, I'd probably live at a blackjak table and let my life go to hell." Don Pedro
FleaStiff
Joined: Oct 19, 2009
• Posts: 10898
August 1st, 2011 at 10:24:22 AM permalink
Quote: DrEntropy

When friends come to Vegas, they often want to play blackjack, but won't take the time to learn basic strategy.

Even if they do learn it they won't remember it when they sit down to play much less after the first cocktail. Sometimes its just better to accept that your visiting friends will be playing at a higher house edge than you will be playing even though you are at the same table.
Paigowdan
Joined: Apr 28, 2010
• Posts: 5692
August 1st, 2011 at 11:58:36 AM permalink
A very simple and doable strategy for BJ is:
1. Against a dealer's 7 or better - hit 16 or lower, and soft 17, else stand.
2. Against a dealer's 6 or less, hit nothing that'll bust.
3. Split aces and 8's.
4. Double 10 or 11 against a 7 or less, else hit hit.
5. Double soft 14 to 17 against a dealer's 6 or less, else hit.

No table charts required. Not 100%, but 97%, and nothing looks or is really stupid.
This is what casino dealers answer whenever asked - "what does the BOOK say?"
It's a very decent coverage of basic strategy is 5 steps, and actually plays better than most BJ players.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
Wizard
Joined: Oct 14, 2009
• Posts: 16226
August 1st, 2011 at 12:51:05 PM permalink
Quote: DrEntropy

Result:0.73%. Am I missing something here? If not I am going to start teaching them this slightly simpler version:)

Good point. For the benefit of other readers, my Wizard's Simple Blackjack Strategy says to hit the soft doubles when doubling isn't allowed, except to stand on soft 18.

I show if we have the player stand on all soft 17s it costs the player 0.016% compared to the current simple strategy if the dealer stands on soft 17. However, if the dealer hits a soft 17 it goes up by 0.028%. Most recreational players are likely to find themselves playing against the H17 rule. If we just remove the exception, and have players hit a 3+ card soft 18 vs 2-6, the house edge goes up by only 0.006%. However, it seems terribly unnatural to hit soft 18 against a low card, and the player will surely get scolded, although the cost to the error is not much.

Perhaps what I should do is just reword what I have now, removing the word "exception," instead saying something like, "If you have a soft total, but may not double, then hit soft 17 or less, otherwise stand.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
DrEntropy
Joined: Nov 13, 2009
• Posts: 198
August 1st, 2011 at 1:08:26 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Perhaps what I should do is just reword what I have now, removing the word "exception," instead saying something like, "If you have a soft total, but may not double, then hit soft 17 or less, otherwise stand.

Would this be a slight change, i.e. standing on soft 18 vs. 7-A vs hitting? Or did I misread that? If so, it would be like adding separate line just for soft 18 that says to D/S vs 2-6, S vs 7-A, which is not really such a bad idea.

However, I am thinking telling my friends who find this too hard to start out by simply not doing any soft doubles, and then they can add them when they want.

EDIT NOTES: I edited to harmonize with the Wizards edits.
"Mathematical expectation has nothing to do with results." (Sklansky, Theory of Poker).
algle
Joined: Aug 12, 2010
• Posts: 82
August 1st, 2011 at 1:45:18 PM permalink
Rules, rules, and more rules!
This is supposed to be SIMPLIFIED basic strategy!
Those who can't or won't learn proper basic strategy are going to struggle with only five rules too.

Here is the ultimate simple blackjack strategy - ONE RULE BLACKJACK:

1. Assume every remaining card in the shoe is a ten, and play to win accordingly.
If nothing will change then I am nothing.
DJTeddyBear
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
• Posts: 9567
August 1st, 2011 at 1:56:30 PM permalink
Quote: algle

Here is the ultimate simple blackjack strategy - ONE RULE BLACKJACK:

1. Assume every remaining card in the shoe is a ten, and play to win accordingly.

You forgot to include: "And the dealer's hole card is also a ten."

It's SO basic, that it gets quickly abandoned for being wrong too often.

FYI: It's not "ultimate basic" but "absolute beginner's strategy."
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition.
DrEntropy
Joined: Nov 13, 2009
• Posts: 198
August 1st, 2011 at 5:49:07 PM permalink
Quote: DrEntropy

Would this be a slight change, i.e. standing on soft 18 vs. 7-A vs hitting? Or did I misread that? If so, it would be like adding separate line just for soft 18 that says to D/S vs 2-6, S vs 7-A, which is not really such a bad idea..

I ran some simulations with CVData, against 6D H17, DAS, RSA (pretty standard low limit rules) and find that the 'slight change' (always stand on soft 18, except when doubling) above had no measurable effect (0.693+-.006) on the results. It is a matter of debate whether it is simpler or not.

I also looked at dropping the soft doubles all together, and that yields 0.777+-.006, which is probably good enough for my friends to start with.

If you drop all splits except A's and 8's, it goes up to 0.944+-.006, which does go too far IMHO.
"Mathematical expectation has nothing to do with results." (Sklansky, Theory of Poker).
Wizard
Joined: Oct 14, 2009
• Posts: 16226
August 1st, 2011 at 7:36:31 PM permalink
Quote: algle

Here is the ultimate simple blackjack strategy - ONE RULE BLACKJACK:

1. Assume every remaining card in the shoe is a ten, and play to win accordingly.

For one thing, what do you do when the dealer is showing an ace? The dealer peeks and confirms no ten, so what do you assume?

That issue aside, it also calls for doubling any hand under 11 against a 2 to 6, because the dealer must bust. For example, doubling 4 against a 2. Maybe there is no better one sentence strategy, but I can't advocate it.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.