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If you saw the movie 21, you probably thought it would be really great to be part of a blackjack team – partying in Vegas, hitting the casinos in Atlantic City, or maybe flying to Europe and getting in some play at Monte Carlo. And you’re right, it would be great. It would also be very expensive. Unless of course you know some experienced blackjack card counters and have the bucks to back them.

What’s an entrepreneur to do? Well first, you need to know everything there is to know about the game of blackjack. It’s not enough to understand when to hit or double down. You need to know how to play basic strategy perfectly. You need to know how to use a count system, preferably an Advanced Count, and you need to know how to avoid detection by using cover play, and then you can start thinking about being like the MIT blackjack team.

If you are up to the task, especially if you already know the game of blackjack, your other job is to find enough money to finance what is a gambling venture. Not many investors are going to be interested in risking their cash on a gamble, but then again, lots of people like some adventure, and if you can show them how card counting works you may get investors. Professional bankroll management is extremely important, and you’ll have to come to a workable agreement with your investors and your players. A starting number is usually a 50-50 split between investors and those who play, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.

You as the Trainer

You’ve decided to be the manager and you’ve learned a professional-level system like the Uston Advanced Point Count. Now you need to find a few players who can count also, or learn to count. There’s no other way to put it, but your teammates are going to have to be good with math. And, it makes sense to all use the same count system. Teaching new players isn’t as hard as you might think, but getting dedicated individuals who will train for free and then play for free while learning is tough.

The best way to train is start with the absolute basics like: this is a deck of cards, this is a dealing shoe, there are 312 cards in a six-deck shoe and you don’t need to memorize them, but you need to know when to hit, stand, double, split, take insurance and surrender. Explain the key aspects of the game from why players stand against a dealer’s 2-6 up-card (because you want the dealer to take the chance of busting), and why you split a pair of 8’s against a dealer up-card of 10 even though you’ll still lose more often than you win (because you’ll lose less by splitting that standing or hitting, which is a weird concept for new players to grasp).

Once your new charges have the basics of the game down pat by playing hundreds of hands with you, you need to teach Basic Strategy and deal thousands of hands before moving on to what card counting does: it tells you when the player has a tiny edge over the house so you can bet more than when the house has a tiny edge over the player when you should bet small or quit. Practice makes perfect, so keep at it. Use colored charts that show basic strategy, it’s easier for the brain to absorb.

Your investment in time will pay-off in money won, but only if you teach correctly and have enough patience. Teaching one player at a time is time consuming, but begin with just one anyway. If you never have more than a two-player team you’ll still make more money than you would alone! Unfortunately, you’re not done yet. You still have to teach a count system, but first, head down to the casino and let your trainee play minimum bet blackjack for a few hours. You can play too, but make sure you watch and help them stick to the rules of the game, hand signals, and see if they can follow basic strategy. If they can, great. If not, back to the blackjack table in the basement for more work.

Teaching the Count

Learning the simple Aces and Fives count goes quickly after a player knows basic strategy. Explain the system with a chart showing how to raise and lower wagers based on aces and/or fives remaining and start dealing hands again. Help with the betting system and let your trainee see how well the system works. Work it all day, then go to a real casino and start playing for real money, it’s time to have the odds in your favor.

You might want to choose a casino you might not play for larger stakes at in the future, but you’ll need to play live – and you’ll need to let your new counter go at it alone for a while. You’ll have to watch, but don’t correct at the table. Let ‘em go wild, for a while. If they make mistakes, remember what they were and work with them later. If they are doing alright, you can even go count on another table and perhaps the two of you can bolster your bankroll by a few Euros every-other night for a week. If things go right, move on to a more powerful count.

If your new counter can handle it, you can skip right to an advanced point count, but even moving to a Plus-Minus count will be good. You’ll go through the same process of teaching and practicing before giving the casino a go for real money. When you do, you’ll have to count-down the decks while watching or playing to make sure they are handling both the play and their wagers correctly. Don’t be surprised if they make several mistakes each shoe, that’s alright as long as they are improving.

Once they play nearly perfectly you can both play to your bankroll and see where it leads you, or possibly find a backer. Your potential financier will probably want a complete description of how to play, why card counting works, how much you can win at blackjack, and a successful night at the casino watching the two of you in action.

If you are going the Big Player route you’ll have to teach your counter how to signal you into the game and the count. You can figure that out easily if you’ve managed to learn a count yourself. Now that you have some counters you can actually make some money and all the hard work will pay off – depending on your choice of counters, Big Players, and your ability to manage the team. You did know that Managing a Professional Blackjack Team was a real art, right?



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