This section contains helpful hints for playing Dr. Black Jack successfully. It is appropriate that Dr. Black Jack uses a computer to teach you his basic strategy and counting strategy, because computers have a long history with blackjack.
Dr. Black Jack's Basic Strategy
Don't worry about memorizing all the card-specific rules listed below. By choosing Learn Basic Strategy from the Options menu, Dr. Black Jack is at your side, reminding you of his rules and telling you what to do.
Dr. Black Jack gives his advice based on whether your hand is hard or soft. Notice that the advice for a hard hand is more conservative than it is for a soft hand. This is logical because a hard hand isn't flexible, while a soft hand is (you have the flexibility of counting the ace as a 1 instead of an 11 if you draw too high a card on your hit, and are less likely to bust).
Let's take a closer look at Dr. Black Jack's basic strategies for playing with four decks. When playing with other than four decks, Dr. Black Jack alters his basic strategy.
Stay with the following hands
- 17 or higher vs. Dealer 7 or higher
- 12 or higher vs. Dealer 4-6
- 13 or higher vs. Dealer 2-3
- 19 or higher vs. Any dealer card
- 18 or higher vs. Dealer 2-8
Hit with the following hands
- 16 or lower vs. Dealer 7 or higher
- 12 or lower vs. Dealer 2-3
- 11 or lower vs. Dealer 4-6
- 18 or lower vs. Dealer 9 or higher
- 17 or lower vs. Any dealer card
Double down with the following hands
- 11 vs. Dealer 10 or lower
- 10 vs. Dealer 9 or lower
- 9 vs. Dealer 3-6
- 13-18 vs. Dealer 5-6
- 15-18 vs. Dealer 4
- 17-18 vs. Dealer 3
Split with the following hands
- Aces or 8s vs. any Dealer card
- 9s vs. Dealer 9, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
- 7s vs. Dealer 7 or lower
- 6s vs. Dealer 3-6
- 3s or 2s vs. Dealer 4-7
Dr. Black Jack's Counting Strategy
Here's how Dr. Black Jack counts cards:
Upon shuffling the deck, the count is zero.
- Each time a three, four, five, or six card is played, increase your count by one.
- Each time a ten or face card is played, decrease your count by one.
- Don't count the two, seven, eight, and nine cards as they are considered neutral.
The logical base for the counting system is the more low cards played, the higher the positive count. So, a positive count means that low cards have been played out of the deck, leaving high-ranked cards remaining in the deck. Conversely, a negative count indicates that more high-ranked cards have been played out of the deck, leaving low-ranked cards remaining in the deck. A lot of 10 value cards remaining favors the player, primarily because the dealer must hit on 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and is more likely to bust.
Card counters use the positive or negative count of the deck, along with basic strategy, to guide them in placing bets.
The Count and True Count Windows
Dr. Black Jack makes it easy for you. He counts and shows the current tally in the Count window. The count is only updated between hands. Next to the Count window is the True Count window. The true count is determined by dividing the count by the number of decks left to play. For example, if there are three decks left, a count of -3 would show in the True Count window as a -1. As you become more confident, you can choose Show Count from the Options menu to turn off the Count and True Count windows. But even when they are turned off, the doctor is counting in the background.
Dr. Black Jack's Rules for Avoiding Detection
Once you've learned how to count, you might want to place some bets based on the positive and negative state of the cards. But before Dr. Black Jack entrusts you with his five-point strategy for placing bets, he wants to underscore the importance of not getting caught counting. If you do, you will be escorted out of the casino. Here are Dr. Black Jack's rules for avoiding detection.
- Bet only in units of 10, 20, and 40 (whether the units are bottle caps or casino chips). You don't want to go from a $10 hand to a $200 hand and then back to a $10 hand. Patterns like that are noticed by everyone.
- Raise and lower bets in sequential units. If you are at 10, and want to increase your bet on a positive count, raise it first to 20. Never go directly from 10 to 40. The same is true when decreasing your betting position.
- Shift positions slowly. For example, if the count has turned negative, but you just won the last hand, don't reduce your bet until you lose a hand. Dealers and pit bosses are used to seeing suckers believe they are launching themselves onto a winning streak. Only counters and other intelligent players, hunker back after a win.
Dr. Black Jack's Five-Point Strategy for Betting on the Count
- If the true count is positive and you just won, increase your 10 or 20 unit bet. Remember to increase sequentially. Never jump from a 10 unit bet to a 40.
- If the true count is positive and you just lost, increase your 10 unit bet. A modest increase after a loss will blend in with what suckers do to recoup their losses.
- If the true count is positive and you just lost, leave your 20 or 40 unit bet unchanged. Increasing a bet after a loss is a tip-off to the dealer that you are counting.
- If the true count is negative and you just won, leave your 20 or 40 unit bet unchanged. Remember that retreating after a win might give you away as a counter.
- If the true count is negative and you just lost, decrease your bet. Not even a pit boss would fault you for doing that.
A Few Words About Insurance
Some of Dr. Black Jack's best friends are major names with Lloyd's of London, but when it comes to blackjack, he thinks dealer insurance is mostly a sucker's game. Dr. Black Jack says: Never buy insurance unless you are counting and the true count is +2 or better.