How are Blackjack Deviations Applied?

How are Blackjack Deviations Applied?

Mastering the different techniques of Blackjack becomes easier once you start referring to blackjack probability chart or a particular strategy. For decades, card counters have relied on Blackjack strategies paired with card counting techniques to win significant amounts of money. If you start calculating the Blackjack probabilities, you will find that it barely covers up to 60-80% of the game. So, how to find out the rest of the probabilities? This is where Blackjack deviations come into play.

These deviations can be used at times when the player wants to alter his play. Note that the Blackjack deviations are not based on a hunch or winning pattern. They are solely mathematically driven. Basically, there are two types of deviations – playing deviations and betting deviations.

How are Blackjack Deviations Applied?

Types of Blackjack deviations

Let’s talk about playing deviations. During the gaming session, the player can deviate from the basic blackjack strategy as due to true count changing the card composition has changed. Take an example. During normal times, the player will hit a 12 against a 2. But, if the true count is above 3, statistically it is better for the player to stand a 12 against a 2. Therefore, as per the playing deviations, the player needs to hit 12 against 2 before a true 3 and stand down against it anytime above true 3.

Coming to betting deviations, it refers to the times when the player has to change their bet. The edge of the game changes as the true count changes. The player will bet less when the casino has the edge but will bet more as the edge moves to the player. The bets need to be calculated mathematically by extensive training and betting software. The betting deviations are applied when the player changes the betting unit based on the running count.  It is common sense to bet less when the true count is siding with the casino. Be careful. Exploiting betting deviations usually attracts the attention of the pit bosses.

As you see that the deviations are based on the true count, hence learning to count cards is very critical to master these trick. It takes a great deal of labour and practice to learn this technique. Remember that the deviations are meant to increase your odds of winning, not help you to win every hand!

Can it help you win?

Blackjack deviations are only important if you want to enhance the expected value or EV.  It depends on the player to alter the moves based on what has been dealt on the table. These deviations cannot guarantee you a 100% win, unlike the basic strategy charts which guide you to win the game.  So, can it help you to win a game of Blackjack? Partially, yes and no! Deviations are not for you if you are not into card counting. Still, learning and using it helps you to gain some invaluable benefits through the course of the game. It is important for the player to master the basic strategies before learning how deviations work.  If you cannot recall the moves of your Blackjack strategy table or haven’t mastered card counting yet, it is better to not use this technique for your advantage.

How to master playing deviations?

The first step to master playing deviations is to learn how to calculate a running count and convert them to true count in games with multiple decks. Here, based on practice, you have to decide if using the deviations is well justified or not and if it is going to work to his advantage. To master this, you have to practice the deviation in different conditions and index values.  Learning how to calculate Blackjack probabilities will also help in the future.

How to master betting deviations?

To master betting deviations, you have to be an expert in mastering how to calculate true count and blackjack probabilities in a matter of seconds. You have to change your bets if the true count is on your side. It is not easy to adjust the index numbers to justify a deviation. This is because there are around 170 index numbers and memorising all of them is an uphill task that needs a huge undertaking.

Still, you can try out the ‘Illustrious 18’ which is basically a list of 18 playing deviations based on Blackjack basic strategy. It is made by a mathematician named Donald Schlesinger. If you manage to learn this and incorporate the variations and probabilities in your game, you will have a good chance of increasing your winning chances.


Name: How are Blackjack Deviations Applied?
Author: Helen Stratford
Published Date: 10/06/2019