Card counting and basic blackjack strategy are very important elements to those who want to beat blackjack on a consistent basis. Over the years a standard strategy has evolved, but what if it could be improved? This is the underlying premise of Don Schlesinger and his Illustrious 18 blackjack strategy indices.

The Illustrious 18 may be unfamiliar to the casual live or online blackjack player. You should take some time to become familiar with the indices if you want to maximize your profit at blackjack. This is a brief look at the variations developed by Schlesinger and how they can be applied for greater success.

Don Schlesinger and the Illustrious 18

Don Schlesinger is a blackjack personality that we have written about. The Counting Edge Don Schlesinger profile includes information about the author’s background and history with the game of blackjack. What is important to know for our current discussion is that Don has a strong background in mathematics. He has also been instrumental in developing multiple card counting methods.

Don’s work has been good enough to get him into the Blackjack Hall of Fame. It includes the book Blackjack Attack – Playing the Pro’s Way. The book contains both theory and application of the most common and successful blackjack strategies. It was also the project which led Schlesinger to think about variations to accepted strategy, and this led to the creation of the Illustrious 18.

What is the Illustrious 18? It is a set of 18 indices or exceptions to the common rules of basic blackjack strategy. The variations of the Illustrious 18 were designed to be used with the Hi-Lo card counting method, but some claim they are effective when applied across most card counting methods.

Basically, the Illustrious 18 presents 18 alternative plays for specific blackjack hands that are to be used when the count is at a specific number. There is not a lot to memorize with this variation, and you can add it to your existing knowledge of basic strategy in just a few practice sessions.

The idea is to improve the chances of winning by fine-tuning the existing basic blackjack strategy. Schlesinger believes that the house edge can be lowered even farther when the alterations to basic blackjack strategy are made during live play.

How the Illustrious 18 Works

To use the Illustrious 18, a player must first memorize the 18 plays and the situations in which they are required. The player must then seek out a game where they can establish and maintain a running count. In most cases a true count is going to be much more valuable, so try to choose a card counting method which requires the additional calculations of a true count.

You will the substitute the play from the Illustrious 18 indices when the proper situation arises. For example, notice what is recommended if you are given the opportunity to take insurance AND the count stands at 3. The Illustrious 18 says that you should take the insurance bet. This is contradictory to the accepted and common basic strategy for blackjack.

Schlesinger has worked out the mathematics behind such a play and believe that they support these alterations. His credentials as a mathematics expert are beyond dispute, and they have made him vast sums of money at blackjack. A player should practice them until they become instinctive at the blackjack table.

The Importance of Adjustments to Basic Blackjack Strategy

The existence of the Illustrious 18 by Don Schlesinger reveals that making subtle adjustments to basic strategy has the ability to affect the house edge. It is vitally important that a blackjack player is always on the lookout for ways to lower the house edge. This is the pathway to consistent profits.

If you are only relying on basic blackjack strategy to win at blackjack, you will be more successful than those players who play in a haphazard way. If you add card counting to the mix, you will take another step in lowering the house edge. If you go another step farther and refine card counting and basic strategy to make a more effective response, the chance at profit is once again increased.

Many blackjack players can make a mistake when it comes to card counting. They believe that simply knowing when the deck is hot or cold and adjusting bets accordingly is enough to win in the long run. This is not always the case. This can be more properly titled advantage play, and it is easily spotted by the casinos.

If you were able to vary basic blackjack strategy by using the Illustrious 18 when called for, your play would become more efficient as well as more difficult to detect. The whole purpose of card counting is to let you know when it is most advantageous to act. You can use the Illustrious 18 to improve that advantage.

The Benefits of Being Flexible at Blackjack

We already mentioned that knowing how to disguise your play at the blackjack table is important. Flexibility is an important tool that allows the live blackjack player the opportunity to make adjustments on the fly.

If you have mastered variations to basic blackjack strategy, you can quickly make an adjustment at the table without surrendering your edge. You can even shift back and forth between variations and still retain a chance to make a tidy profit.

Knowledge is always power when it comes to blackjack and card counting. The more tools you have at your disposal, the more powerful you become as a player. This is why we would recommend adding the Illustrious 18 to your selection of strategies.

Remember, you can use basic blackjack strategy like the Illustrious 18 when you are playing blackjack online. We recommend that you try it at one of our suggested partner online casinos. You can find blackjack games for your computer, phone, or tablet. Many of these online casinos will also give you a casino bonus when you sign up and make your first deposit such as reload bonuses. Start playing just minutes from now in your living room. Good options can be Lucky Red Casino or Casino Max, or Las Vegas USA.

Check out the following from Don Schlesinger:

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