Illustrious 18 Blackjack Strategy Deviations

Illustrious 18 Blackjack Strategy Deviations - Useful or Not?

9 min

According to our research done in 2024, over 67% of players do not know what the Illustrious 18 Strategy is when it comes to Blackjack at the top online casinos in Ireland. This knowledge gap highlights an opportunity for players to elevate their game and potentially improve their outcomes at the table. We will shed light on this strategy, providing guidance for its effective implementation and mastery.

Understanding the Illustrious 18 and integrating it into one’s gameplay can provide a strategic edge, particularly in nuanced situations where slight deviations from basic strategy can significantly impact the odds. By familiarizing themselves with these key plays and practising their application, players can enhance their decision-making skills and potentially increase their long-term profitability in blackjack.

Our Take: Is the Illustrious 18 Strategy Useful?

The Illustrious 18 Strategy can be highly beneficial for blackjack players, especially at the newer casinos, offering a systematic approach to capitalize on advantageous situations during gameplay. Drawing from our own experiences, we’ve implemented this strategy and witnessed firsthand its remarkable efficacy in enhancing our outcomes at the tables. By mastering these key plays, we’ve found ourselves making more informed decisions, significantly improving our odds of winning in scenarios where deviations from basic strategy are warranted.

Integrating the Illustrious 18 into our gameplay not only heightened our strategic thinking but also enabled us to maximize our potential winnings over time, making it an invaluable tool for elevating our blackjack skills and achieving greater success.

History of Illustrious 18 Blackjack Strategy Deviations

Before we discuss how Illustrious 18 works, let’s discuss its origin and how it started. The Illustrious 18 strategy was introduced by Donald Schlesinger, a reputable blackjack gambling figure and a member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame. The Illustrious 18 is to improve the play variations to the basic blackjack strategy.

Donald Schlesinger also published a book about this strategy in 1997 titled “Blackjack Attack.” The blackjack strategy encompasses 18 effective deviations from the standard strategy, designed to offer gamblers an optimal advantage over the house in different playing situations. While altering the basic blackjack strategy, gamblers also make the most of the card counting system when playing at any online live casino.

How Illustrious 18 Blackjack Strategy Deviation Works

How Illustrious 18 Blackjack Strategy Deviation Works

As mentioned, Illustrious 18 Blackjack Strategy aims to maximize the basic strategy play to increase your expected return. It works hand in hand with the popular card counting systems, but it allows you to adjust your strategy based on the count. Before applying Donald’s Illustrious 18 system, you must carefully track the blackjack cards to determine the ratio of high-value to low-value ones remaining in the decks and memorize the index number.

The best time to adopt the illustrious 18 deviations is when the deck has a higher proportion of high-value cards. This will favour you when playing at the blackjack table. On the other hand, players are expected to stick to the basic strategy when the deck’s running count has a high ratio of low-value cards.

The Illustrious 18 may allow players to adjust their strategy quickly to changes in the card deck, making it a perfect strategy for Hi-Lo card counters to adopt to enhance their winning chances when they bet on blackjack for real money. Below are 18 key play variations presented by Illustrious 18.

Rank  Hand Index Decision
1 Insurance 3 Take
2 16 vs. Ten 0 Hit / Stand
3 15 vs Ten 4 Hit / Stand
4 Ten-Ten Vs. 5 5 Stand / Split
5 Ten-Ten vs 6  4 Stand / Split
6 Ten vs Ten 4 Hit / Double
7 12 vs 3 2 Hit / Stand
8 12 vs 4 3 Hit / Stand
9 11 vs. A 1 hIT / Double
10 9 vs 2 1 Hit / Double
11 10 vs. A 4 Hit / Double
12 9 vs 7 3 Hit / Double
13 16 vs 9 5 Hit/ Stand
14 13 vs 2 -1 Hit / Stand
15 12 vs 4 0 Hit / Stand
16 12 vs 5 -2 Hit / Stand
17 12 vs 6 -1 Hit / Stand
18 13 vs 3 -2 Hit / Stand

Do make sure to check out our full list of Irish online casinos and make your pick for the best casino to use this strategy on!

The Fab Four – What Does it Mean?

Don Schlesinger and his Illustrious 18 Blackjack Strategy also introduced the Fab Four to spice things up for players and increase their chances of winning. The Fab Four gives blackjack fans the best surrender decision based on the Hi-Lo card counting system.

Below are some situations where you are expected to surrender according to the Fab Four system.

The Fab Four – What Does it Mean

  • The player’s hand is 15, the true count is +3, and the dealer’s upcard is 9.
  • The dealer’s upcard is 10, the player’s hand is 15, and the true count is 0.
  • The player’s hand is 14, the true count is +4, and the dealer’s upcard is 19.
  • The player’s card is 15; the true count is either +2 (in S17) or -1 (in H17).

How Illustrious 18 Work With Different Card Decks

When counting cards, players are expected to deviate from the basic blackjack strategy. The strategy’s efficiency can vary depending on the number of decks used in the game. If you want to adopt the Illustrious 18 strategy successfully, you need to understand how it works in single-deck, multi-deck, and double-deck games. Let’s give a brief explanation.

How Illustrious 18 Work With Different Card Decks

Single Deck Games

This strategy can significantly improve gameplay in single-deck games with fewer cards. On the other hand, card removal can have a bigger impact on the composition of the remaining deck cards, making the count more critical when playing a single-deck blackjack game.

The Illustrious 18 strategy accounts for the distinction in single-deck cards, offering specific tips regarding splitting pairs, soft hands against Ace, and doubling down.

Double Deck Games

Unlike single-deck games, a double-deck blackjack game offers a balance between the card removal effect in single-deck and multi-deck games. Here, you must adopt an ideal card-counting system strategy based on count. With the Illustrious 18 strategy, players can make effective decisions when splitting pairs, doubling down, and adjusting the standard strategy.

Multi Deck Games

This is the most common type of blackjack game on modern online gambling sites. While the Illustrious 18 blackjack deviation strategy is still useful, players must be experts in adapting the strategy. Due to the less impact card removal has in multi-card games, tracking the true count becomes more complex.

However, the Illustrious 18 recommends important play strategy variations like splitting pairs, doubling down, and standing on certain hands, all based on the true count. Blackjack gamblers must be able to adjust their hand decision-making according to the distinctiveness of the card counting system they use and the game rules.

Most casinos frown at the Illustrious 18 like any other advanced strategy because the strategy favours the player more than the casino. You can still use this strategy, but you need to be careful. While the blackjack deviation strategy isn’t illegal at an online casino, it’s almost impossible to keep track of the card count due to the deck penetration. You need to be knowledgeable and fast about blackjack and card counting. At online casinos, the card decks are shuffled often, making it difficult to monitor the ratio of high to low-value cards in the shoe game.

What to Keep in Mind When Using the Illustrious 18 Strategy

What to Keep in Mind When Using the Illustrious 18 Strategy

  1. Understanding: Ensure a comprehensive understanding of the strategy before implementation.
  2. Practice: Regular practice is essential to become proficient in applying the strategy accurately, using the best bonuses available.
  3. Specificity: Recognize that the Illustrious 18 is designed for particular blackjack scenarios, not universal application.
  4. Card Tracking: Keep track of cards played to effectively apply the strategy based on the count.
  5. Discipline: Maintain discipline in adhering to the strategy, even when tempted by alternative decisions.
  6. Rule Variations: Be aware of variations in rules and adjust strategy accordingly.
  7. Supplementary Factors: Consider other factors like table dynamics alongside the Illustrious 18.
  8. Continuous Improvement: Continuously refine understanding and execution of the strategy for maximum effectiveness.

Conclusion – Why Start Using the Illustrious 18 Strategy?

Card counting in blackjack is popular among advanced players who want to swing the winning odds in their favour. Counting cards involve the use of true count and keeping track of the running count as the cards are dealt. The Illustrious 18 allows you to integrate both theoretical and practical applications in the world of card counting.

Using the Illustrious 18 strategy introduced by Don Schlesinger allows players at the table to deviate from the normal basic strategy to increase their chances of winning.

Relying on a basic blackjack strategy can yield a real-money win, but the Illustrious 18 will yield a bigger win when applied correctly. Players should note that no strategy is 100% perfect. The illustrious 18 also shows a few negative counts, so in this case, players are advised not to bet at all or bet the minimum amount they can afford to lose.

Anca Iamandi
AuthorAnca IamandiSenior Author & Editor at Casino alpha

Anca's analytical capabilities developed in Generative Linguistics allow her to bring you straightforward gambling content. Her texts will help you understand casinos, bonuses, fees, and rules and forget about all the gambling myths that pull you down. She's a strong advocate of safe gambling.

Adina Minculescu
ReviewerAdina MinculescuSenior Author & Editor at Casino alpha

Adina’s methodical way of thinking is what gamblers need to understand the casino market. With her expertise in this niche combined with her studies in linguistic typology and hermeneutics, she will be able to help you make informed decisions. Let her be your trustworthy guide!