Monday, December 11

Winning at Blackjack

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Winning at Blackjack

If you want to just sit at a blackjack table and bet on a few hands and hope you get lucky, that is great. Go for it. Have some fun. If, on the other hand, you would like to get up from the table with more than you had when you sat down, you must work at it. Everybody has heard the stories about “card counters” and some of their exploits. Some of the best have been banned from some of the Las Vegas casinos. Banning a player because he uses a system that gives him an advantage over the house is legal in Nevada. In Atlantic City, they use only six-deck and eight-deck games as a method to disrupt the process of counting cards.

Counting cards is very difficult. The correct process takes a lot of practice to learn when a single deck is in use. When the table is using six or eight decks, it is enormously complex. Try it if think you can do it. There are several methodologies out there, and they all work. If you want to learn card counting, you will have to practice a lot at home. You must perform during practice exactly as you would at a Vegas table. If you think you can mutter the count to yourself while you are practicing but stay quiet at a real table, you are deluding yourself. Any bad habits you have at home will show up in the real world. Most people can master a simple card-counting technique, but there are not many who are capable of properly using the methods that give the player the biggest advantage.

So unless you have a talent for card counting and you are willing to spend a significant amount of time learning a system and practicing it every day, card counting is probably not going to work for you. What you must do, though, is learn the fundamentals of the game and play what is called “basic strategy”. It is called “basic” because it is not very difficult to learn and the rules are rock solid. A simple example is the case where you are dealt a pair of eights. Split them. Every time. Basic strategy still leaves the house with a statistical advantage, but it is very small. Using this strategy will result in winning a lot more hands over time. The essence of basic strategy is knowing what to do in every combination of your cards and the single card showing for the dealer. It only works if you apply it every single time. If you are inclined to play “hunches” and make a bet that has a poor chance of winning because you can “feel” it, then go play roulette or bet trifectas at the dog track.

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