Blackjack – Tricks of the Trade

Martin visits Las Vegas every year this time of the year. When he started out, he only bet a hundred dollars in the casino. But Martin’s grown as a player and the game has gotten bigger. Today, Martin places over a thousand dollars in bets and plays to win at least twice as much. His favorite table? The kidney shaped blackjack hole.

“The casino does have an edge. When the dealer feels that the deck is giving away favours, he shuffles it or uses another deck. But to an expert player, this is just routine. A player who has at least mastered the basic strategy actually has a 0.5% to 1% advantage over the dealer,” Martin says as he buys his chips. Tonight he is going to bet over 500 dollars.

You can win big at a simple game like blackjack, but it doesn’t happen all the time. Here are a few tricks you can learn to improve your blackjack strategy.

· Many internet websites and books have simple charts that help you optimize your strategy. These charts tell you when to hit, stand, or split your hand, based on the cards you are dealt. Some of them also lay out different strategies for a soft total versus a hard total. Memorize these strategies. They come in handy when you are counting cards. Remember, counting cards can actually give you an advantage of 0.2% to 1% over the house. The key to winning is minimizing the house edge.

· If a little mathematics does not scare you, invest some time in reading books written by important blackjack analysts like Ed Thorp and Lawrence Revere. A little study in probability adds to your blackjack strategy.

· Start small. If you are a novice, you could practice your blackjack skills at an online casino where the stakes aren’t quite as high. (You can even play blackjack for free at some sites!) If you are a regular at these sites, you might even get bonuses that would give you a distinct edge over the house should you choose to play for money. If you are playing for money, find a table whose minimum is no more than 5% of the amount you are willing to bet. While picking a table, check out the table rule variations, such as doubling down options or dealer having to stand on a soft 17. If you know a little bit about these rules, you can pick out the table that best suits your playing style or level of expertise.

· If you have two cards of the same value, split your hand, Unless you have a pair of tens. You can double your chances of winning!

And remember to tip the dealer. They work for lousy wages, and a dealer who feels kindly towards you will probably deal you better cards, provided that they have any control over this at all. Regardless, it never hurts to have the person running the table on your side, and a little kindness can go a long way towards success.