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Casino Blackjack Tips

The sights, the sounds, and somewhat unfortunately, the smells of Vegas inhabit my brain like no other destination spot; and the casino blackjack I find there inhabits my stomach like no other creature. Let's call it a symbiotic relationship for now though, as I have yet to blow more than my bankroll, and feel confident enough by this point in my life that I know when to fold 'em (yup, I even know that song's talking about poker), I'm not in any danger.

I know I don't always walk away, and that the times I don't can sometimes outweigh the times I do, but I know that I enjoy playing at the casinos, blackjack itself, and the overall experience of putting the two together. I'm willing to pay for it too, just not with my life savings. Now you may or may not realize how the driving forces behind Vegas tailor every nuance of the city to their ultimate green goal. I'm here to offer a few tips that may help you realize what you're up against, and help you lighten the establishment's pinch.

There isn't much you can do about the hypnotic carpet patterns or the lack of windows or clocks to hide the time of day. Nor can you do much to avoid making the inevitable walk to the center of the casino to cash out, much less having to walk away without placing another bet. Here's hoping there is something that can be done at the casino blackjack table.

Some tips easily apply to both online and casino blackjack play, byt these tips were originally written to with casino blackjack in mind:

  1. Use basic Blackjack strategy. Most Blackjack players will lose about 2% of every bet because of improper play. In casino blackjack be sure to have a good idea of what basic strategy suggests, and don't be afraid to ask the dealer for help if its an unusual situation. For online blackjack consult a website or book to help you make your decision.
  2. To slow down your playing time choose a crowded table where you will be able to play fewer hands. Being the sole player at a blackjack table is not as fun without the interaction. Furthermore, your bets can be placed very quickly and you can run through your bankroll in a flash. The same situation exists online, which leads me to my next tip:
  3. Always wear a watch, preferably one that beeps on the hour. For online blackjack you should go so far as to make sure there is a clock in your field of vision for your entire playing time. At casino blackjack the only way to ever get the time is to bring your own pocket or wristwatch. Whether online or not, always pay attention to how long you've been playing for, and limit it to a reasonable amount of time.
  4. The dealer's hand averages 18.23. So, don't be afraid to hit if basic strategy calls for it. In the casino blackjack takes on an aura of male chauvinism, one in which hitting a modest hand is more of a risk (male type action) and therefore a more manly option to choose in front of your cool dude friends. Chances are if you're this type of player you're also a chain smoker and a Britney Spears fan. Please, don't give into the peer pressure - you know they're hocking low quality ideas. Besides, what's cooler, the loser who bet big or the winner who played smart?
  5. Increase the amount of your bet only when you're winning. It is natural human instinct to do the opposite and increase your bet when you're losing, to try and make up losses. You should truly only increase the amount of your bet if you have a good situation presented, not simply a run of wins, but it's a less risky action to perform if you're not already on a losing streak. This tip is meant to ensure that you don't start doubling your bets to make up your losses.
  6. Be aware that some casino blackjack tables use the 'Dealer hits soft 17' rule which increases the house advantage. Look for tables where dealers must stand on all 17s.
  7. The casino's blackjack dealer will bust more often when his up card is a 2 through 6 and he will complete more hands when his up card is 7 through ace. Basic strategy usually suggests standing when the house is showing a 6, even if your hand is a 13. Since this seems almost counterintuitive, and human nature is to want to yell hit me on a 13, it is a most common downfall for novice blackjack players. Either consult basic strategy, or let 'dealer busting cards' become the source of a new instinct to stand and not hit.
  8. To determine an appropriate bankroll amount for a table session of Blackjack multiply your normal bet by 40. This will allow you to play for a reasonable amount of time, and once that time has gone by (remember to follow tip #3 and always wear a watch), you can make your finishing moves and head out. It also usually represents a long enough length of time to determine a 'point' worth knowing for card counters.
  9. In Blackjack it is always to your advantage to play against as few decks as possible. You can always ask around at the casinos and find out how many decks are in use. Also pay close attention to their shuffling rules, how often they shuffle, how deep into the deck they go before reshuffling, the deeper the better for card counters.
  10. If you play Blackjack using basic strategy you will reduce the house edge to less than 1%. Yes I know this is the same as the first tip, but it's just that important! What other games can you play with a house edge at < 1%?

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