Blackjack In Las Vegas
You can win
at blackjack. Yes, you. All you
have to do is follow a few simple rules while playing this fun game and the odds of winning can swing in your
favor. Of course it helps to have luck on your side. This article will help you make your own luck - avoiding the
simple mistakes and approaching the game like a pro.
Are you ready to begin? Great, then lets get started.
Rule #1 - Learn
how to play your cards.
Learning to play your cards
correctly is the first thing you must do if you want to win at blackjack. In addition to helping you win, there is
another important reason for mastering this part of the game. Unlike some other table games, with blackjack it
isn't just you against the dealer. It is you AND every other player at the table against the dealer. And if
you play your cards like a beginner (a "newbie"), you will lose your money and maybe cause the other players to
lose their money too. When that happens, they may just leave the table OR scold you and ask you to leave the
Once you learn how to play your cards correctly,
you will see lots of ways of how NOT to play cards by others. In one of my recent blackjack "experiences" the
man on my right split every pair of tens he got dealt - every time. Sometimes he won but usually he lost. The
lady on my left and I both shook our heads.
Then she did something just as bad. She got dealt a pair of Aces and didn't split
them because she "hadn't done well splitting Aces earlier". She took a hit and got a face card (a ten) for a 12
count. She took another hit and got another face card and went bust with a
Learning to play your cards
the right way takes a big stress factor out of the game. Your play will be smooth and confident, knowing you
are doing what you can to tip the odds of winning in your favor without sitting and thinking about it. The other
players, assuming they know how to play the game, will appreciate the fact that you are playing your cards the
right way and not infringing on their chances of winning too.
The Blackjack Strategy Chart on your
right is pretty much the agreed upon strategy to use for correctly
playing your cards. Your play is based on the cards you are dealt (along the left hand side), the dealer's up
card (across the top) AND the belief that the dealer's down card is a ten.As an example, lets say
you were dealt a six and a ten (jacks, queens and kings all count as ten as does the ten of each suit) for a
total of 16. Looking at the chart, you can see it shows you should stand on your 16 IF the dealer's up card is
a two, three, four, five or six BUT take a card if the dealer shows seven or higher. Can you lose by doing
this? Of course you can! But you will increase your chances of winning by just following this
strategy. That's what this chart shows - the best play based on the odds of winning. If you decide blackjack
is your game, you will want to study and memorize this chart
Let's go back to the two
players in my story. The guy spltting 10s did exactly the wrong thing if you go by the chart which says ALWAYS
stand or stay on a 20 hand.
Since Aces count as a one
or an eleven, depending on how best you can use them with the hand you were dealt, always split a pair of Aces
and hope for a pair of tens or face cards for two 21 hands.
Now that you have the Blackjack Strategy Chart before you and have
decided to take the time to study and memorize it, you should be ready to win big - right? Well not quite. Would
it surprise you to know that most if not all casinos in Las Vegas sell pocket-size blackjack strategy cards
like that above in their gift stores? And most even allow you to use the card while playing the game? That should
convince you that there is more to winning at blackjack than just playing your cards right.
And that leads me to the second rule...
Rule #2 - Card
Playing Discipline.This is related to Rule #1 but it occurs so often, it
deserves its own rule. Play your cards correctly consistently
(card playing discipline)! Let me explain. Let's say your first two cards are a three
and five for a total of eight. You take a card (a hit) no matter what the dealer's up card is (it's on the chart).
You get another five and now have a 13. Now the dealer's up card comes into play. Let's say it is a nine. You take
another hit and get a deuce for a total of 15. Now what?
Don't do what so many players do and stop there just because you now
have four cards. Don't sit and think about it, hem and haw or look to others for advice. It doesn't matter how many
cards you have in front of you - you still have a 15 with the dealer's nine showing so take another hit. Once you
have taken the time to learn the basic card strategy, play that way consistently. The dealer doesn't have any
decisions to make. He or she has to play consistently because the house tells them how to play. And the house
says take a card on 16 or under, stand on 17
or higher. It is not that unusual for you to have four or
more cards in order to get a "good" hand".
The guy I
mentioned above was playing his pairs of tens consistently. The trouble is he was consistently WRONG. Don't
split 10s - EVER. And the lady who played the pair of Aces sometimes the right way and sometimes the wrong way
got what she deserved. I'll say it again - you always split Aces hoping for two 21 hands.
So to summarize this rule: play your cards the right way consistently. Don't worry
about how many cards you have to take or what happened the last time you split Aces, or eights or anything else.
Following this rule adds to your confidence and shows others you know how to play the game. Casinos love players
who don't follow this rule.
Rule #3 - Find
The Cold Dealers.You don't see this rule talked about much by the "experts". But every time I have searched for a
cold dealer, found one and sat down to play - I made money.
Just like you and I, dealers have hot and cold streaks. And just like you
and I, when they are cold they are REALLY cold. I'm not talking about winning a hand or two, losing one, winning
the next three, losing the next two, etc. I'm talking about a streak of 10, 12 or more losing hands in a row.
That's how you can make some real money.
There is no better place to shop for a cold dealer than Las Vegas. You need a good
number of dealers to choose from in order to find the few that are struggling. Trying to find a cold dealer among a
small number may be difficult. I'm talking about small casinos with just a few tables. You may get lucky and find
one but cold dealers are a small percentage of total active dealers.
dealer I ever saw was a lady dealer at Circus Circus. She couldn't get a winning hand to save her butt - going
bust hand after hand. When she didn't go bust (go over 21) she was getting 17s or 18s. The players at the table
were having a blast. The pit boss (being no fool) placed her at the lowest stakes table in the casino where she
could do the least damage. Just one problem...
There were no empty spots at the table. And to make it worse, it was
full of "players" who were putting down the minimum bet, winning the hand, pulling back their winnings and
leaving the minimum bet there for the next hand! What a waste.
I had better
luck at the Lady Luck (now the Downtown Grand Las Vegas) in downtown Las Vegas. This dealer was so cold, he was
getting nervous about losing his job. It was great fun for me and the other players. Our winning streak (his
losing streak) went for several hands before he finally won a hand. This is what you are looking for. This cold
dealer could have easily started another long losing streak after winning one hand. I took my winnings and
When you shop for a cold dealer, don't be concerned with how
the players are playing or what cards they are getting. Concentrate on what cards the dealer is getting and
make your decision to sit or move on based on that.
If you are going to play blackjack at the higher stakes
tables ($25 and higher), you can be pretty sure the dealers
were placed there because they are on a winning streak. And if they
really are on a winning streak, you had better be red hot!
Rule #4 - Bet
Smart To Win.
In this last section I want
to give you some guidelines on how to bet. This won't be specific because I don't know your money situation, how
much you set aside per blackjack "session" or what risks you are willing to take.
Developing your own betting strategy, one you can be comfortable with, is most
important. Your goal is to be playing with the casino's money as soon as possible. How do you do
First, assuming you
understand and are following the first three blackjack rules, you want to be steadily increasing your bet as your
winning streak continues. When you first sit down, it may be okay to play the first few hands with the minimum bet
just to convince yourself you really do have a cold dealer on your hands. But don't stay in this mode. If you won
with a $10 bet, bet $15 on the next hand. If you win, go to $20 or $25.
the fast path to making money is to take advantage of every opportunity to split
pairs or double down. The Blackjack Strategy Chart shows you 50 double down situations and 52 split pair
situations. Learn them all and follow them consistently.
Third, don't bet so much
money per hand that you won't be able to take advantage of every double down or split pair situation that comes
your way. Let's say you have a $40 bet on the table and get dealt a pair of eights. You are always supposed to
split eights but would you plunk down another $40 and feel okay about it? What if you split eights and your first
card is another eight. That's a $120 bet. This is not that rare.
Fourth, set a limit per
blackjack session - one you can live with if you lose it all. And don't go over that limit. You have done
everything you can to win but some things are out of your control. Maybe the dealer got on a hot streak. Or another
player sat down and stopped your winning streak cold. Or some player(s) didn't take a hit when they should have or
took a hit when they shouldn't have.
Last, but not least, know
when to leave the table and end your blackjack session. If you are up a few hundred and things go against you.
Don't hang in there and give it all back . Take a break for awhile then go scout for another table, even if you
have to leave and go to another casino.
"You have to factor all of these things into your own personal blackjack
betting strategy. The last thing you want to do is leave the blackjack table feeling absolutely miserable because
things "got out of hand" and you lost lots more than planned. "
Wishing you the very best of luck at the blackjack
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