Comfortable and Furious

A Guide to Blackjack: Advice and Tips on How Not to Play like a Dummy

A Dummy’s Guide to Blackjack Advice and Tips on How Not to Play like one

One of the things you will learn as you visit casinos around the world is that blackjack is popular. Like really popular. It even beats those damn Skinner Box slot machines which just gobble coins like a Hungry Hippo. Yep, blackjack is without a doubt the number one most-played casino game around the world. With that in mind it makes you begin to wonder if it’s so amazingly popular, how the hell do so many people suck at it? Well, you could avoid being one of them by taking this academy based quiz.

Believe it or not, and contrary what you may see walking around Vegas, there are ways to play blackjack without looking like a bloody idiot. There are even several books (if anyone remembers those) that you can read if you’re looking to up your game and have any chance of winning some money while you’re at it. More specifically, the two books you’re looking to read are called The Basic Blackjack Strategy and (if you’re feeling really clever) Beat the Dealer.

While these two books are fantastic pieces of literature which will make you feel like a don as you stride into the casino, let’s cover some basic rules first. First of all, your plan is to not touch the cards. This isn’t poker, and cards aren’t yours. Don’t be that guy who security politely has to ask to leave nobody likes that guy. Leave the cards or leave the table. Secondly, if you’re going to try to pull off some of the more advanced tactics like card counting, do the math in your head. If you get caught counting cards you will be removed from the casino. And trust me when I say you don’t want to be that guy.

Right, with that sorted let’s have a look at the books that I suggested. Beat the Dealer is a book on how to count cards you can either do that or you can’t so I won’t waste any more time going over that today. The Basic Blackjack Strategy however, is a book you simply must read if you don’t want to look like that old woman who hits on 18 or that old guy struggling to decide whether or not to split the 10’s. Don’t be an idiot don’t split the 10’s and NEVER split the 5’s. Or the 4’s.

In a nutshell The Basic Blackjack Strategy is a book which tells you how you should treat each hand you come across. It was put together by some really clever people about 60 years ago, and it will help you look like you know what you’re doing when you sit down at the table. Some of the take home messages in this book are what hands you should stick or hit on, when you should double down, when you should split. If you don’t know when it’s appropriate to double down on 11, make sure you read this book before you hit the casino. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t always double down on an 11 you should only double down on 11 when dealer shows anything from a 2 to a 10.

Another tip to keep in mind helps you avoid the ultimate rookie mistake; keep the goal of the game in mind. Repeat after me: “The goal of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hands. The goal is not to get to 21. To beat the dealer’s hand, I want to get as close to 21 as possible without going over. The goal of blackjack is not to get to 21.”

If you go over, you lose. If the dealer gets closer to 21 than you do, you lose. If you make the right calls and still lose, that’s unlucky we’ve all been there and it sucks better luck next time, buddy. If you make the wrong calls and lose, don’t sit there looking shocked that one’s on you. Study harder next time.

So, if you know the basic rules and you’ve played a few games you may be feeling a little confident already. If this is the case, here are three things you should know by now; if any of these things surprise you as you read them, you may want to go study up a little more.

  1. You shouldn’t split 4’s, 5’s or 10-value cards.
  2. You should always split pairs of Aces and pairs of 8’s.

You should never double down if the dealer’s card is of an equal (or higher) value than your cards combined. IE, if you have a 9 and the dealer has a 9, you would only double down if you were an idiot or if you’re intentionally trying to lose.