January 26, 2009

blackjack I don't have many vices, but I do enjoy playing blackjack at a casino. I used to think I was pretty good at the game, but to be honest at that time I was really just lucky and didn't play the correct strategy all the time and once in a while made some stupid plays that looking back make me shake my head. In the past year, I've tried to get a bit better at this very popular casino game. You can always find blackjack in any casino you visit and there are usually lots of variations and deck configurations you can play. To be successful at the game of blackjack you have to get yourself into a certain mind set before you even play a single hand. The prep before you play is without a doubt the most important part of sitting down at a blackjack table.



1.) Determine the amount of money you feel comfortable losing.

No matter what, gambling is luck based. There is no sure fire win system that will have you beating the house every time. The odds are stacked against your favor, it's the nature of the game. When I play I bring $200 of session money.

2.) Only bring the amount of money you are comfortable with losing. Don't bring means of additional funds like credit/debit cards with you.

This can help take the edge off wanting to toss more money away if you happen to lose your session money at a table. Losing is a part of the game, at least have fun if you happen to run a streak of bad luck. Better to end there than return with more money to lose.

3.) Similar to 1 and 2, know when to stop playing. Set yourself a small easily attainable goal and walk away as soon as you reach that goal.

The easiest way to win at blackjack is over small periods of time. The longer you sit at a table, the greater the chance you will hit a streak of bad luck and lose your session money. When I play with $200 of session money, my goal is about $90, once I hit that, I walk away.

4.) Choose carefully the table you want to play. There are lots of tables, different minimums, different numbers of decks involved, and most important different table feels.

I usually will look for a double-deck game of blackjack as my preferred game because the house has a lower edge and I've found the deck to be less streaky for wins and losses. Table feel is something you can only get by watching a table for a few rounds, are people there friendly? Are they winning/losing? If there is a good vibe, sit down and enjoy, otherwise keep looking.

5. Play perfect strategy.

Most important, you should play strategy correctly to ensure you keep the house's edge at a minimum. There are some exceptions of course, however, you won't learn when to adjust the strategy in your favor until you've had  a lot of experience and can employ some rudimentary card counting scheme.

6. Practice makes perfect!

If you are serious about getting better at blackjack there are some very easy ways to improve your game. At home you can play online for free at Bodog Casino or use a blackjack trainer to teach you strategy. Playing for real has a bit of a different feel, so I suggest you find a local casino that offers a weekly or monthly blackjack tournament which gives you the opportunity to play for real but with a small cash buy in (usually about $20-30).

How to bet in Blackjack

Whew! Look at all that prep before we even talk about the game itself. I can't tell you how important it is. There have been a few times where I just plopped down at a table with a few bucks and quickly was relieved of all of it in just a few hands. When I make a conscience effort to plan ahead, I always make a few dollars at the tables, and have a fun time doing it as well.

The basic strategy I use to control my betting is based on my previous hand. I start with my base bet of $5, if I win, I continue to bet $5 (doubling and splitting as the cards permit). Unfortunately you never just continually win hand to hand. When I lose, I double my bet up to 4 times ($10, $20, $40). If I haven't won by 4 hands, then I go back to the base $5 bet. Once I win again, then I bet 40-50% of what I'm down in total. If I win, I go back to starting at the beginning, if I lose then I go back to $5 bets until I win and I can try to re-coop some of the debt.

The point of betting this way is to win back the money you lost on the previous bet when you lose. If you continue to only ever bet $5 then you will never recover your losses. But this system has one fault, and that is the back to back win happening when you go into loss recovery mode. This one crux is why the preparation steps are so important, and also why if you find your table taking a turn for the worse in luck, it's best to find a new table.



This method works for whatever you want to use as your base bet. You can bet $10 as a base, just double the values I listed for $5 and have $400 with you as your session money.


It's easy to think that $5 isn't a lot of money per hand to bet with, however, you may possibly bet $80 in a single hand while using this method. You need to be comfortable betting this much on a single hand. If you are more adventurous you can go the big $25 route but that will require session money of $1200 and your maximum recovery bet would be $200 in a single hand.