More Blackjack Tips and Tricks

January 27, 2009

There are a few more tips I can pass along to newer blackjack players that you can only learn from experience. Most of this has to deal with the types of blackjack games you will encounter in different casinos and different types of players. Other players is a big part of the game and can have a great affect on your blackjack experience.


Game Types

Standard blackjack games don't have any other special bets on the table. In general these games can be played with regular blackjack rules, but you should avoid the special bets as they are what are termed as "sucker bets". Usually they involve some kind of side bet that if you match the dealers up card or you get dealt a certain pair of cards you win a large amount of money because the odds are very high. The reason the odds are so high is because it rarely ever happens, and for it to be useful you'd need to place that bet every hand and thus it's just a waste of money. The exception to this rule is Spanish 21 which is a blackjack variation that has all of the 10 cards removed (face cards become the only 10 value cards in the deck).


General Table Etiquette

Always remember that people are there to have a good time and hopefully make a little money doing it. If you find a table where someone is playing all by themselves, ask if you may join them. Some players prefer to play with the dealer one on one. If they do invite you to sit down, wait until the next shuffle before you start playing. Same rules apply if you find a couple at a table or two or more individuals that look to be a group of friends. The only time you don't have to worry about this is if the casino is packed, the dealers will be trying to fill the vacant seats at the table. As a rule, don't tell people how to play a hand, even if you know better than they do, they usually won't like the help unless they ask for it. I've found that most newer players will explain they are new at some point while they play and may ask for advice from the dealer, at this point you can offer some help but don't feel offended if it's not taken too heart. If it starts affecting your hands, it's best to find a new table. A way to keep the atmosphere fun at the table is to congratulate those who get a natural blackjack, I've found this almost always gets the table cheering after a few more rounds and makes it a lot more fun to play.


Other Players

I've encountered several different blackjack personalities over the years and I wanted to put some tips out for who to play with and who to avoid. You will run into these people at various times of play depending on when you choose to go to a casino. Newer casinos on Friday and Saturday evenings tend to have the least experienced players while off-popular times tend to have the more regular experienced players. This doesn't mean you can't have fun with the inexperienced players, but depending on what you are looking for you may want to avoid playing at certain times.


The "I'm here to pick up chicks" guy

The way to spot this player is usually pretty easy. I just recently encountered this type of player along with his friend. The give away on this guy is if you see someone with a large stack of chips in front of him, but only betting a small amount of money per hand, for example the guy I saw had about $2500 worth of $25 chips in front of him, but each hand he was only betting $10. It would have made more sense for him to color up the large stacks, but he wanted them there for show, draw in the females displaying he had lots of cash to throw around. There isn't any real reason this player should be avoided unless you are female because he will probably try and hit on you.


The "I know how to play blackjack, but really don't" guy

These players are easy to spot, obnoxious to play with, and generally should be avoided unless you are looking for a funny story to tell your blackjack buddies. Watching a few hands at a table should instantly point these players out, just watch their play, do they split 10s? Do they not double on 11? Did he split Aces or 8s? Worse yet, do they make a bad play and think it was correct because they won anyway? What usually makes these guys obnoxious to play with is they can be loud, spitting out incorrect advice on how to play a hand to other players at the table when not even asked.


The "I'm upset that someone took my card" guy

This is almost two kinds of player and also similar to the person who doesn't really know how to play but thinks they do. This person will get upset at a player who is in front of them in the deal rotation for taking a card that would have made their hand better. Now if the person didn't need the card (sitting with a 16 while the dealer has a 6 showing for example), this is a legitimate complaint. Now if the card was needed, say the player had a 8 instead of the 16, and the player is still upset then these are players to be avoided. Generally this will make for an un-fun table because less experienced players will start to second guess their play worried they may upset this player. Also related is someone who is sitting in the last position and is afraid of taking the dealer's bust card. You should never sacrifice your hand for the good of the table, no one knows the next card from the deck so you can easily make a case for when you hit and should've stayed as much as staying when you should've hit. You are always better off playing the proper strategy for the hand. Those players who don't know this can actually ruin hands for you more often than not.


Final Thoughts

To re-iterate yesterdays post, the most important thing in playing blackjack is the preparation. Learning how to watch a table and weeding out the personalities listed above can greatly improve the amount of fun you have while playing. Remember that win or lose, it's just a game and should be played for fun. Never gamble with more money than you can afford to lose and remember the old adage, if you are unlucky with cards, then you're lucky with love.