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Smarter Bet Guide to Blackjack
by Basil Nestor
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Strategy is the key to success at the blackjack table; that's a mathematical fact, and you can count on these expert, easy-to-learn tactics to make you a victor. Here's the deal: everything begins with the basic rules, and they're laid out on these pages with smart little “factoid” tips. Go through blackjack economics, which explain why cards fall the way they do, and what makes a good (and a sucker) bet. Easy-to-follow tables suggest strategies for splitting pairs and soft hands and provide dozens of other statistics and card probabilities.
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Blackjack: Bad Play vs. Strategy

Let’s say a player has a hand that totals 9, and the dealer’s upcard is a 6. What should the player do? Most people hit, and that’s a mistake. What about a soft 18 against a dealer’sBasil NestorBasil Nestor is the author of the new Playboy Complete Guide to Casino Gambling. This wonderful book teaches players how to avoid sucker bets and win more when playing gambling games.  He is also the author of The Smarter Bet Guide series for video poker, slots, craps, and many other books about gambling.  Basil's website is  4? Most people stand. That’s a mistake, too (we'll show you the correct plays in a later section).
Multiply those mistakes by all the possible card combinations and you’ll find that the majority of blackjack players unintentionally put themselves at a tremendous disadvantage. It’s a self-imposed burden that is usually many times larger than any disadvantage actually built into the game.
This is ironic because even though blackjack is “beatable,” the game can be far worse than slots or roulette when it’s played incorrectly. Indeed, casinos earn the bulk of their blackjack profits from three types of non-strategy players:
One huge source of revenue comes from beginners and casual players who don’t know that strategy exists. These people usually play short sessions and lose all their money quickly.
Why does the dealer win so much? The casino’s “secret” advantage in blackjack is the order of play. The dealer completes her hand last, so a player can bust and lose even when the dealer also busts. If the order of play were reversed, casinos would cease to exist because players would bankrupt the industry.
Another cash cow is players who don’t believe that blackjack can be beaten because they’ve bought into the myth that “the casino always wins in the end.” Nevertheless, these folks still want to play blackjack (because gambling is fun). So they do play, but with absolutely no plan for winning. They treat it like the lottery. Their only goal is to not lose too much. And that’s how it usually goes. Their aggregate losses fill casino coffers.
The third group is folks who know that strategy works, but they prefer an unpredictable gamble. Players in this mindset enjoy following hunches and trends; they bet with intuition, and revel in surfing the whims of luck. Strategy is a total buzz-kill for them. Losing an extra $500, $1,000, or more is what they consider to be a reasonable price for a wild and crazy shot at the big money. Double down on a stiff hand? Yeah, baby!
Of course, it’s perfectly okay to be a novice, be spontaneous, or to play with no expectation of winning. Strategy is not for everyone, and winning isn’t everything. People should spend their leisure money in whatever way makes them happy. After all, blackjack is only a game. What’s the point of playing if you’re not having fun?
On the other hand, if your idea of fun does not include losing a wad of cash, then you’ll be pleased to know that the strategies in the following articles are much more effective than hunches and guessing. And the casino doesn’t “always win.” On the contrary, the advanced blackjack strategies that we'll cover are so powerful that players who use them are sometimes ejected for winning too much (but we’ll get to that later).
Right now just remember: there is luck and there is skill. Luck comes and goes, but skill is forever.
The preceding material is just a sample of what you'll find in Basil Nestor's Smarter Bet Guide to Blackjack.
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