Smarter Bet Guide to Blackjack
by Basil Nestor
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 is essentially a game of skill. Luck ultimately has zero long-term affect, but the path to the long term goes through thousands of individual decisions in which luck plays a significant role,Basil 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 www.smarterbet.com
and this inevitably creates myths and superstitions. Rituals and customs have developed around blackjack to help players mentally cope with the ups and downs. These various beliefs and customs are not necessarily based in fact, but for the sake of harmony it’s usually a good idea to respect and follow these tenets whenever possible.
Preserving the Order of the Cards
It’s obvious that hitting, standing, or splitting will change the cards going to later hands, but of course, there is no way for anyone to know if that change will be good or bad. In other words, there is absolutely nothing
you can do in normal play that can predictably cause another person to lose at blackjack. Unfortunately, the rest of the table may not see it that way.
A classic example is when the third-base player “takes the dealer’s bust card.” Let’s say the dealer is showing 4 and you have 13. Basic strategy tells you to stand, but you decide to play a hunch and hit. The next card is 9; you bust. And here’s where it gets ugly… The dealer’s downcard is a 10, giving her 14. She takes a hit, gets 7, and wins with 21. Four other players at the table stood on nineteen or twenty, and they’ve just lost because you didn’t play basic strategy correctly.
Now in all fairness, that loss would not be your fault. The two cards could have just as easily come in reverse order. Nevertheless, it’s hard to make that argument to a group of unhappy strangers as the dealer is scooping up $1,000 of their chips. Obviously, the casino prohibits physical attacks or loud verbal abuse, but it is not uncommon for an “unconventional” third-base player to be on the receiving end of under-the-breath negative comments and nasty epithets from others at his table. Indeed, the goal of the other players is to sour the mood sufficiently enough to make the offender go away.
Of course, such boorish behavior is extremely inappropriate, but it sometimes happens. Thus it’s best to play near-perfect basic strategy
when you’re sitting at or near third base, unless you enjoy a tense table.
Dealers sometimes make mistakes. You should speak up and correct mistakes when they cost you money. But what should you do when a dealer makes an error in your favor? That is a question for your conscience. However, you should never correct any payment made to another player. Payoffs are the casino’s responsibility, and the parties involved are best left to their own resolutions.
Giving Other Players Advice
On the flip side of the above issue, you may see someone playing like a total boob. He may hit 16 against a dealer’s 6, or stand on 12 when the dealer shows a 10. Whatever he’s doing, it doesn’t matter. You’ll likely get more grief than satisfaction if you give him unsolicited advice. And even when someone requests advice, it’s usually a bad idea to instruct that person at the table because your words invariably will be judged by the results of the next decision. Remember, most hands that require advice are often already on their way to being losers.
The preceding material is just a sample of what you'll find in Basil Nestor's Smarter Bet Guide to Blackjack.