|Blackjack Tips for Beginners|
|Friday, 16 November 2007|
The game of blackjack favors the dealer; if both you and the dealer bust (i.e., exceed 21), you lose. Still many people win money at the 21 tables, and there are as many experts on the subject as there are people willing to listen to them. If you want to prolong your ride at the table, the following elementary rules may prove useful.
1. Find a table whose minimum is no more than 5% of you total stash. In picking a table, consider rule variations that help the player like the option of doubling down on any two cards, or the dealer having to stand on soft 17. Even if you don't completely understand them, these rule variations can work to your advantage.
2. Start with the basics: Since the dealer has to hit (take a card) on any hand 16 or lower, you'll never win with less than 17 unless the dealer busts. Take a hit on any hand below 17 when the dealer shows ace, K, Q, J, 10, 9, or 8, cards that are unlikely to make the dealer bust. Stand on any hand above 11 when the dealer shows a 4,5, or 6, cards that will lead then dealer to bust more than 40% of the time.
3. "Doubling down" involves doubling your bet and receiving one additional card when your suspect strongly that you will beat the dealer by doing so. This is the player's chief advantage, so don't ignore this option. Doubling with 10 against a 9 or lower and with any hand of 11. Rules permitting, double with 9, or with "soft" hands (hands that count an ace as 11) of 13-17 against a 4, 5, or 6.
4. If you are dealt two cards of the same value, you may "split" them, doubling your bet and playing two hands. Never split 10's or 5's. Always split 8's or 7's against a dealer's card of equal or lower value. Always split 2's or 3's against a 4, 5, or 6. Always split aces. Never split face cards, 10's, or 5's.
5. Tip (or "toke") the dealer. Unless you're winning serious stakes, a dollar chip every twenty or so hands is generally appropriate. If you want to make sure the dealer has your best interests at heart, place the tip right in front of your wagering circle, essentially turning it into a side bet on your hand. If you win, the dealer's tip doubles.