Blackjack strategy: Play sober

Today’s blog about blackjack strategy has nothing to do with statistics, X’s and O’s, or anything like that. It is about your mindset and maximizing your winning potential by not handicapping yourself. My advice for today is simple: Don’t play blackjack drunk.

To some, that seems like strange advice. After all, if you go to a casino, isn’t everyone drinking? That’s part of the fun! Many casinos will even give you free drinks while you’re on the casino floor!…Well, why do you think they do that? Playing blackjack when intoxicated is a bad idea. If you are visiting a brick and mortar casino, turn down that cocktail waitress. If you’re playing at home, don’t pour yourself a drink before logging on for some online blackjack.

The reason it’s bad to play blackjack when drinking is that alcohol affects your judgment. You don’t need me to tell you that. We have all said something we shouldn’t have said, drunk-dialed someone we had no business calling, or gone home with someone we didn’t even know thanks to alcohol-induced stupidity. Most people don’t think that such a thing applies to playing card games, though. It does.

I’m not saying that if you have a few beers, you’ll find yourself saying “I only have a 20…Hit me!” However, when drinking it can be easy to deviate from blackjack basic strategy. You might have the strategy memorized, but when drinking, you may come up with a “better” idea for what to do in that situation. That idea came to you by doing your own statistical calculations. Needless to say, mathematics is another thing that gets worse when you drink. Therefore, the calculation you made is probably wrong and bad math in blackjack costs you money.

Drinking also affects your memory, which can really hurt you if you’re counting cards. It can become easy to forget the count or come up with the wrong number. Of course, card counting doesn’t work online.

Probably the biggest mistake that drinking causes when playing blackjack – and this is the reason casinos are happy to give you drinks – is mismanagement of your bankroll. I always advocate picking an amount to play with before you begin and then sticking to that. It is wise money management. However, if you’re drinking, it is common to decide to deposit more money and try to win back the money you lost because “I just know I’m about to hit a hot streak.”

Spending too much money is a common problem when drinking and it is the number one thing that will hurt you if you combine alcohol and blackjack. For that reason and the above-mentioned reasons, I advise playing blackjack with the clearest head possible, which means no alcohol.

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