Posts Tagged ‘blackjack advice’

Blackjack Etiquette: Getting Advice

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Whenever you join a blackjack table at a casino, certain rules of etiquette are expected. Many of the rules are common sense, but some are not. I have covered some blackjack etiquette in the past, but today I want to talk about advice.

Not everyone at the blackjack table is of equal skill. Not everyone has the same knowledge or grasp of basic strategy. Some might count cards while others don’t. Particularly for new players, it can be tempting to get the advice of others if you’re not sure what decision to make. But is that okay?

In short: yes. It is okay to ask for advice and it is okay to give advice. If you are playing at the table with some of your friends, there is nothing wrong with asking them what you should do. Likewise, if your friend is stumped, you can feel free to offer advice.

You can even feel free to give or ask for advice from strangers. You should, however, only give solicited advice. If someone is looking at his cards and is pondering his decision, don’t offer advice if he hasn’t asked for it. Also, if he asks for advice, make sure he is asking you or the table in general. For example, sometimes a player will ask the dealer what he should do. If he asks the dealer and you answer, that is a breach of etiquette.

Whoa, wait a second, so you can ask the dealer? Who in their right mind would do that? They’re your opponent. Many people won’t ask the dealer for advice for that reason, but if you don’t know what move to make and want help, there’s no reason not to ask the dealer. First of all, no one knows proper blackjack basic strategy better than the dealer. After all, it’s his job. Secondly, he’s not going to lie to you about what you should do.

The dealer won’t lie because there is a table full of people and at least one person there would realize that he’s giving you bad advice. That would cause problems for the casino and it would call the dealer’s integrity and by association the casino’s reputation into question. That is a lot to risk for a simple piece of advice. Since the casino still has a house edge even when you follow proper basic strategy, there is no reason for the dealer to try to deceive you.

So in short, you can feel free to ask the dealer, your friends or strangers for advice and if you know basic strategy, you can feel free to give advice to someone who asks for it. If in doubt about whether you should respond, it may be best to stay quiet. Also, only give advice if you’re certain what the best move is. If you aren’t sure or don’t have basic strategy completely memorized yet, don’t try to help someone because you may end up giving bad advice.

Another thing to remember is that if you don’t have basic strategy memorized, it’s okay to bring your strategy card to the blackjack table. If you do, then you won’t have to ask for advice. Also, if you play blackjack at an online casino, you don’t have to worry about the proper table etiquette, since you’re playing alone.

Blackjack Tip: Play at Your Speed

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Blackjack is a game that combines chance and strategy, so it is very important that you are comfortable while playing. If you’re playing slots or craps, for instance, you have no affect on the outcome, so if you’re nervous, feeling rushed, or confused it doesn’t really matter. With blackjack, however, you need to concentrate and make the correct decisions in order to reduce the house edge, which can be as low as 0.5% using blackjack basic strategy alone (without counting cards).

Some people feel rushed at the blackjack table, though. I know I did the first time I went to a casino. I looked at all of the people around me who were playing and didn’t want them to get angry with me for taking too long. Also, the croupier is very good at dealing cards, taking and giving chips in a fast manner. The dealer’s fast pace of play may make you feel rushed, as if you’re expected to play that fast as well.

However, the truth is that you have control over the pace of the game. Each time it is your turn, the next person can’t go until you are done with your turn. Some people feel rushed for that reason – the next person is waiting for them – but instead, you should look at it as a source for comfort. No matter how long you take, the others have to wait for you. Therefore, if it takes you a little longer than the other players to think over basic strategy, that is fine. Now, I don’t recommend you take a few minutes going over your basic strategy chart before every decision, but taking a little time is fine.

Another blackjack tip I have is to take one of the last seats if you’re a slower player. If you take the first seat, you will be the first player to go after the dealer deals himself a hole card and up card. Some people feel a lot of pressure in the first seat. My first time there, I completely forgot to check the dealer’s cards to see what he has! Obviously, basic strategy went out the window at that point, because it is contingent on the dealer’s up card.

If you are a slower player, taking one of the last seats gives you more of a chance to breathe, look at the dealer’s card, and then decide ahead of time what you will do depending on what cards you are dealt: Okay, the dealer is showing a 6, so I’ll stand if I’m dealt 12 or better.

Sometimes people will complain that the dealer speeds the game up too much. The truth is that the dealer wants the game to go as fast as possible for two reasons. First, it makes it harder to count cards. Secondly, the faster the game is played, the more games can be played during the day, which means more money for the casino.

However, though the dealer may want the game to go by fast, there is nothing he can do to make you move faster. Each player determines the speed of the game by how long they take on their turn. For that reason, there is no reason to play at a pace with which you are not comfortable. My advice is when playing blackjack, find a speed you are comfortable playing and stick to that speed. It should make the game more enjoyable and lead to fewer mistakes in strategy.

A Word on Free Blackjack

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

There is one thing offered by online casinos that many beginners take for granted and that’s the free blackjack games. Many people don’t give it a second thought, but the free games are one of the biggest advantages of playing online. It would be foolish for a new player to not take advantage of those deals.

If you’re new to blackjack, you probably don’t know a whole lot about the game. Maybe that’s why you’re here on OnlineBlackjack.org (and thanks for that). Even if you read everything I have written on the subject (and if so, thanks a lot), there is no substitute for experience.

Memorizing the blackjack basic strategy chart is a great idea and something I encourage. It’s wise to read up on strategy so you will know not only what to do in a situation, but also why you should do that. For one thing, strategy is easier to remember if you know the reasons behind it. However, remembering what to do is more difficult in the middle of a game. That is why practice and game experience are so important. Blackjack is a skill and like any skill, you get better at it the more you practice.

So it’s easy: The more you play blackjack, the better you will get at it. The problem is, if you are a bad player in the beginning, that could cost you a lot of money in the casino. That is why the free blackjack games are so important. Even if you plan to do all of your gambling in brick and mortar casinos rather than online, playing free online blackjack is a good way to practice the game and get used to playing using the proper strategy without having to worry about losing money. In fact, even though I know blackjack strategy inside and out, I often play the free online games because I want to play even at times when I don’t feel like gambling.

The casinos, of course, don’t offer free blackjack games solely out of the kindness of their hearts (though I would like to think that’s part of it). They are hoping that you will enjoy playing it for free so much that you will then play at their casino for real money. Often this is the case. The fact remains that free blackjack games are an incredibly helpful tool and the best way to iron down your strategy before you put any real money on the line.

A Word on Practicing Blackjack

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Today I want to talk about something that should be common sense but doesn’t seem to be: Practice is important for blackjack. There are some games where all you have to do is learn the rules and then you can go play without practicing. Slots come to mind, as do bingo and keno. Blackjack is not that way. If you want to have success at blackjack, you must study blackjack basic strategy, memorize it, and practice it enough that it becomes second nature.

Some people think that going over basic strategy a few times is good enough. Or they think that memorizing it is good enough. Well, that goes a long way toward becoming a good blackjack player, but there is a big difference in memorizing a chart and making the correct decisions when a dealer looks at you and asks you what to do. Being a good blackjack player takes practice.

You wouldn’t buy a violin, play it once to make sure you knew how to make certain sounds, and then get up onstage and play a concert, would you? If so, please never invite me to your performances. You wouldn’t take tennis lessons, learn to play, and then go take part in a tournament without practicing in between, would you? If so, remind me to challenge you to a high-stakes tennis tournament.

The point is, despite what some players believe, memorizing blackjack basic strategy isn’t good enough. When you sit at the table, you’re likely to freeze up. It’s happened to me countless times. I’ve forgotten to split. I’ve forgotten to double. At times I even forget to look and see what the dealer’s upcard is. As crazy as it sounds, it happens. The pressure of sitting at a blackjack table in a casino can get to you and cause you to make bad decisions – decisions that you would know not to make when going over the strategy chart in your head. The only way to overcome that is by practicing blackjack enough that it becomes second nature to you. That’s what athletes and musicians do and it’s what you should do as well.

There are a few ways to practice your blackjack strategy. Most online casinos offer free trial versions of their games. You can play them for as long as you want, wagering fake money, and consult the chart while you play, if you need to. There are also some websites, such as hitorstand.net, that are used to train you to make the right decisions when playing blackjack. Another way to do it is the old-fashioned way, how we did it before people used fancy computer programs for everything: Take out a deck of cards. You can deal them to yourself if you’re alone or, better yet, get a friend to deal the cards to you.

Whatever method you choose, as long as you’re practicing, you will benefit. Just remember that if a musician or athlete stops practicing, their skills will lessen, even though their knowledge hasn’t changed. The same is true for blackjack. You need to practice not only to become a good player, but also to remain a good player.