The poet Emerson once said, “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” If this is true, then we don’t have to accept being “born unlucky,” we can create our own luck through skills acquisition, strategy development, and lots of practice. Here’s how to get “lucky” in Blackjack the right way.
Get Familiar With the Basics
Blackjack is deceptively simple, which is how it manages to lure unsuspecting players into thinking they can skip skills mastery. All you have to do is get closer to a total of 21 than the dealer without going over. But you also need to understand the statistical probability of doing so under a variety of circumstances. Having been thoroughly trained, dealers rarely exhibit “tells” (unconscious signals about his hand) and have no emotional investment in the outcome. This means you have to learn Blackjack skills.
Learn Some Higher Level Skills and Techniques
Now it’s time to add to those basic skills with verified strategies. There are two types of Blackjack hands — hard and soft. Hard hands include no Ace, or one that must count as 1. Soft hands include an Ace that can count as 11.
Techniques for playing a hard hand:
- When holding 5 through 8, hit no matter what the dealer shows.
- When holding 9, double your bet versus the dealer showing 2 through 6. Hit if he shows 7 through Ace.
- When holding 10, double your bet versus the dealer showing 2 through 9.
- When holding 11, double your bet versus the dealer showing 2 through 10.
- When holding 12 through 16, hit if the dealer shows 7 through Ace; stand if he shows anything else.
- When holding 17 through 21, stand no matter what.
Techniques for playing a soft hand:
- When holding 13 through 15, hit no matter what the dealer shows.
- When holding 16 or 17, double if the dealer shows 2 through 6; hit if he shows anything else.
- When holding 18, double your bet if he shows 2 through 6; stand if he shows 7 through 10 or Ace.
- When holding 19 through 21, stand no matter what.
Develop Methods for Winning
There are a couple of easy card counting methods that can help your chances of success. The High-Low method involves starting with a mental count of zero. Add one point for each 2 through 6 dealt, and subtract one point each time a 10 through Ace is dealt. Add or subtract nothing for cards in between. The higher the count the greater chance you have to win, so raise your bet.
With another counting method called Ace-Five, begin your count at zero, and add a point for every 5 dealt. Subtract a point when Aces show their faces. When the count is higher than 2, double your bet. When the count is below 2, bet only the minimum.
Adhere to Accepted Table Etiquette
Unfortunately, rabbits’ feet, four-leaf clovers, and unwashed socks have not been statistically proven to enhance players’ luck. Neither has good table manners, but players who practice them are welcome to play and make the entire affair more pleasant for players and the dealer.
- Wait for the dealer to finish before buying chips.
- Don’t leave cash on the table. The dealer can’t be sure if it is a bet or tip.
- Don’t touch the chips in the betting box during play.
- Use proper hand signals.
- Don’t be loud or obnoxious.
Make your own luck and see how you stomp out the competition. You can do so without any unpleasantness — even with the stench of your unwashed lucky undies.