You can learn blackjack by yourself and win.

August 12, 2021 Games  No comments

Each person comes to the table from different places. Although I don’t play blackjack very often, I enjoy it and spend about 20% of my bankroll on it. Here are some of the mistakes I made in learning the game and falling in love with it. Beginners and novice players can save some money and have a lot of fun with my silly jokes.

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As a child, I played Twenty-One just for fun. My family played poker and blackjack. On Saturday nights, my dad or mom would pull out the penny jar and divide it up 32 Red. Then we would go. Although I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, and I certainly didn’t do that with my children, those were different times.

The rules were the same as in Las Vegas, except that the winner of each hand was the one for the next. It wasn’t long before I realized that I wanted my deck to be the last standing at the end of each game, no matter how good I was at playing.

The hard way

Although I was able to learn the basics by simply playing, I did not know the best strategies until much later. My own method of counting was also my own, but it was very flawed. This was something I learned only after I began playing blackjack online.

In our game, the dealer won and was allowed to deal the next hand. However, all cards played were destroyed under the deck until there were no more cards. It is easy to see how I was capable of keeping track of important cards, and sometimes beating my older, more intelligent family members.

As a child, I was a very eager player who would take the deck to any price. I developed an unhealthy habit of playing hunches with no supporting data. I even did things I wouldn’t do now, such as splitting Tens or double-dealing tens without considering the dealer’s hand.

When I was in the oil fields, my first shellackings were at Wyoming’s man camps. The six sixteen-hour days were spent at one remote outpost. We had one day off each week for three weeks, then we would be free for the fourth week. I lost more than I can remember and played a lot in the rooms. However, that was nothing when you consider the Jolly Roger trips once a month. Although the Inn is now a safe and respectable family dining place, it was once again full of drunken roughnecks looking for a fight. It was also home to working girls, unmentionables and plenty of poker, with hundreds of hands changing hands and many playing blackjack. You could play from your home or online, but it was not the same as playing when you were a child.

This fool quickly parted with his money, despite my ‘play-by-the-gut’ strategies, half baked strategy, and poor card counting when the deck was shuffled between the hands.

When I was working as a fence worker in Nevada desert, the last time I played the game before sitting down and trying to understand what was going on was when I was playing. You can guess how much I brought home from the job after spending weekends in a border town casino-hotel. It was hard to learn. There were no online schools of blackjack back then.

After a few years of playing online mostly at tables and slots, I was able to learn how to play the game and enjoy it. I kept coming across strategy cards, and became friends with some top-tier players who played mostly in land casinos. I collected all of the information I could from them and worked them. To help me process the information better, I printed out a few strategy cards and began playing practice games. I was able to lower my stakes on a website that allowed me to play for a dollar, so I decided to take the plunge and start refining my game.

As they say, the rest is history. Now, I’m able to hold my own and win as often as I want. Plus, I get a lot more playtime for a small deposit. Although I won’t be able to match Ken Smith’s skill, it’s OK. I just need to beat him.

My thoughts about playing online

Advantage play is not something I believe in. I find it difficult to imagine counting six deck shoes that are reshuffled after each round. I find the margins too narrow and the sample sizes too large. This might be something I enjoy when I retire.

I prefer to search online for single-deck games with good rules. 3:2, split Aces, double any two. I have yet to find one with these rules and a dealer stick on soft 17. There are still some 3:2 single-deck games, but most have very high minimum bets. Some providers change the rules to allow double play on 10, 11 or 11. It’s not possible to double on nine without having to give up something. That game will still be my favorite. Once I know the rules, I’ll look for more than one place.

I won’t get into the maths but suffice it to say that if I can place a bet on more than one hand, the second hand will be heavier than the first. Each hand from left to right will have a greater chance of winning since I’ve seen seven cards (2+2+2+D). If hands that are closest to the dealer have splits or hits, then I’ve seen a lot of cards before making a decision on the third, fourth, or fifth hand.

Each hand has a different possibility, so I’ll eventually factor that into the amount you can bet at each place. At the moment, I just bet “more”, often doubling my wager on each hand.

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