Blackjack for Beginners: Be Attentive and Stow Away the Ego

Blackjack is one of the most popular games in live casinos, and much of this has to do with ego. Many casino-goers feel as though they are above the games of pure chance like slot machines, but the most complex ones such as craps look mysterious and intimidating. Because of this, they choose blackjack, a simple but more attractive choice. All you have to do is place a bet, count to 21 and beat the dealer’s hand. It’s easy to make it look like you know what you’re doing, even if you aren’t a casino veteran.

Deep down, however, most players know there is more to the game. And these nuances can’t be overemphasized: optimal blackjack play in a particular situation depends on the number of decks and the particular rules in play at your table. The difference between perfect play and pretty good play is massive over several trips to the casino.

But when it comes down to actually sitting down at the table and figuring out what to do, it can be confusing. Most players feel embarrassed to ask for clarification on any of the rules, so they just guess and go along the best they can. In the long run, this can have devastating effects on their bankroll. Players must check their egos at the door and work a little harder to identify what’s going on at the table.

Understand the Table Limits and Buy-in Appropriately

Before you sit down at a table, look for the little sign that states the table’s maximum and minimum bets. Choose a limit you are comfortable with and, most importantly, one that allows you to give yourself a reasonable table bankroll.

As simple as this sounds, I’ve seen a lot of players assume they’re in the low limit area only to find out that the table limit is higher when they sit down. And instead of recognizing their mistake and moving over to a cheaper table, they stay and play, even if it means they only buy enough chips for four or five bets. Don’t be one of these ego driven players.

Observe the Other Players

Everyone loves to say “hit me,” but at most blackjack tables, this isn’t how you actually do it. Usually, you tap one finger on the table if you want another card, and wave your hand back and forth if you wish to stand. In addition, there are tables in which both of your cards are dealt face up. In these situations, you usually aren’t allowed to touch your cards at all. Instead of memorizing rules of etiquette, however, simply observe the table before sitting down and then emulate what the other players are doing.

Such knowledge can be very important. If you aren’t following the table rules, you’ll upset the other players and the dealer, and this can put you in a bad frame of mind which will affect your decisions.

These two tips are very basic, but it’s remarkable how many players just sit down without thinking about it. In my next post, I’ll go over some blackjack strategy that’s a little more advanced.

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