I remember the first time I started playing Blackjack with a little bit of a bittersweet taste. I’m a Chicago guy who likes beer and chips. I’m simple and try to keep my life very much at a relaxed pace. So I wasn’t prepared for the physical reaction of sweaty hands that I had on that blackjack table around seven years ago. Before that time in an Atlantic City visit, I studied the game in several sites and books and I had, many times, played with friends. What I never expected was to forget some rules, sweat like crazy and end up losing my money.
What I later realized is that when one is beginning at the game, there are indeed tough things to remember. Therefore, I came up with three points or areas that we have to repeat ourselves once we’re at the professional table playing for real money. Considering, of course, that you already know the basics and this post is just a reminder. Since I never forgot this experience, I figure it might serve some of you out there to prevent the sweaty hands and the money loss.
Don’t Forget #1
Remember, always remember that your goal is not to get a card count as close to 21 as possible. YOUR task is to get closer to the number 21 than the dealer does without of course, going over. The dealer is the enemy to beat! Your decisions at the table will always be based on the value of the dealer’s up card.
Don’t Forget #2
Before you hit the professional tables, you got to know by heart the difference between “hard” and “soft” hands. This is basic ABC because several plays’ strategies are different depending on whether you have a soft hand or a hard hand.
A “soft” hand is one that has an Ace which is counted as 11 (remember: Aces can be counted as either one or 11). For example, a hand composed of an Ace and a 4 is called a soft 15. A hand that either contains no Aces or the Ace is counted as a 1 is called a “hard” hand.
Don’t Forget #3
In this point I cheated, I know. You might think that these following four should be separately numbered, right? But hey, let’s play with memory and see if by sticking them together, you can remember them better. Think of them as math equations that you must memorize. Try them!
- 1. If the dealer’s up card is 7 or higher, continue to draw cards until you have a hard count of at least 17 or higher, or a soft count of 18 or higher.
- 2. If the dealer’s up card is 6 or lower, draw cards until you have at least 12. Stop when you have 12 or higher.
- 3. Double down when your first two cards total 10 or 11, IF the dealer has a 9 or lower.
- 4. Always split aces and eights. Do not split any other pairs.