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Blackjack FAQs

A player was complaining about the third base player taking the dealer’s bust card. Can’t the player just as easily take the card that makes the dealer’s hand better the next time?

This is one of the things you see in live games that show how little some players know about simple math. One time a player may take a bust card and the next they may take a card that would help the dealer. In the long run it doesn’t matter what a player does, the dealer will receive good and bad cards an equal number of times based on how many are in the deck.

I just like to relax and play a few hands of blackjack without thinking about anything. But my friend always tells me I have to use basic strategy. Why is this so important?

It’s fine if you want to play blackjack without thinking about it because it’s your money. But when you play by instincts and impulses instead of using the proper strategy you increase the house edge by as much as 2%. This means for every $100 you bet you may be giving the casino an extra $2. This may not seem like much, but if you bet $20 per hand you could be giving away an extra $20 to $40 an hour.

Why shouldn’t I take insurance when I have a good hand? That way if the dealer has a blackjack at least I’ll break even.

The casino wants you to think that insurance is against the dealer having a blackjack. What the insurance wager really is about is if the dealer’s hole card is a 10 value card or not. The deck has four cards of 10 point value and nine cards that aren’t. The wager only pays 2 to 1, but the cards make a ratio of 9 to 4, or 2.5 to 1. So the insurance bet will cost you money in the long run because it doesn’t pay enough to cover the true odds.

I heard you could beat blackjack by counting cards. But there’s no way I can keep track of every card dealt. Is there an easier way?

One of the biggest myths in gambling is you have to memorize all of the cards as they’re dealt in order to count cards. The truth is you only need to add or subtract a number, usually one, from a running count. When the remaining cards in the deck are mostly high cards the edge shifts to your favor, but when the deck is filled with more low cards than high ones the house edge gets bigger. Basically you add one to the count when a low card is played and subtract one when a high card is played. If the count goes up it means more high cards remain and you should raise your bets.

How do I play the first time at a casino? I don’t want to do anything stupid.

You can play your first hand at a live casino a couple different ways. The way we recommend is telling the dealer that you know how to play blackjack but haven’t played in a casino before. The dealer will be glad to help you get started.

But if you don’t want anyone to know you’re a beginner, follow these simple steps.
1. Put some money on the table and wait for the dealer to give you chips. If she asks what size tell her red or $5.
2. Look for the card that shows the minimum bet at the table. If you don’t see it simply ask. This won’t make you look like you’re new.
3. Put enough of your $5 chips forward to make the minimum bet.
4. Wait for the dealer to give you two cards.
5. Now simply complete the hand just like you would online or at home.