By using the basic playing strategy, a player can reduce the house edge to less than 1% (rules dependent). Most blackjack players understand the logic behind the majority of the basic strategy plays; for example, why you shouldn’t hit a 16 when the dealer’s upcard is a 6 or why you should split a pair of 8s when the dealer’s upcard is a 6. However, some of the basic strategy is not so apparent: like hitting a 12 against a dealer’s 3, or splitting a pair of 9s against dealer’s 9.
For the most part, doubling down for less is not a smart play. Notice I said “for the most part.” There are exceptions, which I’ll explain shortly. But first, let me address the issue of doubling down for less in a traditional blackjack game.
Should you play blackjack with one hand or two? I’ve been asked this question numerous times from blackjack players. My answer is this: “It depends on whether you have the edge or not.” Let me explain.
First let me focus on the majority of players who don’t have the edge when they play blackjack. (This includes blackjack basic strategy players.)
Most land-based and online blackjack players have no idea of what taking “Even Money” means to their game. Yet, most players gladly take the even money when it’s offered. In fact, most dealers and fellow players, and sometimes even pit bosses, will encourage players to take the even money because "it’s a sure win." After all, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, right?
It is a “battle to the finish” between the casinos’ two most popular table games, blackjack and craps. Which is the better game?
There are many ways to look at the contest. Of course, you can state house edges but these are often obscured or enhanced by the number of decisions players make at each game. A fast game with a low edge can be just as dangerous as or even more dangerous than a slow game with a bigger edge.
Many blackjack players would like to tip a blackjack dealer but they don’t know how to go about doing it. In this article I will show you several ways to do it, including my favorite.
First let me address the question I often get from players about tipping.
“Why tip blackjack dealers since they get paid for dealing?”
As promised, at the end of this article you will find the questions with answers to the challenging 21-question test given to the elite blackjack pros at the 2019 Blackjack Ball. Give yourself one point for each correct answer. (If you got 15 or more correct, you did better than all the blackjack pros that took the test.)
(Note: Several active players listed below used pseudonyms to protect their identity.)