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Best of Fred Renzey

Gaming Guru

 

Become a Winner at Blackjack

26 March 2001

If you're like most people, you're probably behind for your lifetime at blackjack. "Isn't everybody?" you ask. No -- not everybody. Technically speaking, the house doesn't beat you at blackjack. You beat yourself with the playing and betting decisions you make.

Let's change things right now by resolving to upgrade your blackjack rating from that of "also ran" to "leading contender." To make that happen, though, you'll have to let go of those self-destructive, mythical beliefs you cling to so desperately. I'll start naming typical blackjack faults. Every one will get in the way of winning if you don't denounce them for what they are and move on. So it's up to you. You can open your mind and grow, or you can say, "I don't buy that", and go right on losing. Remember, one of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

Fault #1) Not knowing your basic strategy -- all of it! The typical know-it-all makes enough mistakes with his hands to triple the natural house edge in blackjack from a slim 0.5% up to 1.5%! If you typically stand with 12 against a 3 and with Ace/7 against a 10, hit with 11 against a 10 but double with Ace/4 against a 3, then that includes you! Get a basic strategy chart and memorize that puppy. Your game has some serious holes in it.

Fault #2) Believing you should back off when you're losing and press it when you're winning. The opposite isn't true either. How you're doing at the moment should have no influence on your game plan. There are several important indicators you should react to in blackjack, but that's not one of them.

Fault #3) Believing that the order of the cards is sacred. Does it bug you when you've just put a big bet up and the goof next to you suddenly plays two hands instead of one? Do you ask for "No-Mid-Shoe Entry" signs to keep other jerks from barging in during the middle of the shoe and changing the flow of the cards? If that sounds like you, you'd better get over it. Read my lips: "That has nothing to do with anything!" Stop thinking with superstitions and watch for more important developments.

Fault #4) Believing that bad players cost you money. Quit blaming other people for your own self-inflicted losses, darn it! The fact is, an idiot's "bastard" play will help you as often as it'll hurt you -- but you'll never remember the ones that go your way.

Fault #5) Thinking that "money management" betting systems can give you an edge. All that betting progressions do is neatly cancel themselves out after all your streaks and choppy sequences have occurred as often as they're supposed to.

Okay, if you're not resolved to blow off those top five hang-ups, then don't even bother with the next three skills -- you've already lost.

Skill #1) Learn some "advanced" basic strategy. What's that? Many times you should positively stand with 16 against a 10 and hit 12 against a 4. All it takes is noticing that a couple extra low cards or high cards, respectively, have hit the board. When a really glaring barrage of low cards are on board, you should even double down with 9 against a 2, with 11 against an Ace and with Ace/8 against a 5 or 6. All these plays will save or make you an extra bet occasionally.

Skill #2) Blackjack is just a game of high and low cards. Learn to recognize when lots of little ones have come out and bet more at those times. Likewise, go into your shell after lots of 20s and blackjacks have been dealt -- the dealer's likely to dominate the play with all those babies left in there.

Skill #3) Develop the poise to remember that in gambling just about anything can and will happen. If there's the smallest crack in your armor, losing can knock you off your game. You might not double with 11 against a face-card because you've lost every double so far today. Or you might make a huge "get even" bet out of sheer frustration. Even if you possess every tactical skill and attribute, you'll be just another bad player once you surrender your poise.


For more information about blackjack, we recommend:

Blackjack Bluebook: The Right Stuff for the Serious Player by Fred Renzey
Best Blackjack by Frank Scoblete
The Morons of Blackjack and Other Monsters! by Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Blackjack! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send $9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009

Books by Fred Renzey:

Blackjack Bluebook II

> More Books By Fred Renzey

Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send $9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009

Books by Fred Renzey:

Blackjack Bluebook II

> More Books By Fred Renzey