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Best of Fred Renzey

Gaming Guru

 

Improve Your Character to Improve Your Blackjack Game

30 September 2006

Want to become a better blackjack player? There are several things you need to change and many them involve becoming a better person. Here are a few helpful points.

Tolerance: First on the list would be to have tolerance for how other people play their hands. The truly good players understand that how another person plays has no effect on his own chances to win. Yet, when somebody makes a bad play and it just happens to cause others to lose, those with irrational character can't help but blame their loss on the "dummy".

If you play blackjack with any regularity, you must've seen this 100 times. Yet, those same hypocrites never say "boo" when that same dummy saved the table with a bonehead play. The truth is, one thing happens as often as the other.

So do yourself a favor. Don't get all steamed over losing a hand because somebody played a hand differently from what you thought was right. You'll just lose your poise and probably start making self-destructive adjustments in an effort to compensate. Then you'll be dead meat.

Don't Play the Money: Joe was losing some tough hands. His 19s and 20s just couldn't hold up. He was visibly frustrated. So he doubled his bet and was dealt a pair of 9s against the dealer's 3. Joe was tempted not to jeopardize his 18, but knew in his heart he had to split. So he did and caught a deuce on his first 9, doubled down and bought an ugly 4. Then on his second 9 he caught a third 9. In the midst of losing hand after hand and making a lousy 15 on his double down, Joe caved in and played the money instead of the hand. He refused to split off that third 9, passing up two more 56 percent shots for one 57 percenter.

Don't ever do that! Take every play one hand at a time. The best way is the best way and any other move will just make you a poorer player.

Overconfidence: It doesn't happen often, but it feels great when it does. You keep winning with 12s and 13s and your double downs are firing on all cylinders. Your chip stack is multiplying and you begin to feel like you're "the man". Now's the time to press up your bets and double down on hands like 8 against the dealer's 3, or with 10 against her Ace, right? Wrong!

Your mind may be on a euphoric rush, but the cards and the chips couldn't care less. Although you'll occasionally stay lucky at times like these, much more money has been lost by overplaying such situations.

Understand that if you're winning, it only means you've "been winning" up until now. Winning hands have absolutely no predisposition to beget more winning hands. Be grateful for what's happened thus far and stick unwaveringly to your solid game. That'll bring about the best end result over time.

Don't Plunge: We usually go to the casino planning to stay a certain period of time. But sometimes you start out winning and as your quitting hour draws near you've fallen behind. Maybe you have an appointment to keep, or dinner is waiting at home, or you have to get up for work in the morning. But hey, you're stuck. You were winning earlier and you've got to get that money back. So you stay – and stay.

The best this can possibly do for you is give you just as good a chance to win as it would next time. But if, like most mere humans, you're weak of the flesh, you'll begin to push. You'll bet a little higher, take a few more risks, try to shorten your recovery time.

Is that the playing style that would work best when you first walked in the door? Well, it's not very good at this point either. Be disciplined and go home. Your cards are likely to be just as good tomorrow as today.

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:

> More Books By Fred Renzey