The Blackjack Page Archive
A Few Tricks of the Trade
Recently I was playing "first base" (the first position to receive cards) at a $25 game which is dealt from a shoe when the player at "third base" signaled to 'stand', but the dealer drew a card anyway. Realizing his mistake, the dealer held the card and flipped over his hole card, figuring that he'd use it if his hand needed a hit. He didn't, so now we had this extra card hanging out there and it was an Ace. I thought the dealer would 'burn' it or at least call one of the pit supervisors over and pass the problem to her, but he didn't!
He dealt it to me as my first card and found I now had a $100 bet out instead of the $25 bet I had before this all happened. The Blackjack gods being with me that night, I got a 'natural' when a Queen showed up as my second card and I pulled back a $150 profit. Yes, I tipped the dealer.
Even though I couldn't be sure that the dealer was going to give me that card, I was ready in case he did. Had he burned it, I would have gone back to my $25 bet and that would have been that.
The key here is that you need to be aware that situations like this happen when you're sitting at first base, so be ready for them. Obviously, if I had been sitting at a different position, I never would have had the opportunity. But, while this is no reason to always take first base, when you find yourself there, be alert to the possibilities.
Here's another. A long time ago in Atlantic City, Stanford Wong (www.bj21.com) found a dealer who thought that the payoff for a $150 bet that got a Blackjack was $250 (it's actually $225). Alone at the table, that could mean as much as an extra $200 an hour to the player who always bet $150 per hand. Care to guess what Mr. Wong did?
One more. At many casinos which offer single-deck games, the dealer will go two rounds and then shuffle regardless of how many players there are at the table. Let's say the count gets nicely positive on the first round and the player to your left leaves. At that point, you should really consider playing two hands for several reasons. The first, of course, is that you'll likely be betting with an advantage (see my series, "Playing Multiple Hands" for some guidelines). The other reason is that it makes you look like the average gambler because you don't want the "order" of the cards messed up. This is a no-brainer: you get more $$$ on the table and look "typical" at the same time.
Okay...one more, because it's somewhat related to the one above. Some Internet casinos will deal into the decks a bit before shuffling so you may, if you wish, count the cards. Penetration is seldom more than 50% so the good counts are rare. But, if you're playing at a game which allows you to play more than one 'spot' and the count is good, yet you know the shuffle is coming soon, go ahead and bet three hands of $5 each, rather than one hand of $10 and you'll actually be lowering your risk! Not only is lowering the risk a good deal, but you're increasing your 'action' for any bonuses and digging deeper into the deck at the same time. Pretty good for one hand of play.
Get into the habit of thinking about your opportunities before you sit down to play and then take advantage of any which present themselves. Remember, the $$$ go to the bold in this game.
See you here next time.
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