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Best Blackjack

30 June 2022

CINDY: Blackjack is by far the most popular table game in the casino. I’m guessing about 10 percent or so of casino players enjoy the game. I am also guessing that more players play blackjack than all other table games combined. Or at least close to it. It used to be that craps was king but in the early 1960s blackjack became the champion. That was because the idea of card counting showed the game could be beaten. Ed Thorp was the writer who brought this fact to the public in his book “Beat the Dealer.” The card-counting system he revealed was really, really hard to master.

ABBY: It sure was. Still, the game could be beaten by a few extraordinary players. Most players thought they could do what the gifted did and they flocked to the game in droves. Blackjack made a fortune for the casinos because players thought they would beat the game. Yes, some did, a few, but most just couldn’t turn the charm and the casinos could dance to the banks.

CINDY: What’s really funny is that the casinos as a group panicked and changed the game into multiple decks with poorer rules. That irritated traditional blackjack players who were, after all, just losing blackjack players. The casinos should probably have left the game alone.

ABBY: I remember some of the games of the late 1980s, especially in Las Vegas. You still had a few decent single-deck games at some casinos. Good rules and no sweat from the pit people when you had a hot streak. Those games were fun to play because the contest between you and the house was really very close.

CINDY: Since the dealer had to shuffle a lot then each new shuffle created a great feeling of anticipation in the players. It did in me. I loved those games.

ABBY: Today the casinos offer a one-deck game where blackjacks only pay 6-to-5 instead of 3-to-2. Bad change for the players. Then the house hits on hands such as soft 17 and you really have an inferior game. It’s called single-deck but it is nothing like those old, great single-deck games.

CINDY: You are actually better off playing the multiple-deck shoe games. On these some casinos won’t hit on a soft-17 and blackjacks will pay 3-to-2 so you have a decent game if you play properly.

ABBY: It must be added do not, I repeat DO NOT, play games with a continuous automatic shuffler. The house edge does more damage on these games because there are no breaks for shuffling the cards. It’s just one continuous game. Even with good rules the extra hands – maybe 16 to 20 an hour – can cause a player a lot of damage. Keep that in mind when you are looking to pick a blackjack game to play.

CINDY: There is only one strategy to play against the game and that is called “Basic Strategy” which was developed by computers to assess the best play of the player’s hand against every dealer up-card. There is a wrinkle here. With the various number of decks and some different rules, basic strategy will be different for different games.

ABBY: Don’t panic! The differences among the various basic strategies are small so one strategy is just fine for all the games.

CINDY: Keep this in mind too. You can always have all the basic strategies on cards and bring the proper card to the table with you. Most casinos will have no problem with that because, let’s be real here, they will have the edge on you no matter what. Your basic strategy card will allow you to reduce the house edge but it can’t totally wipe it away.

ABBY: Another thing to keep in mind is to play at crowded tables so you face fewer decisions. The more decisions a player faces means more money lost over time. Full tables are the best.

CINDY: If you need to go to the bathroom, go when the game is in progress, not during a shuffle. You will miss hands doing this.

ABBY: I think that’s about it.

CINDY: Yes.
Royal Flushes

Abby Royal is a lawyer and Cindy Royal is a school administrator. Together, they are the Royal Flushes. The sisters play weekly or bi-weekly in such venues as Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Pennsylvania and Indian casinos throughout the country. They also enjoy the casinos on cruise ships. They know their stuff and have some great stories about their exploits.
Royal Flushes
Abby Royal is a lawyer and Cindy Royal is a school administrator. Together, they are the Royal Flushes. The sisters play weekly or bi-weekly in such venues as Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Pennsylvania and Indian casinos throughout the country. They also enjoy the casinos on cruise ships. They know their stuff and have some great stories about their exploits.