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Blackjack's Blind Guides

7 July 2022

CINDY: Last week we discussed the tremendous rise of blackjack from just another casino table game into the number one table game in the casino. Blackjack removed the previous leader, craps, and if this were actually a race blackjack would not look back because it won hands down.

ABBY: I am guessing that of all the table games, playing blackjack properly takes knowledge that most other games do not require. The computer-derived basic strategies for the various blackjack games have many different ways to approach the various up-cards of the dealers based on the hand that the player has.

CINDY: You have to know what to do to keep the house edge somewhere around one-half of a percent, which is very, very low indeed. With every variance you do from the proper basic strategy, you add to the house’s edge over you. There is no debate about this. How you play your hands determines everything in the game.

ABBY: Do not listen or take seriously players who have come up with their own strategies. Their strategies, based on what they believe has come from their experiences, are put forth as if they are universally correct. They aren’t.

CINDY: Sometimes people who sound out the loudest at the tables about the game have read nothing about the game at all. They are “blind guides” which means they are not guides at all.

ABBY: One thing of which to be aware is the fact that some people who fancy themselves gambling writers give some of the worst advice about how to play the game. Beware of them. They will cost you money. Some of them have even published books no less!

CINDY: You will know a non-guide to blackjack when these folks argue with the moves basic strategy tells you to make on certain individual hands. So let us take a look at some of the “questionable” hands and how to really play them.

ABBY: Hit your hand of 16 versus the dealer’s 10 up-card. Some “blind guides” say to stand on the hand. No. Hit it. Yes, it is a close play but the proper method is to hit the hand.

CINDY: The dealer is showing an up-card of 2 and you have a hand of 12. What do you do? You hit your hand. The dealer could have many different cards in the hole and you will save yourself some money by hitting that 12.

ABBY: Here are two hands that drive the “blind guides” crazy, a pair of 8s and a pair of aces. Many of these “blind guides” do not believe you should split the 8s because you could get even worse hands. Yes, you can; but you also save yourself some money when you split them as opposed to standing on them. You always want to save money! That pair of aces are to be split as well.

CINDY: Never split a pair of 10s. Double down on hands based on basic strategy. There will be small changes of when to double depending on the individual game but these differences are small. If you are told to double your 11 against a dealer’s 10 up-card then you double.

ABBY: Do not take insurance on your blackjacks or on any hand that you have when facing a dealer’s up-card of an ace. The house edge on that move is huge. The “blind guides” think getting even-money on an insurance bet is a great thing when you have a blackjack. It isn’t. It is one of the worst things you can do.

CINDY: If you are playing third base, meaning you have the hand that plays just before the dealer plays their hand, do not listen to anyone who tells you what to do. They have no idea of what cards are waiting to come out of the decks – make the right move that basic strategy tells you to make.

ABBY: These are just some of the wrong-headed ideas that the “blind guides” have for you. Ignore the guides and play the proper way.

CINDY: Advice is cheap.

ABBY: But losing can be expensive.

CINDY: True!
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.