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Best of Royal Flushes

Gaming Guru

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Doing It Right: Blackjack

19 August 2021

CINDY: Last issue we looked at slots, video poker and mini-baccarat. Today we will take a look at the number-one table game in the casinos, blackjack.

ABBY: Blackjack has about 10 percent of the casino business, far more than craps or roulette, the second favorite table games. Slots has about 65 to 80 percent of the revenue for the casinos. That depends on the casinos and the venue they are in.

CINDY: I think those two are tied for second.

ABBY: But to blackjack.

CINDY: Craps used to be the number one table game. After World War II, the soldiers and sailors came out wanting to continue playing craps, a game they learned in the armed forces. The Vegas casinos were happy to oblige them.

ABBY: The men played craps and their wives or dates played slots. Craps is still a man’s world by the way.

CINDY: Blackjack had a small following until a book by Edward O. Thorp, “Beat the Dealer,” showed that there was a way to get a real edge over the casino by counting cards. This caused an explosion in the number of players attracted to the game.

ABBY: Blackjack quickly took over from craps and since the mid-1960s it has reigned supreme.

CINDY: It’s interesting to note that the casinos panicked about card counting and changed most of the games to multiple decks. It took them a little while to realize that very few players would be able to get an edge over the house because Thorp’s card counting wasn’t the easiest system to learn or use.

ABBY: However, other systems came in which were easier to learn and use and that is about where the game is now; although the casinos have put in some new rules that favor them over the players.

CINDY: Both of us gave card counting a try but it was just too much like going to work when we went to the casinos. The amount we could afford to bet and the amount we might possibly win was just not enough to make card counting worth our while. We both play the computer created basic strategy for the blackjack games we play and we are very careful of our money.

ABBY: What actually amazes me are the number of players who do not know basic strategy. They don’t play all their hands correctly. That costs them money but they don’t seem to care. With basic strategy you can keep the house edge down around one-half percent and that is pretty good. And we have some advice for players in addition to learning basic strategy.

CINDY: One of our pieces of advice is to bring a card that has basic strategy on it. Casinos will allow this and often the sundry store at the casino will sell such a card. Take your time, don’t feel rushed, and use the card to tell you how to play your hands.

ABBY: Basic strategy does two things: It tries to make you more money on some hands and to lose less money on other hands. Some of the hands are close calls and too many players make the wrong call playing them. For example, you are always to split the pairs of 8:8 and A:A. Always. But some players think that sometimes they should not split those pairs.

CINDY: You find players making the wrong play on their 12 against the dealer’s up card of 2. You always hit. Same goes for 16 versus a dealer’s 10-valued up card. Players should never take insurance when a dealer shows an ace. Too many players take insurance.

ABBY: You have to double-down when the card says to double down; split when it says split and so forth.

CINDY: Now some general rules for you. Always play at full or almost full tables. That will decrease the total number of hands you’ll play. The more hands you play the tougher it is to win.

ABBY: Take your bathroom breaks when the game is in progress, not when the dealer is shuffling.

CINDY: And don’t play those continuous shuffle machines. You’ll play maybe 20 percent more hands. Not good.

ABBY: Is blackjack a fun game to play? It sure is.

CINDY: So give it a try!
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.