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12 Tips For Blackjack Beginners

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Ever want to start playing table games, but were a little intimidated to start?
It’s natural to feel that way.  Most players and dealers are sympathetic to newbies at table games, but there are always a few that can be impatient, or even down-right rude.  If you’re at a low limit table, then tell them to take their expert strategy to the $25 table. (Actually, don’t do that, just smile and think it.)
Here are twelve tips to get you started playing Blackjack:

1) Become familiar with basic strategy – practice at home with free apps or programs that will teach you certain situations.  You need to become familiar with the basic playing strategy for hitting, standing, doubling down, and pair splitting.  For novices, I recommend the Wizard’s Simple Strategy that you’ll find on the blackjack page on Wizard of Odds website. The strategy consists of 11 rules presented in a colored-coded table that makes it easy to remember. The link to the Wizard of Odds website is also in our sidebar.

An example of a higher strategy card.
2) Go to the casino with someone who knows what to do at the blackjack table, and visit at a less crowded time.
3) Stick to your basic strategy, no matter what “experts” at the table say.  Get comfortable with your strategy play, not what others say – and they will let their thoughts be known.  Be strong.  The playing decisions of other players on your table have no effect in the long run on your odds of winning – or vice versa. Remember, Blackjack is not a team sport. Always use the basic playing strategy regardless of how other players play their hand, how much you bet, and whether you lost or won your previous sessions.
4) Don’t play any game that pays 6-5 (or worse, even money) for a blackjack. Play only on tables where blackjack is paid at 3-2.
5) Play on tables where the dealer manually shuffles the cards.  It is interesting to watch for beginners and gives you a chance to catch your breath, and even thinteract with the dealer a little.
6) Scout the tables to find the most liberal playing rules. Besides a 3-2 payoff for a blackjack, the best rules are dealer standing on all 17s (including soft 17), you can double down on any two cards, and doubling after pair splitting is allowed. (If surrender is offered, better yet – if you are aware of that strategy.)  Most casinos don’t offer surrender outside of Atlantic City (or what’s left in AC)
7) Don’t make the Insurance wager no matter how much money you wagered on your hand. Insurance is a sucker bet.

8) Check the dealer’s up card – Before you take any action, check the dealer’s up card. Is it bad (2 through 6) or good (7 through Ace)? “What the dealer has makes all the difference on what action the player should take, according to basic strategy.

The Dealer's upcard is the card you see on top of the card you don't see. to the right is first base, to the left is third base.
The Dealer’s up-card is the card you see on top of the card you don’t see. To the right is first base, to the left is third base.

9) Don’t sit in the first base seat. Sit in the middle if you can to give you more time to review your hand and the dealer’s up card. Stay away from the third base, or last seat.  Some players think your play changes the outcome of the game.  Mathematically, it doesn’t in the long run. The decisions of other players at the table won’t impact your hand. “You’re playing alone against the dealer,” says Frank Scoblete, author of many gambling resources. “They don’t know what you have and vice versa.”

10) Always give your Players Rewards Card to the dealer before you play to get rated for your play.
11) Have fun and bring only the bankroll you can enjoy spending. 
12) If the table isn’t fun – grumpy dealer, drunks, unhappy “know-it-alls” – then move!th
That’s all for now.  I hope you have many successful splits, double downs and dealer busts!
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