When playing blackjack, focus on what is controllable

Oct 8, 2013 3:09 AM

It may not seem like it but I take trips to the casino seriously. Proper preparation for casino games allows me to minimize the casino’s advantage enough to keep my bankroll intact, so I can make frequent visits.

I understand the casino has a financial advantage in every game I play and I deal with it. I enjoy the entertainment I get while in a casino and understand I’ll win on some visits and lose on others. Over time I’m paying about a 5% house advantage of what I actually spend on gambling.

Minimizing losses also allows me to feel at ease no matter how large the house advantage is. Playing with proper strategy and diligent planning allow me to always know what to expect. I’m not a professional gambler so every trip to the casino isn’t about making money, even though I like that opportunity.

As seriously as I take gaming strategy I may seem aloof when I’m in the casino. I do enough preparation, I know the right strategy and many of the gaming myths, so I sweat the small stuff.

Someone who stays on a 4 when the blackjack dealer has a 9 showing isn’t a big deal because I know it won’t mathematically affect me. Over time the money will even out and the player will lose and go away. I worry about things I can control in blackjack like playing with correct strategy.

When I have down time I brush up on my blackjack skills by playing the ODDcase blackjack app on my mobile devices. Unlike many blackjack apps this one tells me when I’m making incorrect moves. I don’t count cards but I try to practice it anyway and this app keeps a count so I can see how accurate I am.

A lot of practice allows me to be more social when I’m playing blackjack since I don’t have to focus solely on the cards to make the correct moves. I’m not a perfect blackjack player but I’m close.

Since moving to Las Vegas I’ve played a lot of video poker. I spend a lot more time practicing video poker, too. Before heading to a casino I scout where their best video poker games can be found. vpFREE2.com has a thorough database with this information.

There seem to be many websites with video poker training games but I prefer to spend my time on my iPhone or iPad with the WinPoker app. The base games are set up with good pay tables.

I brush up on those games most often but also make time to practice correct strategy on games with poor pay tables. Strategy is slightly different when playing at bars and I like to be ready for everything.

Every trip to the casino is as much about entertainment as it is making money. I want both, and preparation gives me a great chance of achieving that.

Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gambling and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Follow Marc on twitter @eastcoastgamblr. Check out his blog at www.AC2LV.com Contact Marc at [email protected].

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