Before we start, let me stress one very important point. The title of this node is 'How to improve ...', not 'How to make sure you win at blackjack', nor is it 'How to tip the odds in your favour'. The advice provided below is one method which will most likely improve your chances of winning - no guarantees though - and if you lose real money because you thought this node would make you money, then tough!

Anyway, enough of that weasily disclaimer. Let's begin ...

First, I'm assuming that you know what blackjack is and you know how to play. If this is the case, then you are where I was one month ago. That is, I knew how to play but if I was gambling with real money (instead of playing on Yahoo Games), I would be in the poorhouse.

Then I came across this little booklet which described in great depth the strategies required to give as much advantage to you over the dealer as possible. Being busy E2 noders, you probably aren't interested in all the nitty gritty details. Instead, I present you with the basic 'play' table as shown below:

                  Dealers Card Total
                 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
              09 H D D D D H H H H  H
              10 D D D D D D D D H  H    H=hit
  Your Total  11 D D D D D D D D D  H    D=double
              12 H H S S S H H H H  H    S=stand
              13 S S S S S H H H H  H
              14 S S S S S H H H H  H
              15 S S S S S H H H H  H
              16 S S S S S H H H H  H
              17 S S S S S S S S S  S

It works like this. After the dealer has dealt out the cards, cross-reference the value of the dealers face up card against the total value of your two cards. Then follow the instructions as contained in the table.

For example: You are dealt a 8 and a 3 (ie a total of 11). The dealer has 5. Based on the instructions in the table, you would double your bet in this situation.

This table has had most impact on my playing style with situations like if I got dealt a total of 12 against the dealer with 4. Normally, I would hit, but according to the table, I should stand. I have found that following the rules have significantly helped me win more games - but of course, YMMV.

However, I should point out that the booklet mentions that even if you follow these rules religiously, in the long run, you will still lose money as these rules are only basic. Only the very best blackjack players, with intimate knowledge of the rules and probabilities have any hope of even getting close to a 50% chance of winning.

Finally, if you are interested in casinos and blackjack, I heartily recommend the A Day in the Life of a Blackjack Dealer node by Nekojin as an interesting read.

Good luck in your gambling!