Florida Casino Player
Player Tips

Blackjack now available in Florida!!!!


Like anything in life, to be good at it you need to learn the rules. Mix a disciplined type of play with a little luck (moderate drinking) and you’re on your way to having fun, making some money and new friends.

The casino is pretty happy letting you think it's all luck! Well that's not completely correct. It always amazes me to hear players say things like "I only came to lose $200" or "I have a gut feeling the next card is going to be". Blackjack is a game of probabilities and mathematics, neither of which you need to be good at to play great blackjack

Blackjack is the most popular of all the other casino table games by a margin of about two to one. The game is so immensely popular because, when played correctly, it offers better odds than any other game. The purpose of the game is to get a hand total higher than the dealer’s without going over a count of 21. Whatever hand you end up with must be 21 or less, but higher than what the dealer has. You play against the dealer, not against other players at the table. Therefore, it is a wonderful game of comradery and great fun, especially  when the table is hot. 

Cards between 2 and 10 are counted at their face value. Jacks, Queens, and Kings also have a value of 10. At your option, an Ace can be counted as 1 or 11, whichever is more advantageous to your hand. Therefore, if you hold a 9 and a 5, you have 14, but a nine and an Ace can be either 10 or 20. When you get an Ace and a ten-value card, it’s called a blackjack, which beats all other hands except for another blackjack. So if you have a blackjack, and the dealer has 3 cards that add up to 21, you still win.

After placing a bet, you are dealt two cards face up. The dealer also gets two cards, but only one of the dealer's cards is face up. You are then given the option of standing with the cards you have or you may take another card, called hitting. You may hit as often as you wish but if you go over 21, you "bust", and the dealer wins automatically. The dealer will not take any cards until all players at the table have made their choices. The dealer's biggest advantage is here. Any players that "bust" lose their bet even if the dealer also goes "bust".

Now the dealer shows his face down card. If his hand totals 17 or higher he must stand – he is not allowed to take additional cards. But if the dealer’s hand is 16 or under he must hit until the hand has a value of 17 or higher. If the dealer exceeds 21 while taking additional cards, the dealers "busts" and loses to any other player still in the game.

In most casinos, you may double down (double your bet) after your first two cards. However, there is one condition. When you double down, you can take only one more card. You can not receive any more cards after this. Always double if your two dealt cards add up to 11, except when the dealer has an Ace showing.

Another play is the splitting of pairs. If your first two cards of the deal are the same value, you may split the cards and play two hands by placing a bet of the same value as your original bet on the second hand. So if you split a pair of 8’s you create two separate hands, each with a value of 8. Then you proceed to play out each hand as you would do normally. Always split Ace-Ace and 8-8. Never split 10-10


All this term means is the optimal strategy for each hand you're dealt, and since there a limited number of possible hands versus a limited number of potential dealer upcards, basic strategy is something that can be easily remembered.

One very important rule of Basic Strategy is to always assume any card you can't see (the Dealers Down Card or the next card coming out of the deck or shoe is a 10). This is because there are a disproportionate number of ten's in the deck compared to cards with other values. (16 out of 52 cards have a value of 10.)

A few basics to remember are as follows:

  1. Stand (don't take another card) if you have a 12 to 16 and the dealers "up card" (the dealers card showing) is a 2 through 6
  2. Hit (take another card) if you have a 12 to 16 and the dealers "up card" is a 7 or higher
  3. Never split 10's
  4. Stand once your cards total 17 to 21
  5. Always split 8's and Ace's
  6. Always double down on 11, except against the dealer Ace

The Basic Strategy card below is a "what to do and when to do it matrix". Print it and take it with you to the casino. Most casino's will even let you play with the Basic Strategy rules sitting on the table in front of you or if you only need it for the tricky hands, keep it in your pocket for reference. It also is nice to have when someone else at the table isn't sure what to do, you can show them and say "well the book says".

Now you're ready to go!

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