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Smarter Bet Guide to Blackjack
by Basil Nestor
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Strategy is the key to success at the blackjack table; that's a mathematical fact, and you can count on these expert, easy-to-learn tactics to make you a victor. Here's the deal: everything begins with the basic rules, and they're laid out on these pages with smart little “factoid” tips. Go through blackjack economics, which explain why cards fall the way they do, and what makes a good (and a sucker) bet. Easy-to-follow tables suggest strategies for splitting pairs and soft hands and provide dozens of other statistics and card probabilities.
Free Blackjack Strategy Cards!
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LuckyAce Casino is the best bet for practicing blackjack basic strategy without stress and distractions. The game comes in both free play and real money modes and you can play up to two  hands on your own table. The rules are favorable and with a house edge of only 0.49%, better than most casinos. They also provide a blackjack tutorial and an accurate strategy card that you can consult while you play. Highly recommended.
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Can Blackjack Dealers Cheat You?

Q Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I don't trust dealers handling the cards, and I also don't like those new shuffling machines. I only play at tables where the cards are kept in a deck holder. MyBasil NestorBasil Nestor is the author of the new Playboy Complete Guide to Casino Gambling. This wonderful book teaches players how to avoid sucker bets and win more when playing gambling games.  He is also the author of The Smarter Bet Guide series for video poker, slots, craps, and many other books about gambling.  Basil's website is  wife says it's all in my head, but I'm concerned about the casino cheating me. What do you think?
A It depends entirely on where you're playing. Is the casino in a state where gambling is illegal? Do you need a secret password to enter? Do large muscular men pat you down for weapons before you're allowed to play? If yes, then it's good to be wary because cheating is always a possibility. On the other hand, if you're playing in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or another regulated U.S. municipality, then I wouldn't be concerned.

Of course, cheating does happen occasionally, but usually the casino is the victim. In other words, it's more common for a dealer to cheat the casino, either by colluding with a player, conspiring with another employee, or simply by working alone (usually stealing chips). Security procedures make these scams relatively rare, but a casino is still a big rich target, much more attractive to cheaters than an individual player.

Casino-perpetrated scams against players are uncommon because casinos already have an advantage. Standard gaming earns them a sizeable profit. If you owned a billion-dollar casino, would you jeopardize that golden goose for a trifle of extra sauce?

Also remember that a dealer's primary job is to "protect the integrity of the game." This requires a lot more than just pushing cards around. Dealers must handle money and chips. They're looking for cheaters. They're calculating payoffs. They're at the center of an intricate system that is designed to protect you and the casino. Spend ten minutes with a poorly-trained dealer, and you'll see what I mean. It's a real drag to have your chips or cards mistakenly scooped up.

By the way, dealers typically earn near-minimum wage, and they depend on tips for most of their income (tips are known as "tokes" in the casino industry). A recent study by Nevada's Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation found that the average hourly wage for a blackjack dealer in Southern Nevada is $5.94 (not including tips), poker dealers earn $6.12, and craps dealers earn $6.39. Tips vary widely depending on the property, but the additional income is usually in the range of $10 to $15 per hour.

So, if you have a good session, toke your dealer. The gratuity will be much appreciated.

And here's a suggestion to help you win more so you can pay for those tips. The "deck holder" is called a shoe, and it's typically used in multiple-deck games. If you play blackjack, then you should look for single- or double-deck contests (games that have a dealer "handling the cards") because you generally have a better chance of winning when fewer decks are in play.

Enjoy the game!

Basil Nestor

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