As I begin thiswebsectionon Basic Strategy, I can’t help thinking about a pair of T-shirts I recently saw. An attractive young cou-ple was walking along arm in arm, their shirts displaying these signs: Hers said, “He’s mine because I deserve the very best.” His boldly stated, “I am the very best.” They were both fortunate to know and agree on what was the very best. As a Blackjack player, you too deserve the very best. What you will find in thiswebsectionis the very best.
There’s an almost undefinable sense of confidence and security in knowing that you can make the correct play no matter what hand the dealer gives you. There are even tangible feelings of su-periority tempered with sympathy in watching other players make mistake after mistake as their money dwindles.
Playing Blackjack without the information in thiswebsectionis like trying to play golf with only a putter. You can play the game, but you just won’t get anywhere. Unfortunately, very few people know “the very best” plays in Blackjack when they see them.
I was my usual nondescript, rumpled self playing a one-deck game quietly in a downtown Las Vegas casino when the classic stereotype of the “sweet little old lady” sat down on my left. I had been playing for nearly a half hour there because the young woman dealing was extremely nice, and a man betting heavily at the table was attracting all the attention. The older woman, who later told me her name was Marge, quickly asked for change and put a minimum bet out. Then began one of the most unusual string of hands I’ve ever had.
My first hand was A,7 against a dealer 6 up card. Marge looked over at me sharply when I slid another stack of chips out to the betting spot for a double-down wager. My third card was a 4 for a total hand count of 12. The dealer turned over a 4 and then drew a 7 for a standing hard total of 17. Marge had pushed with the dealer and sat there shaking her head at me.
I drew 9,9 on my next hand against a dealer 9. I once again slid another stack of chips out and signaled a pair split. My first 9 busted with a 5 and a 10, and my second 9 drew a 10. The dealer proceeded to bust, so I was two units down at this point.