So the story goes that a woman playing blackjack was dealt two tens, and sought advice from the man next to her.
"Do you know when it is the right time to split two tens?"
The man smiled and answered simply, "When the table is full, and your buddies need a seat."
Alright, so I didn't promise you a good blackjack joke.
But you ought to be ready, by now, to further improve your already impressive blackjack skills. Here's some tips from the pros:
When the dealer is showing an Ace you should avoid taking insurance because more often than not this decision will end up costing you money.
But if you're a card counter and you know that the deck is very positive (for instance, lots of 10s left) this play might be to your relative advantage.
If the count is +4 or higher, you should take insurance against that one pesky Ace you know is out there.
Those blackjack players with a basic knowledge of the game seem to think it is a rule that they have to hit when faced with a total of 16 against the dealer, if the dealer is showing 7 to an Ace as their upcard. But what they don't know is, when the count is positive (even if there is only 1 more card or 10 cards left than normal) you should stand on 16 against a dealers 10. This is math, people, and the statistics do not lie.
Standing at 16 is often a more profitable play than taking a card, which has a higher likelihood of being a 10 and busting you. So -- remember -- do not take a card when you're showing 16 against a 10 upcard, but only if the count is +1 or above.
Most of us blindly take a card when we're put in this uncomfortable hand, but again if the count is high enough the correct play becomes to stand. All your impulses will say "Hit", but you must be steadfast. In this case, a higher count is required compared to when you are in the 16 vs. 10 position -- still, as long as the count is +4 or higher you should not draw a card against a dealer's 10 up.
Bottom line? Stand on 15 against the dealer's 10, when and only when the count is higher than or equal to +4.
You've seen it many times before, but usually it's the drunkard or the amateur who is doing it: splitting 10s and feeling like a real gambler. But there are certain instances when this is a great play to make. When the dealer is showing a 6, for instance, he is in his worst possible spot. And, if there happen to be an abundance of 10s left in the deck (count your cards!) the dealer is in such a bad position that you would be dumb not to increase your chances by splitting a 20. The dealer is likely to bust with all those 10s remaining in the shoe, right. Secondly, you are likely to hit more 20s with your split 10s. But be warned, as usual there is a count rule here. You should only do this when the count is +5 or greater.
Don't forget -- split your 10s against a dealer's 6, if and only if the count is +5 or more.
There are too many free and expertly-designed websites out there to assist you in your training. Why not sit down with these four rules of thumb and instantly improve your game? Free blackjack tutorials abound. Combine what you learn here with what you can learn online, and sit down for a round of play money blackjack.
Remember that practice, regardless of how cliche it sounds, does indeed lead to perfection.
You may also be interested in learning about Blackjack Skills, overcoming Blackjack Weaknesses, Blackjack Myths and the constantly asked question: Is Online Blackjack Legal? We also have information about The SAFE Port Act of 2006.