The Gambler Is a Wise Man

‘You gotta know when to walk away, know when to run’ – Kenny Rogers is a wise man.  My last trip to the casino was productive, but in reviewing my play I left another $500+ at the tables by not listening to the gambler’s sage advice.

At the first table I was playing alone and running slightly better than break-even when another player sat next to me and instantly turned the tide in his favor and away from me.  I knew this was bad for me as soon as he sat down and after losing $100 I knew I should cut my losses and leave, but instead I stuck around and watched my entire $300 buy-in go away.

After that weak performance I staged a comeback at a $50 table and turned a $500 buy-in to $1400 at one point and then rode that high down to a respectable $1200, but then was stubborn and didn’t listen to my inner voice, stayed with the same table and ended up at $800 when I finally pulled the rip cord.  At my last table of the day I again went on a strong run and turned $500 into $1200, then rode out the last shoe to end at $1000.

The moral of the above story is much like the old horror movie when the house moans ‘get out’ and your gut says it’s time to get out then GET OUT!  Take the money, don’t get greedy, move to another table and start your run over again.  It seems easy enough, but even after hundreds of sessions I still have to learn when to walk away.

Blackjack Table Etiquette for Beginners

One thing I hear from friends on a regular basis is that they often feel overwhelmed playing blackjack or almost any table game live in a casino since they are afraid that they will make a mistake that will embarass themselves, or worse, make someone at the table get upset with them.  My guidance is that unless they are being an a-hole and the mistakes they make are honest rather than malicious the dealer and other players will usually cut them slack.  The approach that I appreciate most when less experienced players join my table is to have them ask the dealer and tablemates for advice when they are uncertain about a situation.  Nothing is more frustrating than an inexperienced player who makes a bad move that tanks the entire hand for the table rather than swallowing their pride and asking for advice.

To get started there are a few simple things to remember:

1) Don’t touch the cards unless you are at a single deck table where they deal face down

2) Feel free to ask the dealer or other players their opinion or advice

3) Take a minute to understand the table rules before you sit

4) Don’t sit at third base – the last seat to players left – unless you are comfortable with people second-guessing every play you make

5) Ask the players if you may join them or if you should wait until the next shoe

6) Don’t enter a game if everyone is on a roll without asking first

7) TIP your dealer and drink server – I usually play between a $2-10 bet for dealer after a blackjack or major split/double win

8) If the players look like boring jerks choose another table

9) If you smile and have fun even the biggest a-hole will usually not get too upset with a couple of bad plays

10) Cheer for other players to win even if you lose the hand


Let me know if you have any other advice for new players to make their experience better