It was an unbelievably hot afternoon in the summer of 1968 when the young couple arrived in Las Vegas. It was their first trip ever to this gambling Mecca and they didn't know what to expect. Certainly the 120-degree temperature was nothing they had ever experienced in their native New Jersey.
When they arrived at their hotel, they were taken aback by the elegance of the casino. The adrenaline was already flowing through the young mans body as he couldn't wait to play blackjack. They agreed that she would stand in the hotel check - in line and he would " check out the casino".
It didn't take long for the young man to take a seat at a blackjack table. He placed two crisp one hundred-dollar bills on the layout and asked for chips. His first bet ever in a casino was two dollars, which he won.
When his wife eventually caught up with him, he was ahead about fifty dollars and feeling real good. She was tired from the long plane ride and decided to go to the room and rest. He stayed to play more blackjack.
He learned how to play blackjack from his Friday night outings with the guys back home. Besides playing poker, they also played a little blackjack. With what little he knew about playing strategy, he often did quite well. And here he was in Vegas, the real thing, and already he was winning!
Well it wasn't long before the cards and his luck started to change. Even though he was winning and had thoughts of quitting, he decided to keep playing because as he figured "he was due to win".
Before long he had lost his profits and was now down a hundred bucks. Surely the cards will change, he thought, so he increased his bet size. Where it took him about an hour to lose the first hundred, it now took only 30 minutes or so to lose the second hundred.
He couldn't believe his bad luck. He was sure he was going to start winning so he took out the last hundred-dollar bill the couple had allocated to gamble during their four days in Vegas and asked for more chips. After all he couldn't face his wife knowing he had already lost most of their bankroll.
You probably know the ending to this story. I certainly do, because that young man was me. And to this day I can still remember the miserable time my wife and I had on our first trip ever to Las Vegas after I lost our entire bankroll in just two hours.
During the next four days of wandering around the desert like a lost puppy (back then there wasn't much to do in Vegas except gambling and shows), I vowed I would never again return until I learned more about this game of blackjack. It was a vow that consumed a lot of my time and energy for many years to come.
A lot has happened since that first ill-fated experience. I made good on that vow to learn all I could about the game. I read books, did computer studies, and quickly discovered that blackjack was in fact a beatable game but you need to learn how to do it. So I did and with a lot of practice and patience got real good at the game. With the opening of legal casinos in my backyard in Atlantic City I was able to play regularly and profit handsomely. Soon my trips to Vegas became increasingly more profitable. And when I relocated to the South I wound up being only 45 minutes from the casinos when casino gambling became legalized. More blackjack and more profits. Was it easy? No. Do I win every time I play? No, again. But as I and other blackjack authors have stated over and over, you can win more then you lose overtime if you learn the right playing and betting strategies.
You may ask, "If blackjack is a beatable game, why would casinos in every legal establishment in the mid west, south, east, and west offer such a game to the public? After all they are in the business to make money". The reason is quite simple. Remember it's the skillful player who can win. And to be skillful, a player must devote a certain amount of study and practice to learn these skills. So, while the majority of the public who play blackjack loses, a relatively small majority of skillful players win. Which is fine because someone has to lose the money won by the skillful players!
There are other reasons why players continue to lose at a game that can be beaten. These misconceptions about the game are unfortunate because in most cases these are the reasons or excuses given by players for not learning how to win. Here's just a few of these myths.
"It's impossible to win at blackjack. It is a game of luck"
Entirely false. Blackjack is a game of skill, not chance, and it is the one of only a few casino games in which you can enjoy a long-term mathematical edge over the casino with skillful play.
"You must have a photographic memory or be a mathematical genius in order to win".
Not so. Anyone with the ambition and desire to improve their game can learn with practice the basic playing strategy and simple tracking techniques to keep track of the cards as they are played. No photographic memory or mathematical background is required.
"You need a tremendous bankroll to win appreciable amounts of money"
Even if you have a small bankroll it is possible to still win a lot. The key is to increase your bets in proportion to your bankroll. As you begin to win your bankroll will increase thus your bet size will increase proportionately and the amount you will win will increase.
Don't let these and other myths deter you from learning how to play winning blackjack. It won't be easy and you will have many short term losses. But these will be offset by many winning sessions so on balance, over time you will be ahead of the game.