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How to lose your shirt playing blackjack

By Henry Tamburin


If you are one of the many players who constantly lose every time you play blackjack and refuse to heed my advice on how to play better and win more that I have expounded for over 25 years in my blackjack columns in Casino Player, then here are some guaranteed ways to keep that losing streak going in 2017.

Don’t Check the Playing Rules

This one is a no-brainer. Instead of checking the playing rules that are posted on every blackjack table, just plop yourself down at any table, buy in, and start firing away. More than likely, you’ll be playing a game where a player blackjack is paid at a measly 6-5 (instead of the much better 3-2 payoff odds). Better yet, the rules may restrict you from doubling down on soft hands, or worse, from doubling down after pair splitting. If you are lucky, you might even be playing on a table where the rules specify that dealers must hit soft 17. Congratulations because you’ve taken the first step to losing your shirt. But there is more you can do…

Mimic the Dealer’s Strategy

Heck, the dealer seems to be always winning so why not follow her strategy… always hit if you have 16 or less and stand on 17 or more. And forget about doubling down and pair splitting because the dealer doesn’t do that and she wins, right? (Note: If instead you’d rather keep using your seat-of-the-pants playing strategy based on hunches and gut feeling, then by all means keep doing so because you’ll get the same results.)

Use a Progressive Betting System

Now you’ve hit the mother lode to lose your shirt. Every time you lose a bet, just bet double on the next hand. Keep doubling your bet on successive losses because sooner or later you’re going to win a hand and recoup all your losses, right? (Note: If you happen to be using a different progressive betting system, no problem because any progressive betting system will help you achieve your objective.)

Keep Believing in the Law of Averages

This is another really good way to keep that losing streak going; namely, keep believing that an event is likely to occur because it has not occurred in a while. Therefore, after losing several bets in a row, go ahead and increase your bets because, according to the Law of Averages, things have to even out and you are “due to win.” Right?

Play Fast

If you want to lose your shirt as quickly as possible, be sure to play blackjack at a table where they use those newfangled continuous shuffling machines (CSM). That’s the contraption you see on a blackjack table where the dealer removes the cards and deals them to the players, and after every round, returns the discards back into the machine. By playing on a table with a CSM, you’ll be playing about 20 percent more hands per hour because there is never any down time for either a manual shuffle or replacement of the discards with an offline-shuffled stack of cards. And lucky you… the more hands you play per hour, the more the house edge is going to eat away at your bankroll, and the quicker you will lose your shirt.

Play Tired

If it takes several hours to fly or drive to your favorite casino, you are in luck. As soon as you arrive, don’t bother to go to your room and rest; instead, go straight to the blackjack tables and start playing. The more tired you are, the more playing mistakes you’ll make, and the more likely you’ll achieve your objective of losing your shirt.

Take Advantage of the Free Drinks

This is another no-brainer. If you want to keep that losing streak going, by all means take advantage of the free booze the casino will ply you with while playing. You’ll be happily losing your money while feeling no pain doing so.

Gamble Non Stop

If all else fails, try the coup de grace: play blackjack non-stop, never stopping to rest or eat or quitting if you happen to be ahead (heaven forbid). Remember your goal is to lose your shirt and you’ll do so more quickly and easily if you just play non-stop until you lose it all.

Lastly, I’ll throw out a few more good ideas to help you achieve your goal. By all means, use some or all of these when you play blackjack:

  • Don’t set a stop-loss limit.
  • Play longer to snag a comp.
  • Overbet your bankroll.
  • Play hunches all the time.
  • Don’t even consider using a basic strategy card when you play, or worse, learn card counting.
  • Keep believing that winning at blackjack is all luck.

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