It is no secret that I love playing Blackjack.  There are a variety of reasons that the game fascinates me and I like to either play on my phone app the majority of the time but every now and again I will head over to the casino for a long night of playing!  You see, I grew up near Atlantic City, New Jersey and at the age of 19, I was entered into a pageant for the United Way by my then employer Lenox China.  The pageant and all of our practices took place at each of the various casinos and I must say, it was love at first sight the moment I walked through those doors!  The lights, the sounds, the excitement, the people – it all just swept me away.  Although I loved staying at the casinos, eating there often, attending concerts etc., It wouldn’t be until several years later that I would be asked to speak in Vegas that I began to get my Blackjack game on!  Since then, I have been hooked.  Not hooked on gambling but hooked on the overall experience and lessons learned.  Here are all of the lessons I have learned and I am much wiser as a result of them!

  1. Be prepared to stay in it for the long haul – There is no such thing as getting rich quick or striking the jackpot in Blackjack.  The game takes time and strategic betting to get ahead.  You can’t plop down $50 and expect to do much with it.  Nor can you only give it 30 minutes to see what happens.  Tables have losing streaks and winning streaks but you have to be willing to ride the bad times to get to the good times!
  2. People will come and go, but it’s OK – Most of my life it seemed everyone I got attached to eventually went away so I developed a fear of abandonment which spilled over into many areas of my life.  I have met some great people over the years at the table and some are there for a reason, some are there for a short season, some have stayed for a lifetime.  Either way, they have all served their purpose and it’s OK!
  3. The greater the risk, the greater the reward – As with anything, whether you bet $5 or $50, the game doesn’t change.  All too often people fear betting high because they will lose more but they fail to remember that they will also gain more!
  4. Choose your partners wisely, the better the dealer, the better the game – A good game is played when you feel aligned with the dealer.  If you are going to sit there for hours, you might as well make sure that you enjoy your partner.  Stand back and watch a while before jumping in head first.  Not all dealers are personable or helpful.  Bad partnerships can alter your attitude, therefore altering the game.
  5. Teamwork makes the dream work – Some come to the table without any knowhow on how to play the game.  A good dealer will help the uneducated players make wise choices however the game is best played as a team.  When the entire table comes together as a unified front and helps each other, the odds of winning are greater!
  6. Don’t look behind, only ahead – While it’s never fun losing, you have to set the intention going into the game that it’s just that, a game.  Spend money that you can afford to lose and have a good time.  When the game is over, chalk it up a fun experience and move on.
  7. Take your winnings and reinvest – As I said earlier, strategic betting insures longevity in the game but also I find, increases your chances of winning.  As soon as you win a hand, you must re-invest the winnings into the next hand otherwise you will never get ahead.
  8. If it’s not fun, don’t do it – I often play with very miserable people and sometimes it seems you can’t escape them.  For goodness sakes, life is meant to be fun and if it’s not, don’t do it! 
  9. When the big wave comes, be ready to ride it There are rare times throughout the game where you will get a chance to double down, split cards one or more times and add lots more money to your original bet.  This is where the money is made with the game however of you are not willing to seize those opportunities, you will very seldom find yourself in the winning side at the end of the day.
  10. It’s important to set your rules and stick to them – Every game must be set with a strategic plan in advance and you MUST stick to it!  So often people play, lose and then reach into their pocket for more money.  Big mistake.  They have no plan.  She with the best plan gets the best results!
  11. Don’t let peer pressure get the best of you – The odds of you playing with amateur players at the low cost tables are much greater so I avoid those tables.  I like to sharpen my saw with the big guys but I have a standard rule of not taking a card if my cards total 16.  (You are trying to beat the dealer’s 17) Other players want you to hit on 16 and sometimes will scream and yell if you don’t – but my rule is my rule and when I get my first 16 I let the dealer and table know I won’t be hitting on 16s.
  12. The seat you choose has in impact on the outcome – I have always been a front seat girl so I like the seat front and center so that I can see the entire table, watch the dealers body language and get his attention when I need it.  However, the last chair to the left is known as the captain’s chair and you would think I would want that chair but I don’t. The captain’s chair first and foremost is squeezed into a corner and sees the table from an entirely different perspective.  The person in that chair has an important responsibility; he gets to make the final card choice, which will determine whether or not the deal wins or busts.  So pretty much they are running the ship.  This is one time when I will forgo being in control and leave it up to someone else but rest assured, it won’t go down without my adding my two cents when need be, which brings me to my next point.
  13. Speak up when you feel the need to – As stated in points 5 and 11, it takes a team to carry off a successful win and with that being said, you must learn to speak up if you expect to win the game.  Your ability to speak up and influence the others will have a direct impact on the success of your game.
  14. Don’t drink or smoke obsessively – Having played now for many years, you can imagine that I have run into a lot of drunk players in my time.  I play to win and I can’t imagine being able to make sound choices with an impaired mind.  Also being in such close proximity, you are inevitably invading each other’s personal space.  Lighting up and blowing smoke around the table just isn’t cool.  The likelihood of winning over your team is slim if you are doing things to annoy them!
  15. Know when to walk away – As I stated earlier, you must be willing to stay in for the long haul as I have seen losing streaks go on as long as 5 hours.  The other night, I kept waiting for my table to turn over but it never did so I walked away and found another table, I won the first 5 hands at the table.  Know when to walk away but also know when you start at a new table, you are starting all over again and you must be prepared to ride it out!
  16. It takes money to make money – For the players that are looking to come in a make a quick couple of hundred or thousand, they must understand that they need to stay away from the small chips and bet only with the large ones.   So often I see people slap down forty dollars and expect to do well.  Forty dollars will not keep you in for the long haul.  It takes money to make money AMEN!
  17. Paying it forward always pays you back – Sitting at a Blackjack table is no different than sitting at a restaurant table, the dealers get paid on tips and I LOVE to tip!  I have found more often then not that when I pay it forward by adding a tip to my bet, I almost always win.  Law of attraction at its best!
  18. Sometimes the cards you are dealt aren’t the best but you learn to make the best of what you have – At the end of the day, not every hand is going to be a good one so I make the best of it.  I make new friends by getting to know the dealer, I ask the other players about their life and most of all, I have fun.

All and all, I love the art of the game and all that goes with it – good and bad.  Now if all of these points listed could be combined at the same table at the exact same time, that would make for a great game but in the end, I realize only God knows the outcome and I can’t get attached to it.  I know in my heart that expectations create disappointment so I go into the game with my intention, my core values and beliefs intact and I play like it depends on me but pray like it depends on God.  I enjoy the fun of the game and the people I meet so the winning is an added bonus!  I have also eaten the best meals, attended the best concerts and enjoyed a lot of great perks as a result of playing and those are also icing on the cake!  All and all, it’s a fun and relaxing way to spend my time when I choose to!  Blackjack!