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Blackjack or Zigging & Zagging

   Years ago I use to sit down at the blackjack table in Vegas and play what I fondly refer to as Zigging & Zagging (about the same as bob and weave).  Oh, I followed a basic strategy and even counted the cards but there were many days when I felt the strategy was costing me too much money especially when it came to the splits and double down decisions.

   So on many occasions I found myself standing on a pair of eights; not doubling down on ace/six; and even standing when the dealer had a two or three for an up card when I had a hand with a hard twelve (F/2, 9/3, 8/4, 7/5).  It took me a few years to learn that this type of zigging and sagging was just tearing my wallet up into pieces. 

   There was a time I would use the positive or negative count (especially with a single deck) to influence my action.  I thought I was real clever.  cool   If the count was real high (indicating the next card would probably be a face card) I would stand when I had a hard 15 or 16 and the dealer's up card was face card (10,J,Q, or K) when I should have taken a hit.  But I thought I was smart and the odds of me busting were so great the risk of staying was better than that outcome.  Needless to say that over time, this type of zigging and zagging took its losing toll.

   enlightenedBut then I embraced one of the key elements to a winning playing strategy… CONSISTENCY!  I began to keep records of my play (back in the early days having a pen and small tablet was allowed at the tables) and it became clear that my play improved when I followed a strict set of rules.  Over time I developed a betting system (which is the main topic of my new book, "Blackjack to the Nth Degree") that combined with the basic strategy overcame the casino's edge and put me on a winning track for good.

   One of the toughest thing to overcome when one becomes that strict is "boredom".  It takes a lot of discipline to overcome boredom.  That one word can cost even a very good player a lot of money if it can't be controlled and accepted.

Have a great day at the tables,

Pat Clemens

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