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Preparing Yourself for Real Money Blackjack

Now that you've finally mastered the rules of Blackjack, you might feel ready to play for real money in the casinos. Before you book a flight to Las Vegas, though, you must realize that it takes a little bit more preparation before you can play and win in a live venue.

Here are some things that you might want to work on first before playing for cash in Blackjack.

1. Play real money in home games first.

No matter how successfully you may have done in play money Blackjack, competing for real money is just a totally different experience. To get ready for that experience, you should get some of your friends together and play some low limit games at home. This will give you the opportunity to find out just how mentally prepared you are for winning -and losing- real cash.

When playing home based Blackjack, you should try to make the place as lively or noisy as possible; casinos are crowded and bustling with activity, so getting yourself used to that kind of environment is a necessity.

2. Use a Blackjack strategy chart

A Blackjack strategy chart contains every possible hand combination you can get, along with (based on the mathematical probabilities) the best move you can make.

These diagrams can be found on many gambling sites, and are very easy to understand. The vertical numbers are your hand total, and the horizontal numbers indicate the dealer's up card. Mark the point where the hand you hold and the casino dealer's up card meet, and the appropriate action to take will become apparent.

The abbreviations used in these Blackjack strategy charts are as follows: H (hit), D (double if permitted, if not, hit), S (stand, take no more cards), Ds (double if permissible, if not, stand); P is for split, H/P is for splitting after doubling, H/R is surrender, and if not possible, to hit; P/R is surrender if you cannot split and S/R is surrender or stand.

3. Learn how to use card counting and shuffle tracking

These are often viewed as advanced Blackjack strategies, but in reality they are techniques that players of all levels of experience will want to utilize. Card counting allows you to gauge the number of high and low cards in the deck, shifting the advantage in your favor.

Shuffle tracking in Blackjack on the other hand, is a complementary tool; suppose you're in an eight deck game, and you've been counting cards. You are at +10. With only a single deck or two left to play, you can use shuffle tracking to determine where the big cards are stacked. Although the techniques differ, the basic idea is to monitor the way the deck is shuffled.

Winners in Blackjack aren't born; they're made, and these players make themselves winners by practicing and honing their skills. Using the same approach, you can become one of them.