DON’T BE A DIFFICULT BLACKJACK PLAYER

You’ve probably heard the old saying ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’. That’s not really true at the blackjack table. No one likes a ‘difficult’ blackjack player who insists on doing everything his way to the point where it irritates or inconveniences the dealer or other players. There are a variety of reasons why you should endeavor to *not* be considered a ‘difficult player’ at the table. Some of these reasons are the province of high level card counters or ‘advantage gamblers’ but many of these reasons are just good manners. In the casino the ‘squeaky wheel’ doesn’t get anything resembling preferential treatment.

If you’re anything beyond a rank novice at blackjack you’ve no doubt been at a table with a ‘difficult player’. There are many different ways in which a player can be difficult. One of the most common is not knowing the rules and continually having to ask questions of the dealer. If you’re a beginner and really have a question any dealer will be happy to help. If it’s just a matter of laziness–like continually having to answer if you can split or double on a hand–you’re just being difficult. A corollary to this–don’t expect the dealer or the other players to help you with strategy decisions. Play your own hand. The best anyone can do is quote the basic strategy for a specific situation and that’s something you need to learn yourself.

BE RESERVED BUT CORDIAL

Another sign of a ‘difficult player’ is one that just won’t shut up. This is doubly true if the player won’t shut up and has only negative things to say. No one likes chatty players at the table, particularly if it has a negative impact on the flow of the game. You don’t want to be rude or non-communicative but this isn’t the place to engage in extended conversations. Personally, I try to respond to most questions from other players with a smile and a nod. If you end up with a table mate that wants to gab you need to politely but firmly cut them off. If this isn’t possible, leave the table and find another one. And whatever you do, don’t *be* the ‘chatty player’.

Most people go to the casino to have a good time and for that reason keep the ‘vibe’ at the blackjack table positive. If you must talk, don’t talk about negative subjects–no one wants to hear how much money you’ve lost, how crooked these dealers are or what a ‘grind joint’ the casino is. It should go without saying that you don’t want to talk about politics, religion, illness, death or any contentious social issue. If someone wants your opinion they’ll ask but guess what–no one wants your opinion.

KEEP PLAY MOVING ALONG SMOOTHLY

One extremely irritating type of ‘difficult player’ is one that won’t do his part to keep play moving along smoothly. Not paying attention to the game is one example. Taking an inordinate time to make decisions is another. If you’re faced with a particularly thorny strategy decision no one will mind if you take a few extra seconds. That being said, you don’t want to labor over every card you’re dealt. Know the rules and abide by them–don’t touch your cards with two hands or otherwise violate the obvious rules of casino behavior.

At some point when you’re playing blackjack there’s a good chance the dealer will offer you the deck to cut. It’s poor form to ‘wave off’ this request though it happens fairly often–some people just don’t want to do it while others think it’s ‘bad luck’. It’s not brain surgery and from a theoretical standpoint it really doesn’t matter. Just gently slide the card in the middle of the deck so play can continue. Basically, the idea is to stay focused, pay attention, know the rules and don’t hold up the game.