ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BLACKJACK
by Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin is the author of the "Ultimate Guide to Blackjack," editor of the Blackjack Insider Newsletter, and host of www.smartgaming.com.
Does the world need another book on blackjack? That was my first reaction when 888casino initially contacted me about writing the Ultimate Guide to Blackjack (UGBJ) for their blog. Even though there are plenty of sources of information on rules, tips, and strategies on online blogs and web sites, what intrigued me about 888casino's request was that they wanted the UGBJ to be "the most extensive and comprehensive introduction to the casino game of blackjack that you will find anywhere." Their objective made me seriously consider whether I was up to the task of raising the bar on blackjack information that was already available to players. After careful thought, I decided to take on this project.
My first task was to prepare an outline of what exactly was going to be in the UGBJ (called a Blueprint). After several iterations, we agreed on a structure for the guide that would consist of 18 chapters and several sub-chapters, beginning with the history of blackjack and then incrementally introducing topics that will give the reader the knowledge to play blackjack skillfully.(See the UGBJ Blueprint at the end of the article.)
With my years of experience in writing articles on blackjack for print publications, I was naive in thinking that I'd use the same writing style for the UGBJ. Wrong. I quickly learned that writing information on a web site requires different writing skills. Paragraphs need to be shorter with bullet points to catch the reader's attention. Facts and figures being stated in words need to be illustrated to help readers' comprehend the information. Color-coded strategy charts, Chapter Objectives, Key Takeaways, and a Test Yourself quiz were added for an enjoyable learning experience for readers. Yes, it was a whole new ballgame for me to learn a different writing style but I was up to the challenge.
I wanted the UGBJ to contain the most up-to-date and authoritative strategies, tips, and skills for both novice and experienced blackjack players in an informal and practical way. But first and foremost, I wanted the information in the UGBJ to be technically and stylistically accurate. To ensure this, I asked my friend Don Schlesinger to edit each chapter before I submitted it to 888casino. For those that don't know, Schlesinger is the author of one of the most authoritative books on blackjack (Blackjack Attack: Playing the Pros' Way), and he was recently inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame by his peers. Don is one of the finest editors that I've ever worked with. He is a stickler when it comes to grammar, style, punctuation, and of course, clear and accurate explanations of playing strategies and data. I'm happy and pleased that he agreed to edit the UGBJ.
Below is the UGBJ Blueprint that summarizes its contents. If you scan the Blueprint, you will see the different topics that it contains. To date, I have completed the first nine chapters and I hope to finish the remaining chapters by the end of the year.
You can view the first illustrated chapters of the UGBJ by going to this web site:http://www.888casino.com/blog/casino-guides/blackjack.
I'd also appreciate your comments on the UGBJ. Send them to me atHTamburin@aol.com.
I'd be lying if I didn't say that writing the UGBJ has been a challenging project for me. But from a selfish standpoint, I view the UGBJ as my legacy to the game of blackjack to present and future legions of blackjack players. I hope you find it an enjoyable guide and that you will become a better player after reading it.
Also, you'll find the first blog post written by me at:http://blog.888casino.com/top-8-reasons-why-most-blackjack-players-lose
I also was involved in critiquing and modifying an interactive software Blackjack Card Counting Training tool (to sharpen your card counting skills) that was in the early stages of development by 888casino, and provided the instructions on how to use it. Try it out here:
Blueprint for Ultimate Guide to Blackjack
by Henry Tamburin
Chapter 1: Getting Started with Blackjack
1.4 Why Play Blackjack?
1.5 Understanding the House Edge
Chapter 2: Blackjack Strategy
2.1 Importance of Basic Strategy
2.2 Basic Strategy for Surrender
2.3 Basic Strategy for Pair Splitting
2.4 Basic Strategy for Doubling Down
2.5 Basic Strategy for Hitting and Standing
2.6 Insurance and Even Money
Chapter 3: Color-Coded Basic Strategy Tables
3.1 Single-Deck Game
3.2 Double-Deck Game
3.3 Four or More Decks
Chapter 4: How to Practice Basic Strategy
4.1 Drills to Master the Basic Strategy
4.2 Order of Decision Making
Chapter 5: How to Further Reduce the House Edge
5.1 Composition-Dependent Strategy
5.2 Hand Interaction
5.4 Gambling Coupons
5.5 Loss Rebate
Chapter 6: Scouting the Tables
6.1 What to Look For
6.2 Good and Bad Rules
Chapter 7: Bogus Betting Systems
7.1 Popular Betting Systems
7.2 Why They Don't Work
Chapter 8: Blackjack Myths Exposed
Chapter 9: Frequently Asked Questions
Chapter 10: Card Counting
10.1 What Is It?
10.2 How It Works
10.3 Simple Counting Systems
10.4 More Complex Counting Systems
10.5 Techniques That Increase a Counter's Edge
10.6 Disguising Skills
Chapter 11: Blackjack Side Bets
11.1 What Are They?
11.2 Popular Side Bets
Chapter 12: Spanish 21
12.1 Playing Rules
12.2 Playing Strategies
Chapter 13: European Blackjack
13.1 Differences from American Blackjack
13.2 Strategy Adjustments
Chapter 14: Playing Blackjack Online
14.1 Pros and Cons
14.2 Getting Started
14.3 Evaluating Games
14.4 Customer Support
Chapter 15: Blackjack Tournaments
15.1 How They Work
15.2 Strategies for Tournament Play
Chapter 16: Legends of Blackjack
16.1 Major Contributors to Our Knowledge of the Game
16.2 Blackjack Ball
16.3 Blackjack Hall of Fame
Chapter 17: Top 10 Reasons Why Most Blackjack Players Lose
Chapter 18: Five Steps to Becoming a Skillful Blackjack Player
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