Looking to improve your skills at Blackjack? You’ve come to the right place. While Blackjack is a great game that’s a ton of fun with a good group of friends, it can be intimidating to approach at first. Other players at the table will often question your decisions. Worse still, they’ll loudly complain if you make an “incorrect” play that results in them busting. Just a little bit of work will help you avoid these scenarios, however. With that in mind, here are some resources that will help you hone your skills at Blackjack and ensure that no one will think that you’re playing in the wrong manner. Here’s how to get started.

Important Disclaimer: I am not claiming that taking any of the actions below will make you a winning player at Blackjack. Like all casino games, the house retains the edge and you will lose over the long term. Still, it’s important to be prepared and be the best player you can be at the game.

1. Learn Basic Blackjack Strategy

Learn Blackjack!
Don’t take it too seriously.

When playing, you’ll often hear players mention “the book” and what action it dictates they should take. This book is basic Blackjack strategy. Given certain rules of the game, there are optimal actions you can make as a player. This will maximize your chances of winning and other players will take note and nod along even in the face of losses knowing that you made “the right” plays.

The best part about basic strategy in Blackjack is that’s it’s incredibly easy to learn. There’s an exhaustive Blackjack guide that you can view here.

Another common tactic is to bring a “strategy card” that tells you exactly what your optimal play is given certain cards, rules, etc. You can pick up a strategy card over at Amazon here. You can bring these to the Blackjack table with you or simply have them along in case you need to brush up on your strategy before sitting down.

2. Learn to Card Count

21 Movie Blackjack
It doesn’t work like this.

Once you grasp the basics, you may be ready to take your Blackjack game to the next level. While not illegal, card counting is a somewhat controversial practice. The basic jist of it is that as a player, you have the ability to watch and track what cards have come out from the deck. Under the right circumstances, you would increase your bet amount if those conditions are favorable, thus shifting the advantage to the player instead of the house.

Unlike in glorified movies like “21,” the reality of a card counter is that playing is a grind, and you need to be constantly alert in regards to how the game is flowing. Even if you play absolutely correctly, you’ll only be shifting the game edge to a slight advantage to you. I don’t card count myself, but if you’re interested, the best resource I’ve come across can be found over at Black Jack Apprenticeship.

3. Practice Makes Perfect

Casino movie Blackjack
Remember this movie?!

It can be helpful to practice your Blackjack game outside of the pressure of a live table. This is especially true if you’re just starting out and run into scenarios where you’re not sure what the “correct” play is according to the book. Nicole and I prefer to get a little something when we’re practicing, so we recommend using the MyVegas Blackjack app, which can be found over at Google Play and the Apple store. It’s free and allows you to earn comps for the best casinos is Las Vegas and The Borgata in Atlantic City. For a full run down of how MyVegas works, check out our guide here.