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Whether you play blackjack online or in a live casino, understanding and managing the flow of the game can play a big role in your success or lack thereof. Managing blackjack flow is even more important if you are a card counter because you are called upon to process information and make decisions in a quick manner.

When most people practice blackjack they do not practice managing the flow or adjusting to the tempo of the game. Truthfully, this can be difficult to do when you have to practice alone. CountingEdge.com offers these suggestions for improving your blackjack tempo.

What do we Mean by Blackjack Tempo?

By tempo, we mean the speed at which a blackjack game is played. In a live casino, blackjack is one of the quicker games in the house behind craps. We don’t necessarily mean the speed at which the cards are being dealt from the shoe—that’s totally different. What we mean is the speed at which a player is required to process information and make decisions.

In live blackjack there are multiple factors that can affect the tempo of the game. First, there are other players at the table. These players may be fast or slow in the decisions they make and this can directly affect your own play. If the play sitting to your right is slow to act you will have more time to think about your own play. If the player to your right is a fast player, you must always be prepared to act quickly. This is one of the reasons why the seating at a blackjack table is very important in a live casino. If you sit in the First Base seat, the seat to the immediate left of the dealer and the first person to receive cards, you will have the advantage of controlling the overall tempo of the table. Because you are the first to act you do not have to respond to the tempo of other players. The disadvantage is that you will have less time to process all of the information happening at the table as other players after you act on their hands. If you sit in the Third Base seat, being the last player at the table to receive cards and act on a hand, you will benefit from being able to access all the information that has happened before. This typically enables you to maintain a faster tempo.

If you happen to be sitting somewhere in the middle of the blackjack table then your tempo is going to be dictated somewhat by the players on either side of you.

Online Blackjack Tempo

Playing blackjack online is an entirely different scenario in regards to tempo because usually you are the only one at the table. You can play multiple hands and you don’t have a live dealer glaring at you if you don’t make decisions fast enough. The laid-back tempo of online blackjack is one reason more and more players are playing online.

There is another significant reason you should think about playing online if you have not done so—practice. Because you can control all aspects of the tempo of the game, online blackjack is the perfect environment to develop your own timing and learn how to absorb information and act on it quickly. The more you practice, the better you will become at making decisions intuitively without a lot of conscious thought.

Making intuitive decisions in blackjack is the key to developing a consistent flow. There are certain plays that you will make each and every time and you need to be able to recognize those plays in an instant and act. Whether it is splitting aces and eights or doubling down on an 11, playing blackjack online will help you sharpen your ability to recognize some situations on sight and act.

Where else are you going to be able to find a blackjack table that will let you practice your blackjack decision making for $1 per hand? You certainly won’t find that in the live casino where the cheapest tables have a minimum of $5, and that is on a weekday. On the weekends you had better come prepared to bet $10 per hand on blackjack. Online blackjack doesn’t have to do this because they are able to deal more hands per hour to more players, hence a greater overall profit. In the live casino floor space is precious. Casinos literally know how much they need to make per square foot of floor space to keep churning a profit. So, when the numbers drop the table minimums go up in direct proportion.

Some Tips to Develop Good Blackjack Game Flow

Here are some tips that will help you develop a solid rhythm as a blackjack player:

  • In a live casino always prefer the third-base and first-base seats, in that order. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of the table where the tempo of other players can affect your game.
  • Put in lots of practice time online. Some have said that it takes 10,000 of practice to become an expert in anything, from sports to playing a musical instrument. While you may not ever put in that much time, playing online for a few hours here and there can add up and sharpen your game.
  • Practicing playing intuitively. Being able to make some blackjack plays needs to be instinctual. That means playing until basic strategy is ingrained into your memory.

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