Without beating around the bush, here is what you need to know if you want to survive in the casinos while playing blackjack. Blackjack offers you more opportunities for winning and making money than almost any other game, but if you don’t do what the pros have always advised, you are just wasting time and money. The house edge tells the story. If you know nothing about a game, find out its house edge. A high house edge makes the game a waste of time. Don’t bother learning it; the fact it gives the casino a huge advantage is all you need to know. Walk away. Basic strategy varies with the rules. This applies to all, but especially playing blackjack and video poker. You cannot use the same basic strategy card for two different blackjack tables with their own rules. Note down the table rules for blackjack in your casino, find out its house edge and if it’s worth playing, look up its basic strategy card. Know what the good and bad rules are. Every rule of a game affects its odds. To get the most out of blackjack, you have to know what rules turn the odds in your favor and which you do not. For example, a game with four decks has much better odds than one with eight decks. A blackjack payoff of 3 to 2 is a must and a 6 to 5 payoff should always be avoided. Basic strategy and flat betting is a losing strategy. There is absolutely no way to get ahead playing blackjack by relying on basic strategy only. Basic strategy cards only DECREASE the house edge; it does not give you a positive expected value. The only way to get that is by learning how to count cards and adjust your bets as per the card count. Study the mathematics of gambling and especially blackjack. Know what house edge, expected value and standard deviation mean. Learn what Kelly Betting is, long and short term runs and bankroll management. Want to know a secret? All blackjack heroes in history were schooled mathematicians and scientists. Take insurance only if you count cards. It is profitable to take insurance when the dealer has an ace and the decks are rich in high cards (i.e. the count is high). But this is for card counters only. Everyone else playing blackjack should avoid it. Hide what you are doing. The dealer is NOT you sole opponent. You also have the pit boss, surveillance cameras and the rest of the casino to contend with. Learn to disguise your card counting. Act like a normal player. If someone questions your decisions while you’re playing blackjack, don’t say you know what you are doing. Make it look like you do not know what you are doing. You want the casinos to think you’re just “gambling. Know when to run. If the pit boss comes over and gives you the 86, offer no arguments. Pick up your chips and head for the nearest exit. There will be another casino to play in later on. And that summarizes the knowledge you need to play blackjack and actually win. You have to do the math, know the rules, use proper strategy, count cards and manage your money. On top of that, make sure you never arouse suspicion. Good luck!