Gamble Like a Pro

There are perils in gambling at any time. But when gambling on a cruise ship this is even more true. These ships sail in international waters and are not governed by any particular gaming authorities rules and regulations. I don't think there's any questions the games are "fair." They're not cheating. They don't have to.

They can set the odds for payoffs on their slot and video gambling machines at whatever percentages they like, and they can count on happy cruisers to deposit their money at the table games.

Personally I stay away from the slot machines entirely. If I get the urge to play slots I'd roll down the window of the car while driving to the port, throw my money out the window and pull up and down on the gear shift. I think the chance of winning is just as good.

I do, however, love playing blackjack. Whether it's Las Vegas or on a cruise ship, there's something magnetic drawing me to the tables. Most of the cruise lines play blackjack by standard Las Vegas rules. The advantage the cruise lines have is the majority of players on the ships have no idea of what they're doing. Many may have never played before, or the last time they played was at a charity event using Monopoly money. There are ways to play the game which can reduce the huge advantage the "house" has, and I'm going to try and explain them to you. My hope is, in doing so, I might someday be sharing a blackjack table with you, and you'll be in a better position to help me break the bank. Oddly Blackjack is sort of a team sport, because the cards that one player does, or does not take, affects everyone at the table.

The game of Blackjack is pretty simple. Each hand the player (you) has to have cards who's values when totaled are closer to 21 than the dealer's cards. If the player's cards total more than 21, they "bust," and are out of the hand, and the player looses the bet. If the dealers cards total more than 21 they "bust," and all players who still have active hands on the table are winners. And in most cases the dealer will orally tell you what your cards total after each card dealt. Sound easy, right? Well, it should be, but then you put people into the mix and it can get quite convoluted.

Here is Kuki's Kwik lesson to take you to the road of gambling riches, or make you broke trying:

  • If after your first two cards your cards total 17 or more, and the one dealer's card you see is a 7 or higher, you DO NOT take another card.
  • If after your first two cards your cards total 16 or less, and the dealer's card you see is a 7 or higher, you DO take another card.
  • If after your first two cards your cards total 12 or more, and the dealer's card you see is a 6 or lower (not counting Aces), you DO NOT take another card.
  • If after your first two cards your cards total 11 or less, and the dealer's card you see is a 6 or lower, you DO take another card.
  • If after your first two cards your cards total 7 or higher, and the dealer's card you see is a 3, 4, 5 or 6, you not only take another card, but you double your bet.

What To Do With Aces?
Aces can be counted as 1 or 11, it's your choice.

  • If you have an Ace, and any card 7 or higher, value the ace as 11, and play the balance of the hand as instructed above.
  • If you have an Ace and any card 5 or lower, value the Ace as 1 and play the balance of the hand as instructed above.
  • --Out of the ordinary:   If you have an ace and a 6, value the Ace as 1. Your total is 7. If the dealer has a 7 or higher showing, you take another card. If the dealers has a 6 or lower, you still take another card because your total is less than 12, and you double your bet.

Those are the BASIC rules to play by. There are some nuances of when to double your bet, and when to split cards which I won't go into here. However if you play using the instructions I've given, you've already improved not only your chances of winning, but those of all the people sharing the Blackjack table with you.

Are you going to win every hand. Not a chance! Are you going to win every time you play. Not a chance! Are you going to make your gambling allowance last longer. Most assuredly! And that means you get to spend more time socializing with the dealers and your fellow cruisers, which is really the fun part of gambling at sea.

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