Learn the following:
1. Basic strategy
2. Counting / maintaining a running count with distractions - you should be able to count down a deck of cards in 30 seconds while driving on the freeway, listening to the radio and having a coherent conversation on the phone.
3. Index plays - start with the I18 and go from there (see BJA)
4. Deck estimation
5. True-count Conversion
Read the following (for starters):
1. Game Masters tutorial that you can find linked on the home page of BJ21.com as "Blackjack School".
2. Professional Blackjack, by Stanford Wong
3. Blackjack Attack, by Don Schlesinger
Develop and refine your most important skill - DISCIPLINE
1. After you know how to count and are dying to get started, go into a casino with a full bankroll in your pocket. Spend 2 hours. Identify the penetration for each dealer, rules variations, if any, and mannerisms of people who are betting at the levels that you will be playing. Back-count tables, and identify the correct bet and hand play for every player at the table. DO NOT place a single bet during your scouting trip.
2. Repeat step #1 at every other casino in town.
3. Other good discipline exercises involve delayed gratification such as fasting for 24 hours and then watching others eating your favorite foods, etc.
1. Identify the amount of money that you are willing to risk. This should be an amount that will not impact your life in any significant manner.
2. Expect to lose your entire bankroll amount. Be comfortable with this possibility.
3. Size your bets based on your bankroll (the reading materials above will tell you how to do this).
1. Do not use any type of cover (betting, playing, or drinking), unless your max bet is $100 a hand or more.
2. Do not tip the dealer under any circumstances. I don't care if you just won a $50K jackpot. If you need to give money away, find a worthwhile charity. You will likely be making $10 an hour or so at the most. Any reasonable tip will offend dealers more than not tipping at all.
3. Keep your sessions short. 45 minutes max. This is not practical for some, but should be easy if you have plenty of casinos available.
4. Do not play sub-standard games. Do not play if a better game is available down the street, or if conditions will be better later that night.
5. Do not drink
6. Do not argue with other player when they tell you that you made the wrong play. This will happen often. Just apologize and let it drop.
7. Do not offer advice to other players even if they ask.
8. Do not argue with, or abuse the dealer in any way. You do not want to draw attention to yourself. Just be pleasant regardless of your results (discipline helps here).