Always split aces and eights.
Never split face cards.
Double down on a hard 12 against a three, four or five if the last card dealt was a picture card.
Do those things and you're likely to lose at New York's blackjack tables -- if they materialize -- a little more slowly than the average chump, according to some gamblers. It might even buy you enough time for another "free" drink before you exit with your pockets turned out like bunny ears.
I have nothing against casinos, but I'm under no illusion that up to seven new gambling emporiums in New York, which voters are being asked to approve on Tuesday, constitute anything beneficial except to those who would work there. But that's how state officials are billing proposition No. 1 -- as an economic development plan.
If only state officials would be honest. They've fallen in love with casinos because they need more of our money. They've raised taxes to be among the highest in America, and even that's not enough for Albany's spending habits. So they're preying on the weakest of our citizens for more revenue.
It's borderline hilarious to see our governor and other liberal politicians, who purportedly care about poor people, working to ram through this amendment. Clearly they realize that between 25 percent and 40 percent of all casino revenue comes from problem gamblers, according to studies.
But some leaders say: "Other states are making a fortune with casinos. Why shouldn't we?" Somehow that argument doesn't apply to natural gas hydrofracking that would constitute economic development.
I'll never forget my first time at a casino. I was 19. Atlantic City casinos had recently opened and still sparkled with promise. Two friends and I were going to make a killing; our pockets stuffed with a week's worth of tips from waiting tables.
One friend let on that he had an "emergency" $20 bill in his boot. Three hours later, we had him turned upside down in the men's room. I guess we hadn't learned to split those eights.
There was something honest about shaking that twenty onto the bathroom floor. At least we didn't tell him we were expropriating it for his own good.
William F. B. O'Reilly is a Newsday columnist and a Republican political consultant.