There are two kinds of people in the world: you and everyone else. No matter what skill you decide to master, sooner or later, you’ll depart from the basics.
In gambling, that means you learn the basic strategy first then start experimenting with unorthodox strategies. Basic strategy exists because it works. It may not make you wealthy, but it keeps you grounded as you play the game.
When you start taking risks you rationalize your decisions. In your own mind it’s okay to be the exception because you know what you are doing. But it wouldn’t be gambling if everything worked out the way we wanted it to. In blackjack, it takes time to master basic strategy. And when you stop playing for a while you begin to forget some of those rules. The best players I know play basic strategy most of the time.
When it comes to playing a game like blackjack, you should work on improving when you realize you’ve developed a bad habit. And how do you know when you’re playing badly? Go back to basic strategy. Check yourself against the standard plays. If you’re not sure whether to split sevens and eights, it’s time to review basic strategy.
You can call it self-testing or self-evaluation.
Whatever you call it, you should review how you play the game in a conscious, detailed way. You don’t have to make your entertainment complicated to keep it exciting. There are other ways, besides raising your bet, that can make your blackjack game more interesting.
If you can choose between two styles of blackjack, you can choose to play the one that has a slightly higher house edge. Learning the rules of that game will keep you awake for a while. While I don’t recommend playing 6:5 blackjack, if you want a slightly tougher game where you still play basic strategy, that’s one way to go.
Instead of adopting bad habits under the pretense of making the game more interesting, in the future, I’ll look for more interesting ways to play with basic strategy.