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Blackjack Strategy Guide

Learn new Blackjack strategies here

Any experienced casino player knows that blackjack offers the best odds in the casino. Blackjack has the lowest house edge in the casino. Players flock to blackjack because blackjack has an element of skill involved. With the right blackjack strategy, you could walk away from a very happy player from the table. Blackjack is a game of chance, like any other casino game. But, the difference is that luck is not the only factor that determines a win or loss here. Gamblers have the chance to improve their odds of winning and decrease their chances of losing. Every decision you make in a game of blackjack has an impact on the results of a hand, such as when to hit or stand. If you continually make the right decisions, you can end up reducing the house edge and have the upper hand over the casino.

All that sounds easy, but there’s more to it. You have to know how to choose the right blackjack game. In blackjack, the rules governing the game are what make each blackjack game different. Single deck blackjack and 8-deck blackjack are so different, they might as well be two totally separate games. They are both the game of Blackjack, but they are played very differently. In single deck blackjack, players get to hold the cards in hand, but in 8-deck blackjack players aren’t allowed to touch the cards. Different casinos offer different kinds of blackjack, but almost all of them offer different rules. Using the right blackjack strategy can be the difference between getting a huge payday and missing out on one.

Understanding The House Edge In Blackjack

The house edge refers to a percentage of the amount a player loses on each bet made in the long run. Blackjack is the most popular table game because it gives players a chance to manipulate the odds to their advantage. If you take your time to study the game of blackjack, you will learn to develop skills that can beat the best of the best blackjack players. Finding the right blackjack strategy takes time, and even if you do find one and memorize it, you won’t get an edge over the casino. To get the upper hand over the casino, you need to work extra hard by even employing a card counting technique.

Every decision you make in blackjack affects the mathematical expectation. In games like roulette or slots, you have no control over the house edge as these games are entirely random. If a game has a house edge of 2%, a player would lose an average of $2 for every $200 bet they place in the game. House edge doesn’t make a game any less random. It matches up to the probabilities of a loss or wins compared to the amounts you can win or lose. If you are playing blackjack and placing a bet of $200 a hand, you will either lose $200, win $200, or win $250. None of these results looks like a $2 loss. The $2 is a theoretical average is based on a calculation you will likely see over time if you play enough hands. Casinos employ a gimmick that affects a game by giving it an edge. For instance, in roulette, all bets would break even in the long run if the zero and double zero were not on the wheel. In blackjack, the gimmick is the order that dictates how the dealer and players play. A player loses immediately when they hit bust and so the house gets its edge by playing its hand last. If the player busts and the dealer busts, no push. A player will have already lost their bet before the dealer even plays their hand. Usually, the lower the house edge, the better the game will be for a player.

Blackjack Strategy

Players are provided with a lot of information during a blackjack game. Players know what cards they have and they can see one of the dealer’s cards. These stats help you work out the probabilities of what will happen next. This is possible because there is a fixed number of cards on the decks and a fixed probability for each of the cards that are dealt. A good blackjack strategy is based on the use of probabilities that determine how any move you make affects your chances of winning a hand. You can compare the probabilities of all possible card combinations that can occur. This determines how those combinations impact the final outcome of your hand. The player will eventually understand the different moves they can make. In addition, they will understand how these moves affect their chances of winning. Then they will be able to choose the right one. There is almost always a mathematical decision you can make and in turn enables you to keep the house edge at a minimum. That is the backbone of a blackjack strategy.

Trying a blackjack strategy

Of course, every blackjack player starts off with knowing the basic rules aka your blackjack strategy. The problem with this is that it won’t always be easy to establish the correct decisions in real-time. You could go prepared beforehand with all kinds of mathematical calculations stirring up in your head, but end up falling short. Why? Because a player has a very small chance of being able to come up with calculations every time a hand is played. However, the rules make it so that you don’t need to make any calculations when a hand is played. Because every action you take at any given time is based on the cards in hand and the exposed dealer card. You following these rules is you applying basic blackjack strategy. In addition, there are hundreds of scenarios that can occur at a blackjack table so learning the rules that apply in each one can be difficult. If you want to know what to do in each sitwwwion, you will need to study a strategy chart. There are different blackjack strategy charts for different types of blackjack. There exists a basic strategy card specific to the blackjack version you choose to play.

The best way to find a fair blackjack strategy chart for your preferred blackjack game is to generate one yourself. You can do this by using one of the blackjack strategy calculators available online. Beginners need not worry as these charts are very easy to read and are based on real calculations. However, they don’t give away everything such as how much you need to bet, what you need to do with side bets and whether card counting is effective.

Blackjack strategy for side bets

Finding the right blackjack strategy for side bets isn’t something we’ve discussed, as yet. And, it is probably the question you are asking yourself at this point. The best blackjack strategy is one that covers all aspects of the beautiful game including side bets. As we mentioned earlier, blackjack has the lowest house edge. So, skilled players usually find ways of manipulating the house edge to their advantage. That’s where a solid strategy comes into play. Casinos know that players do this so they try and put in measures to ensure the revenue flows in their direction. One such measure is the practice of adding extra decks to blackjack variants also known as side bets. Side bets add a little spice and variety to a game, but they ultimately drain your money. So, the best strategy for side bets is not to have one in the first place. Avoid side bets at all costs.

Card counting

Card counting is undoubtedly the most famous blackjack strategy out there. It is a blackjack technique where players follow the number of high and low cards dealt. This ultimately provides some insight as to which card you expect next. Card counting usually works in your favour but is generally frowned upon. It works in this way; for each low card, i.e. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 that you see, add 1 point and for every high card A, 10, K J, Q, you minus 1. The higher the count, the more a 10 is likely to hit. 10s are in your favour but are usually considered bad for the dealer.

Card counting in most land-based casinos is usually punishable by forced removal from the table or even the casino. Usually, most players can’t manage to count the cards and focus on their next move at the same time so they operate in 2’s or 3’s. The players find ways of communicating with their counterparts such as a signal that only the two or 3 of them will understand. The player at the table will signal their counterparts when low lands. This will direct the player on their next move. This is usually given through an earpiece that is hidden from the casino cameras. Casino security staff usually watch how the player moves keenly to be able to weed out card counters. This is especially when a player starts winning round after round, thus attracting their attention. Sometimes, skill is the only helping hand and in other cases, card counters have been caught red-handed.

The Wrong Blackjack Strategy

Some blackjack strategies never work. This is despite being popular among experienced and non-experienced blackjack players. These include:

Mimicking the dealer

The Mimic the Dealer strategy is simple- players act the same way the dealer would in any sitwwwion. They don’t split, double or ever surrender because a dealer can’t do any of those too. Their tactic is to hit on less than 17 and stand on 17 or higher, ignoring the dealer’s exposed card completely. Splitting and doubling can be very advantageous to a player if utilized in the right sitwwwions.

Never bust

Sometimes fear gets in the way and players avoid a hit for risk of going bust so they stick on 12 or higher. This seems like a safe approach, but it raises the house edge.

The 10 strategy

The 10 strategy works this way; you assume the next card is always a 10 and that the dealer’s hidden card is a 10. A player may reason this way because they know that 10s make up approximately 30% of the deck where Js, Ks, and Qs are all valued at 10. However, that just means that 70% of the cards aren’t valued at 10 so the chances of a 10 hitting are low. This strategy is NOT likely to work and instead of benefiting you, it will end up increasing the house edge.

Progressive betting

A progressive bet is when you either increase or lower your bet size based on the initial bet you had made. The progressive bet strategy can be used in any kind of bet and several types of them exist. Progressive bets cannot affect the house edge because whether you win or lose is not dependent on how much you bet in the first place. Progressive betting systems can be dangerous for a player. If you’re not careful, you could burn through your entire bankroll in minutes.

Here’s hoping that players have been able to find the right blackjack strategy from the information provided above. The best way to approach a blackjack game is with the knowledge that strategies give you little to no advantage over the casino. The right blackjack strategy still won’t have you beating the game in the long run. The odds will still be against you and, ultimately, the house always wins. Still, it is great to test your knowledge of the game and challenge your skills at the tables. Just because counting cards is difficult, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try and start where you are. Blackjack is all about enjoying yourself and testing your limits. Each game pushes you farther and farther away from the player you thought you were. You get to learn new ways to play, understand when to hit and pick up a few tells along the way. Try and play clean always, study the game diligently before arriving at the table and come up with your own strategy.

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