Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. It is one of the top choices for casino players who are out to enjoy a game from the comfort of their homes. One of the most important things you could always learn about a person playing this game is how the strategy affects his game. The blackjack strategy can literally make the difference between being a winning player and one that loses all the time.
Knowing how to use a blackjack strategy from the basic to the advanced level will ensure that your possible house edge will be lowest while you are playing the game.
What is The Basic Strategy in Blackjack?
Every player or dealer needs to understand that it is a game of player decisions. Unlike other casino games, your decisions will dictate the outcome of how the hand plays out and contribute to the wins or losses of the players on the table. Because of this, a mathematically proven strategy can give you the best advantage when playing the game, which should be used every time you play if you aim the best odds in the long run.
Blackjack strategy is called a basic strategy. The basic strategy outlines how you should optimally play when you consider what you have been dealt with based on the dealer’s hands. Many new players always commit the mistake of going with gut feelings and afraid to bust as they play. Using basic strategy every time is the best way of getting favorable odds during play.
If you are quite familiar with the various casino games, you must have known that the house as an inherent advantage in every game, the reason why the casino is still making profits despite some players winning big amounts. This game is not an exception, however, it has one of the lowest edge games in the casino, making it such a great game for players to learn and play.
The house edge in a typical game of blackjack is approximately 0.50 percent when a player or dealer is using basic strategy during the game. This simply means that for every $100 you bet, the casino is expecting to win $0.50 from you over an infinite number of hands. Basic strategy is very important in case you take the example of a $100 average bet and apply it to a player or dealer with not many skills. The house advantage can shoot up to as high as 2.5 percent or more. To put it simply, the house expects to win $2.50 or more over time.
To take insurance on blackjack or what they call even money, at least you have to bet half of the original wager. If it needs to take $10 even money, then you can bet if you have a $20 wager. When the player or dealer has blackjack, they can take insurance bet which is also known to take even money.
Because of this, playing with the basic blackjack strategy the best option for players each time they play the game.
Anyone familiar with how games in the casino are played must know card counting, a system that allows you to gain a positive expectation when playing the game putting the house edge in your favor. While not exactly illegal, a player or dealer using card counting will be kicked out by the casino because they can impact the casino’s profits once he hits a hot streak.
What is Card Counting?
Card counting is a system of tracking where players make use of their memory in keeping track of the cards that have been dealt with the game. In most casinos, the game is dealt with from a shoe with only a certain number of cards in play each round, making it possible to get an idea of what is remaining in the deck the player’s betting blackjack strategy accordingly.
Most card counting systems employ a -1, 0, and +1 system, which gives value to the cards in the double or multi deck. Typically, cards are 2-6 are +1 cards, 7, 8, and 9 are 0, and face cards and aces are -1. As the cards are dealt, the player or dealer can keep track of the count using this system to get an overall picture for the remaining cards in the shoe. Because most games use multiple decks, the player or dealer will have t divide the running count by the number of decks they believe are left to form what is called the true count.
When using the real count value, a player or dealer can make adjustments to his bet so when it is on the positive side he will bet much more. However, when the count is low he lowers his bet since are odds are not in his favor. This system requires a lot of practice, but it is a proven method to get an advantage over the casino in the game of blackjack.
In casinos, card counting has a lot of misconceptions, with many people assuming it is a skill that can be pulled off only by a mathematical wizard. Blackjack and poker players are always questioned regarding the big deal of counting cards, in addition to its workability and legality.
Counting cards is not rocket science but just a variation of basic strategies. It does not require photographic memory or mathematical process, even though the first card counting system was developed by mathematicians. The actual counting is a skill that any player or dealer can master without any challenge, the difficult part being how to avoid getting kicked out of a casino. Getting kicked out is never a problem with online casinos.
A player and dealer can have an advantage over the casino for a stretch of time, which simply means that players who count cards will experience more wins than losses. It is only possible when the player knows the odds of winning are in their favor, which allows them to bet more, and when the odds of losing the hand goes to the dealer. This can be possible by keeping track of the cards during the game.
Counting Cards in Blackjack
It is a game of adversaries pitting the players against the house dealer. It has different variations in the standard game. A player aims to have a hand of cards that total to 21 points without going over it. The face value of the cards in the double or multi-deck is the player’s points, except for 10, Jack, Queen, and King, with a value of 10 each as they are the Royals. The Ace can serve as a 1 or 10, depending on the decision of the player or dealer.
In playing the game, the dealer has to deal with each player with two cards, handed face down, and two cards to himself, with only one face down. The player can see the exposed cards and speculate what is the dealer’s hole cards and their hand value.
In this game, do not expect to see the deck of cards being shuffled except for that single time at the start of the game. Players with an extremely good memory can mentally mark every card they see, hand after hand, and deduct the number of cards remaining in the double or multi-deck including the ones that have already been dealt.
Following this deduction, a player and dealer can tell the time when to bet high or low. If only small cards were revealed for a while, there is a great likelihood that the Royals will be the next hand, and this is the time to place a high bet. But, if only large cards were shown the best decision is to bet low. You can hit without having to worry about a bust.
Large Cards Favor the Player
Before venturing in playing real money in the game, you have to remember that the mix of cards in the double or multi-deck may influence your probability of winning a hand. You might have the strategy but no probability, so you might still lose it. There is an increase in the probability when the mix has many large cards, such as the Royals. When dominated by small cards, the odds are in the dealer’s favor.
To understand how large cards will change the odds to the favor of the player or dealer, start by understanding that a mix full of large cards will likely yield more blackjacks. The hand of the player wins him a 3:2 bonus payoff even if the dealer has also an equal chance of getting blackjacks.
There are times when the dealer gets a stiff hand at the end, which could be 12 to 16, a point for him to declare a draw. If there are more large cards in the double or multi-deck, there is the likelihood for the dealer to bust. However, the situation of the player becomes the opposite when there are still large cards in the deck, as he is not required to draw when he has a stiff hand.
Players doubling down in the large cards mix typically make good. Also, when the face card of the dealer is weak, the player gets some lucrative pay the pair is split into two hands. On the other hand, the dealer who holds stiff hands and draws decks with small cards earn more profits.
Knowing when the double or multi-deck is laden with large or small cards depends on the player’s understanding of the basics of card counting in the game.
The Basic Strategy of Card Counting
The strategy of card counting is based on the odds that every card in the double or multi-deck comes with. But, if a hand has been played, the used cards will be sent by the dealer to the discard tray. The next hand to be dealt with is whatever remains of the deck. About one-half of three-quarters from the same deck can be expected to be used before they are shuffled again.
Typically, the strategy systems of card counting base the calculations on the odds of drawing a card with 10 value from the cards that are still in the deck. When a player keeps track of the cards being played, it is easy to make a deduction. It is easier to keep track of the cards by assigning each one of them with tag.
Placing The Bet
A player using the card counting systems typically bet minimum against the table when the double or multi-deck is fresh. With an increased running count and reaching a particular level, such as a +4 or higher, the player using the system becomes aggressive in his betting. The higher the running count is, the larger bet is usually placed and vice versa.
These are odds used by a player to keep on winning while the deck is hot. When the count falls to less than a zero or the dealer starts shuffling the deck, it goes back to the time of placing minimum bets.
This shows that card counting in this game is just a matter of adding a tag to each card as it is played, and will change the amount of bet but not the blackjack rules on the basic counting strategy.
Putting Theory into Practice
A good player of this game always put everything that he has learned into practice. Practice by getting double or multi-deck of cards that is thoroughly shuffled, then turn each card over one at a time while reciting its tag. If the first card is a 4, say plus 1 and then say minus 1 if the next card is a Jack. Do the same for all the cards in the whole deck to let you associate each card with its tag.
The next step is to flip over the cards of the same deck while making a mental note of its running count. If the first card is 3 and followed by a 2, the running count will be plus 2. If the third card is an 8, the running counts remain a plus 2 because the tag for 8 is 0. When you are finished counting all the cares in the double or multi-deck, zero must be your running count. This will be your best test for the accuracy of the card counting system.
The Legality of Counting Cards
Unless you use a device such as a counting machine, you are not cheating by using card counting. Casinos have attempted to criminalize counting cards. However, it remains legal. This simply shows that using a mental strategy or the skillful use of information is not an issue in winning a card game. Nobody can stop you from counting cards in your head.
The problem occurs only when casinos with the right to not serve customers they do not like believe that a counting strategy is a form of cheating and believe that a player is counting cards.
When Should You hit or Stay in Blackjack?
It is a decision-making game. It needs your own decision at the game table which in the end tells if you win or lose the game. But the most important decision you’ll make is if you are going to hit or stand.
Hitting and standing on your hands in the most appropriate way is the most important skill and strategy to be successful in the game. In this game, it doesn’t matter how experienced you are in counting cards or how well you know in managing your money. If you fail in executing the right decision and techniques with regards to hitting and standing, then you might lose the game.
With blackjack strategies, you are providing yourself the foundation you might be needing to play the game right. Players need to understand when is the right time to hit and when to stand. But that’s only the basic skill and strategy. You also have to learn the dynamic of hitting and standing to become the best player in this game.
The Meaning of Hitting and Standing…
How exactly these two options in blackjack can help you win at the game’s table?
To hit means you are wishing to accept the cards option from a dealer. It’s indicated as multiple-deck games and done by tapping the table using your index finger. While in a single and double-deck games, you can touch the cards. All you have to do is to scrape the edge of your cards on the table toward you so the dealer will know that you want a hit. The cards from the dealer considered a hit. Remember that you cannot hit your hands for 2 different cards as what you’ve been doing with poker. There are different rules here. Every time you hit, you will receive a card only. But you still have a choice if you choose to hit once more or stand already with your total. It’s always about the strategy.
To stand on your hands means you are trying to let them know that you are already satisfied with your total. You don’t wish to receive any cards anymore. To let the multi-deck game knows about your standing decision, you only need to wave your hands over your cards. While in a single or double-deck game, you need to slide your cards under the original bet you have. This game can be played online also so if you want to stand, all you have to do is click the button that says ‘Stand’. That’s how simple it is. Be aware that every time you decide to stand on your hands, you are not permitted anymore to do any actions. You’ve already decided and that’s final. What’s left you now is to wait if your decision beats the dealer or not.
Here’s the right time to call for a hit or stand…
You have two missions at the game table. The first thing is to make sure that you have evaluated all the available and important information. It’s easy to do it. You only have to observe your hands and the dealer’s too to maintain a consistent and accurate count. Secondly is to decide well when to hit or stand based on all the available information you gathered. Of course, you have to know the strategy for it too.
Take note that nobody makes the right call 100 percent most of the time. The only difference between the blackjack winners and losers is the fact that winners made the right call always. It’s their main strategy. They based their decision to make a call on the information they have gathered. They know exactly that making a call for hits or stand can lead to long-term success. They called it the ‘science of probability’.
The right timing too call for hits or stands is never an intuition when it comes to playing Blackjack. You should never make decisions using your gut. Make yourself informed of the strict and dynamic rules of the game in hitting and standing decisions. Be like a dealer because they know exactly the rules are. They have set a strategy. Any gut feelings especially yours won’t give you an advantage in gaming. In fact, it will make you a gambler. Serious players won’t rely on their guts. They are willing to learn the process, the rules, and the techniques playing blackjack right.
There is a rule that became popular in blackjack. That’s the soft 17. In any case that you have soft 17 or lesser than that, always do the hits. Never try to stand with soft 17 and lesser than that no matter what the dealer is showing. But, if you have soft 18 t 21, go for a stand. Do not hit your multi-card soft 18 against the dealer with 9 or 10 and ace.
Most of the time, a soft 17 consists of an Ace. It’s counted as 11. The Ace to 6 is a soft 17. When the dealer hits with soft 17, it’s possible for the house edge to be against the basic rules a player or dealer can do.
Sometimes a dealer may show lesser cards than 10. It is in fact a good strategy to double it down. If the casino rules put in place, the dealer must always hit the soft 17. Remember to always double down on number 11. Even if the dealer’s cards are up.
In this game, there is a soft 17 rule too. Any blackjack hands that consist of an ace, that’s already counted as 11 too. It’s called soft hands. The soft 17 hits the Ace 6. It can be an ace 3 hand too. Take note that these hands can be played in a different manner too when compared to each of their corresponding hard hands.
Does the blackjack basic strategy work?
The blackjack chart is where the basic blackjack strategies are. It includes the combinations of your hands against the hole cards of the dealer. It might not help you win money by following the basic strategy. But this is the first step recommended for beginners if they want to be an expert player or dealer. The steps and strategy you can find in the chart will cut the edge of the casino against you. You might not be winning most of the time but it can help you lose less amount of money. And that’s possible by applying and learning the basic blackjack strategy.
For a casino dealer and player, they would always say, ‘the house always wins’. They already know that they’re gonna lost some penny but what’s important is that they’re going to have more fun. But as the game goes on, they are able to forget that and begin to perform with their own strategy. Of course, they are there to beat the dealer too and come home as winners. Most of the time, the science of casinos is nothing but mathematics. And everybody will agree that in mathematics, formulas don’t lie. Playing a blackjack game online makes no difference.
Learning the basic strategies in blackjack means decreasing your edge in playing casino. If you follow the rules of blackjack and strategy in the chart and make no mistake, the house has already a 0.55 percent edge against you. That only means that every time you bet for 10 dollars, you will lose a 5.5 cents in long-term value. While you’re playing a 50-hands every hour, it will cost you 3 dollars for entertainment value.
If you want to play blackjack the correct way, you have to learn the blackjack chart too where the strategy is. It is the basic and most dynamic strategy required in playing blackjack and even if you want to be a card counter in the long run. By knowing the basic strategy to play blackjack, you will also earn trust and respect from other good players too. That would be a chance for you to let them bet on your hands if all odds are in their favor.