Blackjack continues to be one of the most popular games both in casinos and online. Blackjack, however, is unlike other casino games in one important way. In most games, the player places a wager and is pretty much done with the action. In craps, you make a bet, and throw the dice. In roulette, you make a bet, and spin the wheel. In blackjack though, you make a bet, and are dealt cards, and then get to do something that can increase or decrease the odds of winning—you’re able to stand, hit, double-down or split pairs. In short, your able to play your hand. This is where what is known as the basic strategy comes in.
Basic Strategy Basics
Developed in the 1950’s by four American GI’s with a decidedly mathematical bent, blackjack basic strategy is a blue-print on how to properly play any blackjack hand that can be dealt. Although invented using only rudimentary analytical tools, the basic strategy has since been tested millions of times in computer simulations and, it still works. It works in single deck games, or with a 6 deck shoe. It works in Sydney, Las Vegas, London and Hong Kong. Online or in-person, the matrix is so mathematically sound that it simply does not matter the venue or rules—it just works. Using the basic strategy will increase the player’s odds of winning.
Getting Even With the House
Every casino game has a built-in house advantage. In blackjack the house advantage is about 6 percent. The house gains this advantage because the player must draw first and thus risks busting before the dealer even plays. But, by playing perfect basic strategy, the player can reduce the house advantage from 6 percent down to .5 percent. That’s pretty close to even, and it’s the best deal you’re going to get at a casino.
The Weak Link
Learning basic strategy is pretty simple; playing basic strategy is a lot harder. It requires discipline to play every hand correctly. For example, basic strategy calls for a player to hit a hard 16 when the dealer shows a 7 through Ace. But suppose the last 6 cards dealt were all low; your gut tells you that a big 10 point card is coming next, ready to bust you. Don’t give in to your gut! The basic strategy only works when it’s played perfectly every hand.
Gambling systems are often just gimmicks. Blackjack basic strategy is not. It is time-tested and proved. Every semi-serious player should learn and use the basic strategy. You won’t win every hand, but, over the long-run, your winnings will increase.