Perfect Basic Strategy

Does such a thing exist? Yes, in fact it does.

So why haven’t casinos banned this too?

Simple. People can’t seem to play it right or stick with it.

It’s true. I don’t know how often I hear about how there is no way to beat casinos. That there’s nothing that can be done about the odds. And maybe this is because today is a Monday, but I finally decided to put in my own thoughts on this.

Yes, it is completely true that you can not beat the casinos—online or otherwise. There is no absolutely guaranteed way to win every single time. This is why it’s called gambling, folks. You aren’t supposed to know whether or not you’ll win. That’s where the thrill comes from. If you want to know that you will win every single time go play Monopoly—you can buy your win there.

Now that doesn’t mean that you can’t even the odds a bit though. That’s what strategy is for. No, there is no strategy for games of chance like roulette, craps or slots. But not every single game in a casino is a game of chance; blackjack and poker are both games of skill. This means that with work and practice and patience, the odds of the game can be changed.

I know, I know, I said that changing the odds means putting in some effort. But anything that is worth achieving requires effort. And the money you win will feel better because you know you will have earned it rather than knowing that it just fell into your lap. You can hold those chips, look at the people around you and know that you are the better player, not them.

So how can you change the odds in blackjack? Easy. Play perfect basic strategy. Don’t look at that and think, “Wow, perfect, that might take a lot of time,” or “That sounds hard.” Trust me it’s not hard.

You’ve seen a basic strategy chart. All you need to do is print one and take it with you to a casino. Or pull it up in a window so that you can reference it when playing online. Now comes the hard part—and I can’t believe that this is thought to be hard—do exactly as it says to do. That chart tells you the best statistical play that you can make based on the hand that you have versus the dealer’s up card. Do what that chart says every time and you will, over time, lower the house odds from 2%-5% to 0.5%.

The biggest misconception, and why casinos haven’t banned basic strategy, is that people think that they will win every single hand that they play when using basic strategy. This is not true. You will not win every single hand. However, you will win more hands playing with basic strategy than you will if you don’t. Casinos will play that misconception against you. They will allow you to keep thinking that you will win every hand using basic strategy. And then they will watch you throw the chart away after you lose three or four hands, thinking that you have been lied to.

The hard part in playing perfect basic strategy is sticking with it. This tends to be hardest when faced with a stiff hand, better known as a hard 12 through a hard 16. When holding those hands versus a dealer’s up card of 2 through 6 basic strategy dictates for you to stand. It will be so hard not to hit. But the dealer has a better statistical chance of busting than of winning. And you also have a better statistical chance of busting with those stiff hands and dealer up cards than you have of winning. So logically the best option for you is to stand, which offers you better odds, while the dealer keeps hitting and hopefully busts—which he has a better chance of doing.

If you can do what that chart says every single time then you will be playing perfect basic strategy. That’s all there is to perfect basic strategy—do exactly what the chart tells you to every time. If you do so, the house edge will be lowered to 0.5% over time.

So put in the effort and patience and, while you will not flat out beat the casino, you can at least come as close to even odds that you can. And doing what that chart says is not a hard thing to do either.

Respect to the Dealer’s 7 Up Card

The dealer’s 7 up card isn’t given its due. Often underestimated, this card should be treated with more respect than most players give it. It’s just a card, right? No. So many times have I seen a player play their hand out the wrong way when facing down a dealer’s 7. When faced with a dealer’s 7, here’s some things to keep in mind and work into your blackjack strategy.

Doubling Down with a 9: Okay, this one might qualify as a smart play. But there is a smarter move that can be made. Don’t double down when you have a 9. Yes, I said don’t double down. Double down only gives you a 53% chance of winning that hand. What if I told you there was a better play to make with better odds of winning? Just hit it. Forget doubling down this time. Hitting with a 9 when faced with a 7 actually gives you a 59% chance of winning. Go with the 59% and hit your hand.

Splitting two 6s: While we all play to win, how you play this hand should be factored into the part of your blackjack strategy of “What’s the best and cheapest way to lose.” This is pair is best left together. You have a greater chance of losing two hands built of those 6s than you do if you just hit. If you split and lose both hands, you’ve just lost twice the money you would have lost if you had only just hit your 12. Just accept that the chances aren’t that great with this hand, hit it, play it out and hope for better cards in the next round.

Standing with an Ace/6: Statistically your soft 17 is going to lose more than it will win. Don’t play for a push, be aggressive with this hand, be fearless. Hit it. Yes, the chances of a hit turning your soft 17 into a stiff hand is pretty good, but you know what? Hit that too. This goes back to being fearless and remembering that you aren’t going to win every hand. Standing with a soft seventeen already has a greater chance at losing than winning, so why not try to improve your hand by hitting. You never know, you just might. Yes, you might lose if you hit, but the chances weren’t stacked for you to win with a soft 17 anyway. So go ahead and hit.

Doubling Down with an Ace/6: Okay, I know I said play aggressive, to be fearless, but there are limits to that. Be smart. While I would hit on this hand, I wouldn’t double down on it either. That I would say is too fearless. There’s a difference between being fearless and stupid. You know that if you double down you’ll only receive one more card. Chances are when–not if—you hit, your first two cards will turn from a soft 17 to a 7, in which case you’ve 14 more points to play with. That means you’ll probably have to hit a second time, which is impossible when doubling down. The smartest thing to do with an Ace/6 when faced with a dealer’s 7 is to hit as much as basic strategy keeps telling you to, but do not double down.

Now that you can see how a dealer’s 7 is a bit trickier to navigate than you might have originally thought. Take those tips and work them into your blackjack strategy—you could think of it as your strategy for how to cope with a 7 up card.

Blackjack Fallacy! Or Why Card Counting is Not Already a Part of Basic Strategy

After finishing up, for now, the ‘What’s Real and Imaginary in Blackjack’ series, I was going to focus on some other blackjack related aspect. However. That was before I came across this “strategy” that just dropped my jaw.

I can hear you asking, then why not make a sixth Real or Imaginary entry? Easy. Because this so-called strategy shouldn’t be mistaken as a “rule” on how to play blackjack. This is just downright inaccurate and silly. And no new-comer to blackjack should think that this so-called “strategy” is worth anything.

So what is this so-called “strategy?” That the only way to learn to count cards is to have basic strategy memorized.

Yes. Apparently someone somewhere believes this and is trying to spread it. According to him or her, card counting can only be effective if you have already mastered basic strategy. And this is most defiantly not true. It is true that in order to have a sound playing strategy that covers how to play and how to bet, a player must know basic strategy and how to count cards. But the one is not dependent on the other.

In other words, it’s completely possible to count cards but not use basic strategy. It’s not a wise way to play. But not knowing basic strategy will not determine whether or not you can count cards. Both strategies are independent of each other. It isn’t necessary to know how to count cards in order to know basic strategy. Both of these can be used independently of each other or together. I advise that they be used together, but that is up to you as a player. Card counting is extremely hard to do online so all a player has at their disposal is basic strategy.

Do not ever think that you absolutely must have basic strategy memorized in order learn card counting. If you’re just starting out and are still learning basic strategy, go ahead and teach yourself to card count. There isn’t anything stopping you. You could even teach yourself card counting first and then basic strategy. Remember that while both can be used independently of each other, they do not determine whether or not you can learn the other.

Blackjack Strategy They Don’t Tell You in Books

Chances are, when you were learning to play Blackjack, you read about it in a book or two, and probably online as well. What did you read about? You were given the rules, how the table is set up, the progression of play, and strategies. Focus on that one for a moment. What Blackjack strategies were you given? Basic strategy and card counting; in most places it was also explained to you how those two effected your betting strategy. And then you’re ready to play yes?

Maybe.

Mostly yes, but there might be one more thing to consider.

What about your opponents? True, you’ve read that in Blackjack it’s you versus the dealer, and it’s also the other players against the dealer. But they aren’t against you are they? They can’t be, I mean why would someone play the dealer one on one if the other players were necessary? And everything you’ve read about Blackjack says that it’s player versus the dealer. Not quite.

Let’s go back to the beginning, to what playing Blackjack is about. It’s not only about enjoying yourself and having fun. It’s about winning, about making money. And every single person who is sitting at that table with you or who is playing Blackjack online with you is intent on winning too. So, yes, Blackjack is player versus player.

Your Blackjack strategy for this is to watch your opponents. Look to see if someone is showing signs of excitement, giving away that they have a good hand, maybe even Blackjack. I can here you saying that this is beginning to sound more like Poker. Don’t worry, it’s not, it’s still Blackjack.

Blackjack isn’t anymore complicated than before. The point of watching your opponents is to try to gauge whether they have a good hand or a not so good hand. Say you see that guy who’s cheek just twitched with a bit of a smile, and you caught it. Chances are he’s got a good hand. And maybe your hand is so-so. Don’t bet as much.

As for your Blackjack strategy think of it in this order. Count the cards, remember what’s out on the table, what’s in your hand, and what has yet to be played. Hit or stand based on what basic strategy dictates. Watch your opponents to see if they give away any clues as to the type of hands they have. Taking all of those Blackjack strategies into mind, make your bets accordingly.

Good Blackjack Strategy

What makes for a good Blackjack strategy?

Basic strategy is a good place to start, but is it enough to win?

Realistically, you’re going to need a combination of basic strategy and card counting. Initially you need to be comfortable enough with basic strategy so as not to need to constantly reference a chart—that’s that first thing for an effective blackjack game. Once you’ve got that down, throw a little card counting into your blackjack strategy.

No, that doesn’t mean memorizing the whole deck and the odds of a single deck versus multiple decks. Although you certainly can learn and employ a card counting strategy and, with enough practice, increase the power of your overall Blackjack strategy. Honestly, when you’re first beginning to play, that’s a lot of math and numbers to keep straight on top of remembering which basic strategy option to use for which card combinations. Keep the card counting portion of your strategy simple when first beginning to play Balckjack . This plays into your betting strategy as well

You know you want ten cards and aces. Think of how many tens and aces are in play based on how many decks your playing with. How many have already played? And how many are left? If there’s not a lot of tens and aces left keep your bets down. If you there’s still a decent amount left then your chances of receiving one is better, so raise your bet. That’s how to use simplistic card counting to guide your Blackjack betting strategy.

So at this point your Blackjack strategy is comprised of having the basic strategy charts memorized and using simple card counting to influence your betting strategy. This makes for a good Blackjack strategy for the average player. Keeping those in mind should help decrease the house’s favor, which should increase your chances of winning.

How to play effective blackjack

What’s the difference between playing blackjack and playing effective blackjack? It’s simple answer, one you may have even come across here and there. But in the lure of flashing lights and bright colors perhaps the answer was forgotten. The best way to play effective blackjack is practice.

Yes, I said practice. By now you’ve read about basic strategy and card counting, and you’re psyched that this is the game you can win. Blackjack will make you money. But in order to make that money you have to play blackjack effectively.

To do so means practice. You know there’s a basic strategy chart for blackjack—in fact, there’s two charts for: one for soft hands and one for hard hands. But are you really going to take those to the table with you?

Imagine you sit down with six other people, probably seasoned players. You’re dealt your cards. The dealer has a 7 and you have a hard 16. The first three people make their decisions. It’s your turn. What do you do? You whip out your blackjack charts. The other six people sigh—they’re playing with a beginner. One or two of them offer you advice. Maybe someone else mutters how the game is being held up. You get flustered. You stand. Next player’s turn. You take a peek at your chart. Oops, you should’ve hit. Not effective play.

How to avoid that? Play effectively! Practice first! Study the basic strategy charts, focus on hard hands first. Then visit an online casino, one that will let you play free blackjack online (most reputable sites have this option). Leave the chart face down on your desk. Try to remember what it advises. Play your hand, then check your chart, see if you played effectively. This way you aren’t faced with slowing down the game and upsetting other players—after all you’re in your own home, nobody can see you. Keep practicing until you don’t need check the chart to see if you played effectively—you know you did. This is how practice makes for playing an effective blackjack game.