What is Blackjack Basic Strategy?

This morning I started in on how it is time to go back to the basics of blackjack. Basics are important. Think of them as the foundation for your blackjack strategy. And basic strategy should be the basis of all of your blackjack strategy.

Also this morning I talked about basic strategy. I said that it was only effective in lowering the house edge to 0.5% if you played it perfectly. But I never said why.

Basic strategy is usually shown in a chart. All of the dealer’s up card run across the top, each one assigned to a column. And all of the player’s possible starting hands run down the left hand side, one hand assigned to each row.

At the beginning of a round, you would find the row with your starting hand and the column with the dealer’s up card. Where the row and column meet the best statistical play will be shown.

Note that I said ‘best statistical play.’ This does not mean that you will win the round from using that play. What it means is that play has the best chance of causing you to win the round. But it is not a guarantee.

That, by the way, is why casinos are just fine with players using basic strategy. There is a belief that basic strategy will allow the player to win every round. Casinos do not discourage this belief, and players will often toss away their basic strategy charts and go back to playing blackjack based on whims.

But if you make the best statistical play for each round, over time you can drop the house’s edge to that wonderful 0.5%. And a decrease in the house’s edge is an increase to your own blackjack odds. And making the best statistical play is playing exactly how the basic strategy chart tells you to.

Basic strategy is not going to win every single round for you, but it will cause you to win more rounds. And winning more rounds in blackjack is exactly what a player wants. So winning more rounds with the best mathematically calculated plays is exactly why you want to play basic strategy perfectly.