Tip the odds in your favor at blackjack
Anyone who has ever played online casino games will have wondered whether there is any way that they can tip the odds in their favour.
While the phrase ‘the house always wins’ rings true when it comes to casino operators being profitable, it is not always the case that players get beat.
Many people believe that blackjack offers the best chance of winning at an online casino, and their viewpoint certainly has plenty of merit.
Getting to grips with blackjack
Simplicity is the name of the game where blackjack is concerned, with players required to get a better hand than the dealer without going over 21.
Classic blackjack involves the player and the dealer receiving two cards each, with just one of the cards face down for the dealer.
The player must make a series of decisions to get the best hand possible without busting, and hope that their final total is higher than what the dealer has in their hand.
Players can choose to ‘hit’ or ‘stand’, which means they either draw another card from the deck or stick with what they have.
Other terms such as ‘double down’, ‘splitting pairs’ and ‘surrender’ are also key actions that contribute to the gameplay in blackjack.
What is basic strategy?
Employing perfect basic strategy can cut the casino’s edge to just 0.5%, thus significantly increasing your chances of making a profit.
In simple terms, it applies several questions that should be asked before deciding which way to play your hand in blackjack. These are as follows:
- Can I/should I Surrender? This option is only available on the first two cards you are dealt. If a player chooses to surrender, half of the original bet is forfeited to the dealer.
- Can I/Should I Split? You can choose to split your cards if they are the same value, although there are only certain instances where this is favourable.
- Can I/Should I Double? Doubling down allows players to increase the wager on certain hands where the odds favour them.
- Should I hit or should I stand? Once you have been through the previous options, you must then decide whether to request more cards (hit) or stay with what you have (stand).
Basic strategy in action
Basic strategy requires players to make the best mathematical decision based on the hand they have been dealt against the dealer’s up card.
The system was derived from a computer simulation that recorded millions of blackjack hands to work out the best way to play in every scenario.
This information was subsequently condensed into basic strategy charts that detail the optimum way to play each blackjack hand. These are as follows:
Any hand that does not start with an ace in it, or contains an ace that can only be counted as 1 instead of 11.
- 17 and up always stands.
- 16 stands against dealer 2-6, otherwise hit.
- 15 stands against dealer 2-6, otherwise hit.
- 14 stands against dealer 2-6, otherwise hit.
- 13 stands against dealer 2-6, otherwise hit.
- 12 stands against dealer 4-6, otherwise hit.
- 11 always doubles.
- 10 doubles against dealer 2-9 otherwise hit.
- 9 doubles against dealer 3-6 otherwise hit.
- 8 always hits.
Any hand that has an ace as one of the first two cards – the ace counts as 11 to start.
- 20 (A,9) always stands.
- 19 (A,8) doubles against dealer 6, otherwise stand.
- 18 (A,7) doubles against dealer 2-6, and hits against 9-ace, otherwise stand.
- 17 (A,6) doubles against dealer 3-6, otherwise hit.
- 16 (A,5) doubles against dealer 4-6, otherwise hit.
- 15 (A,4) doubles against dealer 4-6, otherwise hit.
- 14 (A,3) doubles against dealer 5-6, otherwise hit.
- 13 (A,2) doubles against dealer 5-6, otherwise hit.
- Always split aces.
- Never split tens.
- A pair of 9s splits against dealer 2-9, except for 7, otherwise stand.
- Always split 8s
- A pair of 7s splits against dealer 2-7, otherwise hit.
- A pair of 6s splits against dealer 2-6, otherwise hit.
- A pair of 5s doubles against dealer 2-9, otherwise hit.
- A pair of 4s splits against dealer 5 & 6, otherwise hit.
- A pair of 3s splits against dealer 2-7, otherwise hit.
- A pair of 2s splits against dealer 2-7, otherwise hit.
- 16 surrenders against dealer 9-ace, otherwise don’t surrender
- 15 surrenders against dealer 10, otherwise don’t surrender
A winning blackjack strategy
Memorizing basic strategy is a sure-fire way to transform blackjack from being a game of chance to a game of skill.
Implementing these elements on a consistent basis will help you improve your play and give you a much better chance of winning at blackjack.