Introduction to Basic Strategy For Blackjack

July 26th, 2016 by

learn basic strategy blackjack

Blackjack or 21 is arguably one of the most popular casino games in the world today. And while it is relatively easy to understand, it can also be quite hard to get good at. Much like poker, Blackjack has numerous variations with each one having a different set of rules. For the uninitiated, variations like Bonus Blackjack and Chinese Blackjack might look similar at first but both actually require different strategies for winning (as well as varying rewards for winning hands). In the same way, players also employ different strategies when playing online as opposed to when they’re playing in a casino.

Before You Start…

What should you do then if you want to be good at live blackjack (whether online or offline)? Well, you’ll first need to realize that to win a Blackjack game (regardless of its variation), you don’t have to get a hand that totals to 21. Instead, you’ll only need to beat the dealer’s (or in some cases, other players’) hands. Accomplishing this is easier said than done though. First, most dealers have one or both their cards hidden. This means that you’ll have to pray that you get dealt high value cards or the dealer might end up with a total that’s much higher than yours. Second is that even if you’re dealt with high value cards, you’re still not guaranteed a win unless these cards’ values amount to exactly 21. And even though this might get dealt a 21, you’re still going to end up with a Push (a tie) at the worst if the dealer also gets the same value after they choose to Hit.

So in order to win, you’ll have to approach Blackjack not as a quick 100-meter sprint but as a long 42-kilometer marathon instead. What this means is that you’ll need to be methodical in terms of choosing when to Hit, Stand, Double, or Surrender (if the variation/version has this). Additionally, you’ll also need to ensure that you get to minimize your loses in the process.

An Introduction to Basic Strategy

Knowing this, you’ll need to employ a play style that would maximize your chances of winning while also limiting the amount that you’re bound to lose. Known as Basic Strategy, this way of playing Blackjack first gained prominence back in 1956. Authored by four American mathematicians, this play style became the standard for Blackjack players for many years and became the foundation for many more.

Playing Blackjack Using Basic Strategy

So how do you use Basic Strategy for playing Blackjack then? When it was first formulated, the authors had to manually play the game, tabulate their results, and then crunch these on an old calculator to come up with this optimal way of playing. The problem though was that it only worked for Bj variations of that time. Now , there are calculators that you can use to input the specific rules used in the variation of the game that you’re playing. From these inputs, the calculator will then come up with the best possible plays to help you beat the dealer.

Important Things to Consider

Take note that even if he/she is making use of Basic Strategy, a player can still end up getting a losing hand or worse, getting busted. This is all thanks to the randomness of the game. Let’s say for example, a player gets dealt a hand with a value of 13 while the dealer has an ace or a Deuce (or any Royal) for the face up card. Basic Strategy dictates that the player needs to choose Hit to maximize his/her chances of winning. However, if the card dealt to the player after choosing Hit has a value that’s more than 10 then he/she will effectively lose that hand. If the player does the opposite though and stands on his/her 13 then he/she would also stand to lose if the face-down card of the dealer has a value that’s equal to or greater than 4. Though this situation won’t likely happen all the time, there’s no arguing that there is still a likelihood of something similar to it happening.

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