Blackjack is one of the few times when playing at a casino where it is possible to have an edge over the house by playing with the best strategy possible. While games such as roulette are little more than luck, blackjack, if played using the best strategy possible, becomes a game of skill, with a little bit of luck mixed in.
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The best strategy for playing blackjack would, of course, be card counting. But it’s virtually impossible to card count at an online casino, due to the fact it’s not a deck of cards being used, but a random number generator that picks what card comes up next. And in live casinos, card counting is effectively discouraged (sometimes aggressively enforced) and is also foiled by casinos now using multiple decks and automatic shufflers to negate any edge a player may get from counting cards. That is not to say that it is impossible, but it is now the hardest it has ever been. Plus, if you do get caught counting cards, getting into casinos starts to become just as difficult as it may be to count cards.
In modern casino gaming, and also with the advent of online casinos, old techniques such as shuffle tracking and card counting are becoming obsolete. More decks in play, automatic shuffler and, of course, online casinos using random number generators means that the most effective strategy for a player playing blackjack is the traditional ‘basic’ strategy. This is a system of playing blackjack that ensures the players makes the most mathematically sound decisions when playing various hands, dependent on what the dealer are showing.
Basic strategy, as mentioned above, works on the basis that every hand has an optimal way of playing it, which relies on what card the dealer is showing. For example, basic strategy would state that you hit when you have 15 and the dealer is showing a 7 as their up-card. Basic blackjack strategy also dictates that you always split 8s, regardless of what the movie 21 might tell you. Of course, using basic blackjack strategy is not a guarantee that you will win, but it will definitely increase your chances of beating the house in the long term, as their edge will begin to disappear.
The best way to represent this information is in a table, so you can see every move you need to make at the appropriate time.
S = Stand
H = Hit
D = Double
Sp = Split
There may be other options available to you, such as the ability to surrender a hand, or you may not be able to double or split certain hands, but the majority of the time, the plays listed in the table will be available to you, and this is how you should play each hand to ensure maximum success when playing blackjack.
So, while it may not be the best strategy (card counting is going to give you the greatest edge over the casino), it is the strategy that is going to ensure you can play optimally both online and live, and it also has less risk attached to it in terms of being asked to leave a casino. So using ‘basic’ blackjack strategy, overall, might just be the best without actually being the best.
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