Blackjack Strategy

Play Online Blackjack at Casino KingdomAs a game in which players have a choice to make, blackjack offers a wide choice of strategic approaches. While basic blackjack strategy is made up of simple tables of recommended choices, outlined as a function of what the player has and what the dealer’s face-card is, there are countless other subtleties that can better a player’s odds and nibble away at the house edge.

In order to make sure you do indeed play with the best possible odds, you need to learn the game and it rules thoroughly. No, I’m not talking about the basic rules which everyone is familiar with, I’m talking about subtle differences in rules that can hit your odds worse than you’d think it’s possible.

In some casinos the dealer wins all ties against the player. I hope I needn’t elaborate why you simply do not want to get involved in a game like this.

Other casinos will alter the payout for naturals. In some cases payouts can be as low as 6-5 or 1-1. While this is indeed a blatant interference with the rules of the game, it is practiced by some.

The soft 17 rule means that the dealer will either stand on all 17, or that he will stand on hard 17s but not on soft ones. The first version (where the dealer stands on all 17s) is the one that carries bigger advantages for the player.

Late Surrender is available to players in some casinos. A player may give up his/her hand and get half his bet back before he/she takes another action, While the advantages of the surrender are not clear in most cases, when a player has a 16 going up against the dealer’s 10 it is quite obvious.

The number of decks the casino uses for the game is a very sensitive issue. On one hand, players want to play with as few decks as possible. This certainly offers a huge advantage for card-counters, but regular basic strategy players also get their odds boosted by it. On the other hand, single deck games usually have adverse rules for players. Choosing the number of decks to play with becomes a fine balancing act this way.

Some casinos will allow their players to re-split aces. This is always something that will boost your odds.

Some casinos will award the player the win if five cards are drawn and he doesn’t bust. While this is a longshot, it is another small factor that adds some juice for the player. Insurance is offered by most of the casinos where blackjack is available. A player may bet half his original bet on a 2-1 setup if the dealer has an ace showing. The player must place his insurance before the dealer turns his hole-card over. If the dealer makes a natural, the player wins. All these things may seem insignificant (well, some of them are actually quite openly against the player’s odds) but in the long-run they stack up and take an extremely serious toll on your chances.

After getting all these things straight and applying basic strategy, the only way you can further enhance your chances is to count cards. Contrary to common belief, card-counting is not about remembering each and every card that leaves the deck and thus getting a clear read on which cards remain.

Every card counting method is based on assigning values to certain card-ranges. The simplest way to count cards is to assign the value of 1 to cards from 2-7, 0 for 8 and 9, and -1 for the remaining ones. Every time a card leaves the deck, the player only subtracts 1 or adds one to a sum which he keeps in mind. The higher in the positive range his sum is, the more cards worth 10 there are left in the deck. Having more such cards in the deck offers players an obvious advantage.

Some systems refine the above described one further. All card counting is legal in the U.S (there’s no law against it) but don’t be surprised if the casino you play at is going to resent your shenanigans. They’ll probably escort you to a different game, or out of the casino if any sort of suspicion arises regarding card counting. Remember, surveillance systems are there to filter out such “wiseguys” and thus to protect the house edge.

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Blackjack Strategy

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