Blackjack Strategies to Beat the Dealer
by Basil Nestor
Blackjack is the most popular casino table game, and it's one of the easiest to beat. You CAN win. But you won't do it playing hunches.
Does counting cards seems too difficult? Cheer up. You can improve your chances of winning WITHOUT counting. In fact... counting DOESN'T WORK unless it's used with a simpler more fundamental system called blackjack basic strategy.
What's basic strategy? It's the single most effective way to cut the casino's advantage to nearly zero!
This is how it works. A blackjack dealer usually has about a 5% "win frequency" edge over players. In other words, the house will usually win 48% of the hands, youíll win 43%, and 9% of the hands will tie. 5% may not sound like a lot, but it really adds up. Those giant gambling palaces in Las Vegas were mostly built on 5% or less. Basic strategy nearly erases your contribution to the building fund. Itís an easy-to-learn set of directions that mathematically optimizes your probability of winning. You bust less, bet less when the casino is likely to win, and bet more in situations when the casino is at a statistical disadvantage.
Basic strategy includes always splitting 8's and aces, always doubling-down on hands that total 11 (except against a dealer ace), and never hitting a hard seventeen or above.
I won't go through every hand combination here, but letís look at one particularly lucrative situation, soft 18 (ace and 7) against a dealer 6. Basic strategy tells you to double-down. That means youíre betting more when the dealer has a 42% chance of busting. Meanwhile, no card in the deck can bust you, and 54% of the cards will either improve your hand or leave you at 18.
What a sweet proposition! You could EARN A LIVING making this wager if blackjack rules allowed you to bet it exclusively. Basic strategy also tells you when to stand on "stiff" hands (twelve through sixteen), so you'll bust less frequently. Add it all up, and the casino's edge shrinks from about 5% to less than 1%.
OK... You're sold. Where can you find a copy of blackjack basic strategy? Check out the Unofficial Guide to Casino Gambling. There is also a printable version of blackjack basic strategy (optimized for the most common rule variations) right here at SmarterBet.com. Just click the hyperlink.
Good luck at the casino!
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