Blackjack Strategies

The magnetic pull of this game, and the reason for its popularity, is strongly driven by the fact that Blackjack empowers players to have some degree of fate over the game through strategic decision-making.

A player’s gaming experience is powerfully enriched by this higher degree of influence and control. The size of the bet and the decisions of play are all controlled by you, not the casino. Of course fate and chance are major factors to consider when using a strategy-based approach to Blackjack, but so are determination and tactical and intelligent play.

The four core strategies that you can use to strengthen your position and enhance your probability levels are

  • Basic Strategy
  • Card Counting
  • Shuffle Tracking
  • Hand Composition

Depending on the variation of Blackjack that you are enjoying, these four key strategies should form the cornerstones of your playing approach.

Basic Strategy

A strong understanding of the basic rules of Blackjack is key, as is having a clear grasp on Basic Strategy. Basic Strategy involves understanding the mathematics of the game. You don’t need to be a mathematical wiz to use this strategy, but you do need to practice.

There are hundreds of ‘Basic Strategy’ charts available online if you run a simple Google search. They basically guide tell you what you should do if a particular hand is dealt.

For those of you who find a chart hard to follow, there are many sites that explain the strategy, rather than charting it. For example:

If you have a hard hand (a hand with no ACE) you should always:

  1. Hit if the hand is worth less than 8
  2. If you have a 9, and the dealer has a 3,4,5 or six, you should double down

It is very important that you understand the rule variations that the casino you are playing in uses, because you will need to factor this when playing. Most casinos will have these rules available on their websites or in their publications.

Again, doing a Google Search for Blackjack Strategy will provide you with charts.

Card Counting

We have all seen the scene in the movie where the gambler is ‘escorted’ from the casino for card counting. Casinos don’t really like this strategy because it does give players and edge over the House. This is not really feasible in the online space as most games re-shuffle the cards after ever deal. Things that also play a part in card counting includes how many desk of cards are used in the dealer shoe, and how often they are shuffled.

Here are some tips though on how to use this strategy:

STEP 1:
Once you have memorized the basic plays that you should make depending on the hand you are dealt, you are probably ready to give card counting a go!

The first thing to understand is that card playing is all about knowing when you have the advantage.

• The greater the advantage, the larger the bet

STEP 2:
You will need to give a + or – or 0 value to each card. When the dealer deals the card, you need to adjust your count by the card’s value. A card of lower value increases the count because this means there will be a higher number of high cards still to be dealt by the dealer. A card of higher value decreases the count because this means there will be a higher number of lower cards still to be dealt by the dealer. This is called the HIGH – LOW system.

• Add to count for a low card, Subtract from count for a high card

STEP 3:
Your count should never go higher or lower than a single value that you have decided on.

• Don’t go higher or lower than your value

STEP 4:
Card counting is legal but you can still get kicked out for doing it!

• Avoid Attention

Advance Techniques – Shuffle Tracking and Hand Composition

Shuffle Tracking involves taking the advantage over the house by tracking groups of cards rather than individual card counting, so it is strictly for expert players.

Hand Composition requires players to think about the make up of their hand as well as the basic strategy approach. So here you need to think about the number of cards that you have and the value of each of these cards. The correct decision may be different to basic strategy depending on the cards that you hold. For example, if you hold a 12 against the dealer’s 4, you would normally stand, but if you look at your hand and notice that you have a 10 and a 2, you may actually decide to hit.