Using the proper blackjack strategy during the game play can be the difference between winning and losing. Blackjack, as a game, requires skill and commitment from the players to strategize the best way to play the game. Certain moves can be made during the game play depending on the cards the player gets. Moves may be prudent or foolish, depending on the cards the player gets. Priviledged players are known to be the ones who can make wise decisions and can out wenches the house. One of the famous scenes in the movie 21 publicized the concept of card counting.
Card counting techniques, discovered by Edward Thorp, are fairly easy to implement and are commonly used by gamblers in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Blackjack is the game played in Las Vegas and the casinos are designed in such a way that the odds of winning are considerably less than the player. This is because, for example, the deck of cards has many tens, so even if the player makes a 10 or face card wager, he can still lose to aSteel happen. (10 is the most favorable card for the dealer.)
Many players also use what is known as perfect blackjack strategy, fitting the hand that the player is holding into the game. This is done by just adding a constant, small bet to the players regular wager. The difference between the house edge and the player’s edge is largest at the times the player has a positive advantage over the house. Most casinos’ house edges are around 7.5%, but the “house advantage” varies from one casino to another. (Here we are referring to the statistical advantage the player has over the house, not the house edge itself. However, casinos are allowed to play an 8-8-8 or better game, so you can also see at least a 16.7% house edge, if you like our mathematics.) One of the most known systems of playing blackjack is the Hi Lo Card Counting method. This method is quite simple and can be quite effective when card counting is carried out properly.
Another system is the “Insurance” system. This is done when the player is closer to 21 than the dealer, and the dealer has a “face card” which is an Ace or a 10. Insurance is offered when the player has the better hand, but can be defeated by a “Blackjack” (dealer-made) when the dealer has a face card.
The Hi Lo Card Counting method is when the cards are dealt from left to right starting from the cards with the highest card value in the first two cards. Once these cards have been dealt, the player checks the hole cards (the two cards that can be seen) to see where 21 is still at least a card higher than the “Blackjack”. If 21 is not revealed, then the player places a one unit bet, and an additional one unit bet.
This continues for two cards, making sure that whether or not 21 is still higher than the dealer’s cards. Since the cards are dealt from left to right, the Ace and the 10 are the highest cards at the start, so these have the highest probability of not being beaten (or “going bust”).
Also, the 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 cards, which are the next in the sequence after the face cards, have the same probability of either being higher or being lower than the next card in the sequence (remember that the 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 cards are in the deck – remember that if two or more cards are higher, then the count must be changed).
As you can see, blackjack betting and playing is all about the cards that you have, and what the future cards could be.
Remember that in blackjack, it is not worth paying extra bets if the cards you have are already a low value. You may then find that even if you stay and play, the chances are you may be beaten by the dealer or the “up card” (the card that can beat your hand).
In the event you stay (and the dealer has a face card or 10), then you want to have a strong hand so that you can win. You might think that you will be paid 3:1 odds when you bet, but you will be wrong. The real odds are more like 14:1, meaning that if you bet $1, and the dealer has a face card or 10, then you will be paid $14. If you bet $1, and the dealer has a “down card” (face card that is less than a 10), then you will be paid $6.
You also want to take care that you stay with a strong hand. You do not want to if you have weaker hands and a high card.