Blackjack is one of two games of skill in the world of gambling. While it is true that you cannot control what cards you will be dealt, you can choose how you will play out your hand. And choosing how to best play your hand is an acquired skill at using strategy. With acquired skill you as a player can change your odds of winning. If blackjack were a game of chance you would not be able to change your odds as all. Compare slots to blackjack. In a game of slots you put in a coin and push a button; where the reels stop is completely up to the random number generator. There is nothing a player can do to change their odds at winning as slots. In blackjack you can utilize strategy and change the odds since you choose how to play out your hand. But what exactly makes up blackjack strategy?
Blackjack strategy is made up of a playing strategy and a betting strategy. Those two combined will give you an overall blackjack strategy. First well look at the most important of the two components, playing strategy.
The best and most recommended playing strategy in blackjack is basic strategy. You will notice that when looking for tips on playing blackjack, the number one tip is to play with perfect basic strategy. Even playing with basic strategy is a smart place to start. It takes time to become thoroughly familiar with this strategy. But it is the best way to play.
Basic strategy is based on the statistical odds of the game, and is usually found in the form of a chart detailing how to play any card total you are dealt against any up card the dealer has. Yes, every hand and how to play it is there. Each play was statistically calculated and run through simulations to determine the best way to play each hand. Understand that you will not win every single hand. Basic strategy is designed to lower the house edge over time. Typically the house edge in blackjack is 2% to 5%. Playing with perfect basic strategy without deviation, regardless of whether you lost the last hand or not, will over time lower the house edge to half of a one percent. That is quite a strategy. But you have to stick with it regardless.
You might be wondering whether basic strategy is legal in casinos or not? After all it does lower the house edge quite a bit. Basic strategy is perfectly legal in casinos—some will even give out basic strategy charts. Why do they do that? Casinos that give out basic strategy charts are banking on discrediting the strategy. It is said in some places that basic strategy will guarantee a player to win every hand or that it will beat the house. Casinos will give players charts, knowing that a player believes that this chart is their ticket to a lot of quick money; and that once those players lose three or four hands in a row they will toss the chart aside, thinking that basic strategy is useless, and begin to play randomly. And that is a big player mistake. Once you start to play randomly it only increases the house’s edge. So understand that you will not win every hand, but that over time you will win more hands than you would without basic strategy. And remember that it will take time to master basic strategy. So practice. You can practice for free in online casinos as most of them have free play options.
So now that you have a playing strategy for blackjack, you need a betting strategy. In most cases people will recommend card counting. This is illegal, but players it anyway. Of course they will practice it until they are very good at it before playing in a casino with it. However if you are playing online there is one problem with card counting: it will not work. Cards are dealt online by a random number generator (RNG). This would be like finishing a round, scooping up all the cards and shuffling them all together every time before dealing each new round. Because an RNG “shuffles” all the cards before each new round there is now accurate way to count them.
Since card counting is out, what other betting strategy can you use? There are a couple of easy to remember betting strategies that you can try. The first is the Martingale method. This strategy is designed to beat a losing streak. In this method, you would double your bet each time you lost until you won a hand; after winning a hand you would begin betting at the minimum bet again. So say you were playing at a $10 table. If you lost the first round, you would bet $20 the next; if you lost that round, on the next you would bet $40, and so on. If you lost nine hands you would have to bet $5120 on the tenth round. As you can see you would need a pretty good sized bankroll to play with. But if you won the tenth hand you would have quite the payout.
The other betting strategy is the Paroli method. This method is designed to make the most of a winning streak. You would double your bet after every round you won, only returning to the minimum bet if you lost a round. Let’s say you were sitting at the same $10 table. You start out betting $10 and win that round; so the next round you would bet $20, and so on. To compare it to losing the same nine hands as mentioned above, you would only be betting $10 rather than $5120. The Paroli method is safer risk-wise, but it does not have the higher yield potential that the Martingale method does.
You can always try out both betting strategies in an online casino’s free play mode so that you can get a feel for who they work. This will also give you an idea of what you are comfortable with when it comes to betting before you actually have to wager money for real. When it comes to betting for real, only bet how you feel comfortable. If you are not comfortable with betting the large amounts that would most likely accompany the Martingale method, then do not use it.
Combining a betting strategy with a playing strategy will give you your blackjack strategy. Understand that it takes time, practice and patience to master your strategy and to make it work to the best of its ability for you.