Strategies in Playing Blackjack
Blackjack is appealing to players as a simple game that allows you to control the outcome at a high level. It can be a risky game with a house edge as high as 10 percent, but this edge can be as weak as 0.62 percent at a carefully selected table and with the right strategic choices. If you’re really lucky with the rules of the house, it might even be 0%.
Knowing how the different rules influence the decision-making process is the secret to developing a good plan. You can find here variants of European and American rules, as well as some different rules of the game, how they influence the edge of the house, and how to improve your chances at the best blackjack locations.
Decks in Play
The higher the rim of the house the more decks used in the shoe (where the cards are played from). This is because more decks makes it more difficult to count cards. The player also wins fewer blackjack (an ace opening deal with any ten-point card) and has less strong double downs, which is the chance to double your original bet if you think your side can match the dealer’s.
In general, two decks are used by European blackjack, and four to eight by American blackjack. Nevertheless, casinos often decrease the blackjack payoff or apply adverse rules to raise the edge of the house to account for the shift in chances caused by lower deck numbers. European blackjack therefore has a few rules that do not work to the benefit of the player.
Blackjack Payout – The payoff for playing blackjack is 3/2, which means a £ 10 bet will yield £ 25 (including the initial stake) at most American blackjack tables. You can find a match that pays out 2/1 on blackjack if you’re very lucky.
The payoff is lowered to 6/5 at some boards, which means that a £ 10 bet will yield £ 22 (including the initial stake). The differential may not seem like much, but a 6/5 reward table will raise the edge of the house by 1.39%.
While it’s a common feature on American blackjack tables, a surrender’s tactical advantage is often underestimated, particularly by players who think fate favors the courageous and love pursuing lost causes.
The choice of giving up requires you to admit defeat after the first two cards have been dealt. You lose just 50 percent of your initial stake instead of the full amount when you withdraw, which is particularly useful when the dealer’s up card is an as, face card or ten and you have a deck of 15, 16 or 17. In fact, you can lower the edge of the house by up to 0.1 percent if you play this right.
In European and American blackjack, the rules on whether a player should double down differ. Generally speaking, European blackjack limits the ability of the player to double down to hands with a total of nine, ten or 11, whereas American blackjack makes a double down on any number.
Limiting the double down would bring about 0.09 percent to the bottom of the house as it avoids a potentially profitable doubling of prices up to nine on a starting card when facing a poor dealer deck.
The Hole Card
The dealer is dealt one card face up in European blackjack and only gets the second card after finishing the player deck. The dealer gets the second card, the “hole” card, automatically face down in American blackjack, and can look up whether blackjack is a possibility.
This may seem to be a minor difference, but the absence of the hole card raises the edge of the house by 0.11 percent, as the player may double or break without knowing that they are up against blackjack. Through playing conservatively against possible blackjack cards, the effects of this can be tracked.
Splitting involves dividing the pair of cards that you were initially dealt into two different hands, and adding a second stake equal to the first to shore up the second deck. It’s a way to use a smaller dealer card.
Many implementations of blackjack do not allow you to double after a break, which increases the edge of the house by 0.14%, or does not allow ace re-splits, which increases the edge of the house by 0.18%. There’s not much you can do in response if these restrictions are in place.
One thing that should always be considered when entering the blackjack table is that European blackjack will always pressure the dealer to strike a soft 17, a hand holding an as with a total value of seven or 17. This is bad news for players as the dealer is more likely to win an improved hand when they hit instead of standing, increasing the edge of the house by an average of 0.2%.
Although this strategy can’t be answered, you can learn from it. Standing on a hard 17 (a hand without an ace totaling 17) is a good strategy, but remember to always hit on a soft 17.
A blackjack game can vary widely across the continent and casino, so note to change your approach to suit the rules of the house and lower your advantage while sitting down to play. Visit InterCasino today for a wide variety of blackjack games and rule variants.