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  • October 1, 2020

Using Blackjack Odds in Your Favor

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Although the chance to beat the casino when playing blackjack is small, there is still some chance that it can be done. The odds are not so greatly stacked in the casino’s favor as to remove the possibility of a good player having the chance to win.
In order to have the maximum chance at winning, players will need to learn to stack the odds in their favor. Players do need to rely somewhat on luck when playing blackjack, but the game can also be looked at mathematically, and by keeping track of the probability of getting the cards you may need.
Basic strategy is nothing more than how you play your hand against the dealer “up card,” and playing it correctly will bring the house advantage down to a half of one percent, instead of the 4 percent to 5 percent the casino holds over the uneducated player.
A basic strategy player on autopilot doesn’t stand on a 16 vs. 7, but instead hits a hard 16 when the dealer shows a 7. They never stand on a soft 17. They hit on 12 if the dealer shows a 2 or a 3, hits a soft 18 if the dealer shows a 9, 10 or Ace, and they always splits Aces and 8s, even when the dealer is showing a 10.
The also never take insurance. If the dealer is showing an Ace of Face, a basic strategy player will stand down. Basic strategy players robotically play all these hands properly.
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Most players who believe they are experts at basic strategy misplay about 15 percent of their hands, especially the ones above. It’s playing each hand correctly, along with the splits, double downs and the occasional blackjack that jiggle your play from the red into the black.
So, how do you become skilled at blackjack basic strategy? For starters, by purchasing one of those laminated cheat sheets sold for about $3 to $5 a pop in some casino gift shops. Believe me, they are worth their weight in some yet-to-be discovered super-metal.
As for using a blackjack strategy card on a live game, yes, it’s absolutely allowed, and a must for newbies learning the game. Your use of a basic strategy card, which is basically a matrix of 270 hand situations, gives you a concise, definitive play for every starting hand you will be dealt. Eventually you will learn basic strategy to a point where it becomes an automatic response, but while working up to that proficiency, carry along a basic strategy card to refer to it in those tough-decision moments.
And what is the best way to acquire blackjack skills without the expense of a live game? With a computer.
In many ways a computer can be far superior to a human instructor for both training and drilling. The benefit of computer training is the ability to practice basic strategy at no financial risk. This will enable you to spot costly mistakes that you were making on a blackjack table. Information like this would take you years to accumulate dealing hand after hand on your kitchen table. And again, the key here is that any knowledge obtained without a casino outlay will make you more money down the road.
Many of the better blackjack programs that include basic strategy are free or shareware, and can also be found for the iPhone and iPad, making it inexpensive, easy to use, and fun. These software programs can be downloaded from any of the major online services on the Internet.
With some computer training and a basic strategy card, I promise you’ll sharpen your playing skills to an expert level in no time.
 
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