Strategies for Playing Blackjack
When playing Blackjack, it may seem that, as a player, you may be subject to the whims of luck and chance. Actually, as with all other card games, Blackjack is a game of probability and computation. Does that sound too technical and complicated? It’s not that bad once you can get the hang of the game, and can develop a proper strategy that can beat the odds.
So how does this strategy come about? It takes a study of the game in order to succeed from something as basic as knowing the difference between a “soft” and “hard” total, or how to read a dealer’s hand.
Having a solid game strategy can tilt the game’s odds in the player’s favor and reduce the house edge. Playing Blackjack is a game of patience and confidence. It takes foresight to know when it is a good time to hit or stand. It also helps to know how many decks are currently in play (this is because if there ever was a game that relied on being able to count cards, Blackjack is it, my friend.)
The game also expects you to be able to notice patterns in play. There are strategy charts available that you can use to help discover when to hit or fold – however, these charts won’t teach you everything (basic charts largely stick to just the first two cards in play), so it is up to you to make the most educated play.
There are too many combinations to go over here, so the basic thing to remember is this: first assume the dealer has a ten in the hole, and go from there. If the dealer is showing a two thru six, assume they have a 12 thru 16, and must hit. This is the time to play conservatively – if you can beat the hole card plus ten, perhaps standing is best.
You also have to watch for busting. A 13 for you is a tough start, as it’s not a strong hand, yet, because there are so many “ten” value cards, the chances of you busting are good. You may want to see if the dealer will bust first – but if the dealer is showing a 7, assume they have 17 - you almost HAVE to hit. Again, “assume tens”.
Sometimes being able to double down or split a pair is that key element to providing that winning hand. Then again, keep in mind that nothing in Blackjack is foolproof. There are no certainties when it comes to this game, only the potential to get that card that will create your winning play.
For first time players, don’t get discouraged if it takes a while to adopt these strategies. While you may not win every game, with persistence, you can start to break even (and even get ahead.) Just learn the game, know how it works, and soon enough, you’ll be playing with the pros.
May Lady Luck favor you at the casino!