With the rise of Macau as a gambling haven, blackjack might currently play second fiddle to baccarat in land-based casinos. However, it remains one of the most popular card games for online casinos due to its fast gameplay and simple rules.
While there’s a large dose of chance involved in blackjack, there’s a mathematical approach to the game that improves your chances of winning – the basic blackjack strategy. Below I’ve covered what the strategy is, how charts confirm its value, and why it’s really, really important!
An explanation of why the basic blackjack strategy is important
Some people believe blackjack to be a game of chance, one where your actions have little influence over whether you win or lose. Nonsense. Blackjack is a game that combines skill, chance, and strategy – it’s this combination that makes it one of the most popular card games in the world, both in land-based and online casinos.
The basic blackjack strategy is so important because it’s the simplest way of knowing if you’re taking the right action.
There are five main actions that you can take while playing blackjack, each of which influences whether you will win your game or lose to the dealer:
Stand: You stick with the cards you have
Hit: You’re dealt another card
Surrender: You give up your cards
Split: You have a pair of cards which you split
Double: You double your bet by being dealt another card
By using the basic blackjack strategy you can establish which of these five actions is the best one to take based on your hand. The purpose of this is to get you the best return on your bet at any given time during your game.
Why it’s important that you use a basic blackjack strategy chart
Many blackjack commentators and specialists have their own basic strategy for playing the game. However, whichever basic blackjack strategy you select, one thing will be consistent – it’ll use a blackjack chart to explain which action you need to take at a given moment.
Matched Betting Sites has created an excellent blackjack chart to help you maximize the value you get from your hands:
Credit: Matched Betting Sites
This chart is designed to help you when you have a hard hand, soft hand, or pair – below I explain what these mean:
Neither of your two cards is an Ace.
One of your two cards is an Ace.
You have a pair of cards.
How you use this chart really depends on whether you’re in a land casino or an online casino.
In a land casino you won’t be able to look at this chart while you’re playing – if you try and get caught you’re likely to be thrown out by the casino and then banned from returning. This means you’ll need to memorize the chart and its actions, something that’s tricky even for professional gamblers.
If you’re playing blackjack at an online casino you can have the chart open as you gamble. It’s one of the reasons that playing blackjack at an online casino is convenient and fun, as you get an advantage that is just not available in land casinos. Does this mean that playing online is better than in a land casino? Not necessarily, but it does mean there’s a good reason to believe it’s a bit easier online.
BASIC BLACKJACK STRATEGY IS REALLY IMPORTANT (IF YOU WANT TO WIN!)
In the two previous sections of this article, I've explained what the basic blackjack strategy is and why it’s important you use a blackjack strategy chart. You now know that the basic blackjack strategy is about using pre-set actions to get the maximum from your hand.
So, how important is the basic blackjack strategy? Well, if you want to be a winning blackjack player it’s really, really important! Don’t believe me? This quote from one of the leading blackjack resources will persuade you:
Basic blackjack is a proven way of helping you to win: “A mathematically derived and computer proven system providing the optimal way of playing any hand and based only on the values of the player’s cards and dealer’s up-card.” – Encyclopedia of Blackjack (Twenty-One).
Knowing the basic blackjack strategy won’t guarantee you victory – even card counting doesn’t come with that. However, if you spend the time reviewing this proven, mathematical approach to playing the game then your chances of winning will be vastly improved – especially if you’re playing blackjack at an online casino and have a strategy chart open while you gamble!