Blackjack is one of the most popular casino card games played online and at land based casinos. Aside from having one of the lowest housed edges of any casino game, blackjack also gives players some form of control over the outcome of each hand. Winning in blackjack is all about having the right strategy. In the notes below, we are going to look at why blackjack is a strategy game and should not be played on chance.
The Aim of Blackjack
Unlike slots or other casino games, blackjack has a house edge that can either increase or decrease based on the skill level of the player. What this means is that your chances of winning significantly increase when you play the correct strategy, which is important, especially when you play blackjack for money. You might be wondering how this can be. It all comes down to the numbers themselves. Most players think that the aim of blackjack is to get 21 or as high a hand as possible. In fact, the real aim is to beat the dealer. It doesn’t matter how you beat the dealer, as long as you win.
Reviewing your Hand
Blackjack strategies are all about minimising the risk of losing and maximising the chances of winning. In a slot game, you have no idea of what the next spin will produce before you place your bet. In blackjack, once the hand is dealt, you gain control over the game in some small measure. A simple example will be if you are dealt a hand of 19 and the dealer’s up facing card is a 7. The best the dealer can hope for is an ace which will take his hand to a total of 18.
At this point you are still one higher than the dealer. He will then be forced to take an additional card and hope for a three or less. The chances of you winning the hand is extremely high. If you tried to maximise your hand by aiming for blackjack, you would most likely have gone bust and lose the round even though it was almost a guaranteed winner.
Hand Categories and their Strategies
The easiest way to maximise your hand is to split each hand into three categories namely soft hands, hard hands and pairs. A soft hand is any hand containing an ace. A hard hand is any hand not containing an ace and a pair is any hand with matching numbers. Once you have established the type of hand you are playing, you can apply simple rules to maximise your chances of winning. For example, with soft hands, if you are dealt 17 or lower, you should always hit. Because you have an ace, you can pretty much use any card that comes out of the deck and not go bust.
Minimising the Risk
On the other hand, if you have a hard hand (hand without an ace) of 17, it would be silly to take another card. In this case, you are hoping for an ace through to 4. However, anything from a 5 through to a king will see you going bust. By doing the math, you can see that you have a higher chance of going bust than actually getting the card you want. The strategy determines the play based on where the lowest risk lies.