What Is A Blackjack Strategy? The Basics
A Blackjack strategy is a way for you, the player, to beat the dealer. The system may not guarantee your constant win. However, you can obtain bigger wins than when you play without a strategy.
If you do not know how to play Blackjack, memorizing the following four rules is the first step to take:
- The goal of Blackjack is to beat the card dealer without your cards going over 21. This means that you should get as close to 21 as possible. Going over this threshold is a recipe for disaster.
- Each player begins the game with two cards that face up. As a player, you can only see one of the dealer’s cards. Sounds unfair, right? But rules are rules.
- The game will vary depending on the variant you are playing. Quick advice: ensure that you familiarize yourself with the specific rules of the variant you are playing before the game starts.
- This rule is a derivative of rule 3. Check out how a score of 21 will impact your total bet before starting a game.
Understanding Card Values
The second step is to understand your card values. This is often self-explanatory as most card values depend on the number and not the suit of color.
- For instance, 10, J, Q, and K have the same value regardless of their color and suit.
- Similarly, aces have a special status in the game. These cards can have a value of either 1 or 11, depending on the context of play. Read more on aces from this website.
You can take five possible actions while playing Blackjack. These include:
- Stand - stop taking more cards and only keep what you currently have.
- Hit - add another card to what you have.
- Split - if you are holding a pair of cards, create two hands.
- Double - double your bet but take only one extra card.
- Surrender - get a 50% return on your original bet by literally surrendering before the dealer beats you.
Basic Blackjack Strategy
Blackjack strategy is straightforward: you make a decision depending on the dealer's cards and nothing else. Recall that your goal is to beat the dealer, so each decision you make is either a "to win" or a "not to win" decision.
You should also ask yourself whether you decide to stand, double down, or split.
- Pair split: You do not know what to do next? Neither does your opponent. The best thing to do in such a case would be to choose the best winning odds.
- Soft totals: The dealer draws an ace, that fleeting card. What do you do? The wisest answer to this question is that you think and rethink your next move in a manner that makes most of the situation.
- Hard totals: Say you don't have an ace, and losing is not an option. What do you do? Optimize your next move.
- Late surrender: The dealer lacks Blackjack on his cards. What do you do? Hit or stand?
Blackjack Betting Systems
The betting systems can improve a player’s chances of beating the dealer. Like all games of chance, blackjack betting systems use repetitive/sequential play.
These systems include:
The Martingale strategies can even the play by wiping out your losses with one big win. This is a strategy for those who are losing but desire to double their bets. Play using the Martingale strategy when the stakes are high, and your risk game is more heightened.
The d'Alembert strategy allows players to raise their bets each time they lose, albeit by one unit. The same is true for a win: a player lowers their stake by one unit. Think of d'Alembert as a simpler version of Martingale but with a safe betting system.
The Fibonacci system is similar to the infamous mathematical sequence, Fibonacci. As such, each bet is the sum of the previous two bets. This means that a player’s bet depends on their Fibonacci sequence each time they lose.
Losing, however, means that the player sticks to their winning number. Fibonacci is a less aggressive form of Martingale.
The 1-3-2-6 system literally means that players bet 1,3,2 and 6 units, respectively. The units increase when the player wins and remain on 1 unit when they lose. Basically, this is a split strategy.
The parlay system offers a promising strategy where one creates a pyramid of winnings. In this case, a win means that the player bets their winnings and initial bet, while a loss implies that they gamble with loses.
- Oscar’s Grind
Like Parlay, Oscar's Grind is a progressive betting system that increases bets by one unit for each win. This means that the chance doubles every time a player wins.
Side bets are a way of making your Blackjack game more interesting. The additional bets offer outcomes that go beyond a player’s wins or losses. In this case, an individual places the majority of the bets, together with regular bets, at the start of the game before card dealings.
The player then receives a reward for beating the dealer in proportion to the bet’s fixed odds. Some popular Blackjack side bets include:
This side bet tries to see whether the player's first two cards and the dealer's face-up card have a specific combination. The possible combinations are:
This is where the three cards of interest are of the same suit. The payout for this outcome is 5:1.
In this case, the suit of the cards does not matter. However, the three cards must be in sequence. The straight side bet offers a payout of 10:1.
- Three of a kind
Like the straight side bet, three of a kind does not mind the suit of the cards. Rather, all the three cards must be of the same value for one to receive the checkout of 30:1.
- Straight flush
The straight flush is an adjustment of the straight side bet. It requires that all the cards are in a sequence and of the same suit. Straight flush has a payout of 40:1.
- Suited three of a kind
The description of this side bet is the literal interpretation of its name: three cards of the same value and suit. This bet has the highest payout of 100:1.
The outcome of this bet is that the player’s first two cards meet the following three conditions:
- Mixed pair
This is where the two cards have the same rank but differ in color. The payout for this pair of cards is often 5:1.
- Colored pair
In this case, the cards have the same color and rank but are from different suits. For instance, draw out two black Queens: one of the clubs, the other of spades. This pair has a payout of 10:1.
- Perfect pair
The perfect pair of cards has the same rank and suit. The payout for this outcome is usually 30:1.
The lucky lucky side bet tries to see whether the player's first two cards will match specific combinations of the dealer's first two cards. These values and their corresponding payouts are in the figure below.
A blackjack strategy does not guarantee that you will always win. Nonetheless, your goal as a player is to maximize your moves and payout, hence the need for a Blackjack strategy.