Blackjack Strategy Card and Systems
Blackjack is one of the most fascinating games to use strategy with because you have two things to think about – the decision making and the staking plan. What I am going to do here is cover both of these, starting with what’s called a basic strategy card which tells you the best decision to make and then move on to the staking plans.
Basic Strategy Card
Let’s dive right into it, the card below will tell you what to do on every possible hand for both you and the dealer for any game that uses 4-8 decks which covers the biggest majority. The card below comes from a member of the original MIT team who won millions when they were students and it’s worth taking a look at the original because while the site does not appear to have been updated for quite some time, it is from a legitimate blackjack winner.
Just following the card alone will cut the house edge down to less than 0.5% and using it is very simple – just use the left hand column to find your hand and then follow it to the right until you are on the column that matches the dealer’s hand – then just follow the necessary instruction.
How Much To Bet
While following the card is all well and good in terms of your blackjack decision making, it gives you no help on how much to bet on each hand. On the one hand, you could stick to what’s knowns as flat betting which means you bet the same amount on every hand.
Doing this will see you risking relatively low amounts of money and the overall amount you lose should only be to the house edge the longer you play. So if you’re on vacation and are looking to play for fun for as long as you can, flat betting is the way to go because over the course of 100 hands, you should only lose £0.50 if you’re betting £1 a hand.
Most players opt against flat betting because the only way of coming out ahead is to win more hands than you lose which isn’t going to happen most of the time. So, enter more risky betting strategies that can see you winning and losing a lot more depending on whether or not your luck is in.
Martingale Blackjack System– The Martingale is an old gambling system that has been used by players all over the world on many gambling games and blackjack is no different. All you do is start with a small hand and then double it each time you lose, then go back to betting the original hand. It’s risky and could go either way.
Progressive System – Sometimes described as Paroli or Parley, this is a system where you increase your bets after a win to make the most of a winning run and win more than you would if you were flat betting.
Oscar’s Grind – Another system that increases bets as it wins following 3 simple rules that try to drag out winning runs and keep losses to a minimum. It goes through small cycles and the aim is to win just 1 unit for each cycle.
Card counting is an old system of tracking the cards that come out of the shoe and then betting big when the odds are in your favour. I eluded to it higher up when I mentioned the MIT team who won millions – they were using card counting in conjunction with basic strategy.
There’s a lot of Hollywood style myths about card counting which has been fuelled by movies and Internet gossip. The notion that you can win millions or be detected and banned by casinos is all hearsay and extremely unlikely in the real world. Card counting can provide a small edge for the player in short bursts but the edge is small and you could still lose.
Bad Blackjack Strategy
Finally, I thought I would give a mention to some blackjack strategies and playing habits that you should avoid.
Copy The Dealer – Normally the dealer will stand on soft 17 or over, so some players attempt to apply this to themselves. This doesn’t work because you still need to play your hand before the dealer, so you could potentially go bust before the dealer does anything, thus leaving the odds well and truly in favour of the casino.
Avoid The Insurance Bet – Insurance is offered on some blackjack games when the dealer’s face card is an Ace, so you place an additional bet to cover yourself if the dealer has a Blackjack (21).
If the dealer does have a Blackjack, the pay out ratio of the Insurance bet will cover your original bet and mean that you neither win nor lose, think of it like a Push. The odds of the game dictate that the dealer is more likely to not have a Blackjack, so Insurance will cost you more than it will save over the long term of play.