If you are new to the game of Blackjack, it’s worth looking at the visual
|instructions for a re-cap. Simply click on the image below to be re-directed
to the web based video. You will need to have your sound turned on.
Because Blackjack has an element of player choice, players can reduce casino
|advantage by playing optimally. The complete set of optimal plays is known
as basic strategy. There are slight variations depending on the house rules
and number of decks.
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|Techniques other than card counting can swing the advantage of casino
Blackjack towards the player. All such techniques are based on the value of
the cards to the player and the casino, as originally conceived by Edward O.
One technique, mainly applicable in multi-deck games, involves tracking
groups of cards (aka slugs, clumps, packs) during the play of the shoe,
following them through the shuffle and then playing and betting accordingly
when those cards come into play from the new shoe.
This technique, which is admittedly much more difficult than straight card
counting and requires excellent eyesight and powers of visual estimation, has
the additional benefit of fooling the casino people who are monitoring the
player’s actions and the count, since the shuffle tracker could be, at times,
betting and/or playing opposite to how a straightforward card counter would.
Arnold Snyder’s articles in Blackjack Forum magazine brought shuffle tracking
to the general public. His book, The Shuffle Tracker’s Cookbook,
mathematically analyzed the player edge available from shuffle tracking
based on the actual size of the tracked slug.
Jerry L. Patterson also developed and published a shuffle-tracking method for
tracking favorable clumps of cards and cutting them into play and tracking
unfavorable clumps of cards and cutting them out of play.
Other legal methods of gaining a player advantage at Blackjack include a
wide variety of techniques for hole carding or gaining information about the
next card to be dealt.
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By now, you will have gained a good idea of playing Blackjack and developed
|a strategy, but let’s take this a step further.
First of all, let’s just go over some of the basics in a little more detail:
House Advantage (aka House Edge)
As you know, the dealer must hit on 16 or below, and stand on 17 or above.
However, if the dealer goes above 21, he busts.
If your total is the same as the dealer, you don’t win or lose, so that’s a
‘Stand Off’. If your total is higher, you win, but if it’s lower, you lose.
The casino has a ‘House Advantage’ in order to generate a profit. This takes
the form of the player playing their hand before the dealer. In real terms, this
means that if you both go bust (over 21), the dealer still collects your money.
The chance of the dealer going bust is 28%. If you follow the dealer’s rules
of play, your chance of going bust is also 28%. So the chance of you both
going bust on the same hand is 7.84% (28% x 28%). This 7.84% is the
However, for a natural Blackjack, you get paid 3-2 and the dealer receives
even money. In this case, the House Advantage drops to 5.9%. So, if you
gambled £100, you would expect to lose £5.90
You could take another card to reduce the chance of going bust to zero.
There are many times the dealer’s cards are likely to total 17-21. By taking
another card in this case increases your winning chances.
The Basic Strategy is designed to reduce the chances of you going bust.
Using the basic strategy for each card the dealer has and each total in your
hand, you will know what the best option is to take, be it Hit (H), Stand (S),
Double (D) or Split (Sp).
By using the rules of Basic Strategy, the House Advantage reduces to 0.5%,
so gambling £100, you would expect to lose £0.50.
The next page will show the basic strategy chart.