Blackjack is one of the oldest and most famous casino games. It’s been around for so long but it had never lost any of its popularity. The reason stands in the fact that this is a simple yet extremely exciting game, which is the thing that makes it appropriate for a wide range of players.
Beginners can easily get into rules and start enjoying, while experienced players simply adore the fact that there are so many different approaches to the game in terms of strategy.
Blackjack isn’t just another game of chances. No, this game actually requires great skills, experience and analytics.
During the last several decades, there are so many different strategies that have been developed and from today’s perspective, we can see that many of them don’t work so well.
People have been working on different approaches, so we have strategies like Martingale’s method, positive and negative progression, which work well in theory but not particularly great in practice.
On the other hand, more modern strategies like “Double Down on 9, 10, and 11“, “Always Take Insurance”, or “Never Bust” turned out to be not particularly useful.
So, is there any strategy that actually works? Believe it or not, the oldest (some would say forgotten) strategies actually work best. This particularly refers to the basic strategy and card counting system.
Also called playing by the book, the basic strategy has been around for decades. It was initially calculated by a group of statisticians in the 1950s.
A decade or two later, this strategy was perfected with the use of high-speed computers that were able to simulate all the possible combinations to determine the true odds for every specific play.
Thanks to these simulations, experts became able to determine the exact statistical differences between, for example, standing or doubling down in a specific combination of player’s cards against dealer’s cards.
The thing about this strategy is that it’s been not just statistically correct, but also proven in the years of practice. With this strategy, players can decrease the house edge to under 1%, though the exact number depends on the rules of each operator.
The only problem with basic strategy is that it requires extreme discipline and consistency. In practice, most players tend to deviate from the strict rules of this strategy.
The exact reasons are unknown but we presume that players simply choose to rely on their intuition in certain situations.
In these cases, players often take even money or insurance, while standing with bust hands is also pretty common.
It’s important to know that these deviations aren’t necessarily bad, especially if you are an experienced player who can “feel” the right moment to spice up things a little bit.
Although one of the oldest strategies, card counting is also among the most popular strategies among blackjack players. Simply, this strategy is the best proof that this card game is much more than just a common game of chances.
The fact is that rounds aren’t independent one from another, as cards from the previous round remain removed from play for several more rounds.
The only problem with card counting is that it requires exceptional cognitive abilities. For an average person, it’s impossible to memorize all previous cards, so experts came up with a couple of rules, such as the rule of thumb.
This is just one example of how card counting can statistically increase a player’s chances of winning and reduce the house edge.
It affects players’ decisions in many ways, especially when moves like hit, stand, split, double, or take insurance are required.
For example, when the count is high, a player knows that there is a higher frequency of high cards remaining, so he probably won’t hit so often, but rather go for double down or split.
One of the biggest proofs that card counting actually works is that casinos have developed pretty effective methods to recognize a card counter.
They use pit bosses and surveillance systems to search for potential counters, which can easily be spotted by well-trained personnel.
So, besides statistics, the efficiency of this strategy also depends on the casino’s policy on card counters and its ability to recognize them.
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