How to play Blackjack with mathematical strategies and rules in a casino?
Also called "21", this fast-paced table game involves one or more players facing the dealer at a blackjack table. Each player receives a card face up at the same time the dealer also shows a card.
The goal is to get 21 points or as close to that score as possible using two or more cards. The perfect play or Blackjack is achieved with 21 points with only two cards, and it is also the best paid 3:2 play. That is, an ace and a ten or figure (J, Q or K).
Blackjack casino games
The value of the cards is intuitive: from 2 to 10 their value, J, Q or K are also worth 10 while A is worth 1 or 11 at the bettor's choice. Any player who goes over 21 points loses the bet and players can stand whenever they want.
The dealer must hit with 16 or less and stand with 17 or more. There are some special plays such as the possibility to double bet after two cards totaling 9, 10 or 11 or the possibility to make an insurance when the dealer shows an ace.
In this game, we emphasize the strategic component and the possibility of exploiting the use of techniques such as the Basic Strategy that has become one of the most effective blackjack tricks to win money and recover part of the disadvantage that the player has against the dealer.
Blackjack is a type of casino game that, unlike others where chance is mainly involved because the odds are fixed (roulette, slots, baccarat), has an important skill component, since bets can be mathematically optimized.
The key to this lies in mathematics: using probability and statistical calculations it is possible to minimize the house edge and win more money in a casino.
You, as a player, can win or lose. However, the casino, whether it is an online or land-based casino, always must win something. That's why it always ensures a profit margin for the bank.
This means that of the total amount of money that players bet, what is returned in the form of a prize is not the total amount bet. From that total is subtracted a profit margin of the bank that will vary according to the game.
The good news is that the dealer's profit margin can be minimized in some casino games, and Blackjack is one of them.
In Blackjack, the game ultimately prevails over the player, but it is still possible to improve your odds of winning and minimize the house edge. How? By making use of mathematically optimized betting strategies or systems.
By following the basic Blackjack strategy, you can reduce the casino dealer's advantage to 0%, so that the house gets no advantage at all.
First row: values that may appear on the dealer's face card. First column: total value of the player's hand.
To know what action you are advised to take in each hand, you have to find in the column the value of the card that the dealer has revealed and in the row the value that corresponds to the value of the cards in your hand. If you join row and column, the box that crosses them tells you which tactic is recommended to minimize the advantage of the house.
We want to remind you that the basic strategy table does not guarantee to win every hand you play, what it indicates is the recommended action to reduce the house advantage.
- Stand at 17 or more: To win money playing Blackjack you have to be prudent. If you already know how to play this card game, you will know that one of the most popular rules of Blackjack is to stand on any hand that totals 17 points or more, since the chances of hitting on another card are very high.
- There are many situations where standing is not the best option, such as when the dealer discovers an Ace or a high card, but if you have already scored 17 or more points, the wisest thing to do is to stand.
- Splitting Aces: The Ace is the strongest card in Blackjack. Its value is 11 points, but if you add two Aces, the value they add up to 12.
- 12 is a bad total for a Blackjack player in terms of statistics, but there is another more important reason: when you split the Aces, there is a greater chance of receiving a card with a value of ten for one or both cards, since you have two chances of playing that card with a card of value 10 of the ones the dealer uncovers, and this will give you a total of 21, this being the best hand in Blackjack.
- This makes splitting Aces in most cases the most advisable. Splitting aces has fine print in most casinos: when you split aces you only get one additional card. This means that after splitting aces in two different hands, you cannot act again to improve the remaining hands. You are also not allowed to split aces a second time if another one comes up after the initial split.
- Splitting Eights: Something similar happens with the 8's as it happens with the Aces. Together they add up to 16. 16 is the worst possible hand in this game, probabilistically speaking. When you split a pair of eights, each eight receives (as with aces) one card, thus forming two hands. You can then play with two hands, drawing, standing or doubling down. With eights, it is also possible to split again a second or third time.
- Generally, eights will always be split. However, this is not always the case, so we recommend you read the article When to split and when not to split Aces and Eights in Blackjack?
- Do not split pairs of 10: When we find ourselves with a pair of 10's or a pair of jacks (J, Q, K) it adds up to 20 in total. Such a hand is too strong to split, so the best trick is to keep the hand and play it as it is, without asking for any other card, as this would go against the stand on 17 or more rule mentioned above. When another player has an Ace: The Ace can be worth 11 or 1 depending on the situation.
- When another player, or the dealer, has an Ace, if they draw a card worth 10 on the next hand, the game is over, and they are the winner. This is a very likely outcome, especially in multi-deck games, and when the deck is unfavorable (i.e. when low value cards have been drawn and there are many high cards left in the deck).
- Variance: The variance is the difference between the advantage you expect in the game and your actual results. For example: If you play a total of 100 hours with an expected value of 22€ per hour, your expectation will be to win 2200€ during that time. However, if you have only won €1800 after 100h, the 400h below your expectation is the variance. Keep in mind that the more you play, the closer you will be to balancing your variance.
- Standard Deviation (SD): The standard deviation shows how often your blackjack results deviate from the average. It is a strategy for determining whether you are winning at the game or how much capital you will need to make a significant profit. Standard deviation helps you prepare for what to expect, what expectations to have, in terms of variance.
- N0 (N-Zero): N0 is something that players don't usually pay much attention to. It is the number of hands it theoretically takes to reach the goal of beating a standard deviation (4 N0 gives you the hours to beat 2 SD). To have the most accurate assessment of N0, it is necessary to play with the same rules and the same betting strategies.
- Certainty Equivalency (CE): Also known as "Risk Scared Profit". It results in the figure closest to what you expect your % profit in Blackjack to be. It is also a good indicator of whether the game will be worth playing. It is the result of taking the expected win ratio and adjusting it based on the level of risk in proportion to the current bankroll and the level of risk tolerance.
- Counting: Although the art of card counting is frowned upon or even banned in some land-based casinos, it is not an illegal practice. Card counting in Blackjack is one of the most productive strategies to ensure better performance and to make better decisions (such as whether to split aces and eights or to calculate the odds that an opponent can draw a 21).
- An example of this strategy that made Blackjack and the counting strategy very famous was the story of Ken Uston and his MIT team, who managed to win more than 5 million dollars in different casinos in the 90s.
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