Blackjack is a card game that is played using a standard deck of cards. Regular number cards are assigned face value, face cards are valued at 10 and an ace can be used as a one or 11 depending on which provides the player with the better advantage. The game starts with a deal of two cards to the dealer and each player. The goal of the game is to get closest to a total of 21 without going over. Because of the large number of combinations possible it can be hard to develop a winning blackjack strategy, but not impossible.
The first step in developing a winning blackjack strategy is to learn the basic strategy of the game itself. There are a number of strategy guides available, but the basic premise in all of them is the same. After the initial two-card deal the players can ask for more cards one at time. The closer a player gets to 21 the more chance there is that they will go over due to the deal of another card. Basic strategies involve learning the difference between a soft and hard hand. With a soft hand, odds favor taking another card. With a hard hand, odds favor not taking another card.
Another winning blackjack strategy involves learning the house edge on card combinations. For any hand that is dealt there is a percentage that indicates how much of an advantage the house has for winning. As with most casino games the house always has some edge and the key to winning is to minimize that as much as possible. There are also a number of rule variations that can affect the chances of winning. For example, if a single deck is used rather than the standard eight decks at once it can raise the odds in favor of the player by 0.48%.
An important and often overlooked winning blackjack strategy is to pay attention to the pay out on wins at the blackjack table. In the past three to two was the standard payout ratio on winning blackjack hands. Some tables have started paying less than that without announcing it clearly. While some tables display the odds on the felt of the table itself not all do so be sure to ask about the payout amount if it is not posted.
There are some popular blackjack tips that can actually be detrimental to a winning blackjack strategy. Some players refrain from taking a card when they should to avoid busting, or going over 21. They can tip the house edge by up to 4% in the house’s favor by failing to take a chance when they should. Some also try to mimic the dealer. Players are allowed to make some choices such as splitting identical cards that the dealers are not allowed to. By not using all the choices that are available to them they tip the odds in favor of the house by as much as 5.5%.
Winning at blackjack is not easy, and there is no guaranteed way to make every hand a winner. But by knowing the rules clearly and using proven strategies players can tip the odds in their favor and see a higher return on their wagers.