When it comes to card games in a casino, there is no doubt that Blackjack is perhaps the easiest to follow and the simplest to learn. Yet it is a game that while appearing very simple, actually has many layers of complexity within it.
Almost any top quality casino will have at least one version of Blackjack to play and in truth, it is likely that a good casino will have many more versions.
Take Hollywood Casino, at that site there are seven different Live Blackjack rooms you can play at (including Infinite Blackjack) as well as two different computerised versions of the game.
Gamble responsibly and in moderation. Do not consider gambling as a way of earning money, and only play with money that you can afford to lose. Must be 21 years or older. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Must be physically located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to play.
The Blackjack Strategy
One of the most appealing aspects of Blackjack for many casino players is that it is a game which, if played well, has a relatively low house edge. Which makes things slightly more favorable for players seeking to land a win.
However, there is also a famous Blackjack Strategy system available which you can learn which will, over a length of time, improve the likelihood of you winning slightly more money from the casino if you follow the strategic guidance contained therein.
There are some who maintain that playing Blackjack using the strategy can actually make the house edge disappear and the odds turn very slightly in favor of the player (although the amounts we are talking about here are miniscule).
So it seems a no brainer to learn this Blackjack Strategy, but is that really worthwhile for every player that wants to play a few hands of blackjack?
Is It Worth Me Learning Blackjack Strategy?
This is the question we need to ask ourselves when considering playing blackjack. We know there is a strategy available, and we know that it works.
However, we also know that to see any real and tangible benefit from using blackjack strategy, you will very likely need to use it all the time and use it for the long term over many, many hands of the game.
And it is this question of just how much blackjack will you play that really is the deciding factor when it comes to making a decision about whether to learn Blackjack strategy or not.
Generally, the answer to this question falls into two options:
- If you are a non-regular or semi-regular blackjack player – If you don’t play blackjack that often, or only play every now and then, then the truth of the matter is that you are unlikely to see any real benefit to your play through blackjack strategy. Not only that, but the amount of time you’d need to invest in learning the strategy, what decisions to make based on the cards showing, is probably best invested elsewhere.
- If you are a regular, long term blackjack player – If your first port of call at any online casino is the blackjack tables and you play regularly and spend the majority of your casino funds playing the game, then there is more chance that learning blackjack strategy will be beneficial to you over the longer term. I stress the longer-term aspect as the slight increase in odds in your favor by following the blackjack strategy is so small, that it will only start to show after many, many hands have been played at a casino.
The fact of the matter is that Blackjack strategy is somewhat time consuming to learn as it is not just a couple of rules you need to follow. The strategy lists exactly what move you should make depending on the value of the cards you can see in your hand and with the dealer’s face up card.
This list covers every eventuality in the game and given there are 52 cards, 13 each in four suits, in a single pack of cards, this means that there a lot of possible combinations of cards that need to be worked out in order for the strategy to work.
Mathematicians and blackjack boffins have already done this and worked out what, statistically at least, are some of the best options available to you to follow each time you play blackjack. However, learning these so you can play using the strategy as second nature, is very time consuming.
To counter this, online players often use a simple print-out of Blackjack Strategy to keep by their computer so they can consult what to do when playing online games. This is a quick workaround for players that do not understand the strategy without the reference guide and for online play, it works well.
Obviously, it is not much use in a real-world casino!
There are more basic and more complicated blackjack strategies you can follow, but even the basic guide is still somewhat tricky to learn (although it is considerably easier than the more complicated versions).
Weird Rules That Are Often Counterintuitive
Part of the problem of learning blackjack strategy is that within the strategy there are some rules that appear to be counterintuitive, but which have proven to be the best way to win in the longer term over billions of hands.
A good example of this is when you look at the rule for splitting cards. Simple instructions here include always splitting aces, never splitting tens and that is easy to remember. You should always split eights too.
However, if you have two nines in your hand, then what you do depends on the dealers card. If the dealers card showing is a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 or 9, then you should split your pair of nines. However, if the dealers card is a 7, 10, Jack, Queen, King or Ace, then you should stand.
It can be hard to fathom out why you should stand with your pair of nines against a dealers seven, when you split against an eight or nine. Logically, this doesn’t seem right, however the stats bear out the fact that this is the correct call to make when in this particular situation.
That’s what makes learning blackjack strategy in depth so time consuming, there are a number of tricky rules like this you need to learn and the only way you can do so, is by putting the time in with the strategy and learning it as you would any other strategy.
For the person who doesn’t play blackjack that often, that time spent learning the game is just not worth the benefit that it could give them. As such, this is why I advise these players to simply play the game as they would naturally. The benefit of learning strategy for blackjack is so small, that given the small number of hands you play, you would likely not notice any benefit from it anyway.
Infrequent blackjack players can of course use some of the more basic strategies, but once again, they only increase your chances of a win very, very slightly (and again, you are not likely to notice).
Blackjack strategy does work, however the benefits it imbues to players are only very small and not really evident to you unless you play far more hands than the usual player. For more casual players, following a very basic blackjack strategy, or just playing the hand as you see it, is a far more fun and sensible option.