Web Casino Online Basic Blackjack Strategy
This article assumes that the reader knows the basics of how to play blackjack and understands that different web casinos will have slightly different policies about how the dealer is required to play, splitting hands, doubling down, and surrendering the first two cards.
Winning at blackjack is about beating the dealer. Sure, being dealt blackjack or two face cards is great, but many players keep their eye too much on that 21 and not enough on the chances that the dealer will bust. All the player has to do is beat the dealer, regardless of how close he gets to 21. Playing blackjack according to strategies based on statistics minimizes the house edge and can make blackjack more lucrative.
The most basic blackjack strategy is that a player stands on any hand of 17 or higher. In some cases the player should stand on lower numbers. This will depend on the card the dealer is showing. You can type "blackjack strategy chart" into any search engine and be taken to any number of websites with blackjack strategy charts that you can print out. On these charts, the left hand column represents your hand and the row across the top represents the dealer's face-up card. The rest of the chart is a grid showing what is statistically best if you have a certain hand and the dealer shows a particular face-up card. Since there are numerous variations of the game, please make sure that you download the chart that corresponds to the game you're playing. If you're not inclined to learn all the intricacies right off, there are a few general strategies that anyone can learn and remember.
The first thing to remember is that the house gains its slight edge (of generally around 0.5%) based on the fact that the player acts first. Most of the time the dealer is required to hit if he has a soft 17 (where one of the cards is an ace), but will stand on a hard 17.
If you are dealt two cards that add up to 12 to 16, it is a stiff hand, meaning you can bust with just one hit.
If the dealer's card that is facing up is a 2 to a 6, assume the dealer has a stiff hand too.
If you have 17 or better, stand. This is called a "pat" hand.
If the dealer is showing anything from a 7 to an ace, assume that the dealer has a pat hand too.
If you and the dealer both have stiff hands, stand.
If you have a stiff hand and the dealer has a pat hand, hit.
This perhaps oversimplifies things for all but the beginning blackjack player, but it is good enough to get started with. If you find yourself really getting into blackjack, then take the time and effort to learn the strategy chart. Some casinos let you have them at the table as long as you don't slow down the game. Of course, if you're playing in a web casino online, you can have it taped up to the wall right in front of you.
Here are some more situations the beginning blackjack player may encounter.
If the dealer shows an ace, you have the opportunity to "buy insurance." This is not a good idea because when you buy insurance, the house advantage suddenly soars to 15%. When you buy insurance, you are basically betting that the dealer's down card is a face card or a 10, giving him or her a natural blackjack. "Buying insurance" usually takes half the player's original bet. If the dealer does have blackjack and the player doesn't after buying insurance, the player wins back the original bet and the insurance money. If it turns out that both the player and dealer have blackjacks, the player wins 1:1. This is really not a good bet and isn't recommended unless the player has extra money and feels like enriching the web casino online a little more.
It is important to know that even if you manage to memorize the basic strategy chart for the number of decks that are being played, you still won't win half the hands. The house has an edge. Learning the basic strategy means that over time - sometimes a long period of time - you will approximately break even. The way that many people learn the strategy chart is to notice what the patterns are and understand why it is you should play a hand the way the chart says. This will help you understand the concepts behind the basic blackjack strategy. But a certain amount of cold, hard memorization is required as well (unless you're a mathematical genius).
And just to finish up with a little more strategy, here are two "Don't's" for success in blackjack:
- Don't mimic the dealer. Statistically, this boosts the house edge from around half a percent to around 5.5%.
- Don't use the "never bust" strategy. So, you'd never hit when you had a hard 12 or better, but otherwise you play according to correct basic blackjack strategy? You'll increase the house edge to nearly 4%.