Posts Tagged ‘blackjack’

Like in most games of chance, Blackjack strategies never present players with one hundred percent guarantees of winning. In essence, utilizing mathematical probabilities is simply a way to minimize the innate house edge and make decisions based on the cards that you and the dealer have as well as those that are still left in the game.

Therefore, in spite of numerous guides that claim to possess the infallible secret, much like fanatical religious/spiritual leaders, you can easily understand why a foolproof methodology has not yet been developed. Joke aside, let’s first clarify the basic concepts of Blackjack.

Quick walkthrough of the rules   

First of all, I have seen numerous guides to the game that suggest the objective of the player consists primarily of accumulating a sum of cards closest to 21, without going over this value. However, the real goal implies accumulating a sum of cards that is higher than the one of the dealer but that does not exceed 21. At first glance, the two statements are largely similar, but in fact there is a world of difference between them.

In the first case, the player should continue hitting (asking for more cards) until he is satisfied with the difference between the sum of his cards and the maximum value of 21, without taking into account the hand of the dealer. This erroneous strategy would substantially increase the house edge. On the other hand, if you remember that you don’t really need to aim for accumulating 21 points, but rather just over the value that the dealer holds, you stand to gain a lot more. The value of the cards in the game of blackjack is as following:

  • 2 to 10 cards have the value imprinted on them
  • The value of all face cards is 10 points
  • The value of the Ace is either 11 (if the sum of the cards does not exceed 21) or 1 (if the sum of the cards exceeds 21)

The bettor will only see one of the cards of the dealer and, after being dealt the first 2 cards he will be able to:

  • Stay, meaning that he will not request any more cards
  • Hit, meaning he will request an additional card
  • Split, meaning the current hand is split into two individual hands when the cards dealt are the same (two Aces, two 8s, two 5s, etc.)
  • Double down, the value of the bet is doubled and the player will only receive one more card

It is necessary to point out that some casinos enable the player to “surrender”, canceling the bet if he does not like the hand that he has been dealt. However, you should inquire on whether or not your current table utilizes this rule.

What is the house edge in Blackjack?

The house edge really depends on the number of decks that are in the game. Assuming that you are only playing with a singular deck, than the house edge is then calculated at 0.17 percent. The house edge increases with each additional deck brought into play, as following:

  • 2 decks, 0.46%
  • 4 decks, 0.60%
  • 6 decks, 0.64%
  • 8 decks, 0.66%

In order to understand why the house gains an edge over the bettor that is directly proportional to the number of decks in play, you need to understand that the game of Blackjack is based on dependant events. To put it simply, it becomes much more difficult to estimate the number of cards that are still in the game and to calculate the odds of the remaining cards accurately, which means that card counting no longer provides you with the same advantage. For example, when you are playing with a single deck, you know that once all the Aces are out, the probability that either you or the deal draws one is 0.

An example of strategy

As mentioned previously, there is no strategy that will function optimally every time, but rather decision making systems that have a mathematically higher chance of winning. For the purpose of understanding that better, we have compiled a list of such decisions in the following table:

Player’s Hard Hands  Dealer’s Hand
2 – 67 – Ace
4 – 8HitHit
9Double DownHit
10 – 11Double DownDouble Down
12 – 16StayHit
17 – 21StayStay
Player’s Soft HandsDealer’s Hand
13 – 15HitHit
16 – 18Double DownHit
19 – 21StayStay
Player’s Split HandDealer’s Hand
2-2, 3-3, 6-6, 7-7, 9-9SplitDon’t split
8-8, Ace-AceSplitSplit
4-4, 5-5, 10-10Don’t SplitDon’t Split


This guest post is written by Andrea, a passionate student of the theory behind casino games and writer at

Blackjack online has long been one of the most popular games. It started out hundreds of years ago and was played physically around a table. It’s only in the last twenty years or so that blackjack has become an online sensation. Online blackjack combines the basic elements that make gaming fun.

There’s the entertainment value; card games have been around for millennia because we all enjoy them. Online blackjack gives our intellect a good workout. We have to make many decisions and often. The decisions are not always as easy to see as one might expect.

Blackjack has the ability to sharpen our wits, to see the trees for the forest, to build up our self-confidence. There is even some evidence that online games like blackjack can reduce the impact of such problematic conditions as dyslexia.

Card Counting

Professional gamblers are well aware of the card counting schemes that almost broke Las Vegas. Card counting has long been one of the primary strategies for blackjack. It’s pretty obvious that one should count the cards in blackjack; we do the same in parlour card games like rummy and pinochle. The card counting schemes that were so successful were a degree of difficulty beyond the ken of most everyone who isn’t a mathematical genius at MIT!

Winning at Blackjack

So, how does the average player beat the house in blackjack online? Well, the answer lies in what is known as due diligence when we’re trying to make big life decisions such as career, where to live, whom to marry and so on. Due diligence in blackjack means five basic rules of thumb: thoroughly knowing the variation you’re playing, staying calm at all times, enjoying the game, playing to have fun, and stopping when you’re tired or bored. It’s okay to say that, after an hour, you got bored. If you really love blackjack, you’ll be ready to play again in a day or two.

Help is on the Way

In addition, here are a few do nots to increase your winning chances by omitting losing habits or practices.

  • Never drink while playing. Land-based casino’s love to ply their players with drinks. One drink will lower your ability to think clearly, two will go much further in getting you to make poor decisions. So, when you’re playing at home, play until you’re ready for that drink and then stop playing!
  • Never make your next decision based solely on your cards. Learn all about observing the dealer’s card and deciding based on that information.
  • Never follow a betting system. They’ve been debunked again and again and pop up again and again. Betting systems do not work. Observation and deduction do work.
  • A corollary of the above is never bet progressively. If you do so, you’ll surely lose much more over time than if you stayed with a sound betting plan.
  • This leads to possibly the most important advice: never bet money you can’t afford. This means never bet money that you can’t safely earmark for purely entertainment. At bottom, online blackjack or any game played online should properly be seen as entertainment.
  • Never believe in hot streaks or cold streaks. Over time, you’ll win and you’ll lose. If you play well, the total amount that you’ll win or lose over time will be about 1% of the money you’ve bet.
  • Play online blackjack with single decks or two decks. Also try to play multiplayer games. When you play several hands, you can count cards much better than if you’re playing one hand in a game that is reshuffled after each hand.
  • Never take insurance. This ranks with betting systems as something that is regularly debunked by professionals, in this case statisticians, and is now well known as a losing bet over time.

You’ll find that playing blackjack online is simply a wonderful way to pass the time and stay sharp doing so!

Is the Martingale betting strategy still effective in today’s modern gambling scenario? Read this post to know how it’s applied to Roulette and Blackjack.

There are two kinds of reviews you would generally get about the Martingale system. While the beginners hold strong opinion about the same, an expert player will tell you to try any method other than the Martingale. With its origin way back in the 18th century, this Martingale strategy is specifically for games with a heads or tails format. Let us take a look at how this system works in two of the most popular casino games; roulette and blackjack.


In order to make the Martingale system work at the roulette table, you will have to confine your bets to black or red in 50/50 propositions. In case you lose a spin after placing the bet, you need to double the ante on the subsequent turn of the wheel. Say for an instance, if you bet $20 on black and lose the first spin, you’ll have to bet $40 on the next spin, and further $80 on the third spin if you lose again. As a result you get a one unit profit, and you need to start the sequence again once you win the bet.


Similar to the condition applied at the roulette table, here also you have to double the stake for every losing hand, and the betting sequence continues till the time you win a hand. So basically, if you do your math right, you’ll end up with one unit profit. For example, with a starting stake of $5, you end up wagering $40 after losing three hands. This gives an exposure to $75, and after winning the hand, you are left with a profit of $5.

So Does It Really Work?

Martingale system may have proved to be effective for games like roulette or blackjack, but it is certainly not a solution for other variations. Mathematically, it’s an authentic strategy, but complicated in the gaming world. Unless you have an extremely large bankroll, you cannot make the most of this system. For example, if your opening stake is $10, and you lose 6 successive hands, you’ll have to bet a whopping $640, which is beyond the limit of many players.

Now even if you have enough bankroll to take on the house, the rules imposed by the casino will cause this system to fail. Most of the online casinos have a limit on the maximum amount you can bet, and this makes it really difficult to implement the system. Just because you have enough funds to keep doubling your stakes until you win, the table’s limit will avert you from doing this repeatedly.

Relying on this system completely to make huge profits for you is the costliest mistake you can make for yourself. Unless you uphold the basic principle of this betting system, it will fail both in theory and practice. It may be good in small doses, but getting used to it can hurt you real bad in the long term. Hence, one should look beyond this strategy if they are to make big winnings with a lower bankroll.