There are alot of bad advices out there regarding gambling in the casinos. The most frequent one would be “The goal of blackjack is to get to 21 without going over”. This is definitely not the case. The goal of blackjack is to certainly to beat the dealer. To ensure that, players must first not bust (cards going over 21) and secondly must have the dealer bust or outscore the dealer (for example getting 20 while dealer gets 19). Here are the full rulea of the game.
- One to eight decks of 52 card decks are needed for blackjack to be played.
- Aces can be counted as a 1 point card or 11 point card, 2 – 9 are according to the value and tens and cards that have faces on them (Jack, Queen, King) count as ten points.
- The value of your hand are dependent on the sum of the point of each individiual cards. A ” blackjack” (consisting of an ace and any of the 10-point cards mentioned above) is the highest hand, and beats all the other 21-point hands.
- After the betting phase, the dealer will hand two cards to the players playing and two cards to him/herself. The dealer will then have one of his cards dealt face up while the other one faced down ( called the “hole card”)
- If one of the shown cards of the dealer is an ace, he/she will then offer “insurance” which is a side bet. This side bet wager pays 2 to 1 if the hole card ( card facing down is any of the 10-point cards). Of course the insurance wager are optional and cannot exceed half the orinial wager.
- If the dealer’s card that was showing has an ace or any of the 10-point card mentioned above (after offering insurance with an ace showing), he then will look at his facedown card to see if its a blackjack. If it is , he will turn it over immediately.
- In the case that the dealer does have a blackjack, then all wagers (except insurance) will lose, unless the player’s card on hand is also a blackjack, which will result in a push. The dealer will resolve insurance wagers at this time.
- The game begins with the player that is to the left of the dealer. These are the
choices that are available to the player:
- Stand: Player stands pat with his cards.
- Hit: Player will get 1 more card ( and more if he wishes so). If the total of card that he owns exceeds 21 point (known as “busting” or “breaking”) then automatically loses.
- Double: Player doubles the bet that he wagered and he will only get one,and only one, more card.
- Split: When the player gets a pair, or any two 10-point cards , he will then be able to double his bet and separate it into two individual hands. The dealer will then automatically give each hand a second card to it. The player will then be able to “hit”, “stand”, “double” normally. However when the splitting cards are aces, each ace can only get one card. Sometimes doubling after splitting is not allowed. If the player, after splitting, gets an ace and a ten point card, then it only counts as 21 points, not a blackjack. Usually, only a total of four hands can be splitted. Sometimes re-splitting aces is not allowed.
- Surrender: Half of the player’s wager will be forfeited, while the other half is being played out of his hand. However this option, is only available on the initial two cards. Depending on the casino that you are playing on, sometimes this is not allowed at all.
- After all of the players playing have had their turns, it is time for the dealer to turn over his hole card. If the dealer’s total point is 16 or less, he will then draw another card. A special situation occurs when the dealer has an ace and any number of cards totalling six points (also known as the “soft 17”) At some tables, the dealer will also hit a soft 17.
- If the dealer’s total points on the table is more than 21 points, then any of the players who have not busted will win.
- If the dealer’s point does not bust, Then the highest point between the player and the dealer will win.
- Winning a wager pays more money, except player who wins with a blackjack, which will usually pays 3 to 2. Some casinos have a rule which strongly favors the casino, which is short paying blackjacks.
Wizard’s Simple Strategy
Memorizing the basic strategy is the key to playing blackjack properly. However, after pitching the basic strategy for 20 years, I have found that some people have found the strong will to memorize it. In my book called Gambling 102, there are seven simple rules to playing blackjack under “Simple Strategy”. The cost that are caused by incorrect plays with the simple strategy is 0.53%, under a liberal Vegas Casino rules.
It has bothered me that the price in errors to my Simple Strategy was too high, ever since my book has been published. In september 2009, another strategy has been developed called “Wizard’s Strategy”. The price to pay for incorrect or imperfect plays are 0.14% only, of course in reference to liberal Vegas Casino. For every 12 hours of play, that is the exact cost of one hand. The “Wizard’s Strategy” has only 21 cells, as compared to the Basic Strategy, which has 250 cells.
Let this be perfectly clear to everyone reading, that the strategy is not right 100% of the time. Emails kept pouring in saying that every time this strategy is being used in a practice game, the player will keep getting corrected for following it. For example, my simple strategy states that you have to stand on 12 against a 2, because it is mathematically better to hit. If you want to learn a strategy which works all the time when you play, you should be using the appropriate basic strategy for the set of rules that you are playing.
There are three very popular bad strategies found at the blackjack tables. They are : never bust, mimic the dealer, and always assuming that the dealer’s hole card is a ten. These are again very bad strategies that should be avoided and I have provided the following comments on each of them, including the house edge under Atlantic City rules (dealer stands on soft 17, splitting it up to 4 hands, doubling after split, double any two cards) of 0.43%.
Never bust: I assumed that the player would never hit a hard 12 or more for my analysis of this strategy. All the other decisions that are made were according to the correct basic strategy. This “never bust” strategy results in a house edge of 5.48%
Mimic the dealer: The assumptions that i made for my analysis is that the player would always hit 16 or less and stand on 17 or more. The double or split decision was never made by the player, since the dealer is not allowed to do so. This “mimic the dealer” strategy will result in a house edge of 5.48%
Assume a ten in the hole: I followed the proper basic strategy if the dealer had an ace up, because the dealer would have peeked for blackjack, making a 10 impossible. This bad strategy will result in a house edge of 10.03%.
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