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Mastering Your Blackjack Strategy

How to Reduce the House Edge

\ You should be more familiar with [blackjack ]( this point. You’ve mastered the basics, but now it’s time to work on your blackjack strategies in order to beat the dealer. Remember, blackjack is a face-off between the player and the dealer, so it’s important to adhere to a blackjack strategy that will help you reduce the house edge. ![cards and chips](/images/uploads/1_jn4rzhgfg_rqm1k-v4wnag.jpeg)

Explaining the Blackjack Strategy

First off, what is meant by the basic blackjack strategy? In a few words, this is a blackjack chart that showcases all possible combinations of your hand against the dealer’s card. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with blackjack strategies, and more importantly lessen the house edge.

blackjack strategy chart

For the most part, the blackjack basic strategy employs a set of 6 rules. As you gradually up your game, there are of course more rules you can dabble with, but here are the most important ones: the card decks, Soft 17, Doubling Cards, Doubling after Splitting and Surrendering.

Here are some examples you can apply in your blackjack strategy:

Stand with a Hard 17 or Higher

The odds aren’t really in favor if you have a hard 17 or a number of a higher value. At this point, you have no choice but to Stand.

Split a pair of Aces and 8s

Great cards like an Ace should always be split. The same applies for 8s. While this might be a risk sometimes, it’s still a risk worth taking.

Double Down on a Hard 11

This is a safe bet that will always grant you more wins.

Let the Dealer go Bust First

Never hit if the dealer has a hand of 4, 5 and 6. If you don’t have a soft hand that can really beat the house, your chances won’t look great.

Refuse the Insurance Bet

Always avoid taking the insurance bet. No questions asked. In the long run, you’ll end up losing more than you bargained for as the side bet is paid 2:1. More importantly, this can only increase the house edge.

Understanding Card Counting

Once you’ve mastered the basics of the blackjack basic strategy, perhaps you can explore another blackjack strategy such as card counting.

blackjack card counting

A good definition for it is the technique, that allows players to know when they have an advantage over the house as they track the ration of low cards to high cards. Do you have to be the ultimate mathematics or memory whiz to master this blackjack strategy? Not really, but you really need to take your time with it.

Card Counting can be broken down into 4 basic steps:

Assign a value to each card

Simply put, all you need to do is either add 1, subtract 1 or do nothing, depending on the cards dealt. Since High-Low is one of the most popular card counting systems, these are the values you should take note of:

• 2-6 = +1

• 7-9 = 0

• 10-Ace= -1

Keep track of the running count that is based off of the values of the cards dealt

As mentioned in the above section, you need to add or subtract card values to keep track of the running count.

All the information can then help you get a rough estimate of the count per deck or the true count

Whilst it is not illegal to use a blackjack strategy like card counting, casinos aren’t too happy about it. So some of them, decided to include multiple decks, instead of single deck to distract the card counting players. Hence, it’s important to understand the value of the true count. Here’s a simple equation that will help you work it out:

True Count = Running Count / Number of Decks Remaining

Change bets as you deem fit whilst the true count increases

This is an obvious one. At this point, you must be familiar with the phrase the house always wins. Thus, it’s important to use all the information you have gathered wisely, as you card count. It goes without saying that if the odds are in your favor, you can raise the stake as the true count rises or place small bets when the true count favors the dealer upcard.