So, you like playing blackjack. It’s one of the casino games with the lowest house edge, what’s not to like? Although, while you’re right that the house edge is low in blackjack, that is only true if you play ‘perfectly’. If you don’t play perfectly, the house edge increases quite a bit. We have a wonderful post already where you can learn the basics of blackjack.
The Perfect Play
So, what is considered perfect play and why is it considered perfect? Perfect play, also called basic strategy, is considered perfect because someone sat down with a computer and made a blackjack simulator that calculated what decisions give the highest return to the player in the long run, for every possible combination of hands. Such simulators can calculate the outcome of every possible decision and see what the expected return is for the player if they make a specific decision. It’s just statistics, the simulation calculates what decisions give the best statistical return, and following the simulation’s advice will maximize your winnings in the long run.
Basic Blackjack Strategy
Basic strategy is delivered to you in a chart format (we recommend the ones provided by wizardofodds.com) that covers all possible player and dealer hand combinations. You simply crosscheck your hand versus the dealer’s hand in the chart and check what decision you should make: hit, stand, double, or split. The chart will be slightly different depending on what the game rules are at your table. Can you double after split? Does the dealer stand on soft 17s? How many decks are in the shoe and so on, so make sure you select the right basic strategy chart before you start using it.
Example basic strategy chart
The chart will usually be divided into three sections, one for player hands without aces or splitting opportunities, one for hands involving aces, and one for hands with splitting opportunities. When you start out using the chart you will probably have to look up most hands, but as time passes you will memorize more and more decisions until you don’t need to look up anything. It is often the case that the hardest to memorize section is the splitting section, especially since you split both offensively and defensively and it’s not always obvious what your choice should be.
If you use basic strategy flawlessly to play blackjack online the house edge is around 0.5%, which makes it one of the games with the lowest house edges. There are ways to lower the house edge even further, but we’ll leave that for a future article.
Thrilled to try these strategies? Check out these fully licensed casinos for Canadian Blackjack enthusiasts!
See you around!