Blackjack is a casino game that benefits from skill, otherwise referred to as a skill based casino game. This means that the chances of a player doing well are greatly swayed by how practiced that player is. In other words, it really helps to know what you’re doing when you step up to the blackjack table.
The basic concept of blackjack is fairly straightforward and most know what to do prior to playing their first game. For those who may not be so clued up, here’s a quick reminder. In blackjack the player and house are both dealt two cards. The house is dealt one facedown, and one face up; the player is dealt two face up. The values of the player’s cards are added, and a total declared. Remember; picture cards count as 10, and ace may be counted as 11 or 1. Depending on the total the player may call for another card, or stick with the existing cards. The goal is, of course, to create a total as close to 21 as possible without exceeding 21, all whilst beating the dealer’s hand. If 21 is exceeded the player is instantly bust and loses.
Beat The House
When the player announces they are sticking, the house then plays, and depending on how well the house does the player will either win or lose. And this is the first important thing to keep in mind when aiming to be a better blackjack player. The aim of blackjack is indeed for the player to get as close to 21 as possible without exceeding 21, but is more importantly about getting closer to 21 than the house.
Here’s a thought; if the player sticks on 14, it may be considered a reckless move, given that 21 is still a long way off. But if the house goes bust the player wins regardless, hence, sticking on 14 was an exceptionally smart move. Sure, the player could have called for a card and got the number closer to 21, creating a stronger hand, but that would have been a risk. And weighing up the benefits of risks is what blackjack is all about.
Of course, the player is not psychic, and will never know exactly what hand the house is going to achieve. But consider the fact that one card of the house’s hand is always facing upwards. This is not by accident. The exposed card gives the player an idea of what hand the house may get, and hence allows some level of prediction. If the house has a picture card showing this should be considered an alarm bell, since the best blackjack hands are created with at least one picture card. If, on the other hand, a 6 or 7 were showing this would indicate a potentially less valuable hand.
The Transforming Ace
The ace is a mystical and magical card in blackjack, and its powers should never be overlooked. Receiving an ace is an immense stroke of luck, and a player should never squander the chance to take full advantage. Upon initially receiving an ace it will be counted as 11. If, however, the player calls for a card and the total of the hand is beyond 21, including the ace, the ace will then be counted as 1. In other words, the ace is a ‘get out of jail free card.’ It will avoid the player going bust.
But how does a player use this to their full advantage? Try thinking of the ace as a way to get two chances at creating the best possible hand. If an ace and a 4 were showing, this would total 15. Not the best hand, but also not really high enough to stick on. If the hand were created with a picture card, such as a king, it would spell trouble, since calling for another card would be an exceptionally risky move. With an ace, however, the player can be assured that even if they do go bust, the ace will perform its magic and save them, granting a second chance. In other words, the ace allows for a risky move to be performed with no risk at all.
Play Smart And Safe
By far the most important thing to keep in mind when playing blackjack is that it is always better to be safe, rather than play like a cowboy. By its very nature blackjack encourages risky moves, but the smart player will always reign in the stallion and take it easy. Yes, 16 is not as close to 21 as possible, but sticking and allowing the house the chance to bust is a far better strategy. It certainly feels good calling out for a card and getting the exact one you wanted, but the risk is simply not the wisest course of action. Think of it this way; if the player is bust, the house does not even have to play.