Blackjack is a popular casino game that is played worldwide. While the game is known for being one of the most exciting and entertaining games in the casino, it can also be one of the most challenging, with a high house edge. However, there are several ways to minimize the house edge in blackjack, and as a blackjack player, I have learned and applied many of these strategies in my games. In this article, I will share my insights on how to minimize the house edge in blackjack.
Understand Basic Strategy
The first step to minimizing the house edge in blackjack is to understand basic strategy. Basic strategy is a set of rules that guides the player on what action to take in every possible situation in the game. By following basic strategy, the player can make the best decisions based on the dealer’s upcard and their own hand. This significantly reduces the house edge, and the player can lower it to as low as 0.5%.
Basic strategy is based on mathematical probabilities, and it is not an exact science. Therefore, it does not guarantee that you will win every hand, but it does provide a significant advantage over the house in the long run.
Some of the basic strategy rules include:
- Stand when you have a hard 17 or higher.
- Hit when you have a hard 8 or lower.
- Double down when you have a total of 11.
- Split aces and eights.
- Always hit a soft 17.
These rules can be found in basic strategy charts, which are readily available online or in blackjack books.
Avoid Blackjack Side Bets
Side bets are additional wagers that are placed alongside the main blackjack bet. They often offer high payouts but come with a high house edge. Examples of side bets include Perfect Pairs, 21+3, and Insurance.
While side bets may seem like a good way to increase your winnings, they should be avoided as they significantly increase the house edge. The payouts may be tempting, but the probability of winning these side bets is low, and the chances of losing are high. Therefore, it’s best to stick to the main blackjack game and avoid side bets altogether.
Choose the Right Table
The table you choose can also have an impact on the house edge. Before joining a table, check the rules of the game, such as the number of decks used, the dealer’s standing rules, and the payout for blackjack. These rules can vary from table to table, and it’s important to choose one with the most favorable rules.
Tables with fewer decks tend to have a lower house edge, and it’s easier to keep track of the cards. Tables where the dealer stands on a soft 17 also offer a lower house edge. Additionally, it’s important to choose a table with the right betting limit. The table’s minimum and maximum betting limits should be within your bankroll’s range. If the minimum bet is too high, it can quickly deplete your bankroll, and if the maximum bet is too low, it can limit your winnings.
Practice Card Counting
Card counting is a technique that involves keeping track of the cards that have been dealt and using that information to make better decisions in the game. It is a skill that can be learned and practiced, and it can significantly reduce the house edge.
The concept of card counting is simple; it involves assigning a point value to each card that is dealt. High cards (10s and Aces) are assigned a negative value, while low cards (2s to 6s) are assigned a positive value. The remaining cards are assigned a neutral value.
As the cards are dealt, the player keeps a running count of the card values. This count helps the player determine when the deck is rich in high cards, which is favorable for the player, or low cards