The key to this lies in mathematics: using probability and statistical calculations, it is possible to minimise the house edge and win more money. There are several tricks that we already talked about in the article 11 must-know tricks to play Black Jack.
But, first, we warn you about something: to understand the contents of this article you need to have some basic knowledge about Black Jack, if not, or if you prefer to review concepts first, we recommend you to read the article How to play Black Jack: everything you need to know.
Basic Strategy Chart
You, as a player, can win or lose. However, the casino, whether online or land-based, always has to win something. That’s why it always ensures a profit margin for the bank.
As we explained in the article Which casino games are the most profitable, in the vast majority of gambling games the casino has a profit margin.
This means that of the total amount of money that players wager, what is returned in the form of a prize is not the total amount wagered. From that total is subtracted a banker’s mark-up that will vary from game to game.
The good news is that the dealer’s profit margin can be minimised in some casino games, and Black Jack is one of them.
In Black Jack, the game ultimately prevails over the player, but it is still possible to improve your odds of winning and minimise the house edge. How? By making use of mathematically optimised betting strategies or systems.
Specifically, we are talking about the basic Black Jack strategy table, also known as the “Decision Table”. It is a kind of cheat sheet where the recommended actions are listed as a safe strategy for Black Jack, to reduce the house edge on each bet.
By following the basic Black Jack strategy you can reduce the casino dealer’s advantage to 0%, so that the house has no advantage at all.
How the Black Jack Basic Strategy Table works:
- First row: values that may appear on the dealer’s face card.
- First column: total value of the player’s hand.
To find out what action you are advised to take in each hand, you have to look in the column for the value of the card the dealer has revealed and in the row for the value that corresponds to the value of the cards in your hand. If you join row and column, the box between them tells you which tactic is recommended to minimise the house’s advantage.
We would like to remind you that the basic strategy table does not guarantee that you will win every hand you play, but it does indicate what action is recommended to reduce the house edge.
Stand on 17 or more
To win money playing Black Jack you need to be careful. If you already know how to play this card game, you’ll know that one of the most popular rules of Black Jack is to stand on any hand that totals 17 points or more, as the odds are very high that you’ll bust by drawing another card.
There are many situations where standing is not the best option, such as the dealer discovering an Ace or a high card, but if you’ve already made 17 points or more, it’s wise to stand.
The Ace is the strongest card in Black Jack. Its value is 11 points, but if you add two Aces, their combined value is 12.
12 is a bad total for a Black Jack player in terms of statistics, but there is another, more important reason: when you split the Aces, there is a greater chance of getting a card with a value of ten for one or both cards, as you have two chances of playing that card with a 10-value card that the dealer uncovers, and this will give you a total of 21, which is the best hand in Black Jack. This means that in most cases splitting Aces is recommended.
These are very general tips, but there are also cases in which splitting aces is not recommended, so we recommend you read the article
With 8’s it is similar to what happens with Aces. Together they add up to 16. 16 is the worst possible hand in this game, probabilistically speaking.
And when you split a pair of eights, each eight receives (as with aces) one card, thus forming two hands. You can then play with two hands, by drawing, standing or doubling down. With eights, it is also possible to split again a second or third time. As a general rule, eights will always be split. However, this is not always the case, so we recommend you read the article When to split and when not to split Aces and Eights in Black Jack.