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Blackjack Explained: Answers to the Most Commonly Asked Blackjack Questions

Oct 6, 2014

Mastering the art of blackjack isn’t easy...

Mastering the art of blackjack isn’t easy…


 

 

 

 

Mastering the art of blackjack isn’t easy, so it’s important to get off on the right foot. We’ve answered the most common questions from amateur blackjack players.

Blackjack is a complicated game. While winning at blackjack boils down to getting closer than the dealer to 21 without going over, how to do that requires a lot of practice and careful study.

Most beginning blackjack players have tons of questions with regards to improving their skills. Some of the questions have simple answers, some not so simple. Our team of experts has put together a list of answers to blackjack’s FAQs.

What is the first step to becoming a pro poker player?

The answer to this question is very simple, but the truth is that it’s overlooked by many aspiring poker pros. The first step is to learn basic strategy like the back of your hand!

A lot of guys try to learn advantage play techniques before they have basic blackjack down cold, and that’s a recipe for losing money at the casino. Don’t attempt to progress from this beginning stage until you can play consistently without errors. Luckily there are blackjack strategy charts available online that tell you the mathematics of every hand.

Can you win without using a card counting system?

This is the most asked question among blackjack beginners and basic strategy players. Everyone wants to win money at blackjack, but most of us would rather not put in the countless hours and painstaking effort required to master the art of counting.

But basic strategy blackjack carries a standard house edge of .5 percent, and the only way to counter that consistently is to use a card counting system. Everyone will get lucky sometimes and have a big night at the casino, but you won’t find a successful poker professional that doesn’t count cards.

What is the “best” card counting system?

We put parentheses around “best” because there isn’t an objective answer. The most commonly used system (and the one we recommend to most players) is Hi-Lo, which is relatively simple to learn and allows the player to anticipate the outcome of upcoming hands with a high degree of accuracy.

That being said, some players prefer other systems. Red Seven is not very accurate but is the simplest card counting system to learn; it can be a good way to transition to other systems. The Knockout (K-O) system is also simple and doesn’t require conversion of the running count into a true count.

If you’re willing to invest the time and effort to learn a system which is more complicated but has higher accuracy, try the Zen and Omega II card counting systems.

Can I count cards while playing online blackjack?

Online blackjack sites are the best way to improve your blackjack strategy skills. They have lower house edges than most land-based casino games, and most online casinos even offer free-to-play games, which are a risk-free way for a player to improve their skills.

But as for counting cards online, it’s impossible in standard virtual games. That’s because the cards are dealt using a Random Number Generator, meaning that each hand dealt is bears no relation to the previous hands.

It is possible to count while playing online live dealer blackjack games, which are dealt using physical decks of cards. However, online casinos do a good job of making that as difficult as possible. Our advice: learn basic strategy online, and count cards in a land-based casino.

What are “Las Vegas rules” in blackjack?

Blackjack has a lot of rule variations which can tip the edge in favor of the house or the player. The most common set of variations are what are referred to as “Las Vegas rules” or “strip rules,” as these are most commonly found in Vegas.

What does this style include? The player is allowed to double down after any two initial cards are dealt, splitting, re-splitting and taking insurance are allowed (although re-splitting after receiving an ace as the next card is not allowed) and the dealer always hits on a soft 17.

Vegas rules are a combination of player-friendly and casino-friendly rules, but taken together they amount to a house edge of .53, which is not the best blackjack rules variation for the player but it offers much better odds than other casino games like roulette, slots or craps.

Is single-deck or multi-deck blackjack better for the player?

This is a simple question with a complicated answer. By definition single-deck blackjack is better for the player because it’s much easier to count cards. For that exact reason, however, casinos which offer single-deck games usually tweak the rules to make it more difficult for the player to win.

“Shoe games” involving four, six or eight decks make it more difficult for the player to count. However, these games usually have more player-friendly rules variations. For example, Vegas rules games almost always are dealt from six decks. The choice is yours, but we recommend improving your skills to the point where you can count cards in a multi-deck game.


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