For every game found in a casino, there’s at least one way to strategize for better odds – not positive, winning odds, but better than the house edge provides on its own. Blackjack, baccarat, craps, even roulette and slot machines have a basic, bet-based casino strategy worth invoking.
If a person, book, website – whatever source you’re getting your information from – tells you about a strategy using the word ‘guarantee‘ anywhere in the context – run!
Just run away from them, close the book, exit the website, get away from it and never look back. Guarantees don’t exist in any casino strategy. If they did, men like Sheldon Adelson, Steve Wynn and Stanley Ho wouldn’t be billionaires – we would.
Double or Nothing Till You Win
There’s nothing wrong with a simple, logical casino strategy – unless it happens to be this one. Sure, it makes complete sense. ‘I’ll just start with a $5 bet and keep betting double until I win. I can’t lose!’
If you believe that, I’d like to show you some waterfront property in Arizona. Do you really think gambling establishments didn’t think that one through? They most certainly did, and they made darn sure you can’t take advantage of doubling by setting strict table limits.
Let me explain. Every table game has a minimum and maximum stake allowed. The lower end tables generally range from $5 to $100. So let’s say I start with a $5 bet, and I lose. I double my bet to $10 and try again. I lose, double to $20… double to $40… double to $80…uh-oh, I can’t double anymore.
It only took 5 repeat losses – which is not that uncommon in Vegas – and I’ve already lost $155.
The Object of Blackjack is…
Here’s another very common misconception. It starts when the rules of blackjack are explained thusly:
“The object of Blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible, without going over.”
No. That’s false. Even if you manage to reach 21 exactly, you might not win. The real object of blackjack is to beat the dealer, nothing more. Being close to 21 may increase your odds of doing that, but striving for that high value can get you busted out just as easily.
Use a basic blackjack casino strategy and you’ll have much better odds of achieving the game’s true objective.
I’ll Never Bust!
Here’s another bad blackjack strategy, and I’ve heard it enough times to know most of you have at least considered this. If you never let yourself bust, won’t you have higher odds of winning each hand? Again, not true.
The odds of winning are calculated by comparing your current total to the dealer’s up-card. If you’re holding 12 and he’s showing anything 7 or higher, odds are you’ll lose if you don’t take the hit. In cases like this, the odds of busting aren’t as risky as the odds of losing with 12.
The ‘Never Bust’ casino strategy actually increases the house edge to nearly 4%, as opposed to a proper basic strategy that reduced the house edge to anywhere from 1% to 0.4%, depending on the specific rules of the game.
Play Like the Dealer
If the dealer always has the advantage, why not play by his rules? Hit everything 16 or below, and stand on 17+, while never using the “double” or “split” options. Wouldn’t this give the player the same advantage?
Sounds logical, but no. You see, the dealer has some extra perks that player’s aren’t afforded. For example, the dealer always plays last, therefore will never bust before the player takes action. Then there’s the insurance factor when the dealer is showing an Ace. And when the dealer does have blackjack, all player’s automatically lose, unless a player has blackjack as well, in which case they still don’t win – it’s a push.
Statistically, playing like the dealer actually has worse odds than the ‘Never Bust’ casino strategy, raising the house edge to about 5.5%.