While there are no “hard and fast” rules to any game of chance, such as Blackjack, there are some theories that a majority of players follow. In Blackjack however there have been several overall strategies that have been both realistically and scientifically proven accurate. This is referred to as basic strategy, and is the closest you can come to hacing an edge unless you count cards. The following strategies have been proven as less effective than basic strategy when it comes to lowering the houses advantage.
While this strategy works to win players a larger amount of games, there are also other theories that many players adhere to that have yet to be proven as winning tactics.
One of the most common is the “never bust” method of play. This strategy focuses specifically on a player’s hand totaling from twelve to sixteen on which the player never takes a “hit”, or when the hand is eleven or less on which the player must always take a hit. Under these guidelines the player never runs the risk of a “bust”.
Some experts suggest that never “hitting” on a “stiff” hand, which is the twelve to sixteen hand values, will increase the casino’s edge to five percent. Meaning that a player who continually “stands” is only increasing the rate at which the casino is taking their money.
There are many percentages, statistics and facts behind Blackjack strategy and theory, and all numbers around the “never bust” method indicate that a player is better off finding a different strategy to use.
Another strategy is the “mimic the dealer” strategy which operates on the idea that if the “house” has an edge it should be a good strategy to copy the tactics and methods of the dealers who represent the casino or “house”.
This however is a bad decision because most house rules have their dealers standing at seventeen. Furthermore dealers cannot use any of the options available to a player, such as “double down”, “split” or even “surrender”. By eliminating their only options for increasing profits a player is increasing the casino’s edge instantly.
A player thinking of using the “mimic the dealer” strategy is also running the risk of busting because the dealer must always play last. If the player is acting along the lines of the dealer, working at any risk to hit twenty-one, then they are sure to enter into a losing streak.
Most experts recommend that players use all of their available options according to the proven strategic methods, even those that feel “wrong”. For example, basic strategy says that a player must “hit” on a 16 if their dealer is showing a 7 or higher. This is because statistics indicate that the 16 hand is often a loser for the player, and so the best strategy is to always “hit”in this situation
While many people try to develop their own theories and systems, the best way to win at Blackjack is to take the time to memorize the standard Blackjack strategy tables. Many people will even make flashcards for themselves to memorize before they head to a casino to practice. While some alternative theories may slightly increase, or even greatly decrease, a player’s chances, the basic strategy for Blackjack has been proven over and over again as the best way to decrease the house's edge.